Best Carbon Steel Pan 2019: Important Details for Buyers

Some things are difficult to do without. Like carbon steel pans. These special types of pans are known for their ability to last long, in fact, longer than cast iron pans.

Plus, they are known to be quite versatile. You can use them to prepare pretty much any type of food you need a pan for.

So, whether it’s sautéing or deep-frying, this is one of the tools that can hardly let you down. One thing you have to know about these pans is that they are light in weight and, therefore user-friendly.

On top of that, they have the reputation of being able to distribute heat quite fast. As such, they speed up the process of preparing awesome dishes.

To this end, no two or three pans are made equal. That’s why we’d like to talk about the best carbon steel pans. What are some of the factors that set the best-made ones ahead of the rest?

Think in terms of:

  • Build quality
  • Your preferred budget
  • Quality of non-stick surface
  • Ability to distribute heat

Fortunately, with our expert guidance, you won’t need to think too hard to find a carbon steel pan that’s worth your money. We’ve broken down everything you need to make a wise choice plus we also have our very own verdict at the tail-end of this write-up.

Best-Rated Carbon Steel Pan in 2019: Quick Comparison List

In the world of culinary experiences, carbon steel and quality ingredients are a match made in heaven. Below is our list of some top-performing pans that are perfect for different cooking styles.

Picture
Editor's Choice
Lodge CRS10 Carbon Steel Skillet, Pre-Seasoned, 10-inch...
De Buyer Carbon Steel Frying Pan 12-1/2" Diameter
Paderno A4171424 Heavy-Duty, Polished Frying Pan, 9...
MINERAL B Round Carbon Steel Fry Pan 9.5-Inch
Craft Wok Traditional Hand Hammered Carbon Steel Pow...
Mauviel 3651.2 M'Steel Carbon Steel, nonstick Fry pan,...
Product Name
Lodge CRS10 Carbon Steel Skillet, Pre-Seasoned, 10-inch...
De Buyer Carbon Steel Frying Pan 12-1/2" Diameter
Paderno A4171424 Heavy-Duty, Polished Frying Pan, 9...
MINERAL B Round Carbon Steel Fry Pan 9.5-Inch
Craft Wok Traditional Hand Hammered Carbon Steel Pow...
Mauviel 3651.2 M'Steel Carbon Steel, nonstick Fry pan,...
Dimensions
18.9 x 10 x 1.4 inches
23.2 x 12.6 x 2.2 inches
19 x 9.5 x 1.5 inches
17.2 x 9.5 x 1.5 inches
22.5 x 14 x 6 inches
15.5 x 8 x 2 inches
Weight
3.1 pounds
4.7 pounds
2.65 pounds
3.09 pounds
5 pounds
3.45 pounds
Prime Status
Editor's Choice
Picture
Lodge CRS10 Carbon Steel Skillet, Pre-Seasoned, 10-inch...
Product Name
Lodge CRS10 Carbon Steel Skillet, Pre-Seasoned, 10-inch...
Dimensions
18.9 x 10 x 1.4 inches
Weight
3.1 pounds
Prime Status
Check Latest Price
Picture
De Buyer Carbon Steel Frying Pan 12-1/2" Diameter
Product Name
De Buyer Carbon Steel Frying Pan 12-1/2" Diameter
Dimensions
23.2 x 12.6 x 2.2 inches
Weight
4.7 pounds
Prime Status
Check Latest Price
Picture
Paderno A4171424 Heavy-Duty, Polished Frying Pan, 9...
Product Name
Paderno A4171424 Heavy-Duty, Polished Frying Pan, 9...
Dimensions
19 x 9.5 x 1.5 inches
Weight
2.65 pounds
Prime Status
Check Latest Price
Picture
MINERAL B Round Carbon Steel Fry Pan 9.5-Inch
Product Name
MINERAL B Round Carbon Steel Fry Pan 9.5-Inch
Dimensions
17.2 x 9.5 x 1.5 inches
Weight
3.09 pounds
Prime Status
Check Latest Price
Picture
Craft Wok Traditional Hand Hammered Carbon Steel Pow...
Product Name
Craft Wok Traditional Hand Hammered Carbon Steel Pow...
Dimensions
22.5 x 14 x 6 inches
Weight
5 pounds
Prime Status
Check Latest Price
Picture
Mauviel 3651.2 M'Steel Carbon Steel, nonstick Fry pan,...
Product Name
Mauviel 3651.2 M'Steel Carbon Steel, nonstick Fry pan,...
Dimensions
15.5 x 8 x 2 inches
Weight
3.45 pounds
Prime Status
Check Latest Price

The Best Carbon Steel Pan - Reviews

1. Lodge-CRS10 Carbon Steel Pan Skillet, 10-inch, Pre-Seasoned, Black

A carbon steel pan can be a handy addition to your cookware collection. It can be used for frying, roasting, sautéing, braising, simmering, baking, searing.

