Best Carbon Steel Pan Reviews 2019
We all know how useful frying pan is.
It is used for cooking various dishes starting from a simple omelet to stir fry and other cuisines. But out of all the various materials pans are made of, carbon steel is the best.
Carbon steel pans or skillets are definitely found in stores that sell various kitchenware. But what about choosing what kinds of carbon steel pans to buy?
The choice obviously depends on your personal taste since it will be added to your own kitchen. To further help you out, I’m gonna review the best carbon steel pans in the current year of 2019. So, let’s get right into it!
Why You Should Prefer Carbon Steel Pans?
Carbon steel pans or skillets are usually the favorite cookware of many popular chefs for a good reason. It's way better than regular cast iron pans, and you’ll find them in any restaurant. The reason is most likely because of its nonstick qualities and its ability to hold much more heat than a cast iron or a stainless-steel pan.
It is the perfect tool for cooking techniques like searing and sautéing. And considering its price, it performs just as well too. Honestly, the only disadvantage I can think of is probably that the sides are low, so food with lots of fluids that cause splattering might not be suitable for some of these pans.
But I’ll show you that its advantages are way better;
More non-stick than Teflon.
Heats up faster and better than stainless steel.
Lighter than cast iron, so you can easily handle it with one hand and maneuver as you like.
It’s not only my advice to buy carbon steel pans. You can find many positive reviews all around the world about these pans and judge that way. I’m sure you’ll understand soon enough.
Top 6 Best Carbon Steel Pan Reviews
The products I am about to review are easily available everywhere, even online. So, not to worry, I have made it easier for you with the below reviews. Most sellers promote these sorts of pans because of its handiness, so I am pretty sure the market would never let this commodity exhaust over time.
This pan is made in France, by the manufacturer De Buyer. The reason I’m putting this at the top of my list of reviews is because it’s very eco-friendly. It’s safe for both the environment and your health. It is PTFE free and PFOA free, and absolutely has no added chemicals to it.
It comes in various sizes, but the one I'm talking about now is the 12.6 inches one. In general representation, its product dimensions are 4.2 x 12.6 x 1.7 inches. And it weighs like 6.35 pounds and this weight increases to 6.5 pounds when it is shipped.
For what it’s made of, it’s mostly just iron. The percentages of it having natural iron, pure iron, and carbon steel are 100%, 99%, and 1% respectively.
It is generally round in nature, but it has a Lyonnaise design to allow food to slide off the pan easily when you serve it. It has a coating made of beeswax on it to fight against oxidation. This reduces the need to pre-season it, and you don’t have to overdo your seasoning when you buy it new or during your regular cleanup.
This pan has two kinds of handles on both sides for a safer and better grip for the user. And it is the type of pan that grows more nonstick as it blackens with each cooking.
Speaking from an honest opinion, this pan is great for people who cook a lot because it's perfect for regular use. Especially because it works better with each use and the flavor sets in over the years.
Looks very attractive and clean, especially because of the matte black color
Has two different handles for user comfort when cooking
Very eco-friendly, so you can protect the environment this way
Naturally starts becoming nonstick when it blackens through cooking
Great for people who always cook as this kind of pan adjusts better over time
The Matfer Bourgeat’s carbon steel frying pan was manufactured by the company Matfer Bourgeat. It is a brand that focuses more on customer satisfaction, so making a pan that is easy to use is their main goal, and they have succeeded in doing so.
Now, the size of its diameter is about 11 inches. In this measurement, it's height from the bottom is about 2 inches. It has the bare weight of 4.2 pounds; if it’s shipped then the weight becomes 4.3 pounds.
These are general fry pans but are very strong and long-lasting, and the reason for this is because it is made from black steel which is very durable metal. It being black is also it’s reason for being able to heat up much faster and distribute evenly.
It’s very easy to season it for prolonged use. You’ll find special quality steel on the handle for a better grip and is perfect for all hob types. The handle has been strongly welded in the body to ensure safety of it not breaking or disassembling accidentally.
This type of pan usually starts to set in once it’s been cooked in a few times. At first, the customer might not like it, but once they get used to it, they rely on the pan more because it starts to perform as described. If you handle it well, this could be the best carbon steel frying pan for you.
Has heat that conducts at extremely high and very quick levels
The handle on this pan is very strong, so there’s no fear of it breaking
No need for high maintenance on this pan. Just wiping and re-greasing the pan is enough
This one is a traditional Chinese frying pan with a round bottom, so it is originally called Wok. The reason this one is so special is that Chinese professionals from Guangzhou have hammered these pans or woks themselves by hand. The carbon steel used in these is 100% authentic and traditional.
