When it is about selecting the right pan, it can be confusing. The most important thing to consider for any pan is the nonstick surface. That is why, people used to go for cast iron pan, high-tech nonstick pan, and carbon steel pan. Among them, carbon steel is naturally nonstick and it is lightweight than cast iron pans. Considering the convenience, carbon steel pans are great to use for regular cooking even in a professional kitchen.
It is not difficult to grab a new carbon steel pan set from the market. Different well-reputed brands are producing this. But when you want the best carbon steel pan, it could be challenging to finalize a single item. However, gathering knowledge about this kitchen item would help you to go further.
Quick Overview of 3 Best Carbon Steel Pan
Benefits of Using Carbon Steel Pan
If you have some confusions and don’t know whether you should grab a carbon steel pan or not, here are the benefits of using a carbon steel pan –
- Nonstick Surface – Pans in the market come in a wide range of materials and styles. Some pans come with a nonstick coating to make it easy to cook with less oil. But carbon steel cooking pan doesn’t have such coating. Instead, it is naturally nonstick. Which means, there is no chemical coating on the surface. If seasoned properly, it will perform better than any other type of nonstick pans.
- Long-Lasting – Metal accessories for the kitchen are always better as they are durable and long-lasting. Among various metals, carbon steel is one of the most durable ones. Carbon steel pans won’t be damaged easily as some other metals do. With minimal care and maintenance, a single item would serve for years.
- Heat Conductivity – To have a delicious meal, the prior condition is even cooking. Unfortunately, conventional pans are not well heat conductive. As a result, the user has to observe the whole cooking process to ensure perfect cooking. But the advantage of carbon steel is, it is well heat conductive. When given heat to the bottom, it distributes the heat evenly and ensures a properly cooked meal. Another thing is, carbon steel metal is heat resistant to high heat. So, it is compatible with a wide range of cooking styles.
- Relatively Inexpensive – You can spend even hundreds for a single kitchen accessory. But when you want to save money, carbon steel is best. It is durable and doesn’t require an additional coating to make it nonstick. Because of the natural nonstick surface and easy seasoning, they are inexpensive and affordable for all.
- Lightweight – Whenever someone thinks of metal accessories, weight is a big issue. Most of the metal utensils like cast iron pas are indeed bulky and difficult to handle when cooking. But carbon steel is not like that. Compared to other metal pans, it is lightweight and you can comfortably handle for hassle-free cooking.
Top 10 Best Carbon Steel Skillet Reviews
To make this exclusive list, we have tested more than 30 carbon steel pans. After testing, checking, and analyzing the performance, features, and price, our team has recommended only 10 products which I am going to review.
Made In Cookware 10″ Blue Carbon Steel Frying Pan
This carbon steel frying pan is a perfect combination of cast iron and stainless steel. Featuring extreme heat resistant nonstick surface, this is one of the best carbon steel frying pans. The cooking surface of the pan is nonstick that allows for healthy cooking with less oil. Its extreme heat conductivity and heat retention ensure faster and perfect cooking each time. The origin of the product in France and it is extremely durable for long-lasting performance.
This French steel pan is 2mm thick and distributes heat evenly. It doesn’t have any protective coating at the top. It comes with a unique blue heat treatment which keeps it rust-free. Also, seasoning is easy and anyone can do it. However, the new blue carbon steel pan doesn’t require seasoning. When it is getting older, use some cooking oil for proper seasoning.
Check: Best Carbon Steel Wok
- Heavily constructed for longevity.
- Lightweight for comfortable handling.
- Oven safe up to 1200 F.
- It is induction compatible.
- It doesn’t have any coating and easy to season.
- Comes with a Lifetime Warranty.
- It requires regular maintenance and care.
De Buyer MINERAL B Round Carbon Steel Fry Pan
Are you looking for a carbon steel fry pan with extreme strength and heat retention? If so, I would suggest checking this De Buyer carbon steel frying pan. The pan is constructed only from natural pure iron. So, there is no PTFE or PFOA, or any other harmful chemicals. It promotes healthy cooking with a nonstick and smooth surface. No need to use too much oil for frying, grilling, or any type of cooking.
Bee wax is used on the surface which assists in seasoning and keeps it safe from oxidation. Even if you keep it stored for a long time, there is less chance of rust. It is convenient to use. Instead of a single handle, this unit comes with two handles and easy to move when cooking. The long handle ensures proper balance and easy gripping for safety.
