When it comes to choosing a skillet, the pros have a hands-down preference: heavy-duty, hard-to-burn-in, last-a-lifetime cast iron. It requires extra care, but trust us, it’s worth it. Says Michael Ferraro, chef and partner at upscale NYC eatery Delicatessen, “The cast-iron pan is designed for multiple cooking techniques. It can be used as a slow cooker, frying pan, high-heat searer, roaster, and braiser.” Not to mention baking dish, pizza stone, wok, paella pan, and oven-to-table serving platter.

Beyond its versatility, cast iron also lowers the odds you’ll end up burning what you cook. “Cast iron creates more even heat throughout the pan,” so you avoid hot spots, says Victor Scargle, executive chef at Lucy Restaurant & Bar in Yountville, CA. Plus, the porous surface soaks up flavor, so your meals taste better with time.

And as for that whole nonstick thing, once your cast iron is seasoned properly, you’ll be sliding eggs off that baby without a care.