Aiming to buy a solid and dependable guy for your kitchen? Well, a Skillet is the best option you can make. This little fellow comes in several sizes and brands, with each model different and unique from the other.
Instead of using a regular iron, the cast is alloyed with carbon and other metals to provide long-lasting cookware. Attractive design and durability all come second.
Though skillet is deeper and wide, buying them is as tricky as it if for a frying pan. Therefore, without wasting any of our time, let us dig in the basics to buy the best-cast iron skillet.
Difference between Skillet and a Pan
While the pan has more straight and heightened sides, the skillet has them curved. The sides and the pan base is not aligned with the sides being more outward. Hence, the sides are not directly in contact with the heat. This makes them perfect for stir-frying foods especially veggies that do not do well at high temperatures.
Moreover, they are lighter in weight compared to the pans. With all its flipping and flopping, the use of skillet makes cooking so much exciting.
Basics to buying the best-cast iron skillet set
The following factors are of great importance while buying a skillet. Therefore, we want you to go through them carefully, one at a time.
1. Weight of the Skillet
No matter which cooking item is under consideration, weight is the ultimate make or break factor for you. Whether you cook for fun, or it is your responsibility and job, you have to do so now and then.
That is why going for the lightest pan is the key. We do not want you to buy something heavy whose constant use will have a toll on your wrist.
With that being said, weight is an influencing factor because of this general assumption that heavy and thick pan retain more heat. This is true in certain cases, but not always.
Over time, we have seen a remarkable improvement in the kitchen equipment and daily life accessories. This means that you will have access to loads of options that are better in quality and light on the hand.
For some, heavily weighted skillets work the best. So, in the end, it all comes down to your preference.
2. Handles and Knobs
The term handle usually refers to the material attached to the side of the skillet meant for carrying and handling the pan. On the other hand, a knob also serves the same purpose but is small and usually is on the top of the lid. With a knob, you can easily put the lid on and of the skillet.
So, long story short, both provide ease and convenience in the use of the skillet pan. As all the cookware items have these important accessories, your job is to check for their built and quality. Check for the size and comfortability in handling the pan. look for the material used in its manufacturing and if it is heat resistant or not.
If not careful, many of the handles get hot and even burn in the process of cooking. Therefore, the best option is to look for a pot-holder or a cover in the accessory kit.
Some pans come with dual handles, one on either side of the pan. this style comes in handy when dealing with a big and heavy pan. the grip is different and they have a nice feel to them.
Overall, big knobs and ergonomic handles are the take-home suggestion for everyone looking for a decent skillet pan.
3. Price of the Skillet
Many people are of the idea that the pricier a thing is, the better will be its performance. That is only true in the case of a reliable and renowned manufacturer. The same situation applies to cheap skillet sets. You might not always get the best at either a high or even low price.
This implies that you need to look for that sweet spot at which your budget range and the product’s price falls in place. For this, the thumb rule would be doing your homework first.
Once you’ve studied the whole thing nicely, put your research skills to practice and shortlist the seemingly best skillets. By best, I mean the one that covers three things- decent price, great pan surface, and reliable build.
For home chefs, the $20-25 pans will work great. Price value varies depending on the use of pan, and the manufacturing material used. It is also affected by its being enameled and not, with the former being expensive. Size also affects this rise and fall in the cost of kitchen items.
4. Skillet styles
Whenever you research on a skillet, the following two options will pop-up the most. One is the bare cast iron skillet whereas the other is the enameled cast iron skillet.
- Bare means naked, uncovered, and that is what it exactly is- an uncovered skillet. Here, the word cover refers to the general coating done of cookware to make it nonstick. When cooking foods, certain foods stick to the pan while others do not. Almost all foods stick and therefore, you are required to season the pan to develop that layer.
Because this layer not present, the price value of the skillet automatically reduces. Investing in this pan is a great choice, if you season and take care of it is the right way.
- Enamel is a shiny and transparent layer that is done over the pan meant to act as a coat. This coat acts as a barrier between the pan and food and makes it nonstick. They can be used straight from the box and come pre-seasoned. They just need to be gently taken care of and maintained carefully. Invest in a pan with a flawless finish to it, so that it stays with you for a long, long time.
