If you are tired of worrying about nonstick coatings such as Teflon flaking off while you cook, you may be thinking about making the switch to cast iron cookware. Not only is this type of cookware safe, healthy and versatile, but it is also durable and long-lasting. It heats quickly to a high temperature and cooks food evenly.
But if you want your cast iron cookware to be easy to use and clean and to stand test of time, you are going to need a high-quality set. Below are some of the top cast iron cookware sets currently on the market. After the product overviews, we will go over some features and considerations when shopping for cast iron cookware.
1. Cuisinel Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet 3-Piece Chef Set Oven Safe Cookware
The Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet 3-Piece Chef Set by Cuisinel includes three frying pans measuring 8”, 10” and 12”. The set is intended to be used both indoors and outdoors on surfaces including induction cooktops, stoves and grills. With the set, you can broil, bake, sauté and more.
- Holders are included with the set which you can put over top of the skillet handles. These give you a cool surface to warp your hand around so that you do not need to worry about picking up a potholder.
- These skillets can be used with temperatures ranging up to 480°F.
- The skillets arrive pre-seasoned. That being said, you may want to season them yourself before use since the iron can be a little rough (see the point under “Bad”). If you do well with this, you should find that it is relatively easy to clean the skillets after you are finished with them.
- The cast iron is high in quality and does not easily rust. Properly cared for, you should be able to get decades of use out of these skillets.
- Your purchase comes backed by a one-year money back guarantee.
- The iron surface inside can be a bit rough on some of the skillets. Without adequate seasoning, this can make food more likely to stick.
2. Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron 5-Piece Bundle
When you purchase the Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron 5-Piece Bundle, you receive the following: a 10.5” Griddle, an 8” Skillet, a 10.25” Skillet, a 10.25” Dutch Oven, and a 10.25” Lid. Such a diverse selection of cast iron cookware should give you what you need for a wide range of recipes.
- Even though this is one of the pricier cookware sets in this list, the cost is quite reasonable considering everything included.
- The cookware arrives pre-seasoned with vegetable oil. Indeed, Good Housekeeping once awarded Lodge with a “Good Buy Award” for their seasoning process.
- The company that manufactures this set has a long-standing reputation and extensive experience. They have been making these products for more than a century now as a family-owned business.
- Lodge is known to offer fast, friendly, helpful customer support. If for any reason you end up needing to call on the customer service team, they should have your back.
- If you do not take care, rust can form fairly quickly on this cookware set. Thankfully, this is usually avoidable with proper maintenance. If you do end up with rust, just remove it and return to using the cookware as usual. In the future, make sure you avoid using soap when you wash the cookware, as this is one of the mistakes that lead to rust. Don’t soak it either, and keep it seasoned!
3. Simple Chef Cast Iron Skillet 3-Piece Set
The next iron cookware set to make our list is the Simple Chef Cast Iron Skillet 3-Piece Set. Included in this set are three skillets measuring 6”, 8” and 10”. If you liked the Cuisinel Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet 3-Piece Set, but wanted slightly smaller skillets, this is a good alternative.
- When you receive these cast iron skillet, they are already seasoned for first use. Washing the skillets is fast and easy, making maintenance a breeze.
- These skillets were made with versatility in mind, and can be placed on your cooktop or inside your oven. They are also suitable for cooking outdoors on your grill or over a fire.
- The price for this set is quite affordable, making it a good option on a budget if all you need are skillets.
- The skillets do a good job providing even heating. While the iron may feel a little bit rough, food should not stick to the insides of the skillets if you have done a proper job seasoning them.
- A 30-day satisfaction guarantee backs your purchase.
- These skillets can rust easily. As usual, the trick to preventing this is to take care of the seasoning. Without that protective layer of oil, rust can form fast. Wash the set properly and season them regularly.
4. Bruntmor Pre-Seasoned 7-Piece Heavy Duty Cast Iron Dutch Oven Camping Cooking Set
If you want to enjoy delicious meals while you are camping, the Bruntmor Pre-Seasoned 7-Piece Cooking Set provides you with everything you need, complete with a carrying case. While not cheap, this set is a good value considering all of the components you’re getting for the price you pay.
- The set comes with all of the following: A 12″ Cast Iron Skillet, a 4.5qt Dutch Oven Pot, a 2.5qt Saucepot, a 20″ x 9″ Heavy-duty Reversible Cast Iron Griddle, and an 8.6″ Trivet & Dutch Oven Lid Lifter.
