I like cast iron. It’s something that will last a long time and cooks food differently. I love searing a steak with it.
If the work involved puts you off buying cast iron then there may be an answer–an enamel coating!
Read on to find out all about the best enameled cast iron skillets.
Or, if you are in a rush and just want to know which is the best enameled cast iron skillet – I would choose the Le Creuset Signature Iron Handle Skillet. Read on to find out why.
Enameled vs Non-Enameled Cast Iron Pans
Cast iron cookware takes longer to warm up and longer to cool down. These properties make it great for stir fry and searing. Or anything where you want a crunchy brown exterior.
A cast iron pan, if treated right, is also incredibly long-lasting.
To stop it going rusty you need to take good care of it:
- Season it
- Hand wash only
- Regular oiling
This can be a lot of work.
By covering the cast iron pan with enamel, you get some of the benefits of cast iron without it being so much work.
These pans, enameled inside and outside, also look beautiful.
All types of cast iron offer superb heat retention. Of course this has the downside that they will take longer to warm up. This isn’t as problematic with things like Dutch ovens, but skillets might require faster heating.
This is something that home cooks who haven’t cooked with cast iron cookware before will need to get used to.
Enameled cast iron cookware should be compatible with all stoves. Gas Stoves might stain the outside though.
Induction stoves work great with cast iron skillets because iron is an ideal material for induction induced heating.
However bare cast iron skillets can scratch the surface of a glass or ceramic stove. This is where the enamel coating really helps–it’s smooth surface doesn’t scratch anything.
Things to Be Aware of with Enameled Cast Iron
Enameled cast iron cookware, like non-enameled is heavy and you may struggle to handle it. If you aren’t used to it consider getting a small cast iron skillet to begin with.
In the case of cast iron cookware, this extra mass makes it more durable as you can scrub off damage. This isn’t the case with enameled cast iron – once it’s cracked you will need to chuck it.
Also like normal cast iron, enameled cast iron handles get very hot. This is because they are all part of the same block. The good news is that the handles won’t come loose or fall off.
Is enameled cast iron nonstick? Enamel isn’t true nonstick. Food can stick to it, though how much depends on the quality of the enamel. Yet the enamel surface provides some stick resistance. If you pre-warm the skillet and add oil, you should have satisfactory results.
Finally, although the interior of many enameled cast iron pans is black like cast iron, there is an enamel layer. A black enamel layer is actually easier to keep clean (or at least you don’t notice the stains).
What to look for in the Best Enameled Cast Iron Skillets
Seasoning Your Enamel Cast Iron Pan
Enameling protects most of the cast iron skillet from the outside reducing the need to season. In fact seasoning the enamel could damage or stain it.
Yet some enamel pans need to have the lips or edges seasoned. This is because the enamel on the outside is different to the enamel on the inside and there is an exposed cast iron edge between them. This needs to be protected.
Unfortunately since these pans have temperature limits, this may not be that easy.
On the other hand, if you can live with some rust spots, perhaps these edges don’t need as much care. At the very least oil them regularly, and keep them away from food and water!
Tempered Glass Lids
I love lids. They make a cast iron pan so much more versatile. Best of all, they make clean up much easier.
Not all cast iron skillets come with lids. I’ll highlight this for you in the reviews.
If you want a lid and your favorite skillet doesn’t come with one, you can always get one apart. If buying a separate lid I would suggest a see-through lid. This hides the fact that it isn’t the same color as the pan. You need to make sure you get the right size lid for your pan.
If the manufacturer has done a good job coating the whole cast iron skillet in high quality enamel, then you would hope the pan would be dishwasher safe.
Unfortunately this is often not the case. You should follow manufacturer’ instructions here. If it isn’t dishwasher safe (likely due to an exposed cast iron rim) then you should not leave it to soak either.
I will highlight dishwasher safe skillets as they are so convenient.
Enameled Cast Iron Skillets: Product Reviews
Le Creuset Signature Iron Handle Skillet, 10-1/4-Inch, Oyster (Best Cast Iron Enamel Skillet)
Le Creuset are renowned for their enameled cast iron cookware – with good reason. They have made a high quality, beautifully enameled, cast iron skillet.
You do pay extra for this quality, and even more when you consider that the skillet doesn’t come with a lid. If you want a lid you need to add that to the price when comparing.
I love how easy this cast iron skillet is to use. Once you’ve finished with it, just throw it in the dishwasher. You might not even need to though since the surface is quite easy to clean. It isn’t Teflon, but if you pre-heat and oil, the food should easily come off. This cast iron pan is great for frying eggs, sautéing vegetables, and making pancakes.
- Great range of colors including my favorite
- No extra seasoning needed
- More “nonstick” than other enameled pans in the market. (It’s not Teflon though – You still need to warm it and use oil!)
