Best Cast Iron Skillet for Steak

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In this article, I've determined the best cast iron skillet for getting the perfect steak. My top pick is the Lodge 10.25-Inch Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet.

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There’s nothing like experiencing the savory aroma and crackling sizzle you’ll find at the best steakhouse. But cooking a great steak doesn’t have to be limited to restaurants. With the right skillet, you can get mouth-watering steaks from the comfort of your own home.

The Lodge Skillet is consistently a top performer. It doesn’t have the frills or an exorbitant price tag. But its solid construction and superb heat distribution make it great for cooking steak.

Still, there are other options out there. From grill pans to coated skillets, you have plenty of options to choose from. That’s why I’ve rounded up some of the best cast iron skillets for steak on the market, here they are:

Which cast iron skillet for steak is the best option? Read on to learn more.

Choosing the Best Skillet for Steak (Buying Guide)

Why Use a Cast Iron Skillet for Steak?

It may or may not surprise you to know that using a cast iron skillet is one of the best ways to cook a steak. The reason? It all comes down to heat, flavor, and efficiency.

Cast-iron skillets provide superbly even heat distribution. With most pans, you might get hot spots where parts of the steak cook faster than other parts. 

Hot spots lead to uneven results, at best. With cast iron, searing steak is not a guessing game.

Not only does cast iron distribute heat evenly, but it also retains heat. And if that’s not enough? A cast-iron pan can withstand temperatures far exceeding 500°f (260°C), allowing you to get a good sear.

Along with heat distribution and heat retention, cast-iron cookware holds in seasoning flavors that infuse your steak with a delicious taste.

Finally, cast iron pans are incredibly durable, versatile, and cost-effective. A new cast iron pan doesn’t have to put a dent in your wallet to add value to your kitchen.

What Size Cast Iron Skillet for Steaks Should I Buy?

For a single steak, or even a pair, a good skillet size ranges from 10 to 12 inches (25 to 30 cm). For cooking multiple steaks at the same time, a larger cast iron skillet would be best.

Photo by Tim Toomey on Unsplash

What to Look for in a Cast Iron Skillet


Cast iron really does get better with time. A new cast iron pan will feel rough to the touch, but an older pan with years of use will release food naturally.

Pre-seasoning is a coating from the manufacturer that helps your pan get to that slickness, faster. Even with a pre-seasoned pan, you may still choose to apply your own layers; when it comes to seasoning, the more coats, the better!

Handle Length

One advantage of cast iron is that it can go from the stove to the oven and back again without a problem. A short handle gives you better leverage as you are lifting the hot pan, and you’re less likely to burn yourself by accidentally touching longer handles. 

Helper Handle

Having a helper handle makes it easier to transport your skillet from the stove to the table. And since cast iron is quite heavy, this helper handle really lives up to its name!

Pouring Spout

Preheating cast iron skillet

Pour spouts are great for draining off excess fat and pouring sauces or other liquids. After all, you probably won’t use your cast iron skillet for just steak. Some cast-iron pans only have one pouring spout, while others have one on both sides, which is helpful for left-handers.

How Do I Cook Steak in a Cast Iron Skillet?

There are different ways to cook steak in a cast iron skillet. One of the most popular methods is to pan fry the steak. To do that, follow these simple steps:

  1. Season the steak. Sprinkle sea salt on all sides of the steak 45 minutes before cooking. This will draw out moisture and help get a nice sear. 
  2. Approximately 5 minutes before you want to start cooking, preheat your cast iron skillet on high heat. 
  3. Blot your steak with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. 
  4. Place steak in skillet and let sear for 1-2 minutes, or until the steak is easily moved.
  5. Flip the steak and let it sear on the other side. Continue turning and flipping until the steak has reached the desired doneness.

Remember to check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. The temperature in the thickest part of the steak should read the following:

  • Medium-rare (pink): 135°F (57°C)
  • Medium (some pink): 140°F (60°C)
  • Medium-well (sliver of light-pink): 145°F (63°C)
  • Well-done (mostly brown): 160°F (71°C)

Can I use enameled cast iron pans to cook steak?

Yes, you can. The only drawback is that the enamel coating can’t handle extremely high temperatures, like bare cast iron.

Enameled Cast Iron Skillet with Le Creuset stamped on helper handle

How Do I Season a Cast Iron Skillet?

It’s easy to season a new cast iron skillet by following these steps:

  1. Wash the pan with warm, soapy water. Dry it completely with a lint-free cloth or paper towel.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C).
  3. Lightly coat the cast iron pan with canola oil.
  4. Use a paper towel to spread the oil all over the surface of the pan.
  5. Place it in the oven upside down for 1 hour. Let the pan cool completely to room temperature in the oven.

