Cast iron skillets have become more and more popular nowadays, especially at the expense of non-stick cookware. One main reason for this trend is that the non-stick coating often includes substances that raise health concerns.
Cast iron pans are healthier and extremely durable. They are known for being passed down from generation to generation due to their sturdiness, durability, and ability to cook anything, from seared steaks, burgers, pizza, chicken, and more.
In the following sections, we collected the top cast iron grill pans for searing of this year, and everything you need to know to make an informed decision.
In the Post
- How to Choose a Cast Iron Pan
- Our 5 Picks of Best Cast Iron Grill Pan for Searing
- Benefits of Using a Cast Iron Pan
- What Is Seasoning?
- Maintenance Tips
- To Sum Up
How to Choose a Cast Iron Pan
I know how to choose, just skip me to the review of best cast iron grill pans for searing
Cast iron pans are always heavier and bulkier than other types. The major benefit of this extra weight is that they are able to retain heat much better than lighter cookware.
If there are any weight concerns due to health conditions, such as arthritis, it is best to look into other types of products.
The quality of the pan is important, but so are the handles. These help you maneuver the food with ease, which is extremely important when cooking for safety reasons.
Cast products must feature sturdy, durable handles, and it is also recommended to have heat-resistant holders for enhanced protection. Double handles are useful, especially because they help to balance the pot and transport it with ease.
There is a misconception that quality, long-lasting products must also come with high price tags. In fact, most cast-iron grill pans are extremely affordable and can meet any budget, without cutting corners on craftsmanship.
The price often depends on the brand, but a cheaper cast skillet does not necessarily mean it comes with poor quality.
Our 5 Picks of Best Cast Iron Grill Pan for Searing
1. Cuisinart GG30-20
Cuisinart is a top cookware manufacturer with a reputation for excellent craftsmanship. They use the finest materials available to craft excellent products and Cuisinart GG30-20 is no exception.
Here are some of the best features that make Cuisinart one of the best options on the market.
GG30-20 sports a petroleum-free coating based on ceramic that is applied at a higher temperature than traditional pans for extra durability. This coating is free of PFOA and PTFE, two substances that raise health concerns, and it is water-based, not solvent-based, unlike other options on the market. The coating is also scratch-resistant and ensures quick food release.
The pan adheres to European RoHS and FDA standards for environmentally-friendly products. In addition to this, it comes in 100% recycled packaging printed with biodegradable soy ink.
Easy to Use
The steel handles remain cool and contain up to 70% recycled stainless steel. The skillet is oven-safe to 500F, ideal for searing steaks and burgers and finishing them in the oven.
When cooking with Cuisinart, there is no need to add butter or oil. The coating automatically prevents food from sticking and makes it easy to clean. The exterior has a smooth finish that can be easily washed with hot water and soap and a scrub pad.
One drawback of the design might be the sharp angle that connects the bottom and the sides. While this does not influence its excellent searing abilities, it makes it slightly challenging to turn eggs or other fragile foods.
Reasons to buy
- The coating makes it easy to use, safe, and non-toxic
- Long stainless-steel handle is heat-resistant
- Proprietary non-stick technology
- Easy to clean and maintain
Reasons to avoid
- Sharp angle at the connection between bottom and sides
2. NutriChef Cast Iron Pan
If you love the searing marks on your burger or steaks, the NutriChef pan is one of the best options. The skillet has a non-stick coating for quick food release. This also eliminates the need for oil or butter when cooking.
These are only some of the aspects that make NutriChef a suitable candidate. Other features that make it stand out from its competitors are discussed below.
The square pan is safe for temperatures of up to 500F. With a square design and 11” size, the skillet is suitable for preparing several portions at the same time. The cast iron is compatible with any heating methods, including gas, stovetop, oven, and more. It is also stain-resistant can be cleaned effortlessly.
In terms of design, the ridged surface helps to keep the excess oil away from the food, while leaving searing marks similar to a grill. The side drip spouts make it easy to discard the oils and fat. This product retains heat due to the smooth porcelain enamel coating that does not only distributes the heat evenly but also keeps the food hot until it is ready to be served.
This gourmet cookware is sturdy, but the price tag matches its quality and durability. It is recommended for higher budgets.
