This 5-Inch Cast Iron Skillet Is the Only One I'll Use to Make Eggs—and It's $16
Cast iron skillets are the indisputable workhorse of the Southern kitchen. With just one pan, you can sear steak, fry okra, and bake an apple pie. Our food editor swears the 12-inch variety is the most versatile (and she's right), but I'm partial to its smaller sister, the 5-inch cast iron skillet that's become my go-to morning essential.
My dad is the one who taught me the merits of the little skillet, as it has a way of making breakfast feel a bit more special. Whenever I'm at my parents' house, he brings out his tiny cast iron and offers to make me a fried egg. It might sound silly (and maybe it's because I grew up with two sisters and rare one-on-one time with my parents), but I swear the egg tastes better because I know it was fried just for me—one at a time, in a bitty pan.
Sentiments aside, Lodge's 5-Inch Mini Skillet wins on practicality too. It's the perfect size for frying a single egg into a neat, tidy round. Rather than a larger skillet, which requires chasing the egg around with a spatula to coax it into a shape that befits a breakfast sandwich, the 5-inch diameter lends itself to a fried egg that's just the right size for draping over a biscuit, sandwiching between toast, or topping a bowl of savory, cheesy grits. (BUY IT: $16; amazon.com)
Of course, that's not to say its value begins and ends with the morning meal. It's also the ideal vessel for baking a single serving of just about anything, from cornbread to cobbler. On special occasions (or Tuesday nights when I need a sweet pick-me-up), I'm all about a chocolate-chip cookie topped with a scoop of vanilla Blue Bell.
But whether you're frying an egg for someone special or digging into a weeknight dessert for one, this little Lodge cast iron proves what we already knew: Good things really do come in small packages.