From time-to-time, we receive a great reader question on a topic that we haven’t yet covered on Kitchen Ambition. I love helping readers find the info they need, and always appreciate this sort of request. I periodically publish some of these questions on the site when they relate to topics that can be helpful to a wider audience. I hope you enjoy!
You can contact us with your question here.
Subject: What is the best coated cast iron pan
I read your article on the best ceramic coated pans vs teflon pans. I found it very helpful. In it you say the best pan is a well seasoned cast iron and I completely agree. My problem is a good cast iron pan is to heavy for me to use on a regular basis. Therefore I was wondering what you recommended for best coated cast iron pan would be. They are usually lighter. Thanks
Hi Tonnie, it’s great to hear from you!
I can relate to your experience with cast iron.
I was actually preparing curry for family dinner last night in our 10″ Griswold Cast Iron fryer and had to re-arrange burners to make room for the rice. At that moment, the skillet was full of scalding hot liquid, and I was feeling pretty leery to move it. It all worked out ok, but I still didn’t feel smart about being in that situation.
Here’s my take on your question about finding a light cast iron pan. I hope my thoughts are helpful, and not too long-winded:
Enameled and seasoned cast iron tend to weigh about the same.
I went through all of our product records to verify this claim before responding to you, looking specifically at 10″ cast iron skillets. Those products vary greatly from 4.5 lbs to 11.1 lbs, depending on the brand. Enameled cast iron tends to be (slightly) heavier. Here are a few examples I pulled,
- Amazon Basics – 4.5 lbs (seasoned)
- Lodge Chef Collection – 4.61 lbs (seasoned)
- Lodge Cast Iron Skillet – 5.34 lbs (seasoned)
- Cuisinart Enameled Skillet – 6.0 lbs (enameled)
- Le Creuset Signature Skillet – 6.1 lbs (enameled)
- Tramontina Enameled Skillet – 9.36 lbs (enameled)
- Finex Skillet – 11.1 lbs (seasoned)
The last two options I mentioned above include heavy lids, but the pan weight without the lid is still over 6 lbs.
Quality enameled tends to cost a lot more.
One of our writers swears by his Le Creuset Signature skillet. I’ve also used them and think they are a great product, but also recognize you’ll pay 10x what it costs to get a Lodge skillet (roughly $20 vs $200).
Cuisinart and Tramontina offer enameled cast iron skillets in the $40-60 range. Those “cost-conscious” enameled products will work fine on your stove, but you’ll probably lose out on a lot of enamel durability when compared to Le Creuset or Staub.
You might consider carbon steel instead.
We recently published a piece on carbon steel skillets, which are very similar to cast iron from a materials and performance standpoint. The big difference is that instead of weighing 4-6 lbs like most cast iron options, you can get a great carbon steel pan that is 2-4 lbs.
You’ll pay $30-60 for most of the products we recommend, which is slightly more than cast iron, but less than buying a clad stainless steel. I’d consider carbon steel to (mostly) be slightly less attractive than cast iron or stainless steel, but the performance is awesome.
Lodge Chef Collection
If you’re committed to cast iron, I would recommend the 10″ Chef’s Collection Skillet by Lodge.
I love their products and commitment to customer service. They introduced the Chef’s Collection as a lighter-weight option to their traditional skillet, with shallower sides. You may also find the shallow sides also make it easier to handle delicate items like eggs.
I added a full breakdown of that product and other great cast iron skillet options here.
Thanks again for reaching out, and please let me know if there is anything else I can do to support you. I really appreciate the question.
Have a great week!