Highly nonstick with minimal seasoning
Excellent heating capacity
Handle is hard to grip
Not ideal for glass cooktops
Say T-fal, and images of the first nonstick pots and pans, coated with patented Teflon material, come to mind. So when the company puts its name and legacy behind a cast iron skillet and calls it nonstick, you’d be inclined to trust them, right? We put the T-fal E83407 Pre-Seasoned Nonstick Cast Iron Skillet through the ringer to find out if it lives up to its lineage.
Design: Heft and size deflects from classic cast iron design
The 12-inch T-fal E83407 Pre-Seasoned Nonstick Cast Iron Skillet is designed like a classic pan that can be handed down over the generations, with high, 2.25-inch sides and a helper handle—necessary in any pan 10 inches or larger. Everything is sized proportionately to the pan’s dimensions, including the two spouts that successfully pour out any grease without drips. Loops in both of the handles allow for storage and display. Molded into the bottom are the brand name and a ring around the circumference.
The company claims it can be used on all stovetops, including induction, but we’d be cautious on glass cooktops due to the heft, exterior surface, and likelihood of dragging along the glass.
Nonstick must run in T-fal’s family; this cast iron is pre-seasoned so well that after a few uses, a sunny-side egg slid right off onto a plate.
We thought the T-fal 12-inch had two major downfalls: weight and an extra-large handle. The 12-inch version of this skillet comes in at a whopping 9 pounds, while most competitors fall into the 6.8 to 8.4 pound range. T-fal describes the handle as extra-long to accommodate the size and weight, curved to improve the ergonomics of lifting the pan, and with T-fal’s signature thumb rest. Unfortunately, physics weren’t on our side: The handle’s distance from the pan itself makes it feel heavier than it is, and at 9 pounds, every ounce counts. Despite the curved handle and thumb rest (which is barely perceivable under an oven mitt), the skillet was cumbersome to carry. When transferring the skillet filled two-thirds with cornbread batter into an oven preheated to 400°F, the pan tipped out of our hands, spilling its contents all over the stove. If you plan to sear several beautiful steaks in a large pan on the stovetop, T-fal’s 12-inch cast iron will serve you well. But for baking and stove-to-oven recipes, the risk of a heavy filled skillet tipping off balance is just too high.
Material: Pre-seasoning quickly creates a stellar nonstick surface
As its name suggests, the T-fal E83407 Pre-Seasoned Nonstick Cast Iron Skillet is made of cast iron that has been pre-seasoned. Like all other cast iron pans, it is slow to heat (give it at least five minutes) but once it’s hot, it’s ready to go. Plus, you can put it in an oven heated up to 600°F. We found that cornbread baked in this skillet comes out with an extra crispy crust that shows no variation in color. To us, this demonstrated that the product holds high heat very well and doesn’t have hot spots.
The manufacturer does not provide specifics on the pre-seasoning agent—we suspect a neutral vegetable oil—but it is deliberate in pointing out that the pan is free of perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA. Companies once used the chemical to create Teflon coating before the formula was changed due to safety concerns.
For the quality of its nearly nonstick surface, we’d be willing to pay more.
We can confirm that nonstick must run in T-fal’s family; this cast iron is pre-seasoned so well that after a few uses and a single one-hour seasoning in a 500°F oven, a sunny-side egg slid right off the 12-inch skillet onto a plate. And cornbread popped out of the pan with nearly no sticking.
Cleaning: Hand-washing requires very little elbow grease, but some care to dry
The quality of T-fal’s nonstick surface means that little cleaning is necessary. Regardless, it’s valuable to review the basics of cast iron housekeeping to maintain a slippery surface that develops within the first few uses: Avoid the dishwasher. Use a plastic scraper to dislodge any stuck-on food rather than a stainless steel scouring pad that could scratch the surface if scrubbed too hard and possibly remove a layer of seasoning. If the food is stubborn or burned, add some water and heat up the pan until simmering to soften and dislodge the debris. You may have heard that soap is the enemy of cast iron—that’s a myth. Remaining wet is, as this will lead to rust; rust means you’ll need to re-season. So, if it makes you more comfortable, use a squirt of soap to clean out the skillet.
Regardless of the method used, don’t soak cast iron in water. And always dry it immediately after cleaning. This is particularly relevant for this T-fal skillet since its pre-seasoning is so strong that it would be a pity to lose it and start all over again. To make sure it’s truly bone-dry, we recommend setting it in a warm oven or over a low flame for a couple minutes. To further maintain seasoning and avoid rust, once dry, it’s best to swipe the pan with a towel dipped in a small amount of vegetable oil until shiny.
If you plan to sear steaks, T-fal’s 12-inch cast iron will serve you well — but for baking recipes, the risk of a heavy filled skillet tipping off balance is too high.
Price: High value for excellent quality
Retailing for under $25, the T-fal E83407 Pre-Seasoned Nonstick Cast Iron Skillet is on the lower end of the price spectrum for pans of the same material and size. For the quality of its nearly nonstick surface, we’d be willing to pay more.
Need some more help finding what you're looking for? Read through our best skillets article.
T-fal E83407 Pre-Seasoned Nonstick Cast Iron Skillet 12-inch vs. 10.25-inch
No matter how well its surface resists sticking, the weight of this 12-inch cast iron skillet puts it out of contention for most. Luckily, T-fal makes the same skillet in a 10.25-inch model for $5 less that has the same properties but only weighs north of 6 pounds. For five dollars and nearly 3 pounds less, we’d gladly opt for the next size down and sear our steaks in batches.
- Product Name Pre-Seasoned Nonstick Cast Iron Skillet
- Product Brand T-fal
- Price $34.5
- Weight 9 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 13 x 2.5 x 19.7 in.
- Color Black
- Material Cast iron
- Warranty Lifetime warranty for defects
- Model Number E83407