If your seasoning ever wears off, or if food begins to stick, you can re-season the pan by repeating the above process.

See my cast iron seasoning guide for more information.

How Do I Clean a Cast Iron Skillet?

Properly cleaning your skillet can go a long way in preserving the seasoning and avoiding rust. Once your pan is cool enough to handle safely, rinse it out with warm, soapy water.

Don’t worry about using a mild detergent or soap–it won’t strip the seasoning. This concern applied when people used lye-based soaps (which did strip the seasoning.) These days, I recommend using a mild detergent to properly clean your cast iron.

You can use a soft bristle brush or sponge to remove any stuck-on food. For stubborn pieces, you can sprinkle salt on the pan and gently scrub them away.

After rinsing, immediately dry your cast iron pan with a kitchen towel or paper towels. Letting your cast iron cookware air dry is a no-no! That will lead to rust.

Finally, using a paper towel, rub a small amount of vegetable oil over the entire surface and up the sides. Store your pan in a cool, dry place. Line the pan if you want to stack other cookware inside to avoid scratches.

Cast iron skillets must be washed by hand unless they have an enamel coating. Even then, hand washing is preferred.

For more information check out my guide to cleaning cast iron.

Best Cast Iron Skillet for Steaks: Product Reviews

Lodge 10.25-Inch Pre-Seasoned Skillet: Best Cast Iron Skillet for Steak

Lodge has been making high-quality, affordable cast iron cookware since 1896. Based out of Tennessee, all of Lodge’s bare cast iron products are still manufactured in the U.S.

Lodge’s basic 10.25-inch cast iron skillet is a staple piece for many home cooks. It’s a little heavier than some other options, but its performance is tough to beat.

It has even heating and excellent heat retention, so steaks get cooked to perfection. The Lodge skillet can also handle high heat and is oven-safe for temps well above 500°F (260°C).

And with a helper handle and two pouring spouts, you can easily transport the skillet to the table or the sink without worry. Just be sure to use an oven mitt; those handles get hot!

Lodge 10.25 Inch Cast Iron Pre-Seasoned Skillet – Signature Teardrop Handle - Use in the Oven, on the Stove, on the Grill, or Over a Campfire, Black

The 10.25-inch size is arguably the most useful for one or two steaks, but the larger 12-inch skillet allows you to cook multiple steaks at a time. What’s more, this versatile pan can even go in an open campfire, if you like making steaks while camping.

Ready for the icing on the skillet cake? This Lodge skillet is one of the most affordable options on the market. You don’t have to bust your budget to cook perfectly delicious steaks.


  • Heats evenly
  • Excellent heat retention
  • Oven-safe
  • Durable, heavy-duty
  • Helper handle and two pouring spouts
  • Induction compatible
  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • Affordable


  • Hand wash only
  • Requires occasional seasoning

Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Skillet, 11.75 Inches: Best Splurge Option

Le Creuset is the top name in enameled cast-iron cookware and this skillet doesn’t disappoint.

In my review, I found the Le Creuset skillet to be a great addition to the kitchen.

The protective enamel layer provides a smooth surface that doesn’t require seasoning. It has non-stick performance and won’t react with food or dull over time. An enameled exterior means you have a choice among several bold colors. And the best part? Enameled cast iron can go in the dishwasher.

The drawback is that enamel is susceptible to scratching and chipping, so treat this pan with care. Le Creuset advertises the skillet as safe for metal utensils, but I would use wooden or plastic tools to be safe.

Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Iron Handle Skillet, 11.75" (2-3/8 qt.), Cerise

This Le Creuset skillet has a diameter of 11.75 inches (30 cm)–the perfect size for cooking steak.

This pan is compatible with induction cooktops and can handle high temperatures in the oven, up to 500°F (260°C).

It has two pour spouts for easy pouring, and the rounded handle fits a natural grip. Since this is among the most lightweight cast iron skillets, it’s great for those with lifting restrictions.

Customers loved the results they got cooking steak with this pan. They were able to achieve a nice sear and juicy flavor. 

I wouldn’t recommend the Le Creuset skillet for broiling steak in the oven. But if you like to pan-sear steak, this is a great pick.

You will have to pay significantly more for a Le Creuset Signature skillet. But many people find the beautiful exterior, the low maintenance, and the excellent performance make this pan worth the investment.


