Best Carbon Steel Pan

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I have always heard people complaining about iron pans that they are brittle and take a lot of time to get hot. It is also difficult to maintain the required temperature once those pans get super hot because of the thickness. This led me to do some thorough research and I found that carbon steel pans are best for cooking due to their lightweight and considerably thin surface that allows you to maintain the temperature while cooking. I picked the following 7 pieces after my research:

The Best Carbon Steel Pans In 2020

Product Size Best For Highlighted Features
Lodge 12 Inch Seasoned SkilletLodge 12 Inch Seasoned Skillet12-InchesBest Overall
  • High heat retention
  • 12 gauge carbon steel
  • Durable
  • Riveted handle
  • Lightweight
Check PriceCheck Price
De Buyer MINERAL B Round Fry PanDe Buyer MINERAL B Round Fry Pan12.5-InchesBest Budget Pick
  • 12.5-inch size
  • 6 pounds
  • Oxidation resistant
  • PFOA free
Check PriceCheck Price
MINERAL B Round Fry PanMINERAL B Round Fry Pan11-InchesBest For Small
  • No synthetic coatings
  • PTFE free
  • PFOA free
  • Beeswaxed
  • 4 pounds
Check PriceCheck Price
Mauviel 3651.32 Non-Stick Fry panMauviel 3651.32 Non-Stick Fry pan12.5-InchesBest For Large
  • Weighs 5 pounds
  • 12.5 inches
  • Withstands high temperature
  • Beeswax coat
  • Can be used on all cooktops
Check PriceCheck Price
Size
Weight
Handles
Seasoned
Color
Cleaning
Lodge 12 Inch Seasoned Skillet
Lodge 12 Inch Seasoned Skillet
12-Inches
4.1 pounds
1
Black
Hand wash
De Buyer MINERAL B Round Fry Pan
De Buyer MINERAL B Round Fry Pan
12.5-Inches
6.35 pounds
2
Silver
Hand wash
MINERAL B Round Fry Pan
MINERAL B Round Fry Pan
11-Inches
4.75 pounds
1
Silver
Hand wash
Mauviel 3651.32 Non-Stick Fry pan
Mauviel 3651.32 Non-Stick Fry pan
12.5-Inches
5 pounds
1
Silver
Hand wash
Garcima C-15RED Paella Pan
Garcima C-15RED Paella Pan
15-Inches
2.3 pounds
2
Silver
Hand wash
Lodge Manufacturing Company CRS12HH61
Lodge Manufacturing Company CRS12HH61
12-Inches
4.45 pounds
1
Black
Dishwasher safe
MINERAL B Round Country Chef
MINERAL B Round Country Chef
9.5-Inches
4.28 pounds
1
Silver
Hand wash

Best Carbon Steel Pan

1. Lodge 12 Inch Seasoned Skillet

Lodge 12 Inch Seasoned Skillet
Highlighted Features
  • High heat retention
  • 12 gauge carbon steel
  • Durable
  • Riveted handle
  • Lightweight
KitchenFaction Rating
5

This pan is designed by Lodge, weighs 4 pounds, and has a 12-inch size so you can cook food enough for a small family in this. Its ergonomic handle makes it easy to use as it balances out the weight of the pan.

 

Construction: This pan is made of 12 gauge carbon steel due to which it has high heat retention and helps to cook the food evenly. Because of the high density of the metal, the pan heats up quickly but retains the heat required for cooking evenly. The size of the pan is 12 inches and it weighs around 4 pounds. Because of its lightweight, you can carry and use it easily. It has a steel riveted handle that allows you to hold it with ease while stirring during the cooking process.

 

It is pre-seasoned with oil and has an easy-release finish that improves with use. It prevents the pan from rusting and also gives the cooking surface non-stick properties. Because of the natural seasoning oil being baked into the pores of the pan, the cooking surface can be possibly restored if needed.

 

Function: It can be used on gas stovetops, outdoor grills, electric and induction stovetops, and open fire. So, it can be used fearlessly at any temperature. It is the best choice for professional, home, and camp use. This pan is seasoned with natural soybean oil and the easy-release finish only improves with use. The pan can work effectively because the high gauge carbon steel allows it to maintain very high and very low temperatures. The Lodge carbon steel skillet can work extraordinarily well for outdoor cooking.

