The Best Cast-Iron Skillet, Butter Pat

This heirloom skillet will stand the test of time

Pick up a Butter Pat skillet, and you'd be hard-pressed to believe it's actually made of cast iron. It's deceptively light, questionably thin around the edges and looks more like a bronzed antique than something capable of everything cast-iron pans are known and loved for.

Those are the exact qualities founder Dennis Powell had in mind when designing the skillet. After losing his own prized heirloom (passed down from his grandmother) to an unfortunate drop, he spent three years trying to reverse-engineer a product that lived up to pans of decades past. One that was molded thin for easier handling and highly polished for painless cleanup, while still having that bulletproof quality.

After breezing through initial prototypes that were "mostly a failure," Powell finally discovered a formula from foundry engineering manuals dating back to the late 1800s. The result? The Butter Pan Skillet, which goes through more than 40 sets of hands during its labor-intensive production process. It even has a 100-year warranty, in case you have any doubts. Perhaps the best touch, though, is that each of the three models (eight-, 10- or 12-inch) is named after a significant woman in Powell's life, and has the women's initials engraved on the bottom of it.

Chefs around the country, like Mississippi's John Currence, Dallas's John Tesar and Blue Smoke NYC's Jean-Paul Bourgeois, are taking note of this next-gen pan. You can also count Serious Eats' chief culinary consultant, J. Kenji López-Alt, as one of its many fans: He notes that pancakes and eggs glide right off the surface, straight from the box—no prior seasoning needed. Plus, since the exterior is also polished, the pan won't scratch delicate cooktops but is still durable enough to pass down to the next generation of cooks—even those prone to dropping their cookware.