  • No seasoning required
  • Non-stick surface
  • Lightweight
  • Beautiful color choices
  • Drip-free pouring
  • Dishwasher-safe
  • Induction compatible
  • Safe for oven temps to 500°F (260°C)


  • Pricey
  • Enamel can chip

Tramontina Cobalt Enameled Cast Iron Covered Skillet, 10 Inches: Best Budget Enameled Skillet: Best Covered Skillet

Tramontina is a Brazil-based brand that makes quality cookware at an affordable price point. This 10-inch (25 cm) cast-iron skillet comes in an enameled cast iron and is the only one on the list with a lid.

The interior has a smooth surface that gives users a similar experience to cooking with nonstick pans. It is not necessary to season the inside of the pan, although you might want to season the rim. It is uncoated cast iron.

This pan is compatible with all cooktops and comes in a pretty cobalt color. It is quite heavy, so be careful when lifting. Use an oven mitt to handle when hot.

Also, don’t drag the skillet across a glass or ceramic cooktop as it may scratch.

Tramontina Enameled Cast Iron Covered Skillet Gradated Cobalt 10-Inch, 80131/067DS

This Tramontina is easy to clean, but it’s not safe for the dishwasher. Hand washing is a must.

One downside is that, unlike most cast iron skillets, this one can only handle oven temps up to 450°F (232°C). While that’s high enough to cover most uses, searing or broiling a steak requires super high temps. That could be an issue with this skillet.

Still, this is an affordable option for those who want enameled skillet for steak.


  • Includes lid
  • Safe for temps up to 450°F (232°C)
  • Two pouring spouts
  • Helper handle
  • Compatible with all cooktops
  • Affordable


  • Hand wash only
  • Enamel can chip
  • Rim is uncoated

Victoria Cast Iron Skillet, Pre-Seasoned, 12 Inches: Best Large Cast Iron Skillet

Victoria is a family-owned Colombian company that began in 1939. Victoria makes a variety of cast iron skillets, comals, tortilla presses, grills, and more. This ample 12-inch cast-iron skillet (30 cm) comes pre-seasoned with organic flaxseed oil.

Victoria Cast Iron Skillet Large Frying Pan with Helper Handle Seasoned with 100% Kosher Certified Non-GMO Flaxseed Oil, 12 Inch, Black

This pan has a pouring spout on both sides, a curved handle, and a helper handle. It has a naturally non-stick surface after seasoning and can retain heat for a long time, helping your steak cook thoroughly.

Buyers had great results cooking steaks. Several did recommend seasoning the pan upon receipt, in spite of the pre-seasoned label.

This Victoria skillet will run you more than the Lodge skillet, but it’s still very affordable.


  • Pre-seasoned
  • Double pour spouts
  • Helper handle
  • Induction compatible
  • Safe for oven use
  • Durable
  • Affordable


  • Hand wash only
  • Must occasionally season pan

Staub Cast Iron 10-Inch Square Grill Pan, Cherry: Best for Grilling

Staub is another household name in enameled cast iron skillets. This 10-inch (25 cm) Staub grill pan offers non-stick performance and even heating.

The ribbed cooking surface is ideal for getting those perfect grill marks on steak. What’s more? The grooved cooking surface allows fat to drip away, making it great for low-fat cooking.

Without any pouring spouts, however, draining fat is more difficult than with most cast iron skillets. Still, the shape is efficient, so you can comfortably cook two steaks in this Staub grill pan.

Staub Cast Iron 10-inch Square Grill Pan - Cherry, Made in France

It can go in the oven up to 500°F (260°C) and is compatible with all cooktops, including induction. When it comes time to clean, you can safely put this grill pan in the dishwasher. Hand washing is preferred, though.

Users had good results with steak. They liked the flavor of their food and the skillet’s performance. The enamel is susceptible to chipping, so be aware of that risk.

Staub is a higher-end brand, and this pan will cost you more than other options. But if those grill marks are calling your name, this Staub pan will deliver.

Like Le Creuset, Staub specializes in enameled cast iron pots and pans. If you’d like a comparison of these brands, visit my in-depth review.


  • Multiple color options
  • Great for sear marks
  • Safe for oven use
  • Safe for dishwasher (hand wash recommended)
  • No seasoning required


  • No pour spouts
  • Pricey
Best cast iron skillet for steaks

Final Thoughts: Best Cast Iron Skillet for Steak

When it comes to cast-iron skillets, which one prevails? The Lodge 10.25-Inch Skillet is my first choice for cooking steak. Its no-fuss cooking performance and long-lasting durability make it a great value. Whether you prefer to pan-sear, grill, or broil in the oven, you can get the best steak with this skillet.