 

There may appear some inconsistencies because of the seasoning but they will not affect the quality of food. You shouldn’t worry even if they get too visible because you can flake them off with a finger. A brown spot will appear as a result that will turn black with continuous use.

 

Cleaning and maintenance: The cleaning process of the pan is very simple, just like its simple construction. Just handwash the pan with hot water then rinse off. After that, dry the pan with a paper towel or a lint-free cloth and rub in a light layer of vegetable oil in order to make it ready for next use. Then hang the pan in a moisture-free place by the handle. It is easy to maintain because its surface is safe to use with metal objects like forks, knives, and spatulas.

Pros
  • Safe to use with metal objects
  • Handle
  • Used on all cooktops
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Hand-wash only

2. De Buyer MINERAL B Round Fry Pan

De Buyer MINERAL B Round Fry Pan
Highlighted Features
  • 12.5-inch size
  • 6 pounds
  • Oxidation resistant
  • PFOA free
KitchenFaction Rating
5

This 12.5-inch pan is designed by De buyer that allows you to cook without any fear of spoiling your food as it is free of chemicals and also shows resistance to oxidation.

 

Construction: The construction of this pan is very simple, with a 12.5-inch size and a weight of around 6 pounds. This pan has two, strongly riveted handles that enable you to carry the pan more easily than those pans which have a single or no handle at all. The pan has no chemicals like PTFE or PFOA because it is made entirely of natural materials and has a beeswax finish.

 

Function: This pan can give excellent results in grilling, browning, and sealing. The beeswax finish provides the pan the ability to fight against oxidation and also helps in seasoning the pan. It also gives the pan non-stick properties which improve with continued use of the pan and the surface becomes better as it gets darker. The pan is free of chemicals which makes it eco-friendly, in addition to preserving the original taste and quality of the food.

 

The two handles of the pan are riveted which allows you to have a strong grip on the pan which makes it more ergonomic. The rivets of the handles will not loosen over time because they are thoughtfully rendered with the same material that has been used in the construction of the pan which will allow them to expand and contract at the rate of the expansion and contraction of the pan. This pan is wrap-resistant and oven safe up to 20 minutes at 400F.

 

Cleaning and maintenance: You should clean the pan with a mixture of mild detergent and water. Just rub the pan with a sponge and then rinse it with clean water. After hand washing the pan, dry it immediately with the help of a soft cloth or towel and then store it in a dry place.

Pros
  • Two handles
  • Easy to grip
  • Does not rust
  • Beeswaxed
  • Oven safe
Cons
  • Not dishwasher safe

3. MINERAL B Round Fry Pan

MINERAL B Round Fry Pan
Highlighted Features
  • No synthetic coatings
  • PTFE free
  • PFOA free
  • Beeswaxed
  • 4 pounds
KitchenFaction Rating
4.5

MINERAL B Round Carbon Steel Fry Pan has a weight of 4 pounds, is easy to get hot and helps you cook food at the required temperature. It is designed by De Buyer.

 

Construction: The size of this handcrafted pan is 11 inches and is made of carbon steel. The pan has an ergonomic handle of considerable size which is tightly attached to the pan so it will not loosen easily. It is free of PTFE or PFOA so it is made of all-natural materials as there is no synthetic coating used in its construction. The pan is beeswaxed which makes the surface non-stick while its silver-grey color gives the pan an elegant look.

 

Function: Everyone wants to have excellent cookware in their kitchen which helps them cook perfect meals. This pan is one such piece. It can be used easily because the ergonomic handle allows you to grip the pan comfortably and also provides stability to the pan by balancing it. The pan can be used in the oven for up to 20 minutes at 400F and is warp-resistant. The beeswax finish makes the pan non-stick and this property of the pan becomes more prominent with continued use.

 

The food can sear quickly in the pan as it can reach high temperatures therefore it is best for browning, grilling, and searing. Heat is constantly and evenly distributed so it cooks the food all the better. It can be used on all cooktops including induction. You just need to season it after first use and preheat using butter or oil. The hole in its handle makes it easy to store it as you can simply hang it up.

