Using the best carbon steel pans, you’ll enjoy a much more rewarding kitchen experience.
The rugged build means they’ll last for decades. These pans are also safe with no toxic and harmful chemicals.
Today, we’ll break down the top five carbon steel pans, outlining their strengths and weaknesses so you can get the most effective cookware for your needs.
Before we push on with our reviews, we’ll highlight the difference between cast iron and carbon steel pans.
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I. Our Top 5 Picks for Carbon Steel Pans
|Products & Features||Image & Price|
1. Our #1 Pick: De Buyer 5610.26A Mineral B Frying Pan
2. Mauviel 3651.2 M'Steel Fry Pan
3. Lodge CRS10 Carbon Steel Skillet
4. MINERAL B Round Country Chef Carbon Steel Fry Pan
5. MatferBourgeat 62005 frying pan
II. Is a Carbon Steel Pan Safe to Use?
Every chef and homeowner needs to prepare food safely.
Carbon steel cookware is safe, non-toxic, and extremely effective. This material also returns outstanding durability, and it’s versatile, too. With a simple carbon steel pan, you can perform many cooking applications, including:
Cast iron cookware is lightweight and easy to maneuver.
Heat conduction is one of the core strengths of these pans. They heat up quickly, ideal when you’re crunched for time. Capable of withstanding high temperatures and sustained use, heat retention is also first class.
As long as you properly maintain your carbon steel pan by scrubbing it after every use, the right pan could last you a lifetime.
The carbon and iron build means you get no toxic chemicals and no taint to your food.
This type of cookware is typically non-stick. A carbon steel pan is super-simple to the season even when the cooking surface is not treated with this coating. Add a splash of oil to the smooth surface and crank up the heat to grease the surface.
As well as stopping your food from sticking to the pan, this surface also allows you to cook with less oil or butter.
Avoid carbon steel pans for cooking any acidic ingredients. These can react with the iron component of the pan. Traces of iron could leach into the foods.
While small doses of iron are good for the body, too much is potentially harmful.
Despite this shower of benefits, carbon steel cookware is also relatively affordable.
Next, how do these pans differ from cast iron cookware?
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III. The Difference Between Carbon Steel and Cast Iron Pans
Carbon steel cookware and cast iron cookware are often compared as they have broadly similar components. Both are made from iron and carbon, albeit in different percentages.
- Carbon steel cookware: 99% iron, 1% carbon
- Cast iron cookware: 98% iron, 2% carbon
More carbon content makes a pan more brittle. Take care when using cast iron, or it might shatter upon impact.
Carbon steel pans, by contrast, are uniform with an even surface.
Carbon steel pans are much lighter than cast iron alternatives. This not only makes them easier to cook with but simpler to clean and dry, too.
Since carbon steel pans are thinner than cast iron pans, they heat up quicker and cool down in a flash. This generates even and consistently cooked food every time. Handle these pans with care, though, as they get boiling.
Whether you choose carbon steel or cast iron, you should get a great lifespan from your cookware with the proper care and maintenance. All you need to do is scrub and wash the pan after every use. Fail to do this, and they will corrode and break down.
Both types of cookware are also naturally non-stick as long as you season them properly—Cook healthier meals by using less oil or butter without the food sticking to the pan.
In terms of safety, both types of cookware are relatively safe to use. Neither emits or releases harmful or toxic substances.
Cast iron cookware is best used for searing, frying, baking, stewing, braising, and roasting. You should avoid using cast iron pans when stir-frying as you’ll end up overcooking your vegetables. Also, pay extra care as these pans get really hot.
Use carbon steel cookware for searing, roasting, stir-frying, baking, and frying. This kind of cookware is not ideal for cooking stews or any other moist dishes.
A few more words next on the different uses for carbon steel pans.
IV. What Is a Carbon Steel Pan Used For?
Carbon steel is lighter and more flexible than cast-iron with sloped rather than straight walls. As a result, you’ll have great durability and a non-stick surface.
