There are many different types of skillets that you can buy for your kitchen, however, one of the most popular choices is enameled cast iron. In production, small particles of glass are melted; then over 170 degrees of heat is used to bake them onto the main surface of iron. For this reason, the skillet is completely sealed and will not react with any food cooked inside.
Skillets of this type are known for their long-lasting nature as well as their lack of wear; the enamel coating is strong and as long as it remains in place, will provide a safe surface for all foods. The reason so many people have enameled cast iron cookware is because it has been passed through the generations and because of its sheer toughness, it lasts the test of time with no real damage.
One of the main benefits is that, unlike traditional cast iron, it is simple to clean and doesn’t need additional seasoning. Furthermore, it is extremely safe with acidic foods, meaning that the user can cook safe in the knowledge that no reaction will take place. Many people also like the fact that they can serve straight from the pot because they look elegant and can be found in a variety of different colors.
In addition to this, food cooks quicker and more evenly because the cooking material can withstand a higher heat and it holds the heat more efficiently. The ‘all-in-one’ factor that enameled cast iron offers is enough for most people to make up their minds because it allows all different types of cooking including searing, baking, slow-cooking, and more.
The main drawback of enameled cast iron is that it can be heavy even without food so once you add food to the mix, it can be difficult for some to carry. We also live in an age now where microwave cooking is essential as it helps to speed up the cooking process but this type of cookware cannot be placed in the microwave. Furthermore, they are likely to crack if dropped and are prone to sticking to food which means that more oil is necessary than a non-stick skillet. Finally, the coating has been known to ‘flake’ if excessively heated.
Enameled Cast Iron Skillet Brands
Le Creuset – Le Creuset is one of the world’s best producers of enamel cast iron skillets. The Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Skillets have all the advantages of classic enameled cast-iron cookware, combined with the latest ergonomic and functional innovations. Their products hit the higher price range, but that is solely because they use high-quality materials and are extremely durable. The longevity of the Le Creuset brand speaks for itself. Chipping and cracking is rare with this product and because of the wide range of colors to choose from, they are perfect for serving as well as cooking making the process a whole lot simpler.
No seasoning is required with a Le Creuset skillet and the high-quality finish allows for even cooking for all foods. The skillet will also evolve over time and after a patina develops, it will also be perfect for frying and searing.
Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Skillets are dishwasher safe, but they can easily be cleaned with hot water and a soft sponge.
Staub – Staub has been at the peak of their industry in France for some years now and they have reinvested wisely on innovation. Although not starting as a non-stick pan, over time the durable product normally textured with black matte enamel, becomes non-stick meaning that the user has to use less and less oil which adds an incentive for future cooking. These pans are great with all types of cooking, but are specialized to mainly deal with braising and browning.
Staub has one of the best coatings in the market and as a result, offer a more durable, strong, and heat-resistant product. The quality of design and production has also led to an even cooking and the black enamel allows for one of the best browning results seen in the industry. One of the biggest problems with these products is that they are difficult to carry, but a lip on both sides make it extremely easy without having to shuffle grip half way through the kitchen. Cleaning is made easy thanks to it being dishwasher-safe and it is oven safe to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Lodge – The Lodge has an extensive collection of cookware which includes both enamel cast iron and bare cast iron. They have controlled specifications for their Chinese production facilities to meet and their products can be found in most stores for a reasonable price. Due to the specifications laid out, Lodge produces good-quality pans that are easy to clean and don’t require seasoning.
Lodge products do have one downside that they are heavier than most of the competition, but there are benefits which include being able to transfer straight from the hob to the oven. In addition to this, they can also hold heat well, allowing for a quicker cooking time and a reduced energy usage.
There are some key differences to note between the three products with the main one being Lodge’s choice of porcelain enamel whereas Le Creuset and Staub use hard-coat enamel. The hard-coat enamel is generally seen as a better option as it is more resistant to scratching and is stronger overall. More layers in hard-coating also allows the products to hold heat and go in the dishwasher. Hand-washing is advised with Lodge products because they are prone to wear and tear if regularly placed in the dishwasher.
If you take the big two ahead, Le Creuset is the brand that is more well-known in the US, but they are both available in a variety of colors. Once you remove Lodge from consideration, splitting the other two is mainly down to preference. They are both more expensive options, but that investment will bring durable, efficient, and high-performance cookware. Le Creuset and Staub enameled cast iron pans are costly, but worth the money. If you don’t want to pay Le Creuset and Staub level prices, consider buying Lodge. The Lodge is still a good choice and performs as well as Staub or Le Creuset, but these cookware pieces are less durable than more expensive brands.