Pan-frying a restaurant-quality steak is possible with the proper cut of steak, seasonings, and the best frying pan for steak.
Of all the different types of frying pan materials available, cast iron is by far the best for retaining heat to ensure that your steak carmelizes evenly and browns to perfection.
However, cast iron needs to be seasoned regularly as regular maintenance of the frying pan. Seasoning your cast iron pan allows your steak to have a great aroma and flavors that no other frying pan can produce.
So, what is the best frying pan for steak?
Note: You’ll see that we use the terms frying pan and skillet interchangeably. Read this article to learn about the differences between a frying pan and a skillet.
Top Recommended Product: Utopia Kitchen Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet
Top Budget Product: Lodge Cast Iron Skillet
Top Premium Product: Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Skillet
Runner Up Product: Tramontina Enameled Cast Iron Skillet
Best Frying Pan for Steak
This cast-iron skillet is great for first-time cast-iron frying pan users. This frying pan has a 12.5-inch diameter and heats up extremely fast. It also has effective heat retention, which ensures that your steak cooks to perfection.
This skillet comes with a smooth cooking area which allows for an evenly cooked steak and a heavy-duty base. It also has two handles: one long handle and one on the opposite side that helps make lifting and carrying the heavy skillet easier. There are also two spouts for easy pouring of excess oil.
The Utopia Kitchen Cast Iron Skillet is pre-seasoned right out of the box, which gives the skillet non-stick properties. You can use this cast iron skillet on ceramic-glass, electric, induction, and gas stovetops along with campfires.
You can easily clean this cast iron frying pan by washing it with hot soapy water after thoroughly cooling it. You should also re-season it after every few uses, but that’s as simple as rubbing it down with some oil.
- Highly durable
- It comes with care and maintenance instructions
- It can be used on every stovetop
- Great heat retention
- Rough and uneven cooking surface area
Lodge cookware is a favorite brand amongst professional chefs. This model offers incredible heat retention and even heat distribution to cook your steak perfectly.
This cast-iron skillet comes with two handles to help you lug around this heavy skillet. It also comes with a silicone holder to protect your hand from getting burnt on the skillet’s handle as you cook, something that not every cast iron skillet has.
The Lodge skillet comes pre-seasoned with vegetable oil and has a non-stick surface because of this seasoning. You can use this skillet on an open flame, grill, induction stove, oven, or on any other stovetop.
This cast-iron frying pan weighs eight pounds and provides you with plenty of cooking space. It would be best to hand wash this pan after cooking with it by using hot soapy water and thoroughly drying it after washing. Then you re-season after every few uses and store it in a dry place.
- It comes with a silicone handle cover
- Two handles for easy lifting
- Not safe to put in the dishwasher
- It has a rough cooking surface
This enameled cast-iron skillet offers great cooking with high heat conductivity, fantastic heat retention, and even heat distribution. It’s the best premium product for cooking a steak because it will give you that perfect crispy brown crust you want on a steak while still giving you a juicy and tender inside.
The Le Creuset cast-iron skillet has an integrated iron handle and a helper handle that provides a great grip for easy lifting and carrying. It also has a pouring spout. Another great thing about this cast iron skillet is that it comes in various colors, so it’ll always match your kitchen!
This cast-iron frying pan doesn’t require seasoning because the slightly abrasive cooking surface will develop a natural patina after using it a few times. This cast-iron frying pan is dishwasher safe, but we recommend you hand wash it instead because the dishwasher can wear down the enamel coating.
- Extremely durable
- Attractive appearance
- Spacious cooking area
- It doesn’t require seasoning
- The surface isn’t very non-stick
This frying pan has an appearance that reminds users of old-fashioned charm with a modern twist. The Tramontina Enameled Cast Iron Frying Pan has great heat retention and even heat distribution to ensure the perfect sear on your steak. It also comes with a lid to help seal the flavor of your steak.
There are two handles on this frying pan to aid in carrying and lifting this heavy cast-iron skillet. It also boasts superior non-stick properties, so your steak won’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
You can use this cast iron skillet on any stovetop and is oven safe up to 450 degrees F. This cast iron frying pan weighs 12.58 pounds and gives you the most cooking space (19.4″ x 12″ x 4.5″). This is the heaviest and biggest frying pan on this list.
- Flat bottom
- Two handles for easy carrying
- Tight-fitting lid
- Not pre-seasoned
- Very heavy
Why Choose Cast Iron for Cooking Steaks?
By choosing a cast iron frying pan for cooking your steak, you’ll always cook a perfectly brown steak that’s juicy and tender on the inside. With a cast-iron skillet, you’ll be cooking steak like a professional.
Here’s a list of the properties that make cast iron frying pans the best choice for cooking steaks:
Great Heat Conductor
Cast iron frying pans have high heat capacities, which is crucial when cooking a perfect steak. Cast iron produces a lot of heat from the cooking surface through radiation. What does this mean?