You can move these pans seamlessly from stovetop to oven. The sloped walls help you to sauté, toss, and flip your food like a chef. Although lightweight and easy to lift, carbon steel is more durable than cast iron and won’t crack if you drop it accidentally.
So, what are carbon steel pans used for, then?
A pan made from carbon steel is tailor-made for cooking food that would stick to cast-iron skillets. It can also be used for foods that need tossing and flipping, as the sloped sides help prevent any spillage.
Try whipping up a steak in one of these pans. Cook the steak rapidly on medium-high to high so you get that perfect brown sear on the outside, while the inside of the steak remains pink and juicy.
Once a carbon steel pan is preheated, the heat is nicely retained, so you get the requisite sear for an amazing steak. If the steak is thick and the center is not cooked, you can slide the pan straight into the oven to finish it off.
Eggs are also best cooked in carbon steel pans. This is where the sloped sides come in handy for flipping them with ease. Cook eggs in these pans at a high temperature, then add some oil. This will give you those crispy brown bits around the edges. Even heat distribution is ideal for eggs, too.
Carbon steel pans are also ideal for stir-fries. When properly heated, a carbon steel pan results in blistered vegetables and first-class stir fry.
OK, without further ado, let’s push right ahead with our best carbon steel pans reviews…
V. Top 5 Best Carbon Steel Pans
1. De Buyer 5610.26A Mineral B Frying PanOur Pick
De Buyer is a highly reputable name in the pan space trusted by many households looking for high-grade, durable cookware. The De Buyer 5610.26A is packed with solid features many home cooks appreciate.
This pan is 100% natural and made from 99% iron. This translates to an exceptional lifespan. In addition, you’ll get no harmful chemicals either with no PTFE and PFOA.
Crucially, this pan becomes non-stick after you have seasoned it. The more you season the pan, the darker it becomes.
It’s also worth noting that this pan can withstand high temperatures, making it ideal for easily searing your food. The pan also helps to preserve the nutrients and vitamins in your ingredients.
It is properly looked after. This pan can last a lifetime hard riveted, adding to its heavy-duty performance.
- Durable yet affordable
- Even heating for better cooking
- Ideal for smaller families
- Flimsy handle
2. Mauviel 3651.2 M’Steel Fry Pan
Mauviel is another household name. This pan makes a commanding statement in black steel, but it’s not a case of form over function. The iron handles make it easy to use, while you’ll also benefit from outstanding heat conduction.
This pan is highly versatile and suitable for most cookers, including electric, gas, and halogen stovetops. It also slides in the oven, giving you superb overall value.
The commercial-grade materials give this pan an enviable lifespan. So whether you want to sear and fry all day long, the Mauviel is a rock-solid option.
- Ideal for most cooking surfaces
- Non-stick pan for healthier cooking
- Commercial-grade durability
- Small cooking surface
3. Lodge CRS10 Carbon Steel Skillet
The Lodge CRS10 carbon steel skillet is a smart choice with all the quality you’d expect from Lodge at a reasonable price point.
This pan allows you to sear and brown food with complete confidence. Made from 12-gauge carbon steel, the pan heats up quickly, retains that heat, and cooks your food evenly every time.
You can also pop this skillet on most stovetops and even an open fire.
Overall, the Lodge pre-seasoned carbon steel skillet is one of the best choices in this class if you don’t mind spending it out.
- Generous cooking surface
- Pre-seasoned for complete ease
- Versatile: ideal for outdoor grills, induction cookers, and more
- Handle is flimsy
4. MINERAL B Round Country Chef Carbon Steel Fry Pan
The Mineral B line from De Buyer is heavy-duty pure iron cookware with no harmful chemicals as it’s all-natural. There’s no PFOA and no PTFE, so it’s completely safe to use.
Once seasoned, you get non-stick performance for healthier cooking, and no debris splattered all over the pan.