- The iron cookware in this set was designed specifically for outdoor use. You can cook using either a campfire or burning ash. At the same time, it works just fine indoors as well. So this can fill both your campsite and at-home iron cookware needs.
- The quality of the iron itself is great. So long as you are properly maintaining the cookware set, you should be able to use it for decades.
- The carrying case works fine as a storage case (it is aesthetically appealing with its homespun style), but it is not really sturdy enough to use for transport (in some cases, it may even be damaged during shipping). So be sure that you only purchased this set if it is the cookware that you really want, not the box.
5. Bruntmor 21-Piece Enameled Cast Iron Cookware Set
In case you are shopping for enamel-coated cast iron cookware, it seemed like a good idea to include an option. The Bruntmor 21-Piece Enameled Cast Iron Cookware Set is expensive, but considering that 21 pieces are included, it seems like a good value for the money.
- With this set, you get a Dutch oven, a lid for the Dutch oven, a skillet, a saucepan, a saucepan lid, a cutlery holder, 5 utensils, 4 mini-cocottes, lids for those mini-cocottes, and a baking dish which also includes a lid.
- The set is aesthetically designed, with the company really pulling out all the stops to make sure that the eye is pleased. The skillet has a black enamel finish inside, while the other pieces have a cream enamel finish. The outer surfaces of the pieces are all bright red for a warm, eye-catching appearance.
- The cookware set is also supposed to double as a set of serving dishes. This goes back to the “aesthetically pleasing” bit above. You can transfer them to your dining table instead of using extra dishes. This makes for faster and easier cleanup later.
- Sometimes this set may arrive with broken items. This is not unique to this particular set, however, and is always a risk when shipping cookware.
- The high price may be a detractor, despite the solid value. Not everyone can afford an expensive cookware set.
6. Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron 2-In-1 Multi Cooker
Another cookware set to consider if you just need a couple of items is the cleverly-designed Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron 2-In-1 Multi Cooker from Cuisinel. With this set, you get a 3-quart Dutch oven with a lid. The lid can be removed and turned over for use as a fully functional skillet.
- The cost of this set is reasonable, and it sometimes goes on sale for even less.
- Because of the 2-in-1 design, this is a compact set which you can store without taking up a lot of space. If you live in a small space, this is a substantial benefit over a set which includes a separate lid for the Dutch oven.
- The skillet and Dutch oven reportedly are pretty easy to clean if they happen to rust (see “Bad” below). Indeed, maintaining them in general does not involve much in the way of effort.
- When you receive the set, it is pre-seasoned. That allows you to begin using it right away.
- Your purchase of the -Seasoned Cast Iron 2-In-1 Multi Cooker comes backed by a 1-year money back guarantee.
- As can sometimes happen with cast iron cookware sets, this one is prone to rusting. You can prevent this by keeping the cookware well-seasoned and washing the set carefully to avoid stripping the oil off.
Considerations When Buying a Cast Iron Cookware Set
1. Items Included
Different cast iron cookware sets contain different items. Some common components include frying pans, Dutch ovens, and griddles. Think about what types of meals you like to prepare and which items are important for you to get in your starting set.
As with any other cookware, the physical dimensions of the items included are important to think about. Choose cookware with the appropriate capacity for the meals that you will be making.
With weight, there are trade-offs to be aware of. A lighter-weight item will be easier to handle. But a heavier item will do a better job holding heat. So consider both aspects when choosing what products to buy.
You’ll notice while you’re shopping for cast iron cookware that some products have been coated with enamel. The benefit of these enamel-coated products is there is no need to season them. On the other hand, you do need to maintain the finish or it will gradually wear off.
Enamel-coated cast iron cookware sells for a higher price than that without. Ironically, in the long run, bare cast iron cookware arguably offers a better value than enamel-coasted cookware since you do not need to worry about the finish. Once you get used to seasoning it, you will be able to keep food from sticking, and you can look forward to getting decades of use out of your cookware with no loss of quality.
5. Handle Placement
If you do not have a lot of arm strength, you will find that a cast iron skillet or pot which is equipped with two handles instead of just one is much easier to lift and move.
6. Overall Value
Finally, while cost needs to be weighed among your other considerations, you should keep your focus primarily on long-term value. Even an “expensive” cast iron cookware set is quite affordable if it is going to deliver a lifetime of use. High-quality cast iron cookware products can do just that. So if paying a little bit more now means decades of extended value, it is well worthwhile.