Various sizes of a Cast Iron Skillet
Now that you know what to look for and what to avoid in a skillet, it’s time to look into the various sizes available at your service.
Note that the size and shape of the skillet depend on the brand and the respective model they are creating. There is no fixed standard size for the skillets all around the globe. But the following set of sizes are easily available by almost every brand.
What is the best size for a cast-iron skillet?
If we talk about home cooking, there are three sizes to choose from- the 8’’ skillet, the 10’’ skillet, and the 12’’ skillet.
I would like to swap the term ‘size’ with ‘diameter’ as skillets are usually round. Generally, the diameter of the skillet is measured by using a measuring scale. With the end on the scale on one side and the rest on the other side, we check the size of the skillet.
The size of cookware is influenced by the number of servings. This signifies that the greater the number of people at your home, the larger and bigger skillet is your need. This brings me to our next point which is the food you are cooking.
Compared to chicken wings, the medium skillet won’t work the same for chicken legs. Or say that you want to make pancakes for yourself. Won’t the large one be too much for one person?
Smallest 8 inches skillet
By far the cutest skillet you’ll ever come across, this one is perfect for all those living a solo life. Small in size, it’s not a good choice for more than two people but serves great for frying eggs.
It is great for sauteing veggies, stir-frying meat, or toasting your bread. But obviously, it is for small servings. Its light size gives it an edge to be light and compact. With being compact in shape, it doesn’t require much space for storage purposes.
I don’t think it’s a good buy for families but has its perks. Plus, I think it’s the smallest size you’ll ever get across. Because below 8-inches, the skillet would become too small for cooking
Medium 10 inches skillet
This one is more like an intermediate size between two extremes. It’s bigger than the 8-inched skillet and smaller than the 12-inched one. This is the most multipurpose skillet size because you’ve got several options to play around with. Even if you are a family of two, it will work beautifully creating more than the required serving size for you.
Searing a steak is extremely convenient for this pan. it can do even more than a steak. Try stir-frying some veggies as well. The weight is also pretty decent and active in the field.
Large 12 inches Skillet
Be it with or without a lid, it is the largest size skillet you can come across. With the addition-reduction of a few points, this sized cookware is created by almost every kitchen company. Just make sure you have some space in the cupboard for this item, and all your cooking problems are bound to vanish
That is the beauty of a skillet. Its practical and versatile, and hence can cook almost anything you desire. If your serving size ranges more than 6 people, this is for you. Depending on your menu style, the cooked food may feel over-stuffed. Therefore, studying the size and diameter of the skillet will come in handy, especially if you are a big family.
Which sized skillet to choose from?
Now that you know the most popular size ranges available, it’s time to answer the final statement. Which size skillet to buy?
Generally, the mini-families love going for a 10-inch pan but they stock up on the 12-inched one as well. Just in case, they may have to make bigger servings the large one will come to the rescue.
Take care of your skillet the Right Way!
- Follow the thumb rule of never leaving your skillet wet. No matter what your situation is, try to dry it out as soon as possible. Wash gently with a little soap to get rid of the unwanted oils and rinse it off.
- It is recommended that after drying your skillet you apply a thin oil coat on your skillet. Though it’s already seasoned, a little oil will preserve it for even longer.
- Using a bristled brush to get rid of stubborn, burnt food is absolutely fine. This is much softer than the stainless steel scrubbers and doesn’t scratch the surface. You just have to be gentle with the skillet, and it’ll be fine.
- Heat, heat, and heat. Never leave your empty skillet on the heat for too long. You won’t even notice and you will pan will be done after a few cookings.
- Be extra careful when cooking acidic foods like tomatoes and lemons. The acid from such foods are very reactive to the skillet’s non=stick coating, and sometimes even stains the metal. This leads to discoloration and sometimes gives a weird taste to the foods. So be cautious of this reaction.
- The storage of cast iron pans and skillets is created a big issue while it is not that hard to do so. Just keep them in a dry place with a handful of tissues stacked on its inner side. The tissue will do the job for you.