Cast iron cookware is well known for their durability, excellent heat retention, and ability to withstand the temperatures of high-heat cooking. Most importantly though, they are chemical free, with the only thing that may get into your foods being iron, something your body needs any way.
When it comes to cast iron cookware, people tend to flock to the popular Lodge 12″ cast iron skillet. However, you’d be remiss not to also consider another choice as well, the Calphalon 12″ Cast Iron Skillet. What makes the Calphalon a good contender? What are its pros and cons compared to the Lodge cast iron pan? In this review, I’ll answer all of these questions so you can make an informed decision at the end.
Calphalon 12″ Cast Iron Skillet At a Glance
- Diameter: 12 inches
- Depth: 3 inches
- Handle Length: 5.5 inches
- Weight: 6.8 pounds
- Warranty: Full lifetime warranty
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The Calphalon Cast Iron Cookware is a 12-inch cast iron skillet that has been pre-seasoned to give it a nonstick quality. Like any other cast iron skillet, it is quite heavy at 6.8 pounds.
One of the best things IMO about the Calphalon cast iron skillet is that it’s PTFE and PFOA-free, so you can safely use it for high-heat cooking techniques such as searing and stir-frying. It is compatible with all types of cooktops as well and can go from stovetop to oven.
The Calphalon Cast Iron Skillet’s other main selling points are its durability and potential to be truly nonstick. Of course, these are only possible with proper care.
What I liked about the Calphalon 12″ Skillet
First, here are list of the pros of the Calphalon Cast Iron Skillet as I see it.
- Nonstick: The 12″ Calphalon Cast Iron iron skillet can be truly nonstick once it has been properly seasoned, all without any risks of leaking toxic chemicals into your foods a few months down the road (more on this later).
- Safe: Unlike Teflon which has many potential health risks due to chemicals like PFOA, PTFE, and PFAS, the Calphalon Skillet is free from all of these toxic substances. You don’t have to worry about lead or cadmium leaching either
- Suitable for high-heat cooking: Teflon, once exposed to high heat, releases a myriad of toxic gases that can harm your health. This makes the Calphalon Cast Iron Skillet a much better option since it is perfectly safe for high-heat cooking. It’s even oven-safe.
- Durable: With proper care, this Calphalon product can last a lifetime. It can certainly provide you with nonstick cooking far longer than products with nonstick coatings, which only last a couple of years.
- Versatile: Aside from being oven and broiler-safe, the Calphalon Cast Iron Skillet is suitable for gas, electric, electric ring, halogen, glass, and induction stovetops.
What I didn’t like so Much
Though it has a lot of benefits, the Calphalon 12″ Cast Iron Skillet has some cons and drawbacks as well. In a nutshell:
- Rough surface: Most of the complaints about the Calphalon product center on its rough surface. Unlike vintage cast iron cookware which are very smooth, manufacturers nowadays make the skillet slightly rough on purpose to make them easier to pre-season. This roughness will gradually smoothen though the more that you use your cast iron pan.
- Handle: Another common complaint among Calphalon buyers is the short 5.5-inch handle. It also gets hot during use, so you will need to use a silicon handle cover to protect yourself from getting burned.
- No matching lid: Calphalon doesn’t manufacture a matching lid that goes with their 12-inch cast iron pan.
- High maintenance: To take advantage of the Calphalon’s potential, you need to give it proper care. This includes hand-washing, periodical seasoning, and wiping it dry before storing.
Calphalon Cast Iron Skillet vs Lodge Cast Iron Skillet
Ok, so it’s pretty clear now that cast iron cookware has a lot going for it, and that the Calphalon is a great cast iron skillet. But how does compare with the much more well known Lodge cast iron skillet that’s also 12″?
Here are the main differences between the Calphalon and Lodge skillets:
- Edge: Most people prefer the slightly rounded edge of the Calphalon to the steep-angled edge of the Lodge. This is because standard whisks can’t reach the edges of the latter. The rounded edge is easier to clean as well, since food doesn’t get stuck at the juncture.
