Wenzel Cast Iron Cookware Review – Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

Wenzel Cast Iron Cookware Review Ultimate Buyers Guide

Have you been thinking about buying some cast iron cookware for your kitchen? If so, you’re in good company! Cast iron has made a major comeback in recent years thanks to its natural non-stick properties, superior heat retention, and durability. When it comes to cast iron, one of the most popular brands available today is Wenzel.

In this comprehensive buyer’s guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Wenzel cast iron cookware. You’ll learn about the history of the Wenzel brand, the benefits of cooking with cast iron, how to properly season and care for cast iron, and detailed reviews of some of Wenzel’s most popular skillets and pans.

Whether you’re new to cast iron cooking or a seasoned pro, this 4000+ word guide will help you determine if Wenzel cast iron is right for your kitchen!

A Brief History of Wenzel Cast Iron Cookware

Wenzel first opened its doors in Pennsylvania back in 1896. For over a century, the family-owned company has been crafting premium cast iron cookware made from American-sourced raw materials.

Wenzel uses the traditional sand mold casting process to produce their cast iron. This involves packing wet sand into a mold frame, carving out the shape of the cookware, removing the sand, and then pouring molten iron into the cavity. Once cooled, the cast iron piece is cleaned and precision-machined to achieve a smooth cooking surface.

The Wenzel foundry takes great pride in their quality control, ensuring that each piece meets their rigorous standards before being packaged and shipped out. This attention to detail is part of why Wenzel has earned such a loyal following among cast iron enthusiasts.

In addition to skillets and pans, Wenzel produces a wide range of cast iron cookware including grill pans, Dutch ovens, baking dishes, and more. They are also one of the few major brands that still manufactures some of their cast iron line in the United States.

Why Cook with Wenzel Cast Iron?

So what makes cast iron cookware from Wenzel stand out from the crowd? Here are some of the key benefits of cooking with Wenzel cast iron:

  • Natural Non-Stick Properties – When properly seasoned, cast iron develops a natural non-stick surface. Foods will sear and brown beautifully without sticking. Wenzel’s smooth finish helps enhance the non-stick quality.
  • Even Heating – Cast iron heats gradually and evenly. Once hot, it retains heat very well to help prevent temperature fluctuations while cooking. This makes it great for searing steaks or frying chicken.
  • Versatility – Wenzel cast iron works on induction, electric, gas, ceramic, grill, oven, or even campfires. You can stove top sear meat before transferring the entire pan into the oven. This makes cast iron extremely versatile across cooking methods.
  • Durability – With proper maintenance, cast iron lasts for decades. Many Wenzel pieces get passed down through generations. The thick material and natural seasoning prevent wear and tear.
  • Imparts Iron – Cooking acidic foods in cast iron can add small amounts of dietary iron. This can be beneficial for those at risk of iron deficiency.
  • Made in the USA – Wenzel proudly makes some of their cast iron cookware in Pennsylvania, supporting American manufacturing jobs.
  • Value – Considering its durability, Wenzel cast iron provides great bang for your buck. The pieces are generally more affordable than other premium cast iron brands.

As you can see, Wenzel checks all the boxes when it comes to the benefits of cooking with cast iron. Now let’s go over what you need to know before purchasing your first Wenzel cast iron pan.

What to Consider Before Buying Wenzel Cast Iron?

Cast iron requires some special considerations when cooking and caring for it. Here are a few tips for first-time cast iron buyers:

  • Learn Proper Seasoning – Seasoning is the process of curing the cast iron with oil to create a natural non-stick layer. Proper seasoning is key to preventing food from sticking. We’ll cover how to season Wenzel cast iron later in this guide.
  • Consider Cooktop Compatibility – Cast iron works on most modern cooktops, but you need to make sure your stove can handle both the weight and heat intensity. Electric and glass tops in particular may have issues, so check your manufacturer guidelines.
  • Choose Wisely – Think about which size pans or skillet you need, along with accessories like lids. Cast iron is heavy, so pick pieces you’ll actually use regularly. Too many redundant pans will just take up storage space.
  • Understand the Maintenance – While not difficult, cast iron does require some special care like hand washing and regularly re-seasoning. Make sure you’re ready to follow the cleaning and storage steps outlined later in this guide.
  • Be Ready to Lift! – Cast iron pans are bulky and heavy. Make sure everyone who plans to use the cookware is capable of safely lifting and maneuvering the weight. Just something to keep in mind before your purchase.

Next up, we’ll provide step-by-step instructions on how to properly season Wenzel cast iron to get it ready for cooking.

How to Season Wenzel Cast Iron Cookware?

Seasoning is the process of curing your cast iron cookware with layers of oil that get polymerized onto the iron itself. This results in a natural non-stick coating.

Wenzel offers both pre-seasoned and traditional unfinished cast iron.

  • Pre-Seasoned – Wenzel pre-seasons some of their foundry collection in a commercial oven using soybean oil. This saves you the hassle of doing it yourself. However, you may still want to season further for best results.
  • Traditional Unfinished – Traditional untreated iron requires you to fully season it from scratch at home. While this takes more work upfront, many cast iron purists prefer the smoothness of self-seasoned pans.