Reasons to buy
- Leaves distinct searing marks on food
- Ideal for cooking several portions at once
- The non-stick coating does not require oil or fat
- Compatible with all heating methods
- Resistant up to 500F
Reasons to avoid
- Quite expensive
3. Lodge Cast Iron Square Grill Pan
Lodge is the first company that introduced pre-seasoning, so their pans are ready to use straight from the box. They are also manufactured in the USA and the company has more than one century of experience on the market.
Lodge is not only affordable and multi-functional. Here are some other premium qualities that make it worth every cent.
Lodge cast iron grill pan has a square design, ideal for searing a couple of steaks at the same time. The cooking surface is pre-seasoned, ensuring that the food will not stick to it, which makes it easy to clean.
The premium-quality cast iron improves heat retention compared to other materials and ensures that the entire cooking surface is warmed evenly. The pan is made of only one piece of iron and Lodge quality has one main advantage compared to other brands: patina builds up like no other brand. In other words, each time the pan is used, it becomes better and better, ideal for many years to come, and much quicker than other alternative products.
Since it is a multi-functional pan, it can also be used to stir fry, fry, sauté, or even bake because of the high sides. The silicone handle holder is included for free and ensures safe maneuvering when the handles are hot.
A great highlight of the pan is the fact that it has two handles, ideal for heavy lifting. The size of the handle is long enough to be easily grasped but also short enough to offer the leverage to lift the pan. The opposite helping handle can be grabbed when the pan is full, providing extra grip. Both handles have loops, so the pan can be stored with ease when required.
Although this Lodge pan is one of the best on the market regarding its durable and sturdy construction, there is one main drawback of the design. The lack of pour-spouts means that there is no easy method of draining excess oils and fats.
Reasons to buy
- Pre-seasoning ensures ease of maintenance and cleaning
- Two handles for heavy lifting
- Great on any cooking surface, including campfires
- Comes with a red silicone handle holder
- Square design ideal for two pieces of steak at the same time
Reasons to avoid
- Does not have pour spouts
4. Victoria Cast Iron Pan
Victoria cast iron pan comes with a large pre-seasoned surface and versatile design. It can be used for cooking a wide range of dishes, while its level of quality is unmatched.
If you are looking for an easy-to-use pan, Victoria couldn’t score any higher. Below, you will find some other unique features that make it a great deal.
Straightforward and dependable, Victoria cast iron pan has a durable coating that prevents food from sticking, ensuring an even searing. The product is pre-seasoned with 100% non-GMO flaxseed oil which will keep the food hot for more than 15 minutes.
Large Pour Spouts
In terms of design, it is worthwhile to mention the two pour spouts which are perhaps the largest on the market. This allows you to pour the oil out of the skillet without drippings. It has one thin and long handle that remains cool for a long time, and it has a slightly curved shape for a better grip. The opposite, smaller handle can be used for safe heavy-lifting. Both handles have large loops, so it can be stored easily.
Given its larger surface area of 12”, the pan is suitable for cooking different dishes. Apart from searing meats, it can also be used to bake pizzas, roast pork or chicken, and many more. Due to its resistant design, this pan is ideal for use on any heat sources, such as grill, oven, stovetop, or campfires.
Reasons to buy
- Keeps food hot for 15 minutes or longer
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Non-toxic coating
- Versatile due to the large cooking area
Reasons to avoid
- Large design makes it quite bulky
5. Calphalon Cast Iron Pan
Ideal for any family, the Calphalon pan is designed to enhance your cooking experience through even, steady heating and appetizing searing abilities. The surface is pre-seasoned, preventing sticking and ensuring that the cleaning process is as quick and easy as possible.
If you are looking for a pan that will last for a lifetime, Calphalon comes with all the necessary features to make it worth the investment.
The design features enlarged handles to provide the proper leverage when maneuvering it. The long, thin handle on one side has a small loop so you can store it when not in use, but the opposite handle is quite short.
Given its sturdy and durable cast iron, the skillet can not only be used for searing steaks and other meats, but also for baking and frying. It is ideal for the stovetop, oven, and broiler. The excellent quality is backed up by Calphalon’s lifetime warranty.
Twelve inches of the cooking surface can be used to prepare multiple servings at a time. It is ideal for searing meats and then transfer it to the oven.
