Best Carbon Steel Pan

Best Carbon Steel Pan
Best Carbon Steel Pan

This means that they are very versatile and can be used for a variety of cooking styles, from frying to searing and roasting. 

However, cast iron is not without its issues. For one, it is a relatively brittle metal, meaning you need to use a lot of it to make the pan durable.

As such, they are very heavy and often difficult to safely carry around the kitchen.

They also need to be maintained in a very specific way to prevent the metal from corroding or otherwise deteriorating. 

This is why many people have adopted carbon steel pans as an alternative. Carbon steel is made from the same materials as cast iron, but with a higher concentration of carbon that makes the metal less brittle.

As such, they are generally much lighter and easy to maintain than cast iron pots, while still offering the same durability and heat dissipation. 

In this article, we will be looking at some of the best carbon steel pans available to buy online. 

OUR TOP PICK

Most carbon steel pans will need to be seasoned before use. This is the process of covering the pan with a microscopic film of polymerized oil to protect it from corrosion and provide a natural non-stick coating.

This skillet made by BK already comes pre-seasoned, so all you need to do when you take it out of the box is wash away the wax coating and start cooking.

The non-stick patina from the seasoning process gets stronger every time you cook with this pan.

However, washing it with soapy water will mean you need to re-season it with regular vegetable or canola oil.

This skillet is exceptionally easy to clean, and often you won’t need more than hot water and a cloth to remove most stains. 

BK have used their own special black steel for this skillet, which offers the same heat retention and dissipation as cast iron.

As such, it heats up very quickly and is lightweight enough to easily transport around the kitchen.

Provided you look after it, this carbon steel skillet will be cooking you delicious meals for many years to come. 

Pros

  • Come pre-seasoned. 
  • The natural non-stick patina will get stronger with each subsequent use. 
  • Easy to clean and maintain.

Cons

  • Not dishwasher safe. 

Also available at: SurLaTable

EDITORS CHOICE

If you are looking for something versatile that can be used on any kind of stove top, then look no further.

This Made In Blue Carbon Steel frying pan works on any kind of stove top, including induction hobs.

It is built to withstand very high temperatures and, as such, you can even put it in the oven should you wish to. 

This pan will need to be seasoned before its first use to protect the metal from rusting.

However, once you have seasoned it properly, it won’t need to be re-seasoned for another year or so depending on how much you use.

When properly maintained, this pan has a natural non-stick coating that will allow food to easily slide out of it onto your plate. 

Some users have found that this pan warps when exposed to very high heats.

However, this can be avoided by never heating the pan with nothing in it, and never putting the hot pan into cold water.

Provided you follow these rules and look after your frying pan, it should be suitably durable and last you for a very long time. 

Pros

  • Holds its seasoning very well. 
  • Highly durable and capable of withstanding very high temperatures. 
  • Works on any type of stove top, including induction hobs 

Cons

  • May warp if not properly maintained. 

Also available at: MadeInCookware

BEST VALUE

This pan has two handles on either side, so you can use it to cook dishes such as paella.

The double handles make it easier to toss the contents of the pan so that everything cooks evenly.

Thanks to the 100% carbon steel construction, this pan has excellent heat dissipation, with no hot spots that heat up faster than others.

As with any carbon steel cooking product, you need to season this pan before you first use it to protect it from rust.

Provided you look after it, this is a very durable piece of equipment that will last you a lifetime.

The hammered dimples on the bottom actually help to improve the durability and prevent warping.

With a diameter of 28in, this is a very large pan, which is great for when you want to cook big meals.

If you have a family to feed, then you will be able to get a lot of servings when using this product.

One issue with this pan is that you may need some goo-gone or other similar product to get rid of the dry glue left behind when you remove the label.

Pros

  • Once seasoned, this pan will have a great non-stick coating. 
  • Extra large paella pan for cooking for lots of people. 
  • Comes with two handles, so you can easily toss the contents. 

Cons

  • It is difficult to remove the label on this pan without leaving behind dry glue stains. 

