The 5 Best Carbon Steel Pans of 2021
Tell me honestly, from chef to chef, don’t you just love standing in the middle of your kitchen and admiring your kitchenware set? From the Egglette to the Espresso Machine, they’re simply fascinating. But among all those tools, we can all agree that pans are one of the essential ones.
What’s confusing is that there isn’t a single type of pans, there are countless. A simple Google search will return confusing names like the Omelette Pan, the Donut Pan, and the Cast-Iron Fajita Pan, among several others. One of the most revolutionary ones though is the Carbon Steel Pan, which you surely wouldn’t want to miss in your cooking journeys.
In simple words, a carbon steel pan is one that’s made of a mixture of iron and carbon (duh!). It’s versatile, durable and safe for day-to-day cooking. Need I say more?
Carbon Steel Pan Review Center
#1 - De Buyer MINERAL B Round Carbon Steel Fry Pan
#2 - Lodge CRS12 Carbon Steel Skillet
#3 - Matfer Bourgeat 062005 Black Steel Round Frying Pan
#4 - Paderno Heavy Duty Carbon Steel 9.5 Inch Frying Pan
#5 - Garcima 15-Inch Carbon Steel Paella Pan
What exactly is a Carbon Steel Pan?
A carbon steel pan is one of the numerous types of cookware, made of carbon steel, with an admixture of iron and a small amount of carbon that usually ranges between 1 and 2 percent.
While cast iron and carbon steel are remarkably similar, they do differentiate at some levels with the latter having more advantages, which makes it considerably more interesting for some people, including professional chefs.
Their similarities reside in the fact that they are perfectly versatile, serving many purposes. They both can resist high temperatures and are usually safe to use. They are healthier than modern cookware, non-toxic, and even when they are overheated, they do not cause chemical outflow. If they are taken care of, with regular and proper maintenance, they can be long-lasting.
Also, Carbon steel pans are softer and smoother surface wise in comparison to their cast-iron counterpart. This criterion facilitates the seasoning phase. They also differ in heft: a 12-inch cast iron pan weighs 8 pounds, while a 12-inch carbon steel pan weighs 4.4 pounds. Notably, carbon steel pans are generally lighter, thinner, and less fragile.
Carbon steel is faster than cast iron in terms of heat distribution, although aluminum and copper are the best conductors. It is one of the best heat conductors, for its temperature does not faint when adding whatever ingredient. It also cools faster than the cast iron model so you can clean it in your Farmhouse Sink as soon as you finish cooking and gain time.
Unlike the cast iron pans whose surface is rough, carbon steel pans have flat and smooth steel, which makes them naturally non-stick. However, with time and usage, this quality may degenerate.
To avoid sticking ingredients, I recommend preheating your carbon steel pan before adding them, put any vegetable oil, and then add the ingredients. It is believed that good seasoning renders your pan non-stick and resistant to rust.
If you’re pumped to get you one of those sweet tools, here’s a list that we’ve compiled of the best Carbon Steel pans in today’s market:
5 Best Carbon Steel Pans for your Kitchen
#1 – De Buyer MINERAL B Round Carbon Steel Fry Pan
What we like about it
Get your French Cookbook, because you’ll definitely need it when cooking with this French pan. There are a lot of things that we like about the De Buyer MINERAL B Round Carbon Steel Frying Pan, including how durable it is, and how it perfectly withstands high temperatures. Besides, it’s extremely lightweight, and it’s appropriate for all cooking surfaces. If that’s not something to admire, I don’t know what is.
This life-long guaranteed French product is made of 99-Percent Pure Iron, with iron handles and excellent heat conduction. It weighs two pounds and measures 4.20 x 12.60 x 1.70 inches, making it one of the most comfortable pans to use.
Before starting to use it, remove the protective beeswax with hot water and dish drying towel.
