How To Choose The Right Cast-Iron Skillet Size? (7 Sizes)

What size cast-iron skillet should I buy?

There are many kitchen tools out there. Finding the right ones is vital in creating great dishes. Getting them in the perfect materials is also essential for ease. However, there is one more thing to consider – the size.

Well, you need not worry. Allow us to help you with this cookware concern.

The Many Different Sizes

best size cast iron skillet

There are many different types of cookware. There are also lots of materials from which you have to take your pick. It could all be a little confusing.

Common Skillet Size:

Skillet Size Cooking Surface Area Compared to 10″ Skillet
3.5″ 9.6 inches sq. 12% smaller
6.5″ 33.2 inches sq. 42% smaller
8″ 50.3 inches sq. 64% smaller
10″ 78.5 inches sq. 100%
12″ 113.1 inches sq. 144% larger
15″ 176.7 inches sq. 225% larger
17″ 227.0 inches sq. 289% larger

Well, you might be happy to see that it doesn’t have to be that challenging when picking sizes. There are many to choose from, but only a select few are commonly considered.

3.5 Inch

The 3.5-inch skillet is probably the smallest of them all.

I adore tiny cookware. If I see one on the shelves, I’m likely to linger around it for some time. Even if I said that, if you come to my kitchen, you will find that I don’t own any tiny cookware. That is because while they may be cute, they’re usually not practical choices. With that said, a 3.5-inch skillet won’t help you much around the kitchen. If you’re looking for a handy, trusty, and all-arounder, you might want to skip this one.

The 3.5-inch skillet isn’t usually for meals, except for desserts.

3.5 Inch cast iron skillet

6.5 Inch

Our next one is three inches bigger than our first one. It is bigger, but many would agree that it still doesn’t give you enough room to make that delicious meal.

It could help you with your breakfast meal. That is if you’re only making breakfast for yourself. The 6.5-inch skillet won’t help much with meals beyond breakfast, all the more for two-person meals.

8 Inch

If you’re looking for a small skillet, this is a skillet you might want to look into. It is only 1.5 inches bigger than the last one, but this skillet already offers enough space to make a meal.

If you’re living alone and trying to save up some storage space, generally, the eight-inch skillet is the smallest one you’d want.

Still, many suggest going a size higher if you could. The eight-inch skillet already offers enough space for a meal, but some still find its space too limited.

what size cast iron skillet

10 Inch

The ten-inch skillet is one of the three skillet sizes you seriously want to look into.

The ten-inch skillet offers the same benefits as the eight-inch skillet, but with a little more space. It might only be two inches, but these two inches will do wonders for the user.

This one is good for a household with two members. On the other hand, if you live alone and have some extra storage space, then you might want to go for the ten-inch skillet instead of the eight-inch one too.

12 Inch

The twelve-inch skillet is probably the most recommended size out of the many different sizes out there. It’s handy, trusty, and flexible. It allows you to cook many dishes with ease, and it also gives you the chance to cook for many! Because hey! You never know when a guest is coming, and you might want to cook your specialty for those occasions.

If you want a big skillet, the twelve-inch skillet is probably one of the best – if not the best – choices. There are still larger skillets, but as you will see in a bit, going bigger is not always the best way to go when it comes to this cookware.

best cast iron skillet size

15 Inch

Our next skillet is 3 inches bigger than the last one. Adding a few more inches couldn’t hurt, could it?

As you might have noticed already, many suggest going with the largest skillet as much as possible. That is a good idea until you go beyond 12 inches. Many don’t recommend going beyond 12 inches as this introduces cold spots on the skillet.

A 15-inch skillet would offer more space, but it might offer unevenly cooked dishes in return. When it comes to skillets, adding a few inches could hurt. Maybe not you, but to your food!

A 15-inch skillet might be best suited for commercial use.

17 Inch

Finally, we have the 17-inch skillet. If you’re looking for a big one, this skillet might be for you.

Same with the 15-inch skillet, going bigger isn’t always advisable. Don’t get us wrong! Big skillets beyond 12 inches are still good. They’re just not always the best choices for home cooking.