 

Cleaning and maintenance: While cleaning this pan you should not use detergent and absolutely do not put it in a dishwasher. The quality of the pan can be affected by washing it in the dishwasher and the life of the pan will most certainly reduce so you should only hand-wash it. You just need to deglaze it and rinse with warm water. Then dry it and oil lightly. Store it in a dry place.

Pros
  • Can be used on all cooktops
  • Easy to grip
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Chemical-free
Cons
  • Not dishwasher safe

4. Mauviel 3651.32 Non-Stick Fry pan

Mauviel 3651.32 Non-Stick Fry pan
Highlighted Features
  • Weighs 5 pounds
  • 12.5 inches
  • Withstands high temperature
  • Beeswax coat
  • Can be used on all cooktops
KitchenFaction Rating
4.5

This pan, designed by Mauviel, can withstand high temperatures and can be used on all cooktops. So, there isn’t any fear of distortion or breakage.

 

Construction: This 5-pound pan is made of extra-thick carbon steel and has an ergonomic handle that allows you to hold it easily. The handle is made of iron and the size of the pan is 12.5 inches which enables you to cook a considerable amount of food. It has a high heat conduction capacity. The material used in the construction of the pan allows it to withstand high temperatures. It is designed to be used on all cooktops including induction, and you can also use metal utensils while cooking in this pan. In order to prevent it from rusting, it is coated with beeswax.

 

Function: The lightweight nature of the pan makes it easy to use, while the handle of the pan is riveted to let you have a good grip. Moreover, the handle does not break or bend easily. Since the pan can be used on any cooktop, it has a wide range of applications as it can be used to cook anywhere. A natural non-stick layer is developed naturally over time while using the pan. It comes covered with beeswax in order to prevent it from rusting, which should be removed from the pan before first use.

 

You just need to season the pan by coating the surface with a natural flavorless oil and heating for a few minutes. Let the pan cool down before draining the oil, then wipe with a paper towel and your pan is ready for use. This process should be repeated for some time in order to give the pan natural non-stick properties.

 

Cleaning and maintenance: The cleaning process of the pan is very simple. You just need to wash it with hot water, then wipe it with a soft sponge. After that, you should dry the pan thoroughly. You should not use dish soap for washing this pan. In order to maintain the durability of the pan, you should not remove the black layer from the surface of the pan as it makes it durable and improves the non-stick nature of the pan.

Pros
  • Durable
  • Non-stick surface
  • Beeswaxed
  • Withstands high temperature
Cons
  • Hard to season properly

5. Garcima C-15RED Paella Pan

Garcima C-15RED Paella Pan
Highlighted Features
  • Two handles
  • Carbon steel
  • Weighs 2.3 pounds
  • 15 inches
  • Durable
KitchenFaction Rating
4

Garcima C-15 steel carbon pan is a good choice for anyone because it has two handles which make it very convenient for you to hold the pan or to take it from one place to another.

 

Construction: The material used in the construction of this pan is carbon steel which helps the pan heat up quickly. This material also makes heat conduction easy and allows the heat to spread evenly. The pan is provided with two handles which allow easy handling and usage. It weighs around 3 pounds and measures 15 inches. Although it is thin, this pan is rigid and durable.

 

Function: The pan can perform multiple functions as you can even use it as a serving dish because of its pretty design. The considerable size of the pan allows you to make a large quantity of food, although you can use it for small-scale cooking as well. Its silver color enhances the beauty of the dining table when being used as a serving dish. You can cook food in this pan evenly because the surface allows uniform heat distribution. It can work well on a stovetop, oven, and grill. The pan is lightweight and thin, therefore it heats up immediately after being placed on the stovetop.

 

Cleaning and maintenance: In order to enhance its durability, you should be a bit careful about this pan’s cleaning process as it needs some extra care after washing. You should wash it with hot water and then dry it immediately. Then rub the inner surface with vegetable oil to prevent the pan from rusting. If the pan ever rusts you can remove it with the help of steel wool.

Pros
  • Nice design
  • Can be used as a serving dish
  • Easy to hold
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Thin

6. Lodge Manufacturing Company CRS12HH61

Lodge Manufacturing Company CRS12HH61
Highlighted Features
  • Heavy-duty carbon steel
  • 12 inches
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Easy release finish
  • Seasoned
KitchenFaction Rating
3.5

This pre-seasoned pan is designed by Lodge and has a size of 12 inches. The non-stick nature of the pan improves with thorough, continuous use.