One of its best characteristics is its capability to withstand extremely high temperatures, which makes it excellent for searing. It is also suitable for all cooking surfaces, including gas, electric, induction, halogen stovetop, and oven. It’s finally time to put your Convection Oven to good use.
However, the pan is not pre-seasoned, so you need to season it. Over time, this tool will develop a natural non-stick property and gets more and more darkened.
Again, this pan may present some minor drawbacks, like the protective beeswax that’s not easy to remove and the poor resistance to rust.
#2 – Lodge CRS12 Carbon Steel Skillet- 1- inch, Preseasoned:
What we like about it
The Lodge CRS12 Carbon Steel pan is a true feature-packed cookware. It’s pre-seasoned, Ever-lasting, and preserves high as well as low temperatures. This tool is also totally safe when you’re using a metal utensil and can work on all the heating sources. What else can you ask for in a pan? Get your veggies out of your FoodSaver, it’s time to introduce them to the new boss in town!
The Lodge CRS12 Carbon Steel Skillet weighs 4.4 pounds and measures about 20.2x 12x 1.4 inches. It is pre-seasoned with soybean vegetable oil, making it already ready for use the moment you buy it. This pan is multipurpose as it can be used for roasting, simmering, and frying. It also heats best at browning and searing. Lodge’s masterpiece can be used on gas, electric, stovetops, open fire, and outdoor grills, so you can finally get your Grilling Cookbook from the attic.
Nothing is perfect though, including this pan. Some customers reported encountering some minor problems, like the fact that the original seasoning is not good enough, so it is crucial that you season it properly before using it. Others also mentioned that the handle is a bit long and can get hot, but that’s totally normal with frying pans.
#3 – Matfer Bourgeat Black Steel Round 11 7/8 inch Frying Pan:
What we like about it
The Matfer Bourgeat Black Steel Round Frying Pan is perfect for those seeking a durable, oven-safe (not in a Rotisserie Oven though), and multi-purpose tool. What’s even better about it is that it distributes heat evenly, and it’s suitable for all food types.
The Matfer Bourgeat Black Steel Round Frying Pan weighs 4 pounds with a robust, high-quality steel strip handle. It fits in the oven easily and can be used even on induction cooktops without any trouble.
This pan can be used for all hob types, but it performs best at cooking steak and scrambling eggs.
Similar to any other pan, this should be properly seasoned to enhance its performing quality and widen its lifespan.
The only downside to this pan is the fact that it’s a bit heavy compared to its size and the protective coating can prove hard to remove for some users.
#4 – Paderno Heavy Duty Carbon Steel Frying Pan – 9.5- inches, Lightweight:
What we like about it
If you’re looking for a low-priced pan that’s lightweight and that’s easy to season, search no more because the Paderno Heavy Duty Carbon Steel Frying Pan is what you’re seeking. This pan also distributes heat evenly, so it will surely fit the bill when it comes to your frying needs.
This solid carbon steel pan is an excellent heat conductor and can be safely used in the oven, gas stove, and an induction cooktop. It is significantly thick, which allows for long pre-heating at high temperatures. It is also perfect for searing.
However, its flat and riveted handle is not practically that comfortable so you will need to use silicone handle cover. Besides, the pan can rust within a brief period if not properly seasoned, so make sure to take good care of it.
#5 – Garcima Carbon Steel Paella Pan -15- inch, Best for Making Paella:
What we like about it
This pan is durable, robust, and versatile. Besides, it’s a perfect heat conductor and suitable for any type of paella. Need I say more?
This authentic Spanish product is safe for stovetop, oven, or grill, and although thin, it is durable.
Being typically a paella pan does not mean it is made only and exclusively for paellas. It can, in fact, be used to make other dishes such as pizza, seafood, grilled vegetables, sausage and roasted chicken.
It comes with an informative pamphlet, serving as a guide for making perfectly delicious paella, with other tips for maintenance instructions.
It is ideal for serving from 3 to 5 people, that’s why it is somehow big in size. Indeed, it measures 19.5 x 19.5 x 1.75 inches, which makes it misfit for some ovens.