The Lodge-CRS10 Carbon Steel Pan is a product of Lodge, a company that was founded in 1896. The company commits itself to cutting-edge product innovation in the foundry industry. It’s no wonder they have managed to put this heavy-duty piece of equipment together.

Production Description

This pan is crafted from 12 gauge carbon steel, which is high density and heavy gauge material and as such it has a long lifespan. The thickness helps the pan to retain its heat for long.

It weighs 3.1 pounds, which is a reasonable weight for portability. The weight is also manageable even for persons suffering from arthritis.

Its dimensions are 18.8" x 10" x 1.4" and its diameter is 10-inches.

The pan can withstand high temperatures and can be used on induction cooktops and other stovetops including outdoor cooking heat sources like campfires. In addition to that, the handle angle allows oven use. For searing and browning, use high heat.

Three steel rivets keep the handle securely fixed on the pan. The handle is ergonomically designed at an angle that is comfortable to handle. The pan heats fast and heat is distributed evenly, cooking food evenly.

It comes pre-seasoned from the factory with soybean oil which is of great convenience to anyone working hard prepare a nice meal for the family.

Other Features and Benefits

Maintaining the good condition of the pan is not rock science. You simply handwash it with hot water and dry it immediately with a paper towel or a dry kitchen towel, and while it is warm, rub it with cooking oil. The longer you use it, the better it gets because of the seasoning, which makes the pan non-stick.

Besides that, the handle has a hole at the end which makes pegging it easy for storage. In comparison to other brands in the market, it is competitively priced. There are three sizes to choose from.

Pros

  • It is competitively priced
  • The pan maintains heat well and evenly
  • It is durably constructed and lasts several decades
  • The handle is angled which makes it easy to use it
  • It comes pre-seasoned from the factory and ready to use
  • It is easy to care for it
  • It can be used on most stovetops
  • Three sizes available to suit different cooking needs
  • The handle has a hole for pegging

Cons

  • The handle gets hot when cooking
  • To maintain its effectiveness and prevent rusting, it has to be seasoned after every use

2. De Buyer-Carbon Steel 12-1/2" Frying Pan

Carbon steel pans are lifetime investments because they last several decades. The pan can be used on all stovetops namely, electric, gas and induction stoves including, ovens and open fires like campfires.

This is a product of De Buyer, a company with more than 180 years in this industry of manufacturing kitchen utensils. It is a highly regarded brand. The company is credited with the discovery of using protective beeswax to prevent carbon steel pans from oxidation.

Product Description

This pan has a flat bottom design. It is crafted from 1% carbon and 99% white iron for durability and even distribution of heat making it perfect for browning, grilling and searing. It has a diameter of 12-1/2". It weighs 4.7 pounds and it comes with a density of 3 mm.

The handle is fitted at an angle for easy handling. The handle allows for oven cooking. Besides that, the handle is fitted with three rivets for stability.

There is a peg hole on the handle for convenient storage. It is designed with an extra handle for easy maneuverability because of its weight.

The pan performs excellently on high and low heats. On high heat, it browns and sears food.

Other Features and Benefits

The pan is not pre-seasoned from the factory, however, it is treated with 100% beeswax which serves as a protecting coating, to prevent oxidation. The beeswax makes it easy to do seasoning too. To season it, simply clean the pan with hot water and then season with your preferable oil or fat.

You can use this pan to prepare many types of dishes. Continued use and seasoning makes the surface non-stick and ideal for cooking delicate dishes like fish and eggs.

What's more, there are various sizes to suit different needs.

Pros

  • It is constructed from the finest materials for performance and durability
  • It will last for a lifetime
  • Two-year manufacturers' warranty
  • The pan gets better with continued use
  • The handle has a peg hole for easy storing
  • There are a variety of sizes to choose from
  • It has two handles
  • Continued seasoning turns the pan into a non-stick pan

Cons

  • It is not pre-seasoned from the factory
  • It is prone to rust and it requires seasoning after every use to prevent this

3. Paderno World Cuisine Carbon Steel Heavy Duty 10 1/4 Inch Frying Pan

In comparison to non-stick pans which degrade with continued use, carbon steel gets better with age. This pan is a product of a Canadian manufacturer Paderno. You can use this for baking, searing, and sautéing.