 

Construction: This pan is made of heavy-duty 12 gauge carbon steel that gives it durability and good induction traits to make it a perfect pan to cook with a lot of ease. Its strength is further reinforced by a steel riveted handle that is guarded with silicon to protect your hands from the heat. If you have a large family then this pan can potentially be your perfect aide to entertain it as this skillet has a large size that can meet your needs.

 

Function: This pan has all the traits to make your kitchen better as it has the potential to grill, roast, fry, sear and saute. Besides, this pan can also be used as a serving dish because of its large size that also makes it equally good for both large and small families. The carbon steel skillet heats up quickly and retains heat for a longer period of time which eases the cooking process. It has been seasoned for a natural, easy-release finish and this ability enhances with vigorous use.

 

Cleaning and maintenance: Cleaning this pan is not a big task because it is dishwasher safe. You can also hand wash it so just wash the pan with warm water then dry it promptly. When the pan gets dry, rub it with oil in order to make it ready for next use.

Pros
  • Pre-seasoned
  • Considerable size
  • Quickly heats up
  • Dishwasher safe
Cons
  • May warp

7. MINERAL B Round Country Chef

MINERAL B Round Country Chef
Highlighted Features
  • Ergonomic handle
  • PFOA free
  • Pre-seasoned
  • 9.4 inches
  • 4.2 pounds
KitchenFaction Rating
3

This pan is designed by De Buyer and allows you to cook more food than some other pans because of its considerable size and depth. It is also lightweight and free of chemicals.

 

Construction: The pan is made of 100% natural and 99% pure iron so it is free of PFOA or PTFE. The pan is seasoned with beeswax that makes the pan non-stick. The size of the pan is 9.4 inches which allows you to cook quite enough food. The pan has a riveted handle which, combined with its lightweight nature, makes it easy for you to carry the pan or hold it while cooking. The thickness of the pan is between 2.5 to 3mm and it is induction-compatible.

 

Function: This pan is perfectly designed to function according to your requirements. Because of its considerable size, it allows you to cook meals for 5 to 7 people at a time. The handle balances out the pan and allows you to hold it comfortably. The deep surface of the pan helps you to cook safely because it has the capacity to hold enough food therefore pieces of food won’t come out of the pan as you stir. Additionally, this pan is oven safe for up to 20 minutes at 400F and does not warp.

 

Cleaning and maintenance: In order to enhance its durability, you need to take a bit of care while cleaning this pan. It is not dishwasher safe so don’t put it in there in about of laziness. Instead, you should deglaze it with hot water, then use coarse salt for sterilizing it.

Pros
  • Oven safe up to 400F
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to hold
  • Ergonomic handle
Cons
  • Not dishwasher safe

Things to look for before buying!

It is always hard to find suitable utensils for cooking on a daily basis. While buying new dishes for your kitchen you need to be more careful about their features.

So, when you intend to buy a good carbon steel pan, you need to look for the following things:

  • Weight
  • Size
  • Handles
  • Seasoned or not
  • Durability

Buying Guide

What is carbon steel?

The combination of carbon and iron makes a metal alloy that is called carbon steel. There is a proper ratio of adding carbon to steel in order to make this certain type of alloy. The mixture contains less than 2 percent of carbon and is great to be used in cookware as heat distributes rapidly on it. It allows you to cook your food perfectly because of its lightweight nature.

Difference between carbon steel and cast iron pans

There are some broad similarities between carbon steel and cast iron pans because both are made of a combination of the same elements, namely carbon and iron. The difference lies in the ratio of carbon used in the pans.

 

Carbon steel pans are made of a combination of carbon and iron where the ratio of iron is 99 percent and that of carbon is 1 percent. Whereas cast iron pans contain 97 to 98 percent iron and 2 percent carbon. So, the amount of carbon makes all the difference. In the construction of cast iron pans, molten metal is poured into different shapes while in the construction of carbon steel pans, the molten metal is poured in the form of flat sheets. After this, cast iron pans are cooled and then polished and hung to dry. The end product is more brittle as compared to carbon steel pans owing to the high quantity of carbon used in them.

