Are old cast iron skillets better than new?

New vs. vintage skillets

Many cast iron users will tell you that old cast iron skillets are better than new cast iron pans. While ironware made in the late 1800s to early 1900s is popular among experienced cast iron users, those new to cast-iron cookware may benefit from a new pan.
In this article, you can learn the benefits of cooking with a vintage skillet vs. a new cast iron frying pan. I emphasize the main advantages of new and antique cast iron cookware for those with little to no experience cooking with cast iron. But are looking to purchase their first cast iron skillet.

I will also exclude the bespoke brands that manufacture skillets that emulate the level of quality seen in vintage skillets. Bespoke brands typically run at a much higher price than one from Lodge or Victoria.

Table Of Contents

  1. Do vintage skillets cook food better?
  2. The benefits of vintage skillets vs. new cast iron skillets
  3. What is a drawback to buying an antique skillet?
  4. The benefits of new cast iron skillets
  5. What is the drawback to buying a new cast iron skillet?
  6. Are old cast iron skillets better than new cast iron pans?

Should I Buy A New Or Vintage Cast Iron skillet?

Are old cast iron skillets better?
I love vintage cookware, but in many cases a new cast iron pan makes more sense.

Do Vintage Skillets Cook Food Better?

The only difference in taste will likely come from the assumption vintage pans are better. And the perception of cheap skillets from Walmart and online stores is inferior. But in all truthfulness, there will be little to no difference in taste or tenderness between using a vintage pan vs. a new pan. 

The Benefits Of Vintage Skillets vs. New Cast Iron Skillets

While cooked food in a vintage skillet or a new skillet will likely taste the same, there is no doubt many prefer to use a vintage pan. Here are three reasons to consider using an old skillet.

Smooth Cooking Surface

Vintage cast iron pans before the 1970s often had a smooth cooking surface. Many owners of vintage ironware, including myself, are more than willing to praise the semi-nonstick characteristics of a well-seasoned vintage pan. 

Food does seem to release better on an old pan. A cast iron pan with a smooth finish is particularly beneficial for cooking omelets and scrambled eggs over the pebbly finish on new pans.


Many people new to cast iron find the weight of cast iron pans offputting. And they prefer to use vintage pans that are thinner and much lighter than modern cast iron cookware. 

Unfortunately, some cooks dismiss cast iron cookware because they have never lifted an antique pan. If you’re not a big, burly person, a modern cast iron skillet may be overwhelming, and a vintage pan could be a good option. 


Using a vintage pan is more than simply cooking food. Cooking with a pan over 100 years old is an experience that is hard to explain. These old skillets are a piece of history from a bygone era. And using them is a real treat. The experience of using antique cast iron is challenging to replicate with modern ironware. Vintage pans are more fun to use and have that old-world charm.

What Are Drawbacks To Buying An Antique Skillet?

Why not simply buy a vintage skillet instead of a new one? The answer is price and age. 

Like any vintage item, old skillets can cost a lot of money. Ironware made by well-known brands such as Wapak, Griswold, and Wagner can be especially expensive. Vintage skillets can cost hundreds of dollars for larger sizes. So, a newer skillet can make a lot more financial sense.

Because of the age and the intended purpose of cast iron cookware, antique pans often suffer damage, such as warping and cracks. 

These defects can render the pan unsafe for use on your stovetop if the pan has a crack. I often recommend a new cast iron skillet over a vintage pan. And a new pan will cook food just as well as an old pan. 

If you want to know the best vintage cast iron skillets, click the link. 

The Benefits Of A New Skillet

Suitable For Modern Cookers

Most new cast iron skillets will be suitable for modern stovetops. And the thickness of a new iron skillet can absorb sudden temperature rises better than vintage pans. A thicker pan is less likely to warp. So, if you want to use a skillet at a searing temperature, newer cast iron skillets are often the better choice.  


New cast iron skillets by manufacturers such as Lodge Manufacturing and Victoria are relatively cheap compared to stainless steel alternatives and vintage pans in restored condition. 

A new, non-expensive skillet is a great way to cook with cast iron without the outlay or knowledge of buying a vintage pan.

Beginner Friendly

Since cast skillets are inexpensive, new cast iron is great to learn and experience how the cookware handles on the stovetop and oven. Seasoned cast iron can be harder to clean and maintain if you usually cook with non-stick cookware. So, a low-cost and heavier skillet is ideal.

What Is The Drawback To Buying A New Skillet vs. A Vintage Pan?

The weight is the biggest drawback of new pans. You can overcome food sticking by adding more butter or oil. But if the pan is too heavy, you probably won’t use it.

Many modern cast iron pans are too heavy for users to lift comfortably. And a vintage pan could be the better option. 

Are you thinking of purchasing a Lodge skillet? Then I’d consider the Lodge 12-inch regular skillet, and here’s why.

Are Old Cast Iron Skillets Better Than New Cast Iron Pans?

If you are new to cast iron cooking, I wouldn’t be too quick to jump on the vintage cast iron bandwagon. Vintage cast iron is a joy to cook with, but it can be overpriced, and it may be better to start with a cheaper pan made by a reputable manufacturer. 

Lodge Manufacturing and Victoria offer skillets at a great entry point for the new cast iron user. And the pans come ready to use with no seasoning required. 

And if you have your heart set on a vintage Griswold skillet, you may want to read this article. I compare the Griswold large and small logo skillets.



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