Choosing the Pan

$$$$$ Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Xtrema Ceramic Cookware $$$ Staub Ballarini GreenPan $$ Carbon Steel Great Jones Caraway Home $ Lodge Cast Iron

Pros: These Le Creuset pans are the high end, spiffed up version of the above. (Think Carrie Underwood in 2005, versus Carrie Underwood now.) Not only is the bottom coated in their signature enamel (in a variety of colors) but the cast iron cooktop uses a coating that makes it dishwasher safe (i.e. you can use soap). Read on my website for the Cons 

$$$$$ Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron

Pros: This is the one pan that actually might be as green as it says it is. No coating necessary, the Xtrema cookware is 100 percent solid ceramic. I included this pan on my list mainly because Katie raved about it, and because it’s the highest on the clean scale. I think the best product is this 10-inch braiser. It would work like a skillet, baking pan, or Dutch oven. Read on my website for the Cons 

$$$$$ Xtrema Ceramic Cookware

Pros: Similar to the Le Creuset, Staub uses enameled cast iron that can withstand soap. It tends to be slightly cheaper than Le Creuset, but with similar quality. I own the white fry pan and the perfect pan, which I use a TON as a wok for stir fries. Read on my website for the Cons 

$$$ Staub

Pros: These professional-grade pans are on the more affordable side and definitely chef-approved for their cooking quality. They are made in Italy and therefore subject to Europe’s more stringent toxicity standards. The coating is a patented mineral-ceramic mix. I bought this pan for my mother-in-law for Christmas and she loves it. Read on my website for the Cons 

$$$ Ballarini

Pros: I used these pans extensively at one of my client’s homes, and found them to be fairly easy to clean at the beginning. They got more brittle as time went on, which was a lot more noticeable on the tan surface than it would have been on one of the darker pans. The coating is ceramic, with anodized aluminum base, so the fact that it scratched was a little more worrisome. So far I have found the Caraway models much more durable and easier to clean. Read on my website for the Cons 

$$$ GreenPan

Carbon steel is a perfect hybrid of a cast iron skillet and a stainless steel frying pan. It has a cast iron’s heat retention, seasoning, and non-stick properties and stainless steel’s heat control, lightness and cooking speed. For those who find cast iron too heavy, this is a great option. For those who want true nonstick without the need for any maintenance, go with something like Caraway.

$$ Carbon Steel

Pros: Another new comer on the scene, this woman-owned business makes incredibly chic ceramic cast iron that is the best of all worlds. They are truly comparable in quality to Staub and Le Creuset, but half the price. I love the thoughtful features that are a welcome update on the old classics: handles that are large enough to grip with oven mitts (see image below), brass hardware, and a matte finish that you won’t find anywhere else. I had been seeing these pans advertised on instagram for months and finally decided to try the braiser in broccoli green. It’s a perfect size and shape, and really feels substantial / long lasting. I will also say that I love the bakeware! It’s really hard to find non-aluminum baking sheets and trays that are heavy-duty and good quality. Read on my website for the Cons

$$ Great Jones

Pros: This new player on the scene makes thoughtfully designed non stick sets using ceramic coating. The four pans on offer retail for $395 together, which is on the higher end, but a great deal for the value. The set comes with a magnetized rack for easy storage and a canvas lid case (see below) that can be hung on a wall or inside a cabinet door. I’ve been using these pans now for 6 months in a very small kitchen and have been impressed. Not only does nothing stick to them, but the pans are oven safe as well up to 600 degrees F. If you want a lighter pan than traditional cast iron that can still go in the oven, this would be my pick. Plus, the color palette is fun and chic! I have the set in sage. Read on my website for the Cons

$$ Caraway Home

Pros: I won’t beat around the bush and make you read to the end of the article to give you my verdict. These multipurpose cast iron skillets (and Dutch ovens) are the best bang for your buck, and what I use for the majority of my stovetop operations. Salty Southern grandmothers have been using these products for generations. When cared for properly, they develop a seasoned patina that is naturally nonstick. And the good news is, they actually leach something good into your diet: iron! Read on my website for the Cons 

$ Lodge Cast Iron