- Weight: Though both are heavier than other types of cookware due to the cast iron material, the Calphalon is lighter than the Lodge by a pound. For the 12-inch skillet, the Calphalon weighs 6.8 pounds, while the Lodge measures 7.8 pounds. This makes the Calphalon a better choice for people who have difficulty lifting heavy weights.
- Price: The Lodge and Calphalon are almost identical in pricing (at the time of writing).
- Handle: When handling something as heavy as a cast iron pan, a long handle can help a lot. The Lodge has a longer handle at 7 inches compared to the Calphalon’s 5.5 inches.
- Silicon Handle Holder: The Lodge skillet comes with a red silicon based handle holder for free, while with the Calphalon, you need to purchase it separately.
- Surface: Both brands have a rough surface that gets smoother over time.
- Pre-seasoning: For both skillets, there are a lot of complaints about the pre-seasoning flaking off. This is why a majority of the buyers of both brands prefer to remove the pre-seasoning and just season the pan by themselves.
- Depth: The Calphalon has 3-inch sides, making it deeper than the Lodge’s 2.25-inch sides.
- Warranty: The Calphalon offers a full lifetime warranty, while for the Lodge, the manufacturer will only say that if there are any issues, they will try their best to resolve them.
All in all, the Calphalon Cast Iron Skillet is a worthy contender for the Lodge Cast Iron Skillet.
More Questions about Calphalon and Iron Pans in General Answered
What is the preseasoning made of?
The Calphalon Cast Iron Skillet doesn’t have a nonstick coating that can contaminate your food. Instead, the company used an FDA-approved, non-toxic formula to season their skillets. This formula is based on soybean oil.
If you’re allergic to soy, you can still use this cast iron skillet. Just strip the soybean oil pre-seasoning, and re-season it with your oil of choice. To strip the pre-seasoning, just follow this Cook’s Illustrated guide.
Is the Calphalon Cast Iron Skillet nonstick?
Yes, though the default preseasoning isn’t good. Cast iron pans only become nonstick once they have been properly seasoned well. It takes about 3 layers of seasoning before you can fry eggs without sticking. Watch Martha Stewart’s video below to know how to properly season your cast iron pan:
Is the Calphalon Cast Iron Skillet PFOA and PTFE-free?
Yes, this cast iron skillet by Calphalon is completely safe for cooking. Not only does it not contain PTFE and PFOA, it also does not have the newer chemicals used by Teflon. These newer chemicals – GenX and PFBS – are found to be harmful as well.
On top of that, the Calphalon Cast Iron Skillet does not have cadmium or lead, so you won’t have to worry about leaching.
Is the Calphalon Cast Iron Skillet dishwasher-safe?
Dishwashing is not recommended for cast iron pans since it strips the seasoning. Instead, it should be manually washed with only some hot water. Do not use soap. If there are some food stuck to the pan, just leave it to soak for a few minutes and use a soft sponge to lightly scrub. After cleaning, wipe until dry.
My Calphalon Cast Iron Skillet has Rust. What should I do?
Rust can sometimes form on cast iron pans depending on the humidity in the air. If it’s new and you received a rusty unit, you should ask the company for a replacement.
If light rust forms after some time of use, just scrub it off with some water and soap before re-seasoning it. Remember to always dry it properly after washing to prevent rusting. Some users also like applying a thin coating of oil before storing.
If you cast iron pan is heavily rusted, you can still bring it back to its former glory by following the video below:
Calphalon Cast Iron Skillet: To Buy or Not?
This Calphalon cast iron skillet holds its ground well against the heavy weight Lodge Cast Iron Skillet. You get a lighter cast iron cookware that’s easier to lift and maneuver. The Calphalon is also deeper, so you can cook or bake more in one go. And finally, don’t forget about the warranty. The Calphalon Cast Iron Skillet is backed by a life time warranty, while the Lodge isn’t.
If you’re in the market for a durable and heavy pan, cast iron is one of the very best choices, and the Calphalon 12″ skillet is in my opinion one of the best choices currently out there.