A cast-iron pan is one of the only cooking instruments that actually adds nutritional benefit to a dish. When you cook, these pans release small amounts of iron into the food which can be really helpful in combating iron deficiencies, especially if you cook with a lot of high acidity.
When you do decide to take your cooking to the next level, we have scoured the internet and ranked the 15 best cast iron pans under $50 so you don't have to.
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This skillet gets a late mention at $29.90 for an 11-inch pan, although it shouldn’t be disregarded completely. It has an enamel coating, which is good for its non-stick properties and which some might argue is healthier, but personally I prefer the more classic surface.
Try some of these nachos recipes in your cast iron!
In terms of aesthetics and quality, this 10-inch skillet is a great pan — but I wouldn’t purchase this guy at $36.99 as a first-time cast-iron user. This is more of a treat when it comes to kitchen equipment, and you can probably find something a little more basic if you’re looking to experiment.
Casserole dishes you can make in your cast iron!
This is a great pan for $35.55 — if you have a little experience and are looking to cook for large groups of people at a campfire or something like that, this could be the pan for you. Even for a 15-inch pan it’s a little pricey, but it does come pre-seasoned and is ready to go.
Try some of these simple dinners that you can make all in one pan!
This pan is your best bet if you’re looking for something that’s not off the charts expensive and not necessarily much to write home about either. At $23.99 for a 12-inch skillet, it’s functional — it works, and will get the job done. The surface is also pre-seasoned pretty well, so you won’t have to treat it more than once.
Get that crunchy fried chicken with your cast iron and some of these delicious recipe inspirations!
This is definitely a beginner’s pan, and at $26.29 for a 10-inch skillet, it needs quite a lot of attention in terms of seasoning once you first buy it. It’s a heavy pan and has a relatively rough surface compared to others, but if you’re willing to put in the initial work, it will work well for the amateur chef.
French toast gets a really nice color in a cast iron – try some of these recipes!
With superior heat retention and even heat distribution, this pan is a great option for the seasoned chef. At $27.99, the weight of it can be a little intimidating for a beginner, but it’s generally a fantastic classic cast iron. This 12.5-inch skillet is a big pan, and that extra half inch on the surface will allow for a wider range of cooking.
You don’t need a pie tin to make delicious pies — use your cast-iron pan.
I included this three-piece set for $35.95 into the list because it’s great value to be able to get more than one pan for this kind of price. If you’re looking to do a diverse range of cooking and are a little more experienced with a cast iron, this is a fantastic deal. Make sure you know how to season these well — they will need a couple of rounds to get them where you want them.
You can even make brownies in a cast iron pan!
This is a fantastic pan that has been designed with the utmost care and attention. Although the downside is that it’s on the pricier side — at $26.99 — it’s well worth it. It might be a little sticky on first use — but overall, a beautifully designed 12-inch pan with solid results.
Learn more about seasoning your cast iron pan!
If you’re not totally sold on the whole cast-iron cooking movement but still want to give the thing a go — this 8-inch pan at $14.99 is a great option for you. If you’re just looking to fry an egg here and there and sear a decent steak, I’d definitely recommend this pan for the non-frequent user. It’s easy to clean and not too heavy, and it will give you professional results with not too much fuss.
Learn how to clean your cast-iron pan with no fuss!
Victoria cookware has been around since 1939, and you can rely on this company to deliver the kind of quality you’d expect from such a long-lived company. At $19.99 for this 12-inch skillet, the advantage of this pan is its slightly longer and more curved handle, not to mention a drip-free pour spout which comes in very handy.
Make these delicious recipes using just one pan!
With an oversized handle and guaranteed even heat distribution, this is one of my top picks of the lot. For a 12-inch skillet at $22.49 it’s a good deal, has a lifetime guarantee, and is pre-seasoned well enough to cook eggs on your first go around. This pan will not let you down.
You can even make pizza in your cast iron!
At $24.92 as a 12-inch skillet — this pan is wonderfully light and comes with an assistance handle, which is very useful. It also comes with seasoning instructions, although it’s worth noting that is has a slightly convex shape — frustrating when cooking with sauces.
Cast iron pans are great for making eggs — try some of these recipes.
If this is your virgin voyage into cast iron cooking, at $17.39 for a 12-inch skillet, this pan is an excellent investment. The coating is a little more textured than the average pan at the high-end range, but in general this pan does a solid job. The pan is pre-seasoned, has no synthetic chemicals and has lifetime durability.
To learn 5 Things You Are Doing Wrong With Your Cast-Iron Pan, click here.