If you’re still considering getting a 17-inch skillet, you might want to look at our next portion.

What to Consider When Buying Cast Iron Skillet

cast iron sizes

We’ve shown you the different sizes of cast-iron skillets and the three crowd favorite sizes (i.e., 8-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch). There are three favored sizes, but you can get a cast-iron pan in your preferred size. Unfortunately, preference is not the only thing you would have to consider when picking the right skillet size for you.

Group Size

The number of people in your household is one of the factors you’d have to consider when buying this cookware. If you live alone, you have more freedom in choosing the size you want. In a way, you could say that the bigger your family is, the fewer options you have. Big skillet sizes are undoubtedly advisable for large families. Otherwise, you would have to do more cooking to fill everyone’s plates!

Heating Surface Size

Next, you’d also have to consider the size of your heating surface. If the size of your heating surface can only accommodate 10 inches, you should get a 10-inch skillet instead of a 12-inch one.

If your skillet is larger than your heating surface, you would have cold spots. In the end, that is almost the same as having a skillet in a smaller size.


After that, you also want to look into what exactly you are planning to cook or bake in the skillet.

Many favor the eight-inch, ten-inch, and twelve-inch skillet because they’re great for meals. If you’re only looking to make desserts using a skillet, there’s no need to cross the 3.5-inch skillet off of the list. It is also a suitable choice if you aim to recreate the classy individual desserts you see in restaurants.

cast iron pan sizes


You also want to look into the weight of the skillet when buying one. As you might already know, this cookware could be heavy. You might want to go for a big one, but it might just be too heavy for you, especially when you start putting the meat in.

Sometimes, all you need is some extra elbow grease, but it is still a good idea to make sure you can lift the skillet of your choice, especially if you plan to toss and flip with it.

Common Skillet Weight:

Skillet Size Weight (lbs) Compared to 10″ Skillet
3.5″ 1.0 lbs 10% smaller
6.5″ 3.5 lbs 35% smaller
8″ 4.5 lbs 45% smaller
10″ 5.0 lbs 100%
12″ 6.5 lbs 130% larger
15″ 8.5 lbs 170% larger
17″ 10.0 lbs 200% larger

Cleaning and Caring

Cast-iron cookware is not the easiest to clean and care for.

Before buying the largest skillet available, here is another thing you might want to look into. Are you sure you’re ready to care for this kitchenware? Do you think you can commit to all the steps involved after using it?

If you’re not sure, you might want to check this video out:

Consider investing in a smaller skillet if you don’t need the extra space. A smaller skillet would mean lesser work, after all. It would be easier to commit to all those steps with that.

Why Buy a Cast-Iron Skillet?

With everything we’ve talked about, you might be wondering if buying this cookware is worth it. Well, let us talk a little about that before we let you go.

Picking the perfect cast-iron skillet might be a little challenging, and using and caring for it might be taxing, but we do think it’s a good kitchenware to add to your arsenal. We believe it’s a good kitchen investment.

Cast-iron skillets are one of the most flexible kitchen partners you could have, and they could help you with many delicious dishes. If you want an all-arounder, this cookware is an option you would undoubtedly want to look into.

Skillet Size Serves Ideal For
3.5″ 1 Individual desserts, melting butter
6.5″ 1 Single-serving meals, frying one egg
8″ 1-2 Breakfast for one, small stir-fry dishes
10″ 2-3 Meals for a small family, pan-frying
12″ 3-4 Family-sized meals, sautéing vegetables
15″ 4-6 Large family meals, cooking multiple items
17″ 6-8 Big gatherings, commercial cooking


What size cast-iron skillet should I buy? While various sizes are available, many home cooks typically consider three primary sizes. Namely, those are the 8-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch skillets.

As you might already know, no size would be perfect for everyone. There are many factors and considerations you have to take into account. The eight-inch, ten-inch, and twelve-inch skillets might be favored by many, but they might not be for you. We hope this little guide got to help you with this concern.

Do you need any more help in the kitchen? You might want to check out our other discussions. We might have the thing to solve your dilemma!


what is the best size cast iron skillet

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