Last updated: August 10, 2021

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Cast iron pans inspire many people with their rustic charm. They are extremely good at storing heat and therefore ensure energy-saving frying. Food is therefore kept pleasantly warm long after cooking.

With our cast iron pan test 2021 we support you in your search for the most suitable cast iron pan. You will not only learn about different types of the popular kitchen accessory. In our product ranking, we also show you some high-quality models, among which you are sure to find the right cast iron pan for you.




The most important facts

  • Cast iron pans are a real all-round talent. You can use them not only for frying. Various baking processes are also possible with the cast iron pan.
  • Only certain oils are suitable for frying with a cast iron pan. If a certain smoke point is exceeded, harmful substances can be released.
  • You can distinguish between cast-iron pans with or without a spout. Cast-iron pans are also available as serving pans.

The Best Cast Iron Pan: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for cast iron pans

When looking for a cast iron pan, you can use certain aspects as a guide to compare different models.

All the criteria that you can use to decide between different cast iron pans are explained in more detail below:

Size

Knowing the size of the pan is essential. In order to achieve an even and efficient distribution of heat over the entire base of the pan, it should match the diameter of the stovetop.

Cast iron pans are usually available in a diameter of 28 centimetres.

Cast-iron pans are mainly available in the popular size of 28 centimetres. This makes them suitable for all standard stovetops.

With this diameter, dishes for about 2 to 3 people can be cooked well. However, there are also other models that are slightly smaller or even slightly larger.

For a 1-person household, a cast-iron pan with a diameter of around 16 to 20 centimetres is recommended here. The mini version is also great for small dishes.

If you want to cook for several people or for several days, you can also opt for a cast-iron pan with a diameter of up to 30 centimetres. Models with this diameter are not very common, but can definitely fill many stomachs after purchase.

Rim height

The height of the rim says a lot about the potential suitability of the pan. When preparing sauces, for example, everyday cooks are therefore recommended to choose a cast-iron pan with a higher rim.

This prevents anything from spilling over the edge of the pan when stirring. If the cast-iron pan is simply used for browning meat or vegetables, a shallow version can also be selected.

Depending on the type, the cast-iron pan can have a rim height of about 3.6 to about 6.6 centimetres. Which model you choose depends entirely on what you want to use the pan for.

Weight

Because of their material, cast-iron pans are quite heavy, unlike other types. Swinging the food to be fried is therefore rather strenuous.

The weight of cast-iron pans should also be taken into account when stowing them.

as with other types of pans, there is an increased load on the drawers or compartments in your kitchen.

Conventional pans usually only weigh about 1 to 1.7 kilograms. Cast-iron pans, on the other hand, are usually twice as heavy. They weigh about 3.3 to about 6.6 kilograms.

Handle material

The type of handle material is one of the factors that determines how versatile your cast-iron pan will be in the end. There are two different variants to choose from.

Cast iron pans with a wooden handle should never be placed in the oven.

Some cast-iron pans have a wooden handle that gives them an elegant look. In this case, however, use beyond the cooker is strictly discouraged.

However, if the model has a removable wooden handle, you can put the cast-iron pan in the oven.

Some pans are also made entirely of cast iron. This means that not only the body of the pan itself, but also the handle is extremely robust and heat-resistant.

Suitability

The cast iron of the pan ensures long-lasting heat retention due to its large mass. For this reason, cast-iron pans are particularly suitable for searing food.

If you have a model that is made entirely of cast iron and does not have a wooden handle, you can even use the pan for baking. In the following, you will learn how to prepare your own pizza step by step in the cast iron pan:

  1. Preheat: First, preheat your oven to the highest possible temperature. Then set the grill function.
  2. Lay out: Next, roll out the pizza dough you have bought or made yourself. Place the dough in the cast iron pan while it is still cold.
  3. Topping: The next step is to top the pizza dough. You can choose the ingredients as you like.
  4. Heat: Before you put the pan in the oven, heat the underside of the dough on your cooker top.
  5. Bake: As soon as your pizza dough has turned slightly brown on the underside, you can place the cast iron pan in the oven and bake the pizza for 20 to 25 minutes, depending on how brown you want it.

