As a mother of two and a lover of cooking, it brings me joy to prepare delectable meals for my family when I can use my cast iron skillets. There are several cast iron skillet sizes, and they each have different uses.
There is not a one-size-fits-all cookware option. But if you want versatility in the kitchen, cast iron skillets are a great option. You can use them for pan-frying, baking, searing, sautéing, broiling, roasting, braising, and more.
There are also two different types of cast iron cookware: raw and enamel. Both perform the same functions, and your cooking preference determines which variety will work better for your needs. The difference between the two types is in the coating. Raw cast iron skillets come “as-is,” meaning the surface itself is iron with a layer of seasoning (carbonized oil).
Enamel cast iron cookware has a layer of enamel on top of the cast iron. Enamel skillets are best used for drawing flavors out of food and cooking stickier food like fish. They are also known to block iron from entering the food as it cooks. Raw iron cast iron skillets emit trace amounts of iron into cooked food.
Delve with me into cast iron skillets sizes, uses, tips, and tricks.
All About Cast Iron Skillets
Why are cast iron pans so useful when cooking? Let’s take a look at some of the advantages:
- Heat food evenly
- Keep food hot
- Are durable and long-lasting
- Hold seasoning well.
You do need to season cast iron, and take care when cleaning it.
Lodge is a well known cookware brand concentrating on made in the USA cast iron pans. Lodge has durable, heat resistant, and distributed, pre-seasoned, raw cast iron products with a more affordable price point. But they are not the only brand with these features.
In contrast, enameled cast iron cookware tends to be a tad pricier. The extra cost comes as the raw cast iron pan is covered with a layer of enamel.
Enamel has the advantage of a cooking surface that is naturally non-stick (but not to the same degree as Teflon.)
What Size Cast Iron Skillet Should I Buy?
If you’re not sure what size cast iron pan you need, I’m here to help. Let’s start by exploring what your options are.
6 Inch Cast Iron Skillet
Six-inch frying pans are also known as mini skillets. Mini skillets are generally used on small plates such as fried or scrambled eggs, fried or scalloped potatoes, baked macaroni and cheese, quesadillas, personal pan pizzas, pastries, and desserts like cobbler, crumbles, and crisps.
Dishes prepared in six-inch skillets often serve just one. Yet you can cook small items that will serve multiple people, like hors d’oeuvres.
At 9.84 x 6.11 x 1.18 inches, the six-inch Mozuve cast iron skillet is a nice raw cast iron skillet for quickly whipping yourself up a small meal.
8 Inch Cast Iron Skillet
Eight-inch cast iron skillets are a more standard size for frying and cooking pans. Like their six-inch counterparts, eight-inch cast iron skillets can be raw/bare or enamel finishes.
Breakfast foods and any dishes with small portions are best for the sizing of an eight-inch skillet.
Eight inches is basically on the small side of the standard pan range. You can make a small meal for two or a large one for a single person. You are still only going to be cooking one thing at a time with this though.
An eight-inch Lodge cast iron skillet weighs approximately 3.2 pounds and holds dimensions of 12.8 x 8.7 inches with a height of 1.9 inches. It is a raw or bare cast iron skillet.
Alternatively, the eight-inch Crock Pot Artisan enamel cast iron skillet has an enamel layer. Unlike raw cast iron skillets, enamel skillets are lighter, require less seasoning, are fashionable, and are typically more expensive.
The Crock Pot Artisan skillet is perfect for frying, searing, and roasting cooking methods. Its maximum heat is also 500 degrees Fahrenheit, and it is more prone to chipping or permanent damage than a raw cast iron skillet.
10 Inch Cast Iron Skillet
Ten-inch cast iron skillets fry, sear, and bake just like other size skillets. Yet they have enough cooking surface to start cooking small family meals.
Meats are the claim to fame for many ten-inch cast iron skillets. Its size, shape, and durability make this option ideal for slow-cooking meats and providing a juicy and tender product. Multiples of a single product and casseroles are also prime for ten-inch cast iron skillets. This includes meals like biscuits and gravy and chicken broccoli rice casserole.
A ten-inch Lodge cast iron skillet is slightly larger than its eight-inch counterpart. This skillet is 16.12 x 10.68 x 2 inches and weighs 5 pounds. Ten-inch cast irons comfortably serve two.
In contrast, the ten-inch Le Creuset cast iron skillet is 13 x 14.8 x 3 inches and weighs 6.3 pounds. The Le Creuset skillet uses enamel cast iron version making it similar to the Lodge Skillet.
However, Le Creuset’s enamel is more attractive with a natural non-stick surface. On the other hand, enamel is more expensive and more prone to permanent damage
12 Inch Cast Iron Skillet
Twelve-inch cast iron skillets cook for a family of four. Full-size chickens, two or more steaks, and large chops can all be cooked using a twelve-inch cast iron skillet. For mid or large size families, twelve-inch skillets are the way to go–as long as you have room in your cupboard!
However, there is a cost to a larger size pan. Although all cast iron skillets heat evenly, sizes over ten inches can run into the issue of hot and cold spots on the stove.
Twelve-inch skillets are also harder to manage. Cast iron skillets are heavy, even at a small size. When the size increases, the weight of the skillet increases as well. This causes problems for types of cooking that require moving the skillet. Forget about stir fry!
The twelve-inch Lodge cast iron skillet is 18 x 12.56 x 2.25 inches with a weight of 7.37 pounds. It boasts the same product reviews as its smaller counterparts.
A Le Creuset enamel cast iron skillet is slightly under twelve inches. Its dimensions are 13.5 x 18.8 x 1.9 inches with a weight of 6.8 pounds. What makes the Le Creuset stand out is its color options, smooth non-stick ceramic, and sheer quality. A Le Creuset may be more expensive, but reviews say the extra money is worth it.
Remember that a 12 inch pan is big, and when it’s made of enamel on top of cast iron, it’s really heavy!
15 Inch Cast Iron Skillet
If you are cooking with a fifteen-inch cast iron skillet, one of two things is occurring. One, you and your family are getting a little greedy. Or two, you have a party to feed!
Fifteen-inch cast iron skillets are normally for entertaining. They are 3 times larger than eight-inch pans, which feed one or two people. A fifteen-inch cast iron skillet boasts all the features and benefits of a smaller version with two times the size.
However, a fifteen-inch cast iron skillet is quite heavy.
The fifteen-inch Lodge carbon steel skillet is 19.88 x 15 x 2.68 inches and weighs 6.42 pounds. Unlike the fifteen-inch cast iron skillet, this carbon steel skillet is half the weight and performs the same functions at the same size. The fifteen-inch Lodge carbon steel skillet is pre-seasoned, well-heated, and durable like the cast iron skillet.
As we have seen, cast iron skillet sizes vary from six to fifteen inches. There are even smaller ones. Three-inch cast iron skillets are perfect for creating small personalized desserts. Finding the best cast iron skillet size depends on your cooking preferences and cooking needs.
Any size under eight inches probably should not be used to try and feed a family of five. On the other hand, a fifteen-inch cast iron skillet may be too big for your kitchen.
Price also plays a role in the option you choose. Raw or bare cast iron can be less expensive than enamel cast iron.
What size cast iron skillet should I buy? I can tell you that as a mom with a hungry family, I myself have been delighted with the versatility of the twelve-inch pan.
Depending on how your storage is configured, another option is to get two skillets, say an 8-inch and 10-inch. You could get one on enameled and one non-enameled, giving you lots of choice, and the ability to use both together when needed.
Which will you choose?