Noteworthy, it can withstand both high and low temperatures which makes it possible to cook it on different heat sources including induction stoves, open fires, and ovens.

Product Description

The pan is manufactured from heavy-duty carbon steel. It is quite thick, the heavy-duty construction is solid for durability. The thickness makes it able to endure high temperatures.

Its diameter is 10 1/4 Inch, it weighs 4 pounds and its dimensions are 10.2 x 10.2 x 1.5 inches. It is a medium-size and ideal for cooking food for two to four people.

The manufacturer has larger and small versions if you need them. It is a flat bottom pan and such, it can be used on most cooking stoves including induction stoves.

The handle has a hole for easy pegging, making storing it convenient. It has a lower-angled handle secured with three rivets.

Although it is not seasoned from the factory, it comes polished.

Other Features and Benefits

As much as it is easy to maintain it, it takes a little bit of getting used to it if you have never done seasoning of kitchen utensils before. To season the pan, simply clean it with hot water, then dry it with a paper towel or dry kitchen towel. While it is still warm, season it with your preferable oil. The cleaning process takes under two minutes.

This pan comes at a competitive price, the good thing is that it is a lifetime investment.

Additionally, there are up to 10 model sizes available to suit different cooking needs ranging from a diameter of 7 7/8 inch to 19 5/8 inch. Noteworthy, they come at different price points.

Pros

  • It is competitively priced
  • It is durably constructed
  • Safe for low and high temperatures
  • It is thick for excellent heat conduction
  • Heavy-duty steel
  • Seasoning makes the surfaces non-stick
  • There are different sizes to choose from

Cons

  • It has to be continually seasoned to make the surfaces non-stick

4. De buyer-Carbon Steel Mineral B 9.5-Inch Round Frying Pan

Contrary to cast iron, carbon steel is a more versatile cooking pan. You can use this pan in a professional kitchen or home use. When well seasoned it becomes non-stick and it can be used to prepare different types of dishes including eggs, fish, vegetables and meat.

Product Description

This pan is manufactured from 99% iron and 1% carbon. The pan is protected by the De Buyer's signature Beeswax to withstand oxidation. It is not seasoned from the factory. The pan weighs 3 pounds and its diameter is 9.5-inch. Its other dimensions are 17.2 x 9.5 x 1.5 inches, which is a medium size.

It can be used on all cooktops including being used in ovens because it can withstand high heat. It also works on induction stoves because of its flat surface.

The handle is triple-riveted and firm, in addition to that it is angled for handling ergonomics. The handle has a hole which is for pegging the pan conveniently.

Other Features and Benefits

If you are new to this type of cookware, then you are most likely new to the seasoning of cookwares. Maintaining this pan is a simple process that takes about two minutes. You simply wash it with hot water after cooking and then dry it with a paper towel or dry kitchen towel and while it is still warm, apply cooking oil.

Seasoning prevents the pan from rusting and also makes the surface non-stick. The good thing with carbon steel pans is that they get better with age.

There are other sizes to choose from if this size is too small or big. This pan is moderately priced, in addition to that it comes with the manufacturer's lifetime warranty.

Pros

  • It is a renowned brand made by a reputable manufacturer
  • It will last for a lifetime
  • It has the manufacturer's lifetime warranty
  • The cooking surface becomes non-stick with continued use
  • The handle is ergonomically designed
  • It can be used to cook in an oven and on all cooktops including gas, electric and induction stoves
  • It is easy to maintain it

Cons

  • It is not seasoned in the factory and it requires to be seasoned before use

5. Craft Wok-Traditional 14 Inch Carbon Steel 

This carbon steel work pan is produced by a company called Craft Wok. It was manufactured in Guangzhou China. In Chinese, a wok pan is a deep pan designed with a small round bottom.

Traditionally, it is used for stir-frying and deep-frying. Other uses including making soup, steaming and smoking food. The round design allows for deeper cooking than flat bottomed pans.

Product Description

The pan is made from a 15 gauge (1.8mm) carbon steel material for durability. It weighs 4.39 pounds. It goes through a hand hammering process by Chinese professionals. The material heats up quickly and because it is heavy, it maintains the temperature.