Also available at: MagefesaUS

RUNNER UP

Lodge CRSGP12 Carbon Steel Grilling Pan, Pre-Seasoned, 12-inch

This next item is very similar to the Paella pan we just looked at, except it is designed for grilling.

While you can’t make dishes such as stir-fry, or sauce in this pan, you can use it for your next barbecue to make delicious grilled sausages instead.

There are holes in the bottom of this pan to let grease and oil drip away as they would when cooking over a regular grill gate.

There are two handles on either side, so you can move things around the tray with great precision and accuracy.

Another awesome thing about this product is how easy it is to clean, and all you will need to do is wipe it down with soapy water and quickly re-season it.

However, you should never put it in the dishwasher as this will damage the seasoning and the metal. 

The pan comes pre-seasoned, so it will be ready to use as soon as you take it out of the box.

Made from 12-gauge carbon steel, this product is very durable and has excellent heat retention. If you like to cook outdoors, then this is a great product for you. 

Pros

  • Comes pre-seasoned. 
  • Easy to clean and use. 
  • Two handles for moving your food around to prevent it from sticking to the pan. 

Cons

  • Can only be used for grilling. 

Also available at: Walmart and SurLaTable

RUNNER UP

de Buyer - Mineral B Carbon Steel Crepe & Tortilla Pan - Naturally Nonstick - Oven-Safe - Induction-ready - 12'

Pans and skillets with high walls are useful for cooking dishes that have a lot of liquid to avoid it spilling over the sides.

This pan has very low walls that are at the perfect angle for flipping pancakes or crêpes.

As such, this is a great product for cooking anything that requires flipping, from omelets to tortillas. 

Since this pan is made from a particularly thin sheet of carbon steel, it heats up very quickly and evenly.

Once it has been properly seasoned, the natural non-stick patina will make it very easy to flip food without having to free it from the bottom of the pan.

Provided you clean and re-season it after every use, this pan will last you for a very long time. 

One issue with this product is that the handle is also very thin and uncomfortable to hold.

Because of this, the handle may get a bit hot while you are cooking, although you can avoid this by wearing a glove.

While it is great for crêpes and tortillas, this pan is a great all-purpose utensil that can be used for many other things as well. 

Pros

  • Short walls to make flipping food easier. 
  • Heats up very quickly and evenly. 
  • Develops a natural non-stick patina with regular seasoning.

Cons

  • The handle is a little uncomfortable to hold. 

Also available at: Debuyer-USA and Walmart

RUNNER UP

Lodge CRS12 Carbon Steel Skillet, Pre-Seasoned, 12-inch

Pans and skillets with high walls are useful for cooking dishes that have a lot of liquid to avoid it spilling over the sides.

This pan has very low walls that are at the perfect angle for flipping pancakes or crêpes.

As such, this is a great product for cooking anything that requires flipping, from omelets to tortillas. 

Since this pan is made from a particularly thin sheet of carbon steel, it heats up very quickly and evenly.

Once it has been properly seasoned, the natural non-stick patina will make it very easy to flip food without having to free it from the bottom of the pan.

Provided you clean and re-season it after every use, this pan will last you for a very long time. 

One issue with this product is that the handle is also very thin and uncomfortable to hold.

Because of this, the handle may get a bit hot while you are cooking, although you can avoid this by wearing a glove.

While it is great for crêpes and tortillas, this pan is a great all-purpose utensil that can be used for many other things as well. 

Pros

  • Short walls to make flipping food easier. 
  • Heats up very quickly and evenly. 
  • Develops a natural non-stick patina with regular seasoning.

Cons

  • The handle is a little uncomfortable to hold. 

Also available at: Debuyer-USA and Walmart

Buyers Guide 

Carbon steel frying pans have a lot of the benefits of cast iron products, except they are lighter and much easier to use.

You want to find a pan that can meet all of your individual needs among the many different brands.

Here are a few top tips on what to look for when buying a new carbon steel pan. 