Like any other pan, it needs to be seasoned before first use. It also requires maintenance after washing. To do it correctly, follow the guide instructions.
Nothing to complain about here, except the fact that the plastic in the handle can melt if met with extremely high temperature and that this pan is maintenance-demanding. Those issues can be solved by regularly checking your pan and using a proper Oven Thermometer, so make sure to do that if you decide to go with the Garcima Carbon Steel Paella Pan.
What Is the Best Carbon Steel Pan Money Can Get You?
All of the above carbon steel pans are efficient, durable and high-quality, each having its own distinctive features.
Mauviel M’steel Frying Pan is the best to choose. Its capacity to withstand high temperatures is incredible and makes the cooking experience enjoyable.
It is durable, can be used on all heat resources and comes with a life-long guarantee against any defect.
With proper seasoning, this pan would never disappoint you, surprising you with delicious food.
Don’t get me wrong though, although the Mauviel M’steel Frying Pan is our first recommendation, you can’t go wrong with any of the above products, so rest assured no matter what choice you take.
What’s the Best Way to Use Carbon Steel Pans?
Either on the stovetop, in the oven, or for outdoor grillers, carbon steel pans can be perfectly used and efficient.
They also can be used in all cooking methods, and all kind of tasks, including sautéing meat and vegetables. It can also be ideally used for roasting, baking, pan-frying, searing steak, and stir-frying. Scrambling eggs and fish is also possible, but make sure to implement a good seasoning. It’s important to remind of what all chefs agree upon: bacon is the best food for this pan.
Roasting potatoes can be helpful in the seasoning phase, for the pan benefits from the fat produced.
However, it should only be used in dry-cooking methods. It shouldn’t be used in any moist cooking procedures such as braising and stewing or any other techniques that engage in cooking with water. Acidic food- such as tomatoes, lemons, and wine- should also be avoided, for using it would result in the stripping of most of the pan’s patina, which affects the flavor.
In short, Carbon Steel pans are perfect for any occasion. Get yourself one of these tools along with a fancy Bar Set and a beautiful Flatware Set, and you’re bound to have a luxurious dinner every night.
How to Season a Carbon Steel Pan?
While seasoning can be an annoying task, it is crucially important, for it keeps your pan durable and non-stick and your food delicious and safe. Carbon steel pans can be seasoned either by an oven or by the stovetop.
Here are steps to follow when seasoning your pan:
- Put your pan in the oven/stovetop for 10 to 15 minutes and preheat your device to 400°F.
- Remove the pan from the device, oil it with any vegetable oil – preferably olive or coconut- or lard after it cools off a little. When applying the oil, use a paper towel and apply it all over the pan. The interior and exterior parts need to be wholly and equally
- Put the pan back in your device and wait until the fat becomes black. It generally takes an hour. Keep the same temperature as that of the beginning.
- Turn off your oven/ stovetop and give the pan time to utterly cool off. Do not remove it, it needs to be kept in the device. The process usually takes from one to two hours.
If you are not content with the results, you can repeat the task as many times as you can, and until you achieve the results you want. It is entirely reasonable to do so since sometimes the pan needs more than a single attempt.
Once the process is finished, you can start cooking your tasty food and wait for the best result! Now your pan is also fully protected against rust.
Things to Look for When Buying a Carbon Steel Pan:
Several characteristics need to be taken into consideration, and upon which you base your decision when buying a carbon steel pan that is entirely suitable for you. Among these features are price, durability, seasoning, dimensions, and weight.
- Price: the first and most important thing is to find a pan whose price is compatible with your budget.
- Durability: carbon steel pans are generally long-lasting, but some containers are more durable than others, and they need regular maintenance to protect this feature.
- Heft: as pans differ in size, you would better choose the most suitable size according to your food preferences.
- Weight and comfortability of the handle.
- The devices on which it performs the best.