It is big enough to cook meals for three to four people. The pan has a round bottom. The round bottom makes it suitable for cooking on open fires.

It has two handles, a wooden one and non-wooden handle which can also be used for pegging the pan. The wooden handle is best for such cookware because it doesn't conduct heat. The wooden handle is also non-slippery and as such it is ergonomic.

Other Features and Benefits

This is a carbon steel wok which has a different routine maintenance program from non-stick pans or stainless pans. It requires to be seasoned before the first use. The good thing is that the seasoning takes a short time.

To season the pan, wash it with hot water and then dry it with a dry kitchen towel or paper towel. Noteworthy, continued use and seasoning enhances the quality of a carbon steel cookware, which gets better with time. The wooden handle is triple-riveted. To place the pan in an oven, you can unscrew the handle.

Pros

  • It is hand-hammered by Chinese professionals
  • Excellent heat conductor
  • It withstands very high temperatures
  • One of the handles is wooden, which is not a heat conductor
  • The quality gets better with more cooking and seasoning
  • Two handles for easy lifting of foods from a cooking stove
  • Cleaning and seasoning takes a short time

Cons

  • Not to be used on flat induction stoves or flat electric stoves
  • It requires to be seasoned after every use

6. Mauviel Carbon Steel 8 inch nonstick Frying pan

Mauviel is a French company that was founded in 1830. The company makes professional products that are also ideal for home kitchens. You can use this pan to prepare a variety of delicacies including browning and searing meats.

Product Description

This pan is made from carbon steel. The steel that was used is black steel, which is believed to be more sturdy than other steel. Because carbon steel is an excellent heat conductor, you can expose the pan to very high or very low temperatures.

It is thick, which allows heat to be retained for extended periods. It weighs 2 pounds which is lightweight. It has a triple-riveted handle that has a hole for easy pegging, making it a storage saver.

This pan is coated with beeswax, which prevents oxidation and also makes the process of seasoning easier.

Other Features and Benefits

Before cooking with it, first, remove the wax using hot water, then wipe the surface with a paper towel to remove any residue of beeswax. Then go ahead and season the pan with hot oil. Apply another coat of oil to ensure it is seasoned well.

It is also easy to clean the pan after cooking, simply put hot water on the pan, pour the water and then wipe it clean with a dry kitchen towel or paper towel and then apply cooking oil.

There are bigger and smaller versions to suit your cooking needs. Noteworthy, never try to remove the black layer that forms with continued use. Continued use makes it non-stick and better at cooking different dishes including fish and eggs.

Pros

  • Mauviel is a renowned brand
  • It is excellent at heat conduction
  • It can be used on different heat sources
  • Continued use makes the surface non-stick
  • Different sizes of pans available
  • It is manufactured from durable materials and will last for a lifetime
  • It is light in weight

Cons

  • It is prone to rust if it is not dried and seasoned well
  • It is not pre-seasoned

7.M.V Trading Carbon Steel Wok 14 Inches 

This pan is especially ideal for making traditional Asian dishes. It boasts of many convenient features. The wooden handle enhances the pan's looks.

Product Description

This pan is constructed from 14 gauge carbon steel. Its dimensions are 14.3 x 14.3 x 6.8 inches, it weighs 5 pounds and its diameter is 14 Inches. This cookware is an excellent heat conductor and it distributes heat evenly. It cooks foods rapidly and evenly.

The pan is quite big and suitable for preparing meals for large families because you can cook more things at once. It can be used for preparing a meal for up to 12 persons

The pan has a deep cooking surface, in addition to that its bottom is flat. The flat bottom makes it suit cooking on electric stove, grills or induction stoves.

It features two wooden handles because they are wooden they don't get hot when cooking and as such, there is no chance of accidents. Two handles work better than one handle at lifting the cookware from a cooking stove.

Other Features and Benefits

Please note that this cookware comes is not pre-seasoned. It requires to be seasoned before use. The good thing is that it is a simple process and the more the pan is seasoned it gets better and the inner surfaces become non-stick.

Non-stick cookware is ideal for making dishes like fish and eggs. Other advantages of a non-stick pan are that it is easy to wash and maintain it because foods don't get stuck on the surfaces. To maintain this pan, after cooking with it, pour hot water on it, then dry it with a dry kitchen towel or paper towel, then apply cooking oil on the surfaces.