It means that the pan is not only cooking the portion of the steak that’s in contact with the cast iron. It’s cooking the inside of the steak, too.
A cast-iron frying pan will retain heat, which makes steak cook evenly. This is critical when you’re trying to sear meat. When the cast iron frying pan becomes hot, it will remain hot and evenly distribute that heat throughout the pan.
Cast Iron Traps Aromas and Flavors
By “seasoning” – adding a layer of oil after cleaning your cast iron frying pan – you’ll create a polymerized oil coating that’s perfect for bringing out the flavor and browning your next steak. The seasoning process also maintains your cast iron frying pan for years to come.
Frying pans made from cast iron are oven safe, which is important when you reverse sear (cook steak in the oven first, then finish it on the stove).
A cast-iron frying pan that’s been well-seasoned over the years should have a reliable non-stick cooking surface. So, you’ll feel great knowing that your food is safe from any harsh chemicals such as Teflon.
The process of producing a cast iron frying pan is cheaper than creating most other frying pans, which is why you can typically get a cast iron frying pan for less money than any other type of non-stick frying pan.
Cast Iron Frying Pan Buyer’s Guide
Not every cast iron frying pan is built the same. Look out for these features when you go out to purchase your own cast iron frying pan.
You need to have the right amount of space when you’re cooking steak because you need to allow steam to escape around the steak to ensure a properly browned crust.
Because cast iron is so thick, purchasing a 12-inch cast-iron frying pan will give you about 9- to 10-inches of cooking surface area – just enough room for a ribeye.
Cast iron frying pans are naturally heavy: they can weigh anywhere between 8 and 10 pounds. A heavy cast iron frying pan is great for cooking steak because it retains heat better than a thinner frying pan. But it would be best if you went with a weight that’s comfortable for you to carry around.
For example, if you aren’t comfortable carrying around 12 pounds of cast iron, you shouldn’t go with the Tramontina Enameled Cast Iron Skillet.
Because a cast iron frying pan is so heavy and can get so hot, you must get a cast iron frying pan that has a long, rounded handle that’s easy to grip. It is also helpful if the pan has a helper handle on the opposite side to help with the weight.
A cast-iron frying pan that’s pre-seasoned means that the factory has already treated it with oil and heat, and you can use it right out of the box. You can choose to season yourself before using a pre-seasoned cast iron frying pan, but it isn’t necessary.
A cast-iron frying pan that’s pre-seasoned means that the factory has already treated it with oil and heat so that it can be used right out of the box. You can choose to season yourself before using a pre-seasoned cast iron frying pan, but it isn’t necessary.
How to Season a Cast Iron Frying Pan
Properly seasoning your cast iron frying pan will make the cookware non-stick. It also helps build up the aroma and flavor of your steak as you continue to cook. While your cast iron nonstick skillet might come pre-seasoned, it’s important that you re-seasoned it as you cook with it to maintain the cast iron.
How do you season a cast iron frying pan? Follow the steps below.
- Heat your cast iron frying pan over medium-high heat.
- Get a paper towel wet with oil.
- Using a tong, wipe the surface of the cast iron frying pan with the damp paper towel.
- Continue wiping the surface until the oil starts to smoke and there is no residue left.
- Repeat this process three times, making sure to let the pan cool down between applications.
When you season your frying pan, you should use flaxseed oil. You can also opt to use vegetable oil but always avoid animal fats.
How to Properly Clean Your Cast Iron Frying Pan
Cleaning your cast iron frying pan is also very different from cleaning a traditional non-stick frying pan. Here’s how to do it:
- Clean your cast iron frying pan immediately after cooking your steak, and the pan is still warm.
- Wash the cast iron frying pan in warm water by hand.
- Using a sponge, scrub off the remaining pieces of food. You can also use some boiling water to deal with the food bits that are really stuck to the pan.
- Heat the frying pan over low heat to let it dry. You can also thoroughly dry the pan with a towel.
- Using a paper towel, apply a thin layer of oil to the cast iron frying pan.
- Buff off the excess oil.
After you clean your cast iron frying pan, store it in a dry place.
If you’re looking for the best frying pan for steak, look no further than a cast iron frying pan or skillet. Cast iron will cook your steak to the perfect, crispy brown outside with the juicy, tender inside that you desire. It’s also cookware that will last for years to come!
You must understand how to properly care for and shop for the best frying pan for steak because cast iron requires more maintenance than other frying pan materials. But if you know how to take care of your cast iron frying pan, it will last you for years to come and can even be passed down to other generations.
What is the Best Coating for a Frying Pan?
The best frying pan coating for steak is enamel or graphite.
What is the Best Oil for Cooking Steak?
The best oil to use in your frying pan for cooking steak is extra light olive oil, peanut oil, or canola oil.
Why Is Cast Iron the Best Frying Pan Choice for Steak?
Cast iron is the best choice for frying steak because it conducts heat faster than other frying pan materials, and it evenly distributes heat across the cooking surface. This produces an even brown crust on the steak.