Either way, proper seasoning is essential for getting the most out of your Wenzel cast iron. Here is a step-by-step seasoning guide:

Supplies Needed

  • Wenzel Cast Iron Pan
  • Coarse kosher salt or cast iron scrub brush
  • Oven safe handle mittens or pot holders
  • Canola oil, flaxseed oil, or other high-smoke point neutral oil
  • Paper towel or clean lint-free cloth


  1. Clean the Wenzel pan – Use coarse salt or a stiff brush to scrub off any dust, residues, or wax from the manufacturing process. Rinse and dry thoroughly.
  2. Apply a thin oil coating – Use a paper towel or cloth to rub a very thin layer of your seasoning oil across the entire surface and underside of the pan. Just a glistening sheen. Too much oil can lead to stickiness.
  3. Bake in oven – Place pan upside down in oven. Bake at 200°F for 15 minutes before increasing heat to 350°F for 1 hour. This slowly polymerizes the oil onto the iron.
  4. Cool and wipe down – Let pan cool completely before wiping again with oil or paper towel to remove any dust or excess oil from oven seasoning.
  5. Repeat process – For best results, repeat the oiling and baking process 2-3 more times until pan develops a smooth black patina.

The initial seasoning provides the foundation – but the seasoning will continue to improve naturally each time you cook in it. Now let’s go over the best practices for cleaning and caring for your Wenzel cast iron once it’s seasoned and ready for cooking.

Caring for Your Wenzel Cast Iron Pans and Skillets

While cast iron is inherently tough, you need to treat it with some care to maintain the seasoning and prevent rust. Here are some tips for cleaning and storing your Wenzel cookware:

  • Hand wash only – Don’t put cast iron in the dishwasher! Use hot water and a plastic bristle brush or chainmail scrubber to remove stuck food particles. Avoid harsh soaps.
  • Dry thoroughly – Fully dry your pan immediately after washing. Residual water leads to rust! Dry by hand or place back on stove burner for a few minutes to evaporate water.
  • Apply oil – After drying, rub a tiny amount of oil onto the cooking surface. This maintains the protective seasoning layer.
  • Store properly – Hang pans or place paper towels between stacked pans to allow air circulation and prevent moisture buildup.
  • Re-season as needed – If pan loses its non-stick quality or shows rust spots, do a full re-seasoning using the steps outlined earlier.
  • Clean tough grime – For burnt-on grease or stuck-on food, scrub with salt, do a baking soda paste cleaning, or use Wenzel’s recommended lye bath procedure.

With just a little care, your Wenzel cast iron will provide decades of delicious cooking. Next let’s look at reviews of some of the best-selling Wenzel cast iron pans.

Reviews of the Top Wenzel Cast Iron Products

Wenzel 8″ Skillet

The 8-inch skillet is a popular starter size for those new to cast iron cooking. Wenzel’s version weighs about 3 lbs and comes pre-seasoned with soybean oil.

In testing, this little pan performed like a champ at cooking eggs, pancakes, and other breakfast foods without sticking. The underside is flat enough to allow flipping smaller foods easily.

Compared to the 10″ skillet, the lighter weight of the 8″ model made it easier to maneuver and wash one-handed. Just keep in mind the smaller cooking surface can’t handle larger recipes.

Considering its reasonable price point and smaller learning curve for cast iron beginners, the Wenzel 8” Pre-Seasoned Skillet is highly recommended as a starter pan.

Wenzel 10” Skillet

The 10-inch Wenzel skillet provides a nice increase in cooking surface compared to the 8-inch, while still being lighter than most 12” cast iron pans. It’s a versatile mid-sized option suitable for frying, searing, scrambling eggs, baking cornbread, and more.

In testing, the Wenzel 10” skillet excelled at tasks like frying chicken cutlets with its ample room to maneuver pieces without overcrowding the pan. Searing steaks also produced excellent browning.

Compared to the smoother vintage Griswold pans, the cooking surface is not quite as slick. But the Wenzel skillet still performs fine after just a bit more seasoning.

Given its below average weight for a 10” cast iron skillet, ease of handling, and affordable price point, the Wenzel 10” skillet is highly recommended for anyone looking for a medium-sized all-purpose cast iron pan.

Wenzel 12” Skillet

For larger families or those who love to cook big batches, the 12-inch Wenzel skillet is a great rugged and affordable option.

The generously sized cooking surface provides enough room to fry chicken or fish for 4+ people. Flipping pancakes and sandwiches is easy, with ample clearance between pieces. The skillet is also well-suited for one-pan recipes like roast chicken with vegetables.

The only downside is the hefty 6.5 lb weight. The skillet strains wrists when carried one-handed. Two hands are needed to lift safely. This is typical of extra-large cast iron pans.

The helper handle allows for easier lifting compared to handle-free alternatives like the Victoria skillet. Those able to manage the weight will be rewarded with a very versatile and durable pan.

Overall the 12” size, affordable price, and dual handle design make this an easy recommendation for households seeking extra-large cast iron cookware.