There is a bigger size and smaller size available to suit different cooking needs. What's more, it is competitively priced.

Pros

  • It is competitively priced
  • It is big and ideal for preparing meals for up to 12 persons
  • It is constructed from heavy carbon steel for durability
  • Two wooden handles, gives you full control when cooking
  • Elegant design, thanks to the wooden handles
  • It is deep and ideal for deep frying
  • It has a flat bottom and able to sit on induction stoves, electric stoves and grills

Cons

  • It is not pre-seasoned

8. Lodge Manufacturing Company- carbon steel skillet Frying Pan

In comparison to cast iron pans, a carbon steel pan is much lighter in weight and still performs well. On the other hand, it is heavier than stainless steel pans. Also when compared to non-stick pans, whereas a carbon steel pan gets better with age, a non-stick pan depreciates with continued use losing its non-stick features.

You can use this pan to prepare different types of meals, it can sauté, sear, grill, fry or roast foods.

Product Description 

This pan is constructed from a 12 gauge heavy-duty carbon steel for durability. The pan weighs 3.4 pounds and has a diameter of 10 inches, in addition, its dimensions are 19.1 x 10 x 3.5 inches.

Carbon steel heats up fast and because this pan is thick, it retains heat for an extended period, cooking food evenly. It has a flat bottom making it ideal for use on different heat sources including inductions cooktops.

It features a silicone detachable handle that is dishwasher safe. The handle can withstand high heats up to 500 degrees F but it is not oven safe. The handle is triple-riveted with steel. Furthermore, the handle has a pegging hole, which saves storing space.

Other Features and Benefits

A carbon steel pan requires to be seasoned after every use. Worth noting is that even if you are new to seasoning utensils, it is an easy process that takes less than two minutes. To season, handwash the pan and dry it with a paper towel or dry kitchen towel, then rub cooking oil on the inner surfaces.

Seasoning makes the surfaces of carbon steel pans to be non-stick. Seasoning also prevents rusting

Apart from that, this pan is competitively priced and there is a bigger model available.

Pros

  • It is pre-seasoned
  • It is made from heavy-duty carbon steel for longevity
  • It is competitively priced
  • Includes a Silicone hot handle holder that is resistant to heat
  • It is easy to maintain it
  • The pegging hole makes it easy to store it

Cons

  • It is not very deep like other models in the market
  • It is prone to rust if not well seasoned

9. De Buyer Mineral- B Round 9.5-Inch Carbon Steel Steak Frying Pan

This pan is made in France and is a product of De Buyer, a reputable company in manufacturing kitchen utensils. The pan is specifically designed for cooking steak. The pan can handle very high temperatures and is ideal for searing and browning your steak.

Product Description

Designed with a flat bottom, the pan can be used on cooking on all heat sources, including an induction stove. You can also use it in an oven.

Its dimensions are 17.8 x 9.5 x 1 inches, and it weighs only 2.75 pounds. It is 9.5 inches in diameter. These features make this pan a medium size and ideal for making food for two to four people

It is light in weight and therefore easy to lift and portable.

It is sturdy and therefore it has excellent heat retention properties which help in even cooking of food. However, it is not a deep pan, and if you need a pan for deep frying you can choose other brands in this review.

The pan features a curved, triple-riveted handle that is ergonomic. However, it is made from carbon steel and it gets hot when cooking. The handle has a hole for pegging the pan when it is not in use.

Other Features and Benefits

The pan is manufactured from carbon steel, which gets better with age. To keep it in good shape, and to make the surfaces non-stick, the pan needs to be seasoned after every use.

Seasoning is a simple process, after cooking, wash the pan with hot water and wipe the surfaces with a dry kitchen towel or paper towel. Then apply cooking oil and you are good to go.

In addition to that, it is competitively priced.

Pros

  • It is competitively priced
  • It is designed for steak making
  • It is light in weight
  • It is manufactured by a reputable company
  • It can be used on different heat sources
  • It is durably constructed from carbon steel and will last several decades
  • It is easy to maintain it, seasoning is a simple process
  • It will become non-stick the more it is seasoned

Cons

  • It is not pre-seasoned
  • It is not deep
  • It is not dishwasher safe

10. De Buyer-Carbon Steel 11" Frying Pan

This is an elegant design that you can add to your kitchen arsenal. You can use this carbon steel pan on a variety of heat sources to prepare different delicacies. The product is manufactured by De Buyer a renown French company with nearly two centuries of experience in making kitchen utensils. For quality, this pan has been crafted with skill and utmost care.