The sturdy design can withstand heavy use without scratches or chips when properly maintained. It can be safely used with nylon, wooden, metal, or coated utensils for maximum versatility.
There are two main highlights that make Calphalon skillet stand out from its competitors. Firstly, while cast iron is not a lightweight material, this 12” pan feels lighter than other products. This makes it easier to maneuver.
Secondly, the sides and the bottom meet in a slope, not a sharp angle. The curved corners make turning foods considerably easier without damaging them. This can be very useful when cooking steaks, burgers, eggs, and even grilled cheese sandwiches.
Reasons to buy
- Lightweight design with outstanding quality
- Ideal for preparing multiple servings at once
- Curved corners for easy stirring or turning
- Can be used in the oven, broiler, and more
- Oversized handles for easy lifting
Reasons to avoid
- The smaller handle is quite short and thin
Benefits of Using a Cast Iron Pan
Although cast iron pans have been used for more than a century, this cookware has become more popular in the past decade. In short, its resurgence is the result of its durability.
Despite the newer technologies and materials nowadays, iron cooking dishes are almost impossible to destroy. For instance, the Teflon pans can be easily scratched with a metal spatula, and the loosened chemicals are absorbed by the foods.
Cast ovens, pans, and other items can last well beyond a whole century. Most likely, a cast iron pan will last for your entire lifetime.
Another benefit is the versatility. Many pans are only suitable for stovetops because of the materials they are made of. Cast iron pans are rated up to 400F or more, and there are no chemicals transferred into the foods when placed in the oven.
However, make sure you are careful when handling the pan as it might become hot. Extra care is recommended, especially when kids are around.
Ease of Use
Cast iron pans achieve the perfect searing on meats and are ideal for baking, too. When the pan is preheated, obtaining the perfect, brownie sear on meats takes no time, and then it can be finished in the oven.
Another great use, for instance, is to bake chocolate cookies that will develop a crispy, buttery crust while they remain tender and soft inside.
What Is Seasoning?
When shopping for cast iron pans, it is quite frequent to find that the skillet is “pre-seasoned” or has an enamel coating. In essence, it is typically difficult and time-consuming to obtain this layer by yourself.
Seasoning refers to the process of adding oil or fats to the surface of the cast pan and then bake it in the oven. The oils combine with the metal and result in a permanent, non-stick surface, much like spraying or adding oil to a pan when cooking.
Although non-stick surfaces nowadays can be easily scratched by using metal spatulas, cast iron pans can actually benefit from it. Scraping the metal against the hot, oiled surface of the pan helps to bond the patina.
Each time you cook with oil, the quality improves. After use, you can wash it, dry it, and use a bit of oil on it while it is stored. Once the pan is well-seasoned, it does not require additional maintenance or seasoning.
However, if the water does not bead on the surface, or the pan starts to become dull, you should either repeat the seasoning or cook some fatty foods, such as bacon.
Cast iron pans are not suitable for dishwashing, although cleaning them by hand does not take a long time, especially if you invest in a high-quality skillet.
- First of all, you can use a small amount of soapy water to wipe it clean. If there is any stubborn stuck food, you can simmer some water for 3-5 minutes to loosen it. It is best to clean the pan after each use after it becomes cool.
- Leaving the pan with water for a long time can damage its pre-seasoning and shorten its life as iron can rust.As a result, after you clean it, make sure you dry it quickly with a paper towel or a lint-free cloth. Sometimes, the towel might get a black residue. This is the seasoning in the pan and it is normal.
- Finally, drip a thin layer of oil in the clean pan and rub it lightly on the cooking area. Then, remove the excess by wiping it with a clean cloth or paper towel.
Uncoated cast iron that is not pre-seasoned by the manufacturer must be seasoned immediately to avoid rust. Although most models are pre-seasoned can be used straight from the box, it is best to seasoning it anyway as it will perform better.
If the pan has an enamel coating, there is no seasoning required.
To Sum Up
All in all, a cast iron grill pan is an investment that will last for the rest of your lifetime if properly maintained.
Our top choices are ideal for searing, frying, baking, and come with convenient features, such as handles, ridged surfaces for searing marks, and more.
They are also pre-seasoned or have an enamel coating, so they can be used right out of the box!