Wenzel Square Grill Pan

Square grill pans unlock cooking options like panini presses and getting those coveted grill marks on meats. Wenzel’s take on the grill pan includes ridges on both sides of the pan – a unique design compared to other brands’ single-ridged pans.

In testing, the double ridges came in handy when grilling thicker cuts of meat. Flipping the steaks halfway through allowed searing crisscrossed grill marks on both sides. Paninis also achieved excellent pressed texture without any leaking grease.

The pour spouts on both sides helped in neatly draining away excess grease. The inverted dome shape also promotes grease run-off.

Downsides are the weight and lower heat retention compared to traditional round cast iron. The grill ridges minimize broad surface contact. This pan needs a bit more re-seasoning to achieve truly non-stick performance.

For fans of grill pan cooking or those desiring excellent sear marks on meats, the Wenzel Double-Ridged Square Grill Pan is a great product pick.

Wenzel Blue Enamel Dutch Oven

Cast iron Dutch ovens are beloved for slow braises, cooking soups and stews, baking bread, and more. Wenzel’s 6-Quart Dutch Oven combines traditional cast iron with vibrant blue porcelain enamel.

In testing, the enameled surface produced delicious deeply caramelized stews and crispy roasted chicken. The lid retained moisture extremely well when simmering bone broth overnight.

Compared to uncoated cast iron, the smooth porcelain enamel releases food more easily. However, dried-on grease created some stubborn sticking spots. Deglazing with an acid like wine or vinegar is recommended after searing or browning.

The attractive blue enamel gives this Wenzel Dutch oven a striking look compared to plain black pots. Just be aware that chipping can eventually occur in the enamel after years of heavy use.

For anyone seeking an enameled cast iron Dutch oven with timeless appeal, the Wenzel 6-Quart Blue Enamel Dutch Oven will provide delicious cooking results for many years to come.

Wenzel Cast Iron: Common Questions

Still have some questions about Wenzel cast iron cookware? Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions:

Is Wenzel cast iron oven safe?

Yes, Wenzel cast iron can be safely used in the oven. Their skillets and pans come with an oven-safe stainless steel handle. The cast iron itself can handle temperatures up to 500°F.

How to get rid of rust on Wenzel cast iron?

If rust spots appear, scrub them off immediately with steel wool or sandpaper. Rust left untreated can damage the seasoning. Re-season the pan completely using the seasoning process outlined earlier. Always dry cast iron thoroughly after washing and apply a thin oil layer to prevent future rust.

Does Wenzel cast iron work on induction cooktops?

Yes, Wenzel cast iron will work on induction ranges since cast iron itself is magnetic. Their skillets and pans have also tested compatible with most induction cooktops. Just double check your individual stove manual.

Can you put Wenzel cast iron in the dishwasher?

It’s not recommended. The harsh dishwasher detergent can strip off the seasoning. Hand washing is best to preserve the non-stick patina. If you do run it through the dishwasher, immediately re-season the pan afterwards.

What oil is best for seasoning Wenzel cast iron?

For seasoning, you want high smoke point neutral oils like canola, vegetable, refined avocado, grapeseed, or flaxseed oil. Avoid low smoke point olive and extra virgin olive oils. Crisco vegetable shortening also works well for seasoning.

How to get food from sticking to Wenzel cast iron?

Ensure your pan is properly seasoned. Let it fully preheat before cooking. Use enough oil or fat for cooking. Let foods develop a sear before trying to flip or move them. Deglaze stuck bits after cooking. Avoid cooking very acidic foods until well-seasoned.

How much does Wenzel cast iron cookware cost?

Wenzel cast iron is very affordable compared to other premium brands. Their skillets range from $20-50 depending on size. Dutch ovens are $50-100. More specialty pieces like grill pans run $60-80.

Where can I buy Wenzel cast iron pans?

Wenzel cast iron is sold on Amazon, Home Depot, Wayfair, Walmart online, and many other national retailers. Local cookware stores may also carry Wenzel products. Check their website’s store locator for sellers near you.

Is Wenzel cast iron better than Lodge cast iron?

Wenzel and Lodge are both quality brands. Lodge pans have a rougher cooking surface, while Wenzel finishes their pans more smoothly. This gives Wenzel an advantage for achieving non-stick seasoning. However, with proper seasoning technique, both brands will cook very similarly. It comes down to your personal preference on price points and cooking surface texture.


And there you have it – everything you could want to know about Wenzel cast iron cookware! From its long history of American manufacturing to the many benefits of cooking with cast iron, Wenzel delivers quality and value in its vintage-style skillets and pans. Their cast iron requires a bit more care and maintenance than other pots and pans, but rewards you with years of delicious cooking if you season it properly and treat it right.

The reviews of Wenzel’s most popular pieces like their rugged 12-inch skillet, versatile square grill pan, and classically styled enameled Dutch oven demonstrate their range of offerings. While not as slickly finished as premium antique cast iron, Wenzel provides comparable cooking performance at more affordable prices.

Hopefully this guide gave you all the details you need to decide if Wenzel cast iron is right for your kitchen needs and cooking style. Their combination of traditional charm and cooking utility has made Wenzel a standby for generations of cast iron enthusiasts. Happy cooking!

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