- Different sizes are available to choose from.
- Prevents it from oxidation.
- Bee wax infused surface for nonstick performance.
- Doesn’t have any toxic chemical solution.
- It is not designed to use in the oven.
Lodge 12 Inch Seasoned Carbon Steel Skillet
If you want to have the best carbon steel skillet at an affordable price, this Lodge 12-inch skillet would be a great option. It is constructed and made by the famous brand Lodge. They have a reputation in the market because of quality products and nonstick skillets. They used 12-gauge carbon steel in the construction for extreme durability.
Unlike some cheap products, lodge carbon steel skillet heats quickly and retains heat for perfect cooking each time. The cooking surface is pre-seasoned. However, when it is old, you can easily re-season with minimal things. Suitable to use in all cooking styles including gas stove, electric stove, and induction stovetops. Even you can use this Lodge carbon steel pan for an open fire. To clean it, hand wash is enough.
- Long-lasting seasoning in the new products.
- Easy seasoning with cooking oil.
- Thick carbon steel with heat retention.
- Suitable for any type of cooking style.
- The USA made products with top quality.
- It is relatively heavy which you may not like.
BK Cookware CC002353-001 Black Carbon Steel Skillet
This 11″ carbon steel skillet is a perfect item for people who are looking for something handy. With a comfortable handle, you can move the skillet easily. Inside the skillet, there is enough space for cooking a good amount of food at a time. The exterior is pre-seasoned and ready to use. Just receive the product and start using it immediately.
It highly heats responsive that becomes warm faster and retains the heat for a long time for even cooking. It is naturally nonstick and food particles hardly stick in it. No hassle in the cleaning. Just use some warm water and run through the skillet and dry for the next use. For the best performance, spray some cooking oil once a month and season it.
- Lightweight and excellent design for comfortable handling.
- Ready to use with pre-seasoned inside.
- Comfortable ergonomic handle.
- Heat retention and faster cooking.
- The side walls are too thin.
- It requires regular seasoning.
Lodge CRS15 Carbon Steel Skillet
This is a versatile product from Lodge which is constructed from carbon steel. It comes with a wider area on top where you can prepare a large meal for your family. It is compatible to use in high heat and best for browning/searing. Use in all types of cooking stoves, electric heater, induction stoves, or even open fire.
Instead of a long handle, this item features two short handles on each side. So, when you are preparing something heavy, you can use two hands for moving the food items inside. The skillet is ready to use and the nonstick surface keeps it mess-free.
- Two-handle design for users’ convenience.
- It doesn’t require regular seasoning.
- Heat conductive and high heat retention.
- Compatible with all types of cooking.
- Heavily constructed for longevity.
- Pre-seasoning is not too good and it comes off easily.
Matfer Bourgeat 62005 Frying Pan
If longevity is your first preference for the best carbon steel pan, this Matfer Bourgeat 62005 is highly recommended for you. It comes in a larger size that allows cooking enough food at a time. You don’t have to be limiting yourself to some particular cooking styles. From wooden stovetop to induction stovetop, everything can be used for cooking in this pan.
This Matfer carbon steel pan constructed with a steel strip handle that is well-balanced. When you need to give a gentle shake to the food ingredients in it, this handle helps a lot. To have a longer nonstick life season the pan properly before using it.
- Heavily constructed for durability.
- Comfortable handle for balance.
- Suitable for any type of cooking.
- From veggies to meat, anything can be cook in it.
- It is comparatively heavy.
- It doesn’t have pre-seasoning.
Matfer Bourgeat 062003 Black Steel Round Frying Pan
It is the best carbon steel frying pan for the money. If you are struggling to find a good product just because of a minimal budget, this Matfer Bourgeat carbon steel pan would be a great choice for you. However, it is offering a low price without compromising quality and performance. The size of the pan is 10 1/4 inches and the height is 2″. This is enough to prepare a meal for your family.
It comes with pure carbon steel construction for durability. Features long extra strong steel handle. Whenever you need to move the food ingredients inside, you can do it with this handle without losing the balance.
- Price is affordable for all.
- Suits for any cooking top.
- Round design to accommodate more food.
- Lightweight for users’ handiness.
- It requires proper seasoning to get nonstick performance.
