The Cast Iron Always Pan review
The Cast Iron Always Pan requires zero upkeep—but how does it perform?
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The mass appeal of the cast-iron skillet isn't hard to grasp. It can brown meat, bake desserts, and fry eggs—among countless other kitchen tasks—in ways that traditional pots and pans just can't. That's thanks to the unique heat retention and nonstick patina surface that only comes with this style of cookware.
The primary downside of the treasured cast-iron skillet is its required upkeep. In order to maintain that precious patina, you typically have to take extra steps to regularly season your skillet and be sure you're cleaning it properly.
Sound like more work than you're willing to sign up for? Enter the Cast Iron Always Pan, which promises a self-maintaining, enameled cast-iron interior that requires no seasoning. Just wash it with gentle dish soap, dry it immediately, and it's good to go again for your next meal.
If you think that sounds a little too good to be true—even from a renowned kitchenware brand—you're not alone. So we put it to the test.
Master the kitchen.
How we tested the Cast Iron Always Pan
Over a couple of weeks, we tested this pan according to the same steps we took for our roundup of the best cast-iron skillets (aside from seasoning it, which Our Place says is not required). First, we tested how evenly the pan distributes heat by flouring it on a low-heat burner and monitoring how evenly it browned. After a quick cleaning, we baked cornbread in the skillet to see how well it cooked, how evenly it browned, and how easy it was to remove from the pan after cooking. We also browned steaks, cooked eggs, and fried chicken to see how evenly things cooked and how easy it was to clean.
Throughout the process, we used the accessories that came with the pan (the glass lid, silicone Hot Grips, and beechwood spatula) in order to get the full experience of the product. We also washed and dried everything according to package instructions (using the provided sponge) and monitored the pan for any chipping, staining, or other deterioration along the way.
What we like about the Cast Iron Always Pan
It heats quickly and evenly
This pan provides virtually all the goodness that we look for in a cast-iron skillet. Steaks browned deliciously with a savory outer crust, cornbread cooked evenly and slid right out after baking, and even scrambled eggs didn't stick as much as we expected. Whether you're looking for well-cooked meat, stove-to-oven hash, or stir-fried veggies, this pan will likely get you the elevated results you're looking for.
It's not too heavy
A common issue with other cast-iron skillets is their weight—because, well, cast iron tends to be heavy. (Others that we've tested have ranged from 7 to 8 pounds.) Most of these skillets make it impossible to pick up and toss vegetables on the stove or flip pancakes while cooking. And struggling to stow a heavy pan away after each use might make you hesitant to use it at all.
At 6.9 pounds, the Cast Iron Always Pan certainly isn’t lightweight, but it isn't an intimidating weight either (even for a five-foot, scrawny-armed woman like myself). I did struggle to pick it up with one hand, but the helper handle (and accompanying Hot Grip) made transferring the pan from the stove to the oven to the sink a breeze.
An obvious plus to this product: No regular seasoning is required. I know plenty of folks who won't invest in cast-iron skillets solely because they're intimidated by the upkeep process, or they worry that they'll inevitably damage it.
This pan takes most of that fear away, providing the benefits of cast-iron cooking without any of the upkeep. I was initially skeptical of the minimal care instructions for this pan, but after using and washing it several times without noticing any damage, I was fairly impressed. (Just don't use metal utensils on it—it could ruin the enamel.)
It comes with a well-functioning lid
Most cast-iron skillets don't come with lids, because they're primarily used for browning, baking, and the like. But a well-fitting lid is always a plus, even with a nontraditional pan like a cast-iron.
Whether you're melting cheese, frying an over-medium egg, or softening veggies, there are plenty of opportunities for lid usage with this pan. And the included modular lid—which allows for both trapping and releasing steam—widens those possibilities even further.
What we don't like
There are no pour spouts
Most cast-iron skillets that we've tested include pour spouts on opposing sides that make draining excess oil and pouring sauces a mess-free experience. The Cast Iron Always Pan unfortunately falls short here. As a result, pouring hot oil out of it after frying wasn't as seamless as it could've been (read: I came dangerously close to making a huge mess on my countertop).
The smaller Hot Grip doesn't latch on
I was excited to see that this pan comes with Hot Grips for each handle, especially since we noticed an issue with overheating handles in the original Always Pan. But while the larger Hot Grip (for the long handle) slides right on like a glove, the opposing one is engineered differently. It's not built to slide on, but rather to be held over the handle while in use.
It's possible that it was created this way in order for users to remember to take the Hot Grips off before placing the pan over heat or in the oven (the silicone gets just as hot!). But this was confusing to me—especially given that the other grip was easy to slide right on, without worrying about it slipping or falling during use.
Cleaning it was a hassle at times
While most cast iron skillets develop a natural nonstick surface, the enameled cast iron surface here functions a bit differently. I did struggle to scrub off remnants of certain foods, and my fried egg was a bit of a struggle to flip. It required some extra time and elbow grease to finally get all those remnants off, especially with the provided Our Place sponge.
You also can't just toss this pan in the dishwasher, like you might with the Staub enameled cast-iron skillet, for example. But it does come with instructions for deglazing the pan with water and baking soda for whenever it needs a little extra love.
And when you weigh the time scrubbing versus the regular maintenance of traditional cast-iron skillets, you might still find that it's worth the extra effort.
Is the Cast Iron Always Pan worth it?
Yes—especially if you're looking for a low-maintenance option!
If you're in the market for a cast-iron—but are intimidated by the traditional upkeep process—the Cast Iron Always Pan is a solid choice. It's a great piece of cookware for searing steak easily, frying chicken quickly, and baking things like cornbread with an evenly browned finish. And if you already have colorful Our Place cookware, it'll fit right in.
It may not have the same nonstick qualities as traditionally seasoned cast-iron skillets, but with a little extra patience during the scrubbing and deglazing processes, it can be easily maintained over time.
To keep it extra shiny, Our Place even suggests seasoning the Cast Iron Always Pan with oil monthly (or as desired) to achieve better nonstick results—but that may take away from that zero-upkeep appeal.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.