The Best Small Cast Iron Skillets for Every Budget and Recipe
A good cast iron skillet is a staple in any kitchen. Whether you’re sauteing, pan-frying, baking, roasting, or searing, these heavy-duty multitaskers earn their keep and are hard to match in terms of both versatility and durability. As long as you properly season your cast iron, a well cared for cast iron pan can be passed on through generations and become something of a family heirloom.
Cast iron skillets come in a wide variety of sizes, all with slightly different uses. Some instances will call for a large skillet, like cooking for a group, and everyday family cooking will probably require the medium-sized workhorse skillet that lives on your countertop. But there are a few occasions when a small cast iron skillet can really come in handy. Making individual portions of side dishes or desserts? Mini cast iron skillets are the best way to go straight from oven to table with stellar presentation. They’re also ideal for cooking up small portions of food or frying just one or two eggs without having to heat or clean a large skillet.
Below are the best small cast iron skillets for whatever recipe you want to cook up from brands like Lodge and Le Creuset as well as top-rated Amazon picks.
Top-Rated Cast Iron Skillet: Lodge Skillet, 6.5”
Handmade in the US since 1886, Lodge is a staple in the world of cast iron. I’ve had a Lodge cast iron skillet for 10 years, and it’s held up amazingly. It also lives on my stovetop due to its constant use. Needless to say, Lodge does an excellent job when it comes to the small version of the brand’s classic skillets. But you don’t have to take our word for it — this handy little skillet has over 10,000 five-star reviews on Amazon. One reviewer wrote that this size is “easier to use when in a hurry than my larger Lodge skillet” and it “works perfectly for cooking only one or two eggs, or for one big pancake.”
Buy It: $8; amazon.com
Best Small Cast Iron Skillet Set: Staub Cast-Iron Mini Round Cocotte Set, 1/4-Qt.
If you’re considering purchasing small cast iron skillets, there’s a good chance you’re picturing adorable, photo-worthy individual servings of fruit cobblers or bubbling portions of mac and cheese. If you’re going to go to all that trouble, you’re likely feeding more than just one person, but a set of mini cast iron skillets can be a little hard to find. You can always buy a few individual skillets and create your own set, but if you want to level-up, these gorgeous mini cocottes from Staub are sure to impress any guest or dress up a holiday table. A set comes with three enameled cast iron pieces that each hold one quarter of a quart. The famous glossy finish on Staub cookware is the result of a three-step layering process of a mix of glass powder and mineral pigments. The result is a gorgeous color palette to choose from such as graphite, sapphire blue, or grenadine red.
Buy It: $200; wiliams-sonoma.com
Best Splurge Small Cast Iron Skillet: Le Creuset Signature Skillet, 6.3”
Le Creuset is synonymous with quality, and the brand is trusted by home cooks and chefs all over the world. Shoppers tend to rave about Le Creuset cookware and how they can use it for a lifetime. Owners of the famed French brand also love the way the skillets and Dutch Ovens look, proudly displaying them on the stovetop even when not in use. This 6.3-inch version of the brand’s signature skillet is no exception and comes in gorgeous colors like cherry and emerald. It’s also enameled, making it easy to maintain your valuable asset over the long term. One reviewer on Amazon raved, “I just have to say that I made a two-egg omelette with this skillet, and it was probably the best one I ever made. Not only were the eggs great—fantastic texture and evenly cooked—but I only needed some hot water and a soft sponge to clean the pan afterwards—NO SOAP!” Perfect cooking and easy cleanup? Worth every penny.
But It: $120; amazon.com
Best Cheap Small Cast Iron Skillet: Lodge Miniature Skillet, 3.5”
We’ve already talked about the virtues of Lodge cast iron, and this 3.5-inch skillet can’t be beat for cost (or cuteness). It’s a great size for cooking a single egg and affordable enough to buy a few so you can bake individual servings of dessert for your next dinner party. The small skillet is also the number-one bestseller in Amazon’s Skillets category, so you’ll be in good kitchenware company.
Buy It: $5 (orig. $14); amazon.com
Best Small Cast Iron Skillet for Cooking Over a Fire: Victoria Mini Cast Iron Skillet, 6.5”
The longer handle of this Victoria skillet makes it the best option for cooking over an open flame, campfire, or any time you need a little more reach. It’s also lighter weight than the Lodge pans, making it a solid skillet to pack along for a trip.
Buy It: $13 (orig. $16); amazon.com
Best Small Cast Iron Skillet with Hot Handle Holder: Backcountry Cast Iron Skillet + Cloth Handle Mitt, 8”
The one downside to cast iron is that it can get super hot, making it a bit of a liability in the kitchen when you’re doing a million things and forget to use a pot holder or have little ones helping you. While you can usually buy a hot handle holder to go along with your cast iron, it’s convenient (and usually more affordable) just to buy a skillet that has the holder included. This 8-inch model from Backcountry comes with a cloth mitt that slips onto the handle, making cooking with cast iron safer than ever.
Buy It: $23; amazon.com
The Best Small Cast Iron Skillet with a Lid: Cuisinel Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet with Glass Lid, 8”
A pan with a properly fitting lid is a kitchen necessity, and cast iron is no exception. This 8-inch cast iron skillet has a glass lid to speed up your cooking time and keep the moisture locked in. Reviewers note that the glass lid “is great and lets you see how things are cooking,” “fits perfectly and is easy to wash,” and is simply “brilliant.”
Buy It: $24; amazon.com
Best Enamel Small Cast Iron Skillet: Gibson Crock Pot Artisan Round Enameled Cast Iron Skillet, 8"
While cast iron is prized for its cooking utility, sometimes it can be a hassle to clean, season, and maintain. That’s where enameled cast iron shines. With no seasoning required, cleanup is foolproof and quick. If you’re not ready to shell out for a Le Creuset, there are many other enamel options on the market. This enameled skillet from Gibson is a little bigger than others on our list, making it a good size for cooking up a Dutch Baby or breakfast for two. It comes in a choice between vibrant red or blue, both with a creamy white interior. This small cast iron skillet also has handy spout pours on each side, so you can drain sauces and drippings without making a mess all over the counter or burning yourself.
Buy It: $21 (orig. $34); macys.com
Best Square Small Cast Iron Skillet: Lodge Cast Iron Wonder Skillet, Pre-Seasoned, 5”
Sometimes you just want to mix things up with your cookware, and that’s where a square cast iron skillet can be fun. Whether it’s to make an individual serving of cornbread or just to fit your stove top shape better, there are a few quadrilateral options on the market. Our favorite for this list is, again, the Lodge version. The 5-inch skillet is the perfect size for making hot sandwiches, and one Amazon reviewer gave her perfect grilled cheese recipe using this mini skillet: “I recommend that you put a little butter on the pan, heat and lay the piece of square-shape bread slice on top when it is hot, followed by a layer of American cheese, tomato (if you like), oregano, another slice of cheese and second bread slice. Keep an eye on the bread and the amount of heat so it does not burn. I usually put a large lid over the pan to keep in the heat. You get delicious crispy grilled cheese.” That simple, mouth-watering recipe alone will make this small square cast iron skillet a staple in your home.
Buy It: $12, amazon.com
Best Small Cast Iron French Oven: Staub Petite Cast-Iron French Oven
This 1.25-quart cast iron French oven isn’t technically a skillet, but it’s too useful not to include as an option. It’s the ideal mini cast iron pot for making small amounts of grains or simmering jams. Small bumps on the interior of the lid make for evenly distributed condensation (meaning you don’t get a puddle in the middle of your dish), and the black enameled interior allows for even heating and quick cleanup.
Buy It: Starting at $150; surlatable.com