Product Description

This pan has a diameter of 11", its dimensions are 19.1 x 11 x 2.4 inches and its weight is 4.63 pounds.

The pan is constructed from carbon steel, specifically white iron which has excellent heat diffusion. The high heat is excellent for browning, searing and grilling meat. The material is sturdy and is undeformable. The pan heats up fast and retains heat for long. It can withstand high temperatures which gives foods flavor and caramelization.

The triple-riveted handle is designed with a hanging hole for storing convenience and space-saving.

This pan is shallow and not deep like other brands in this review, therefore for deep frying cooking tasks, you can choose another brand.

Other Features and Benefits

This pan is competitively priced, in addition to that, it is covered by the manufacturer's two-year warranty. There are other bigger and smaller sizes to suit different cooking needs.

This pan is treated with beeswax which prevents it from oxidation. Before first using it, pour hot water on it and then drain the water, while still hot, remove the wax with paper towels. Repeat the process to ensure that all the beeswax is removed.

It is easy to maintain a carbon steel pan. It needs to be seasoned before your first use. Then it has to be seasoned after every use. Use hot water only to wash it. Then dry it with a dry kitchen towel or paper towel. Then apply cooking oil on the surfaces. The process takes about two minutes.

Pros

  •  Two-year limited warranty
  • There are bigger and small sizes available
  • It is competitively priced
  • It is easy to maintain a carbon steel pan.
  • Seasoning takes a short time
  • Ergonomic handle
  • You can use it on induction tops

Cons

  • It is not pre-seasoned
  • It is prone to rust and therefore it must be seasoned after every use

All About Carbon Steel Pans

First off, carbon steel pans are commonly used for sautéing and frying. In other words, they can be used for any kind of task that requires the food to be placed on a flat surface. Also, these pans come in handy when it’s necessary to apply very high heat.

If we were, to sum up, the three unique qualities of these pans that really impress us, we’d say the following:

  • Efficient
  • Beautiful
  • Sturdy

So, without further ado, we’d like to educate you on everything that makes a pan great. And we’ll also show you how this type of pan compares to other common ones available out there.

What Is Carbon Steel?

Let’s go back to the basics and talk about what exactly carbon steel is. As its name suggests, this is a unique type of steel that comprises 1% carbon content.

The first benefit of carbon steel is that it is capable of withstanding high levels of heat. And that also means it’s highly durable. So, if you’re looking for something that can stand the test of time, this is definitely a material worth getting.

Another key benefit of this type of material is that it’s extremely easy to recycle. And so, if you really care about our environment, you probably would want to own more of it as it helps reduce unnecessary dumping.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of carbon steel is that it doesn’t react with food. This is unlike aluminum which is well known to react with food.

Last but not least, this type of material is renowned for its ability to heat up quite fast. And so it helps cut down the meal preparation time – which can be beneficial if you’re extremely busy.

Carbon Steel vs Cast Iron Pans

It’s common to come across comparisons pitting carbon steel materials against cast iron ones. Well, the two materials are closely related only that carbon steel carries less carbon than cast iron. Interestingly, carbon steel contains more iron than cast iron.

What you need to know is that carbon steel is typically made up of 1% carbon and 99 percent iron. On the other hand, cast iron comprises 3% carbon and 97% iron.

That’s a small difference in composition but it matters a lot when it comes to using either of the two metals.

Cast Iron Is Brittle

By virtue of the fact that cast irons contain more carbon, they also tend to be brittle. In chemistry, carbon tends to form lumps and this tends to disrupt the iron content used to make cast iron pans. This explains why these pans tend to have an irregular grain.

By default, cast iron tends to be brittle and finicky compared to carbon steel. That’s because carbon steel has a uniform makeup because it contains only a tiny portion of carbon. It’s also more pliable and, therefore, longer-lasting.

Black Steel vs Blue Steel

When comparing different carbon-steel pans, chances are that you’ll come across mentions of “black steel” and “blue steel”. Basically, those terms are related to the kind of surface-hardening treatments used.

Ordinarily, carbon steel pans would be shiny silver in color. But if they were to be used that way, they’d end up rusty and that’s why surface treatment is used. Depending on the kind of treatment used, the pan can either be blackish or bluish in color.

We, however, generally prefer the black carbon steel family because we find it quite stable over time. However, after several rounds of use and cleaning, some of the pitch-black pans do turn brownish and that’s perfectly fine.

