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You turn to the best cast iron skillets for a couple of reasons. The obvious one is the strength and resilience of these pans; they’re workhorses. They’re also versatile, moving from the stove to the oven with ease. Many also cook incredible meals over campfires and backyard grills.

And, let’s face it, this type of skillet makes you feel as if you’re making the comforting food that nourished generations, as food writers at the New York Times clearly understand. It also has the power to make you believe you’re cooking Michelin-star meals in gourmet restaurant kitchens.

What’s this business about seasoning?

Cast iron pans must be seasoned before use. It’s simply a process of coating the pan with a fat of sorts and baking it at a high temperature. Not only does this protect the pan, but it also creates a non-stick surface to make it easier for flipping, searing, frying eggs, and more.

Most pans on the market at the moment arrive pre-seasoned, but not all of them reach the same impeccable standards you would expect from a Lodge or a Le Creuset pan. And, you shouldn’t expect that the pre-seasoning is enough to last a lifetime either.

Seasoning your cast iron is a task you need to undertake occasionally over time. (The time spent seasoning pans is offset by their value in the kitchen.) Martha Stewart knows exactly how to do it, of course.

Martha, as you would imagine, knows a lot about the best cast iron skillets. (As do we after weeks of tests - and reading reviews from both experts and users.) Indeed, she named our number one as an “essential kitchen tool” in the February 2008 edition of Martha Stewart Living. She now has a range of cast iron cookware, though it doesn’t measure up to the standard set by our top Fave. Now, isn’t it time you checked out our list?

Updated: 15 hours ago