Cast Iron Cookware Buying Guide

There is no end to cast iron cookware options - and knowing what works best for your cooking style can be daunting. This cast iron guide provides all the info you need to find the best cast iron cookware for you - from the kitchen to camp. Use this guide to pick out your first pan or expand your collection to a new piece. We've also included delicious recipes with each cast iron piece to inspire your taste buds and show real world examples.

Cast Iron Skillet


A cast iron skillet is one of the most classic and timeless pieces still used in cooking. If you’re lucky, maybe you have a hand-me-down from Grandma - but if you’re filling your kitchen cabinets yourself, you can’t go wrong with a traditional cast iron skillet. There’s no limits to how many ways you can use this workhorse cooking tool. Use it for sauteing, braising, frying, searing, and even baking.

Use a cast iron skillet on the grill or for other open-fire cooking; take it from the stovetop to baking inside an oven. Take your pick of a classic, no-frills Cast Iron Skillet, or upgrade with the copper accents, extra-length handle, and fitted, oiled lid on the All-In-One Skillet.

Recipes that won’t quite work in a skillet are primarily liquid. Stews, soups, hot drinks, and other liquids benefit from a deeper pan with higher sides. (This helps reduce potential mess, too).

Try these recipes: Cast Iron Skillet Foccacia and Individually-Sized Cast Iron Desserts

Cast Iron Dutch Oven


The Dutch oven is a master in even heat conduction and slow cooking potential. This pot is an excellent choice when cooking a long braise, a soup or stew, boiling water, or even baking a loaf of sourdough. The higher walls of the Dutch oven capture heat and provide the perfect environment for moist, slow heat.

Go timeless and trustworthy with the Classic Dutch Oven, or enjoy the intentional elevated accents and style of the Polished 4-Qt Dutch Oven. No matter your preference, the Dutch oven can go from campfire cooking to simmering on the back burner. Plus, each Barebones Dutch oven comes with a lid that traps heat and moisture - or flip it over to use as an additional cooking surface.

Try these recipes: Dutch Oven Pot Pie or Dutch Oven Corned Beef and Cabbage Stew

To Polish or Not to Polish?


The Barebones Dutch Oven and the Barebones Cast Iron Skillet each come in two varieties: Original and Polished. So what’s the difference?

The Original Skillet and Dutch Oven have timeless shapes and standard handles, with the somewhat rugged interiors that cast iron has traditionally possessed. These interiors will smooth over as polymerization occurs and allow you to watch the magic of cast iron in action. Think of these pans as classic, timeless kitchen cookware that looks the same as their historic predecessors.

In contrast, the Polished AIO Cast Iron Skillet and Polished Dutch Oven have a modern, more angular silhouette and a smooth, oiled appearance. They also has an extended handle and stylish copper accents to make this cookware displayable without compromising functionality. Learn more about Classic vs. Polished Cast Iron.

Cast Iron Flat Pan


The Flat Pan is a happy medium between a skillet and a griddle: its flat bottom creates the perfect omelet, crepe, or pan pizza, and its light heft makes it easy to store and transport. The rim is tallest near the handle and tapers off on the opposite edge to allow for super-easy shifting of delicate dishes like a paper-thin crepe. (No need to coax it off the pan with a spatula: simply tilt the pan and slide it onto a plate.)

As with other cast iron cookware, you can use the flat pan indoors and outdoors over open fire, giving you optimal versatility.

Try this recipe: BBQ Chicken Pizza

Cast Iron Griddle


When you’re feeding a crowd, sometimes working with a single pan can make cooking a challenge. Enter the Cast Iron Griddle: a double-sided piece of cast iron cookware that boasts both a flat and a ridged edge. Cook fajitas and eggs on the flat side, then flip the griddle over and get the perfect scorch marks on your steaks and burgers. A griddle allows you to cook multiple food items without having to switch up pans, meaning your Saturday morning breakfast is prepared in a flash.

Try this recipe: Lemon Pancakes, Two Ways

BONUS: Cast Iron Bacon & Panini Press

While not a totally necessary piece of cookware, the Cast Iron Press is a fun addition to your cast iron repertoire - particularly the Griddle or the Skillet. It’ll leave excellent sear marks on any sandwich or panini and cuts your bacon cooking time in half (Chanterelle Chowder with Bacon, anyone?) while creating the perfect crisp.

Brand Cast Iron Cast Iron Skillet dutch oven How-To Skillet

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