You can sear food quickly and easily with this pan. You’ll also find it ideal for grilling or browning. Heat distribution is efficient and cooking even.
Riveted and built to last, this thick skillet is also warp-resistant. So what are you waiting for?
- It contains no harmful chemicals
- Heavy-duty, performance materials
- Naturally nonstick surface
- Not much space in the pan
5. MatferBourgeat 62005 frying pan
This MatferBourgeat frying pan is another great pick if you want performance on a budget.
This gray pan has a larger cooking surface than the others on our list, so it’s ideal if you’re cooking up a storm.
The ergonomic handle gives you great maneuverability, and the steel build promotes even heat distribution and consistent heating.
This product is also ideal for all hob types.
You’ll need to season this pan, but once that’s done, it should give you admirable non-stick performance. This will also extend its lifespan.
- Strong steel build for maximum durability
- Even heating every time
- Suitable for all hob types
- Not pre-seasoned
VI. How to Season Carbon Steel Pan
There are many uses for a carbon steel pan, so it’s a staple in most kitchens worldwide.
Even professional chefs trust carbon steel pans and skillets.
This cookware is awesome, but it needs seasoning before use, as we have mentioned repeatedly.
How do you season a skillet, though?
Here’s how to season your cast iron pan in the oven:
- Preheat the oven to 400F so you can heat the pan. Place the pan inside the oven for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven using a glove
- Coat your pan with oil over a paper towel or dishcloth. You can use your mitts to hold your frying pan and a pair of tongs to hold the paper towel or dishcloth. Start spreading oil over your pan’s interior, then grease the outside. Coat both completely
- Place a foil-lined baking sheet in your oven, then layer it with tinfoil. Put this on the bottom rack of the oven
- Put your coated cookware in the oven, ideally on the rack just above your baking sheet. Your baking sheet will catch the oil drips. Leave your pan in the oven for an hour. After, you can turn the oven off to let your pan cool before removing it once cool
First, make sure you’re working in a ventilated space. You can use this method if you don’t have an oven so you can season your cookware. Here’s how it’s done:
- Put the pan on the stove on medium to high heat. Make sure you heat your pan until it’s sweltering. You’ll notice smoke wisps that rise while your pan starts browning. Once done, you can take the pan out from the stove, and you’re ready for stage two…
- Start greasing your pan! You can use a paper towel or dishcloth to coat with oil or lard. Spread it over the pan until completely coated. Put the pan back onto your burner, and then set it to high heat this time to liquefy the fat. This will turn black.
- Remove your pan from the heat and start removing any excess oil with a paper towel.
- Cool your pan completely
Note that your pan is going to discolor, but that’s not a problem. This happens during seasoning.
Repeat the process if you notice rust or food starts sticking to the surface.
Over time, you need to re-season your pan if its cooking surface feels sticky or bumpy or if you start noticing any residue due to polymerized oil. This can also happen if the patina is chipped.
Here’s what you do:
- Apply up to two teaspoons of oil according to the side of your skillet. Be sure to coat the entire surface of the skillet or pan on the inside and outside. Then, wipe away the oil with a paper towel. Finally, put the paper towel aside.
- Turn the stove to medium heat, and put the pan on it. You’ll see beaded oil you can wipe away with the paper towel set aside. Use the tongs to hold the towel, and then keep heating and wiping away the excess oil.
- Next, you’ll notice the skillet smoking. This indicates that the oil is breaking down. Let the smoking continue for two minutes before turning the heat off. Completely cool the skillet.
Even if you have already seasoned your cookware, you still need to repeat the process from time to time to ensure the benefits to get from it.
Rinse the skillet with water while scrubbing gently. Use a sponge or soft-bristled brush if needed. Do not use an abrasive scrubber or harsh soap. You can dry your pan over a warm burner. Finally, you can prevent the pan from rusting by applying a thin oil coating to the surface.
Well, you should now have a clear idea about the best carbon steel pans.
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