Alternatively, you can also prepare a pizza from the cast iron pan on the grill. The following video shows you how this works:

As you can see, the cast iron pan is a real all-round talent. The material ensures that your food can be fried with sufficient heat, even on cooker tops with a lower heating capacity.

Decision: What types of cast iron pans are there and which is the right one for you?

The range of cast iron pans allows you to choose between different types. You can find out what they are in the following table:

Type Advantages Disadvantages
Cast-iron pan with spout excess fat can be poured off, sauce portioning can be done directly over pan fat and sauce can sometimes still stick to the outer rim of the pan
Cast-iron pan without spout leaves enough space for other pans and pots on the cooker pouring off fat is difficult, sauce should be portioned via ladle
Cast-iron serving pan food stays hot for a long time, great look often rather very small models

You can choose either a cast-iron pan with or without a pouring function. We have explained the advantages and disadvantages of each type in more detail below.

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Cast iron pan with spout

The spout of a cast-iron pan is a protuberance that extends over the edge. If there is too much fat in the pan, it can easily be poured off during frying.

In addition, with a cast-iron pan with a pouring function, it is no longer necessary to use a ladle for other things. For example, sauce can be portioned directly from the pan onto the plate.

The spout is intended to prevent sauce and the like from spilling over the edge of the pan and finally sticking to the outside. However, you cannot be one hundred percent sure with the spout.

Advantages
  • Excess fat can be poured off
  • sauce can be portioned directly over the pan
Disadvantages
  • Fat and sauce can sometimes still stick to the outer edge of the pan
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Cast-iron pan without spout

If you are already struggling with a rather small and narrow hob, it is better to do without the spout. With a normal-shaped cast-iron pan, you can ensure that it does not take up too much space for other pots and pans.

Of course, the lack of a spout also makes pouring liquids more difficult. The likelihood of fat and sauces sticking to the edge of the pan is even greater.

Advantages
  • leaves enough space for other pans and pots on the cooker
Disadvantages
  • Pouring off fat is difficult
  • sauces should be measured out with a ladle
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Cast-iron serving pan

Cast-iron serving pans are also very popular. The material ensures that the food is kept warm for a long time, even away from the cooker. In addition, the look of the cast iron is quite impressive and is therefore ideal for serving your meals.

However, cast iron serving pans are usually available in smaller sizes. The serving version is therefore not always suitable for more than 3 people.

Advantages
  • Food stays warm for a long time
  • great look
Disadvantages
  • often very small models

Guide: Frequently asked questions about cast iron pans answered in detail

With a complex topic like cast iron pans, many questions are bound to arise. We would like to answer the most important and most frequently asked questions in our guide. In this way, we want to help you choose the best cast iron pan for you.

What is a cast iron pan and who is it suitable for?

Cast iron pans are cast from iron. Because of their material, they tend to weigh more than the conventional models in your kitchen. Cast iron pans have an extremely heat-retaining character.

The long-lasting heat retention ensures that your dishes do not cool down as quickly as usual. Cast-iron pans are generally not suitable for braising.

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Cast-iron pans are energy-saving heat stores. All dishes can therefore be kept warm for a long time even when far away from the cooker.
(Image source: Felix Wolf / Pixabay)

On the other hand, it is ideal for searing fish, meat or vegetables. However, the cast iron pan is not only recommended to anyone who is interested in energy-saving cooking.

The pan is a real all-rounder in the kitchen. In addition to frying, the cast iron pan can also be used for baking. Whether it's breads, pizzas or homemade cakes, many things are possible with the cast iron pan.

Did you know that using a cast iron pan can support iron intake?

The difference here is between plain and enamelled cast iron pans. If the pan does not yet have a non-stick coating, foods are enriched with natural iron through the raw cast iron.

This gives your dishes their special flavour. When a patina develops as a protective coating, this natural iron supply is reduced.

Which types of cooker can a cast iron pan be used on?

Depending on the household, there are different types of cookers. A distinction is usually made between the following:

  • Gas cooker: Gas cookers have extremely robust properties and rarely require maintenance. While the gas itself is quite inexpensive, cooking through this form is not exactly energy-efficient in itself.
  • Ceramic hob: The colloquial ceramic hob is actually a glass ceramic hob. This type uses a certain radiant heat technology that ensures that the heat only ever spreads to the intended cooking area.
  • Induction hob: An induction hob is very similar to the ceramic hob, but has additional magnetic coils. In general, induction allows the hob to heat up extremely quickly. Generally, an induction cooker requires special cookware.

