What Size Cast Iron Skillet Should I Get? – 5 Pans to Consider

Who’s asking, “What size cast iron skillet should I get?”

Cast Iron is a great way to cook, but you want to make sure you have the right size for your needs.

Lodge skillets come in a variety of sizes ranging from 3.5-inch to 15-inch.

Today, we will look at five of the most popular sizes to help you decide which size is right for you.

So let’s get started.

What Size Cast Iron Skillet Should I Get?

Many cast iron users have multiple sizes, but the 10.25-inch is probably the most popular size pan to get when you’re first getting started. But a single person may only need the 6.5 or 8-inch, and the family might do better with a 12 or 13.5-inch skillet. All sizes have their uses, though.

Introduction to Cast Iron

I will take just a minute to familiarize you with some benefits of cooking with cast iron.

Regardless of what size you choose, all Lodge cast iron will have these qualities:

  • Retains heat well
  • Preseasoned with 100% vegetable oil (Lodge website also says soybean oil)
  • Can sear, saute, bake, broil, braise, fry, or grill
  • Goes from stovetop to oven to grill to campfire
  • Works on induction cooktops
  • Lifetime warranty

Now let’s go over some basic care instructions that will be true of all cast iron cookware:

  • Do not soak, put in the dishwasher, or let air dry
  • Always dry cast iron thoroughly
  • Add a thin layer of oil or fat to your skillet before storing

For more detailed instructions, see Cleaning Cast Iron Cookware – To Use Soap or Not.

Most Common Size: The 10.25-inch

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As I said, the 10.25-inch skillet is the most popular size because it has so many uses.

It’s perfect for couples and families.

Since it’s just my husband and me now, I use this skillet mainly to sear steaks or some other type of meat or make vegetables. I also have another square 10-inch skillet that I use every morning to make bacon and eggs.

Overall, this is a great skillet.

Product: Lodge 10.25-inch skillet
Price: See Amazon
Weight: 5.34 lbs.
0.20 qt.
Cooking Surface Area: 53.43 sq. in.

To learn more about this skillet, check out my Lodge 10.25-Inch Cast Iron Skillet Review.

For a Single-Serving Size Dessert: The 6.5-inch

I primarily use this size pan for cornbread and desserts.

I said it’s a single serving size dessert, but my husband and I usually share one, so we don’t overdo it.

One of my favorite desserts is a skillet cookie, but I also take pie filling and add a crumble topping for a simple but yummy little dessert.

For cornbread, I use one box of Jiffy. The 6.5-inch is the perfect size for two people.

Most often, this is my go-to skillet for reheating leftovers for lunch the next day.

But a single person could use it to make eggs or vegetables. And it would be the perfect size for a single hamburger patty or chicken breast, maybe even a tiny pizza.

Or anyone could use it to make a sauce. One person said they make garlic, thyme, and butter sauce for their steak.

Product: Lodge 6.5-inch skillet
see Amazon
Weight: 1.94 lbs.
Volume: 0.05 qt.
Cooking Surface Area: 19.16 sq. in.

For more information on this skillet, see my Lodge 6.5-Inch Cast Iron Skillet Review.

Great for a Grilled Cheese Sandwich: The 8-inch

A grilled cheese sandwich is the most common thing I make in my 8-inch pan.

Hey, I really like grilled cheese!

But, this size pan has many other uses as well, especially if you are only cooking for yourself.

Think personal pan pizza or a skillet meal.

Product: Lodge 8-inch skillet
 see Amazon
3.2 lbs.
Fits: 3 eggs
Cooking Surface Area: 29.5 sq. in.

Skillet Meal for a Family of Four: The 12-inch

I make most of the skillet meals in the 12-inch.

Even though I’m sure it’s big enough for a family of four, we like leftovers.

And sometimes my husband eats too much! lol

So the 12-inch is the right size for us.

I like this size for pancakes.

It’s also great for making chicken, pork chops, or bratwurst and having some leftovers for the next day.

If I’m using my 12-inch only to make meat, I often make vegetables in my 10.25-inch.

Though I’m not going to lie, it is nice to make it all in the same pan, so I only have one skillet to clean up.

But hopefully, that gives you an idea of what the 12-inch is good for.

Product: Lodge 12-inch skillet
Price: see Amazon
Weight: 7.89 lbs.
Volume: 0.29 qt.
Cooking Surface Area:
74.62 sq. in.

If this sounds like the skillet that will meet your needs, but you’d like to know a little more, check out my Lodge 12-Inch Cast Iron Skillet Review.

For the Larger Family: The 13.5-inch

If I had used cast iron when raising our four kids, this is the size pan I would have wanted.

And I think for larger families, this is a good size.

Or if you like to entertain.

You could make a huge breakfast or a steak and potato skillet meal to feed up to six people. Maybe more?

Since I don’t own this size skillet, I can’t speak from experience.

But one person said he primarily uses it to braise or fry meat and vegetables. And sometimes to add sauces.

And another person wanted to point out that it probably won’t fit your burner on your stovetop. In other words, you will likely have a hotspot in the middle. They recommend preheating the pan for 5-10 minutes to minimize uneven cooking.

I also think this size pan would make a nice size pizza.

Product: Lodge 13.25-inch skillet
Price: See Amazon
Weight: 10.5 lbs.
0.47 qt.
Cooking Surface Area: 
10.25-inch diameter

Final thoughts

As you can see, there are many sizes and uses for cast iron skillets.

If you are looking for just one and asking, “What size cast iron skillet should I get?” I hope this overview has helped.

I in no way covered all the things you can make in each size skillet, but I’m sure you have your own ideas.

What is your favorite thing to make in cast iron, and what will you make if you get a new size?

Let me know in the comment section below.

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