Carbon steel vs stainless steel pan, both of them are widely used all over the world. Both of these pans come with lots of effective benefits that will make your every cooking easier. They’re durable, non-porous, non-reactive, and lightweight which makes them some of the best options for heave usages.
Despite all of these similarities, carbon steel and stainless steel are not the same at all. If you’re looking for a heavy-duty pan and confused to choose between them, then this post is for you.
In this post, I’d like to share some of the significant differences between carbon steel and stainless steel. Here, you’ll also get the advantages and disadvantages of both types of pans, that’ll help you to find out your preferable pan easily. So let’s begin it.
Stainless Steel Pan
Stainless steel pans are made of a metal alloy containing chromium and iron around 10 to 30%. Other elements like nickel, copper, and titanium are also added to stainless steel pans to enhance their qualities. They’re best known for their glamorous look as well as for their sturdiness. Another great benefit of these pans is their versatility, you can use them on any cooktops for cooking anything.
Advantages of Stainless Steel Pan
Stainless steel pans are amazing, shiny, as well as strong and last longer. The modern construction process and design increase its usability and duration better than in the past times. However, check the following points to more about the benefits of using stainless steel cookware.
- One of the best advantages of stainless steel pans is that they’re rust-free.
- They’re safe to put in the oven and also can be cleaned in the dishwasher.
- Another great thing about stainless steel pans is that they don’t require seasoning and can be recycled also.
- Unlike other cookware like nonstick or ceramic, stainless steel cookware is not prone to scratches.
- Professional chefs prefer to use stainless steel pans and pots due to their classy appearance.
Disadvantages of Stainless Steel Pan
In spite of building with effective materials, stainless steel cookware has some downsides also. There’re some important points right below that need to be considered while choosing a stainless steel pan. Let’s check them out to know more.
- The most notable disadvantage of stainless steel pans is that they don’t come with a non-stick cooking surface.
- Some stainless steel pans can be heavy-weight, specifically if they come with a copper core.
- Sometimes food can stick to the pan while cooking if you forget to add oil or fat to your pan.
- If you cannot maintain your stainless steel pan properly, any damages or scratches can lead to leaching metal into your food and changing its taste significantly.
Carbon Steel Pan
Carbon steel pans are made of a metallic combination of iron and a very little amount of carbon. They’re usually a bit heavier than stainless steel pans and have a natural non-stick coating that’s toxin-free. Moreover, carbon steel pans can withstand high-heat temperatures and heat-up uniformly across the surface. Like stainless steel, carbon steel pans are resistant to rust and corrosion and strong enough to be last for years.
Advantages of Carbon Steel Pan
Carbon steel cookware is widely popular and seen to be used in home kitchens as well as professional kitchens. Here are some important benefits of using carbon steel pan right below, check them out to know more.
- Once seasoned properly, carbon steel pans become non-stick naturally.
- Durability is another great benefit of carbon steel pans, which means they can be used from generation to generation.
- These pans can be used amazingly for steak, searing fish, and chicken.
- Carbon steel pan can withstand high heat temperature and also can be used in the oven.
Disadvantages of Carbon Steel Pans
Besides various effective benefits, carbon steel pans have some disadvantages also. Let’s have a look over the following points to know more about the downsides of the carbons steel pan.
- Unlike stainless steel, the carbon steel pan requires regular seasoning to improve non-stick coating. As well, they need to be cleaned, dried, and oiled regularly to prevent rust.
- You cannot prepare acidic foods like tomatoes on your carbon steel pan as it can damage the natural non-stick layer of the pan.
- Usually, the heating surface of the carbon steel pan is not as even as stainless steel ones.
- It’s not safe to put carbon steel pans in the dishwasher for cleaning.
Key Differences between Carbon Steel Vs Stainless Steel Pan
If you’re trying to choose between stainless steel vs carbon steel pan, there are some important facts to consider. In this section, I’m going to share a comparative discussion of the two based on some of their main features. Let’s check it out thoroughly so that you can make the right choice.
Materials and Construction
Before I get into the other features of stainless steel and carbon steel pans, it’s important to know what they’re made of and how they’re built.
As I mentioned earlier, carbon steel pans are made of a metal alloy, a combination of iron-99% and carbon-1%. Even though carbon strengthens and hardens the steel, however, it makes it less malleable and more fragile also. Moreover, most manufacturers use a similar method to make their carbon steel pans.