- Good range of colours
- Pouring spouts and helper handles
- Dishwasher safe
- Oven safe to 250°C (480°F)
- No lid
- Pan is quite shallow
Tramontina Enameled Cast Iron Covered Skillet (Best Budget Enameled Skillet)
Tramontina has made a nice looking set of enameled cast iron skillets at a great price. They tick the boxes with a lid and useful pouring lip.
It’s disappointing that the edges need seasoning. It’s hard to season the ridges properly with enamel on. The oil needs to get hot enough to smoke, but that could damage the pan. I’m also left thinking – what’s the point of the enamel if I am going to have to do this work? You could leave the edges, but you risk the rust working it’s way in over time.
Unfortunately the quality of the enamel is not great. It chips and cracks far too easily.
This is a pan for someone on a budget who wants to try enameled cast iron. It won’t last and, once it’s damaged you won’t be able to fix it.
- Range of color options
- Helper handle and pouring lips
- Easy to clean
Oven safe to 232°C (450°F)
- Easy to chip and crack
- Stains easily
- Won’t last as long as competing products
- Need to season lip / edges
- Quite sticky
- Handles get hot
Amazon Basics has come up with a beautiful product at a great price. Unfortunately there are limitations at this price.
The great cooking performance of this cast iron skillet is similar to high end alternatives. This makes it a good budget choice.
However it is limited. It has a low oven safe temperature of 205°C (400 °F), a flat lid and no decent main handle. The flat lid will be a problem if you want to fit more in it, and the oven temperature is a bit too low for my liking.
It isn’t clear if the cast iron edge / lip needs seasoning but you will need to take extra care with it.
Finally, what puts me off is that the enamel on this pan chips easily. You can’t fix these chips–so once there are a few, you will need to throw the pan in the trash.
- Range of colors
- Beautiful beige interior
- Very affordable for enameled cast iron
- Oven-safe to 205°C (400 °F)
- Good cooking / heating performance – comparable with more expensive brands
- Prominent “Amazon Basics” branding
- Enamel chips easily
- No main handle
- Cast iron “lip” may need extra care
- Outside enamel discolors easily
- Flat lid limits uses
- 205°C (400 °F) is not high enough for much oven cooking
Bruntmoor have produced a superb quality skillet at a great price. It ticks all the boxes, including my favourite color.
I’m impressed with the oven safe temperature of 260°C (500 °F). I never need to go higher than this when cooking.
Since the whole surface is covered in enamel you don’t need to worry about seasoning or cast iron care.
Although the enamel can chip, it is robust. Treat it with care and it should last.
The big let down on this pan is that it is quite sticky. I know enameled cast iron cookware is NOT technically nonstick, but there are different levels of stickiness. You will need to spend extra effort cleaning this pan.
If you are willing to spend the extra time, you get a great quality enamel cast iron skillet for a reasonable price.
- Has a lid
- Great range of colours, including one I would use
- Oven safe to 260°C (500 °F)
- Not cheap but good price for quality
- Completely covered in enamel – no need for seasoning
- Inside easy to clean
- Helper handle and pouring spouts
- Outside color can dull a little – hard to restore shine
- Some care needed, enamel can chip
- Can be hard to clean as food tends to stick
Ayesha Curry Enameled Cast Iron Skillet (Best Value Skillet)
Of all the pans in this review I would say this Ayesha Curry Skillet provides the most value. It is good quality, with most of the features you would look for while remaining very affordable.
It is a bit sticky, but that’s enameled cast iron for you, and at this price point not a surprise.
It’s a shame that the lip of the pan is exposed cast iron, meaning you do need to take care. Forget about putting it in the dishwasher!
I wouldn’t recommend the 12 inch, which is an absolute beast to handle. The 10 inch skillet should do for most people and is more manageable.
- Stunning look
- Generous helper handles and pouring spouts
- Super affordable
- Money from cookware supports No Kid Hungry
- Oven safe to 260°C (500 °F)
- Limited color options
- Exposed cast iron lip
- Quite sticky
- Beware the 12-inch version – its size and weight make it a monster to handle.
- Normally easy to clean
Best Cast Iron Enameled Skillet: The Last Word
I would choose Le Creuset as the best cast iron enameled skillet. At the time of writing it is by far the most expensive, but it should last longer. Sometimes it’s worth paying for a bit of extra quality.
I also love how easy it is to use. Enameled cast iron should be dishwasher proof. You shouldn’t have to worry about the cast iron itself rusting. That’s the whole point of the enameling to me.
Le Creuset has hit the nail on the head here.
If you are looking for a cheaper alternative, I would suggest non-enameled cast iron. This Victoria Cast Iron Skillet is a lovely alternative that could even last longer than the Le Creuset for a fraction of the price. It is more work though!