Size

The size of your pan will determine the type of meals you can cook in it. Smaller 8in pans are great for sautéing vegetables, while larger products will be useful for food like stir-fry and frying sausages.

Some pans made for paella are especially large and will be great for those with large families. 

Pans will also differ in the height of their walls. Those with tall walls are great for food that has a high liquid content, such as sauce.

On the other hand, if you are cooking things that need to be flipped then a pan with shorter, more slanted walls will be much easier to work with. 

Grade Of Steel

Different pans will be made from different gauges of steel, and the specific type they use will greatly impact each product's performance.

Some gauges of steel will heat up much faster than others, which will help with cooking your food more quickly. 

Other pans may be made of thicker steel to be more durable and resistant to warping.

As such, you want to find the right balance between heat dissipation and durability. 

Maintenance

All carbon steel pans will need to be seasoned and regularly re-seasoned. Seasoning is the process of coating the pan with a microscopic layer of oil to protect the metal from corrosion.

It also helps the pan to develop a natural non-stick patina that allows food to slide around the inside. 

As such, you want a pan that heats up evenly, as this will make the seasoning process much easier.

If you don’t want to season your pan once or twice every year, then you should buy one made from a different metal. 

Handle

The handle is the part of your pan that you will touch every time you cook with it. As such, you want a handle that is ergonomic and comfortable to hold. You also want it to be easy to grip, so it won’t easily fall out of your hands.

If you want to make dishes like paella or stir-fry, then you may want to buy a pan with two handles, so you can toss the contents with confidence. 

Longer handles will be easier to hold when the pan is placed over high heat. This will help to keep the handle cool, so you can touch it without burning yourself.

Rubber or silicon grips can help to keep a handle safe to touch, but they mean you can’t put your pan in the oven without the risk of melting the plastic. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Season My Carbon Steel Pan? 

Seasoning a carbon steel pan is an essential part of maintaining it. This is the process of covering the metal in a thin coating of vegetable or canola oil to protect the metal from corrosion.

You can’t season a pan by simply cooking in it and leaving the grease, since you want the coverage of oil to be even, microscopically thin and fully polymerized.

Here are the simple instructions you need to follow for seasoning your carbon steel pan. 

  1. Wash your brand-new pan to remove protective wax coatings. 
  2. Place the pan over a burner on high heat and wait for all of the water to evaporate. 
  3. Pour a small amount of oil into the pan and wipe it with a paper towel until it is evenly distributed over the entire surface area of the pan. 
  4. Flip the pan over and do the same on the outside so all of the metal is covered in a thin layer of oil. 
  5. Keep the pan over high heat, wait for the oil to stop smoking and for the pan to discolor. This means that the oil is polymerizing and forming a cohesive, semi-plastic layer. 
  6. Repeat this process 2 to 3 times, making sure to always remove any pools or bubbles of oil with your paper towels, so it is evenly distributed.

Your pan has now been seasoned and should have a much darker coloration. This is the natural non-stick patina that will stop food from sticking to the inside of your pan. 

You can use a cloth towel instead of a paper towel to prevent it leaving scraps of paper behind in the oil.

However, if you want to do this, only use a dish towel that you don’t mind ruining, since the pan will get very hot and may burn a hole in your cloth. 

How should I Maintain A Carbon Steel Pan? 

You shouldn’t place your carbon steel pan in a dishwasher as this will often remove the seasoning and may scratch your pan.

Wash your pan, with warm water and a non-abrasive sponge or scourer. You can use soap, but this may remove some of the seasoning. 

As such, it is a good idea to wipe your pan with a thin layer of oil after you have cleaned it to reinforce the seasoning.

Make sure, when wiping the pan with oil, that you don’t leave any pools and cover the entire surface area with a single thin layer. 

What Is The Difference Between A Frying Pan And A Skillet?

A skillet is a frying pan with taller walls, generally over 2in. There are no other significant differences between these two cooking utensils.

Brandon White
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