 

In contrast, while making steel carbon pans, when the metal becomes hard the sheets are cut into different round discs according to the intended size of the pans. After that, the discs are protected with a layer of iron oxide. Therefore these pans are less prone to breakage.

What is seasoning of the pan?

Seasoning is a process that helps protect the pan from oxidation that in turn results in rusting. It is basically the heating of the oil that is applied to the surface of the pan in order to bind it to the surface. It also enables you to use the pan easily as the pan becomes non-stick after periodic seasoning. While using a carbon steel pan you need it to have a non-stick surface and so you need to season it. Some carbon steel pans are pre-seasoned while others need to be seasoned before you can use them. So, a pre-seasoned pan eliminates the first seasoning step. However, you should know how to season a pan because it will need to be done periodically when you use it.

Carbon steel pan stovetop seasoning

You just put your carbon steel pan on the burner at medium-high heat and let it get hot. As the pan heats up, smoke will wisp up from it and the pan will become brown. Take the pan off the burner, holding it carefully to prevent your hands from burning. Then coat the exterior and interior surfaces of the pan with oil. You should use a paper towel or a soft cloth while doing this.

 

After covering the pan with oil you should put it on the burner again and heat it up until the oil turns black and becomes liquid. Then wipe up the remaining oil and allow the pan to cool completely. Once it cools down you can cook in it.

Carbon steel pan oven seasoning

While seasoning your carbon steel pan in the oven you need to get your oven properly heated up. Put the pan in the oven once the temperature of the oven reaches 400F and allow the pan to sit in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven when the 15 minutes are up and then apply oil to both the inner and outer surfaces of the pan. You need to use a clean cloth or a paper towel and oils like vegetable, olive and coconut oil in this process.

 

Once you are done with this process, place the pan back in the oven and heat it up to 400F for about an hour. When the oil turns black you’ll know that the pan is seasoned. Clean the pan and allow it to cool down in order to make it ready for use.

Are carbon steel pans non-stick?

No, they don’t have that non-stick coating like other non-stick pans but they develop a naturally non-stick patina if you apply a quick oil seasoning on the cooking surface. Also, with regular use and care, carbon steel develops its own layer of seasoning, just like cast iron, which renders it more or less non-stick

Is carbon steel better than cast iron?

In terms of durability, carbon steel is slightly more durable than cast iron. Plus, in terms of weight, carbon steel weighs similar to stainless steel. But if we talk about heat retention, cast iron seems to be a good choice for it. But that doesn’t mean that carbon steel is no good; just that it is not as good as cast iron when it comes to retaining heating. Of course, this also means that it responds well to temperature changes, better than cast-iron.

Do carbon steel pans rust?

Just like cast iron, carbon steel needs a little maintenance, but if you don’t keep your pans in water for too long you’ll be fine. But that doesn’t completely expel the idea of rust as rust they do. What you can do is take very good care of them, protect them from moisture, etc. and prolong their life for as long as you can.

How do you maintain a carbon steel pan?

You need to keep your carbon steel pans away from harsh chemicals or scouring pads and make sure to oil the pan once you have cleaned it and let it dry. For cleaning the pans in an easier way you need to wash the pan when it’s slightly warm as any food residue comes right off if you wash it this way. Once you are done cleaning you can place the pan in a cool, dry place, away from moisture.

Can you place these carbon steel pans in the oven?

Yes, as they are quite versatile. They can go in an oven without you having to worry that anything might happen to them. Even if you are searing your chicken on the stove you can simply move it directly to the oven if the recipe calls for it. The pans can be placed in the oven, on the stovetop, under the broiler, etc. quite safely.

How to clean a carbon steel pan?

It’s pretty simple as you just need to follow the following steps:

  1. First, place it in warm water.
  2. Second, use a dishcloth or a sponge to remove the residue off of it.
  3. Third, when you are done dry it up and use a dish towel to make sure that the pan is completely dry. 
  4. Last, store it in a safe, dry place for later use. Make sure the storage space gets no moisture.

Conclusion

After much research I found the above-mentioned carbon pans to be the best. It is now your turn to get one that suits your needs perfectly and meets your requirements.

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