Factors to Consider When Buying Carbon Steel Cookware

Now that we have told you a lot about this material, it’s time to narrow down to the finer details of choosing the best carbon steel pan. Hopefully, this buying guide will come in handy in your ques for optimal quality.

Size Matters

As far as size is concerned, your best bet is to go for something that’s just as large as you’d like it to be. If you’re a couple, chances are that you’ll be satisfied with a small steel pan. But if you’re a large family, you might want to go for something large as well.

You should, however, keep in mind the fact that the larger the pan is, the higher the likelihood of it being heavy gets.

Handle Types

The most common types of handles are either wooden, steel or iron-made. In some cases, you’ll realize that pans have more than one handle – this is particularly the case with large extremely large pans.

While at it, it is important to note that steel and iron handles can conduct heat. Therefore, handling them can be quite a challenge especially when working under extremely high-temperature conditions.

In that case, you might want to consider using silicone sleeves. They can help improve your handling.

Perhaps one last point we’d like to mention about handles is that they should be tight and capable of carrying weight. If they are not as tight, you should consider tightening their screws.

Seasoning

When you go for a well-made pre-seasoned pan, chances are that it will also have non-stick features. Such features tend to make cooking a lot more convenient.

It’s, therefore, not a surprise that most manufacturers use this as a selling point. You tend to get a better deal when the pan is non-stick and pre-seasoned.

But even with that said, how well your pan performs will depend on how you season it the first time you use it. Therefore, your best bet is to invest in a steel pan that comes with clear seasoning instructions.

Plus, be sure to consult expert advice if you feel lost or confused at any moment in time.

Versatility

Well, carbon steel is probably the most resilient type of material available out there. But different pans are made differently in terms of shape and size.

For that reason, it makes perfect sense to investigate whether the pan you intend to buy can suit the surface you plan to use it on or not.

This is particularly important if you’re planning to use your pan on an oven or open fires. Otherwise, most pans are perfectly suited for:

Of course, the price of the pan can always limit your options. Fortunately, most carbon steel pans we’ve reviewed so far are within reach and you shouldn’t really worry as there’s something that can suit your budget.

Quality of Non-Stick Coating

Cheap carbon steel pans also tend to come with cheap nonstick coating. Unfortunately, such a cheap coating would easily get chipped off over time thereby causing to lose those properties prematurely.

The best kind of non-stick coating, in our view, is the PTFE variety (also known as Teflon). This is a synthetic coating that also repels water.

The other common type of coating is the ceramic one. This one is made from silica-based gel and is quite effective as well. It, however, doesn’t last as long as Teflon.

But even then, non-stick coatings can only last for as long as you preserve them. You should generally avoid cleaning your pans in the dishwasher and also avoid using abrasives during the clean-up process.

Availability of Lids

This might seem like a minor issue but the truth is that it matters quite a lot. You don’t want to buy an oval-shaped pan while all you own is a circular lid, for instance.

Apart from shape, size also matters a lot. If possible, you want to go for a size whose lid is also easy to find. Remember, you want the lid to properly match your pan and fit snuggly.

There are different types of lids for carbon steel pans. The most common ones are aluminum, stainless steel, and silicone lids. Glass lids also exist but those ones are best suited for ingredients that are best checked without lifting the lid.

Frequently Asked Questions

Whew! That has been a mouthful, and so now it’s time to respond to some of the burning questions about these pans.

Which is better between pre-seasoned and unseasoned pan?

The main benefit of pre-seasoned pans is that you can use them immediately after buying them. As for unseasoned pans, you’d need to season them prior to starting to use them.

Is it safe to use carbon steel cookware?

Yes. This is one of the safest materials out there. In fact, it is way safer than aluminum which is known to react with food at high-temperature levels.

Is it okay to clean a carbon steel pan with soap and water?

​Avoid cleaning them with soap and water. Instead, wed highly recommend using clean water and a paper cloth. Soap can seep into the coating and affect the taste of your food.

The Winner

All the carbon steel pans we’ve reviewed above are winners. But if we were to choose just one of them, we’d go with the Lodge-CRS10. Not only does it do an incredible job of transmitting heat fast but it comes pre-seasoned.

Most importantly, it’s quite durable. And we must also mention that it is made right here in the US of A.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are quite a few choices you can make as far as finding the best carbon steel pan goes. And with that said, we hope that you’ve found this article quite helpful in that quest.

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