You can use a cast iron pan with any type of cooker. The only important thing is that the diameter of the base of the pan matches the size of the hob. However, you can use the cast iron pan not only on cookers.

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Basically, you can use a cast iron pan on all types of cooker. It can also often be used on the grill or in the oven.
(Image source: Pexels / Pixabay)

Oven or grill dishes can also be implemented with the cast iron pan.

How much does a cast iron pan cost?

The cast iron pan is not very different from other pan models in terms of price. There are both quite inexpensive versions and more expensive options on the market.

If you are looking for a more affordable model, you can budget around 30 to 50 euros for the purchase. More expensive cast-iron pans can cost more than 100 euros.

How do I fry a cast-iron pan properly?

In most cases, cast-iron pans are already burnt in by the manufacturers beforehand. However, if you want to be sure that the non-stick effect is guaranteed, you can also do it yourself afterwards.

To burn in a cast iron pan properly, you will need linseed oil, aluminium foil and dry kitchen towels. In the following, we explain step by step how to burn in your pan:

  1. Soaking: Before you can burn in the pan, the corrosion protection consisting of olive oil or beeswax must be removed. To do this, simply soak the cast iron pan in water with detergent for over an hour and then rinse it.
  2. Preheat: Next, heat the pan in the oven at 100 degrees. This will ensure that all water residue has dried completely.
  3. Oil: In the next step, rub the cast iron pan with the previously shaken linseed oil over a paper towel. Once all parts of the pan have been greased, wipe with a fresh paper towel until no more shiny spots are visible.
  4. Bake: Now place the pan back in the oven on a rack with the opening facing down. The pan is now baked at 250 degrees for over an hour. To counteract dripping oil residues, aluminium foil can now also be placed under the pan.
  5. Cool down: Once you have turned off the oven, you should allow the cast iron pan to cool for another half to a full hour before removing it.
  6. Repeat: To be sure of a strong non-stick coating, the process of oiling and baking should be repeated more often.

In the following video, you can watch all the steps again in detail:

How can I clean a cast iron pan?

Thanks to the non-stick coating, cast iron pans are very easy to clean. They can simply be wiped out with a dry cloth after use.

The layer of fat that remains even reinforces the protection of the pan.

If food residues are more stubborn, the cast-iron pan can also be soaked in soapy water. A few hours will not cause any damage such as rust or the like.

Which fat or oil should I use for a cast iron pan?

Oils with a high smoke point are particularly suitable for frying. If this is exceeded, substances are produced that can be harmful to your health. The following table tells you something about the smoke points of different oils and their suitability for the cast iron pan:

Oil smoke point suitability
Virgin olive oil 160 degrees not suitable
Butter 175 degrees suitable
Sunflower oil 220 degrees suitable
Refined olive oil 230 degrees suitable
Soya oil 234 degrees suitable

In addition to the types of oil and fat listed in the table, there are many others that are suitable for frying in a cast iron pan. Other cold-pressed oils such as linseed, walnut or pumpkin seed oil are also among the oils that you should never use.

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Only oils with a high smoke point are suitable for frying in a cast-iron pan.
(Image source: Pixabay / Pexels)

Because of the non-stick coating, oil or fat can generally be used very sparingly. Meat or other foods sometimes only bake temporarily until they have taken on the temperature of the pan.

What are the alternatives to a cast iron pan?

Cast-iron pans are wonderful kitchen helpers. However, they do not only have advantages. For this reason, we would now like to introduce you to two alternatives and their superior properties to cast-iron pans.

Braising pans

Braising is not really possible with a cast-iron pan. That's why it's not a bad idea to get a special braising pan in your home. On average, it is much lighter than the cast-iron version and is usually made of stainless steel or cast aluminium.

Wrought-iron pans

Wrought iron pans are very similar to cast iron pans. Unlike cast iron models, however, these are forged into their specific shape with a hammer.

The body of the pan thus remains relatively thin and can therefore transfer heat to the food more quickly.

However, wrought-iron pans tend to warp if the temperature is too high. They are therefore not suitable for gas cookers.

Image source: Wangthaphan/ 123rf.com

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