Stainless steel, on the other side, can be constructed in various ways with several different materials. Also, the construction process of stainless steel cookware is a bit complicated compared to carbon steel ones. Since stainless steel isn’t a good heat conductor most companies built their pans with a heat conductive core layer. They include a layer of copper or aluminum between the exterior and interior layers of steel to increase the heat conduction capacity.
Both carbon steel and stainless steel pans come with an attractive, shiny, and bright appearance. However, carbon steel pans can be rusty and discolored if they’re not seasoned and polished properly and regularly.
Although carbon steel pan cannot retain their original beauty, you can reduce the discoloration and rust with some simple steps. Cleaning your pan according to the manufacturer’s instructions, drying completely, and seasoning frequently can prevent the pan from rust and discoloration.
A stainless steel pan, alternatively, is pretty and comes with a very attractive outlook. It retains more chromium which helps the pan to maintain its original beauty even after years of use. If you can maintain and take proper care of your stainless steel pan it can remain new always.
One of the best features of both carbon steel and stainless steel pans is their versatility. Both of these pans are compatible with all stovetops including induction and oven. You can even place your carbon steel or stainless steel pan in the oven, on the grill, and under the broiler. Both types of pans can be used for broiling, searing, browning, sautéing, baking, and braising.
Nevertheless, carbon steel pans have a few limitations. For example, they cannot be used to cook nor can be used for broiling or simmering liquids. Cooking acidic foods or simmering liquids could damage its non-stick coating or can degrade the seasoning of your pan.
Durability or Sturdiness
When it’s about durability, the stainless steel pan is a real winner in this category. Steel is extremely durable and when it’s bonded with multiple layers for making a pan it becomes even more durable.
However, carbon steel pans are also very durable and will last a lifetime if you can maintain them properly. Even though a carbon steel pan requires reasoning frequently, still the cooking surface itself won’t break down. There’s a very low chance of breaking, scratching, or wrapping, if you drop it, or expose it over the high heat.
Heat Resistant Capability
Compared to carbon steel pans, stainless steel pans are not good conductors to heats that’s why they often come with a copper or aluminum core layer. This extra heat conductive layer makes stainless steel pans capable to contact heat fast across the surface.
On the other hand, carbon steel pans are best known for their excellent heat conductivity. They can even retain heat well enough to keep food warm after they’ve been taken off the cooktop. Although both types of pans can withstand high heat, carbon steel pans are well-known to be a bit more tolerant of heat.
Corrosion Resistant Capability
The capacity to resist corrosion is the most important factor that needs your consideration while choosing pans for your kitchen. Both these pans are made of iron that reacts upon contact with the environment and creates rust on the surface.
Since stainless steel contains more chromium which makes them more resistant to corrosion. Chromium can attach itself to oxygen quite effortlessly unlike iron and can create a protective layer that minimizes the chances of corrosion. But carbon steel pans usually don’t contain enough amount of chromium to create this protective layer on themselves. As a result, oxygen gets attached to the iron easily and leads the iron to rust.
Cleaning and Maintenance
A carbon steel pan is generally easier to clean than stainless steel ones due to its non-stick coating. However, it requires more maintenance and care as it needs to be kept seasoned to become non-stick.
In terms of cleaning, carbon steel pans aren’t dishwasher safe and also not safe to clean using abrasive detergent. Putting your carbon steel pan into the dishwasher or cleaning it with detergent can damage its non-stick coating. So, it’s always recommended to give your pan only hand wash and dry it completely after every use.
Unlike carbon steel, stainless steel doesn’t require seasoning and also safe to put into the dishwasher for cleaning. However, cleaning your stainless steel pan can be difficult especially if you’ve tough stains and discoloration on the pan.
Health and Safety Concern
As we know carbon steel has natural non-stick properties if seasoned appropriately, you can use less fat while cooking. This amazing feature makes the pan a healthier option to cook your daily meals for your family. Moreover, none of these two materials have Teflon or any harmful chemicals that can toxic. In general, both stainless steel and carbon steel considered to be safe to cook healthy food for daily life.
Usually, a carbon steel pan is a lot more affordable than a high-end stainless steel pan. Carbon steel pans are significantly less expensive in some cases, they’re up to 70% cheaper than stainless steel. However, the cost of stainless steel pans differs by the core materials, the number of layers, and the brands.
If you’re searching for an all-rounder pan that looks excellent and will last longer, you can go with stainless steel. With stainless steel pan, you can prepare all types of recipes including acidic foods. But if you want a pan that’s non-stick and lightweight as well as fast and responsive to high heat, you’ve carbon steel to go with. Whichever pan you choose for your kitchen, remember that every good cookware needs proper care to be last for longer.