Mauviel 3651.24 M’Steel Carbon Steel
Unfortunately, so many cheap products are available online with low quality. If you don’t want to waste your budget, you should go for this Mauviel carbon steel pan. This France made product is heavily designed for lifetime serving. Regardless of the higher price, people are extremely happy because of their superior performance. Instead of cheap think material, it is made from black steel and comes with an iron handle.
The handle is tightly attached to the pan and it maintains balance when moving with hand. This French carbon steel pan is ready to use, which means you don’t need seasoning before first use. Yet, for long-lasting performance and nonstick surface, season it with cooking oil. The inside is nonstick and keeps it safe from grease. Fairly easy to clean the surface and requires less maintenance.
- Solid construction for longevity.
- Easy to season surface.
- Suits for all cooking tops including induction top.
- Stronger handle for handling during cooking.
- Highly heat conductive for handiness.
- It is not a pre-seasoned pan.
Garcima C-15RED 15-Inch Carbon Steel Paella Pan
Looking for an extra-large carbon steel paella pan? Then you should check this item. It comes with an affordable price and a larger size. Ideal for people who love to cook veggies and fish items. Ideal for preparing a meal for 3-4 people. The heavy-duty construction of the pan ensures durability and performs best for a long time. With the top-class features, this one of the best sellers in the category of Paella pan.
The inside is nonstick and it doesn’t make too much mess. If you want long-lasting performance, just take the proper care. When it is getting older, make sure you’re re-seasoning. Also, keep it dry once it is washed. Never use detergent or abrasive brush for cleaning.
- Price is affordable for all.
- Durable handle for perfect gripping.
- Safe for stovetop, oven, or grill.
- Lightweight enough to prevent arm strain.
- Not compatible with the induction cooktops.
Lodge Manufacturing Company CRS12HH61 Carbon Steel Skillet
Most of the carbon steel pans come with a steel handle and it becomes hot during cooking. As a result, handling the pan become difficult. To avoid this hassle, this CRS12HH61 model of the skillet from Lodge comes with a stay-cool handle. It is a 12-inch skillet that is constructed from 12-gauge thick carbon steel. So, it is durable and long-lasting.
Whether you want to sear, saute, fry, roast, or grill, this skillet is enough. It comes with a silicone handle holder that protects hands from heat up to 500 F. The skillet is easy to clean and it is dishwasher safe. However, hand washing is recommended.
- Comfortable silicone handle holder.
- It is ready to use with the pre-seasoned surface.
- Larger size for enough food at a time.
- Suitable for various types of cooking.
- Dishwasher safe.
- Relatively heavyweight.
- Requires expert seasoning to have nonstick performance.
How to Choose the Best Carbon Steel Pan?
Sometimes people complain that carbon steel pans are not serving the best for them. Well, behind the fact is, he/she may have chosen the wrong product. Spending too much and grabbing an expensive product doesn’t give the guarantee of quality. Instead, you have to consider the essential facts. Here are the things that you must consider –
Though most of the carbon steel pans are relatively lightweight, still, it should be your consideration. As pans come from different brands, you can’t be sure which one will be comfortable for you. If you want to cook a variety of foods without giving strain to your arms, pick a lightweight one. For the best deal, set your standard for a pan and match the weight from the product page.
All pans with carbon steel don’t have the same size. Some may have a larger size and some small. Now it is up to you what you are going to do in the pan. For instance, if you want to cook for your family meal, it will require a good one that can take the load. Remember that a larger size will affect the weight. That means, if you select a too-large pan, it will have more weight and that could be difficult to handle.
- Easy to Season
The best thing about carbon steel pan is its nonstick surface. However, to get most from the pan, you need to season it properly. A properly seasoned pan allows cooking with less oil without making much mess. As a result, when cooking is done, you don’t have to spend much time cleaning. So, look for an item that is pre-seasoned and relatively easier to re-season the pan. That will save you time and hassle.
Carbon steel pans are popular among customers for a variety of purposes. Durability is one of them. If you take the proper care, a single item can serve the purpose for a lifetime. But the fact is, all products don’t have that strength and durability. So, you should check how the product was crafted and what kind of metal is used in it. For example, some pans may come with a combo of other metal and some with solid carbon steel. To get more information, read some customer feedback on the product page to get a clear idea about durability.
When everything is ok with a product, the last consideration should be the price of the product. Prices of carbon steel pans would vary based on the model, features, and after-sales service. However, you will find the difference between the prices of two different products with almost the same features. So, instead of killing your budget, make a list of products with the same features according to their price. Now check which one is offering less price but have tons of positive feedbacks. That will be the top pick for you.
