Cooks love cast-iron cookware for a variety of reasons and topping the list is the cast-iron's ability to cook food evenly and quickly. cast-iron holds heat like no other metal. These pans and skillets are amazing at sealing the flavor into foods. As a side benefit, food cooked in a cast-iron pot or pan have added iron from the iron leached from the cookware. If you are new to cast-iron cookware or cooking and are unsure of where to start, start with the basics. The first few good choices are a  skillet and a Dutch oven. Both cast-iron skillets and Dutch ovens can be used on top of a stove or in your oven. Being that you can use them in both places, you will need less pieces of cookware. cast-iron cookware can serve more than one cooking purpose. cast-iron cookware has a vast amount of choices. There are cast-iron skillets,  frying pans, Dutch ovens,  griddles, cast-iron grill pans,  loaf pans, cast-iron muffins pans and the choices go on and on. You really don't need all of the pieces to start off with.

What cast-iron Cookware Should You Start With

The first best choice is a cast-iron skillet. Choose the size of your  skillet based on how much you cook on a regular basis. It's always better to choose a slightly larger size rather than a smaller size. cast-iron skillets are highly versatile, going from stove top to oven without changing cookware.

The second choice would have to be the versatile Dutch oven. Choose a Dutch oven that will be large enough to cook a little more than you would normally cook. Don't buy the largest size you can find because you will never get good use from an overly large piece.

When beginning your cast-iron cookware collection, skip the specialty items such as a  grill pan or a muffin pan because their uses are limited unless you grill often and bake regularly.

Choose your new cook ware depending on your cooking style. If you are not the type who would use a dutch oven but would use a cake pan, start there. Choices depend on you and your interests.

cast-iron Cookware Fast Buying Guide

Buy only good quality cast-iron cookware regardless if you plan to buy it new or used.

Look for cooking or baking pieces that is not cracked, chipped, deeply scratched or pitted.

The surface of the pot, pan or griddle should be rough like a fine grit of sandpaper, but the surface should be even. The surface should not be very rough.

If you are buying used pots, pans or other pieces, inspect it thoroughly for any damage. Stay away from skillets and other items that looks as if it they are new, this may be an attempt to hide damage.

regardless of which brand you choose, it should be thick and even. Thin bottoms and sides are prone to cracking and chipping.

Make sure you buy cooking pieces with heavy handles because the handles have to be strong enough to bear the weight of the rest of the cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven plus the weight of the food.

Stay away from any cooking pieces with wooden handles or any inlaid materials.