How to Season Carbon Steel Pan
When you are buying a carbon steel pan that means you want to cook comfortably with less oil. But the fact is, to utilize the natural nonstick characteristics, you need to season it properly. Even when you are buying a pre-seasoned pan, still you should know the process to re-season the item. That will save you money and you can use the same product for years.
However, if you never have heard about the term ‘seasoning’ for a pan, this is not like covering the surface with oil and pepper. This is the process to make the pan surface nonstick by applying some oil and make bonding between the oil and the metal. The question is, what is the best oil for seasoning carbon steel pan. Well, you can use either cooking oil or vegetable oil for seasoning.
Though people use various methods to seasons a pan, the easiest way is using a stovetop and an oven. If you need occasional seasoning, spraying some oil all over the surface is enough. But for something long-lasting, start with a paper towel. Dip the paper towel in cooking oil and soak it for at least 5-10 minutes. In the meantime, place the pan on the stovetop with low heat. When the pan is hot and the paper towel has absorbed oil, place the paper towel on the pan, and wipe it properly. Make sure that you are covering the whole area.
In the next step, place the pan in a preheated oven. Make sure that the oven is at 40-degree Fahrenheit. Keep the pan inside for at least 1 hour. Let it cool and it is ready for cooking.
For more details, check the video below.
Tips on Using, Cleaning and Maintaining Carbon Steel Pan
To have a longer life for the pan, remember the following facts –
- Always heat the pan gradually instead of applying extreme heat in the beginning. Heating slowly ensures longer life of the season on the surface.
- Use only permitted cooking oil for seasoning.
- Maintain the temperature range as it is instructed on the product page.
- When cooking in a carbon steel omelet pan, make sure that you are using wooden, or silicone utensils with it to prevent extreme heat.
- Use gloves or handle holder when moving a pan from the burner or stove.
- To clean the pan, use only warm water. Wash it with water, wipe with cotton fabric to absorb excess water, and let it dry.
- When the pan is stored for a long time, before you start using it, spray some oil and spread it out, and then warm up gradually.
- Never apply bleach or abrasive brush for cleaning. Hand wash is highly recommended.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What Can You Cook in Carbon Steel Pan?
A: Anything that needs to fry on a flat and non-stick fry pan. You can cook omelet, fish, meat, vegetables, or even make pancakes on a steel pan.
Q: Why Do Chefs Use Carbon Steel Pans?
A: According to Cook’s Illustrated, a seasoned carbon steel pan can cook food and make it brown evenly. This type of pan also lighter than cast iron and heats quicker. So professional chefs love to use high carbon steel frying pan.
Q: Are Carbon Steel Pans Better Than Cast Iron?
A: Yes and No. Carbon steel can be better if you compare weight and price. On the other hand, Cast Iron is better for a long lifespan and can retain heat longer than carbon steel. So, both are best for their features and to serve different purposes.
Q: Are Carbon Steel Pans Safe?
A: High carbon steel frying pan only contains carbon and iron. And according to several health experts and organizations, carbon steel pans are safe for human health. They only leach a very little amount of iron while cooking acidic foods or cook at high temperatures. And that amount of iron is not harmful to human health even it’s helpful.
Q: Are Blue Carbon Steel Pans Safe?
A: Yes. Like regular carbon steel Blue Carbon Steel is also safe.
Q: Is Carbon Steel Better Than Stainless Steel?
A: Carbon steel is more durable and stronger than stainless steel. But the corrosion-resistant properties is poor than stainless steel.
Q: Do Carbon Steel Pans Rust?
A: Yes. Carbon steel frying pans can rust if not care and store properly.
Q: Does Carbon Steel Leach Into Food?
A: Yes. As said before, it’s reactive with acidic foods and leach iron to foods.
Q: Do Carbon Steel Pans Need To Be Seasoned?
A: Yes. If your pan not pre-seasoned then you should season it before first use.
Q: What Is The Best Oil To Season Carbon Steel Pan?
A: Flaxseed or Sunflower Oil works best. But you can also use vegetable oils.
If you are wondering why only 10 products in this Best Carbon Steel Pan Review, just check the products’ features and prices. These are the carbon steel pans that are offering most at a minimal price. All these products have tons of positive feedback from existing customers that indicates these are the top products.