This pan has been in the market for 5 years and was originally designed and manufactured by Craft Wok in China since the year 2014, and so far, has never failed us. So, it is the number 1 choice by most Chinese chefs, especially for traditional cooking styles.
It has a gauge of 15, which is approximately 1.8 millimeters of carbon steel. The one I’m talking about right now is the 14 inches of diameter wok, and it weighs about 4.39 pounds bare and 4.6 pounds when shipped.
This thing is mostly used for outdoor cooking, rather than stove cooking. But there might be smaller sized woks to use indoors. And of course, it also needs to be carefully seasoned before use.
Its handle is a bit different because it’s made from wood to avoid slipperiness while holding so that no accidents happen. Another advantage of it being made from wood is that the heat from the pan will never reach the handle, so it’s safe to touch directly and have a tight grip rather than gripping with mittens.
Even though a wok is deep, it still has a small diameter. It’s used mainly for stir frying, deep frying in oil, or even various soups. Some buy lids made of clay or metal so they can cover the wok and steam or smoke certain dishes.
You can make soups too because depth prevents splattering
Very user-friendly wooden hand for a better grip with bare hands
Big in size so it can hold more in its wok, which is helpful for mass cooking
The heavy weight prevents accidents like tipping over
This rarity was made in France by the manufacturer Mauviel. Many famous chefs recommend it and use it themselves. At the very beginning, Mauviel only targeted market segments of professional chefs or for commercial use.
But now they have opened up more and allow all of the public to purchase their products. And now common households have Mauviel’s M’Steel carbon steel pans for their everyday use.
The length, width, and height on this one are 17, 9.5 and 2 inches respectively. Also, it weighs 3 pounds and 3.95 pounds when shipped.
This pan can be used on any kind of stove, whether gas or electric. It is even oven friendly. And Mauviel offers lifetime warranty on their products, so it’s something to look forward to trying when you know there’s less risk of loss.
The unique thing about this one is, as time goes by, the pan darkens and grows more nonstick property or features naturally. It is also made of extra-thick black carbon steel and has high durability compared to other steel.
And because it’s very thick, this allows it to endure more heat level for a longer time. Its handles are made of iron, and they have been riveted into the pan body, so it’s less likely to fall apart and won't wobble.
It naturally grows more nonstick on its own with time
Can be used on any kind of stove and even an oven
Has high durability because it’s made of thick black carbon steel
Has hard iron handles rivetted right into the body giving a strong attachment
This wok, however, is not made in China. Instead, it’s made in the United States. It's a bit different, but very much resembles your ordinary wok. It works the same way and has most of the same features.
Its diameter is about 18 inches, and it weighs around 8 pounds naturally but 9 pounds when it’s being shipped. Like any other normal wok made from China, this American round bottom wok is also very large and heavy.
The manufacturer is in the USA, and it’s called The Wok Shop, and this wok has been recommended as a commercial stove for the public. It’s a heavy-duty pan of 14 gauge of carbon steel.
This wok has two steel handles on each side, and the handles are the same designs. It has no wooden grip, so you have to remember wearing kitchen mittens to hold it because the steel will heat up along with the wok.
A lid had been made to suit this model, but it’s not sold as a pair. You will have to buy it separately. And this kind of wok works best indoors only if you have a stove that can handle heavy-duty cookware. The stove must be high quality and be able to give high output. Else it’s safer to use this wok outdoors.
Holds more ingredients for more food to be made at one go
Perfect for rough use at restaurants or outdoor camping cooking
Equal sized handles on either side so it can be carried easily
Offers a lid in this model
The manufacturer of this frying pan is Matfer Bourgeat, but the brand name is Adcraft. This type of pan is made from black steel and paper materials, so it’s very different from the other Matfer Bourgeat pan I’ve talked about above.
Even though appears gray in color, it is still made from black steel. The one I’m talking about right now is the one with the 10.25 inches diameter. It weighs 3.11 pounds to 3.9 pounds; changes happen to depend on shipment.
The height or depth on this pan is 2 inches, and for a basic frying pan, that depth is enough. It also handles heavy-duty, which is a surprise because it’s not that large in size. Also, it has a steel strip handle which is extra strong and has high quality.
This frying pan also has the natural nonstick characteristic, so over time, with every use and every time it blackens, the coat becomes nonstick on its own. But these kinds of black steel pans need to be seasoned before being used as the rest of them. And if it is not seasoned first, it’s possible it won't even work properly.
Because of black steel, it also has high durability and high heat conductivity. For your first use, you should go through a thorough wash and seasoning, and after you've already used it, you can jump straight back to the regular seasoning routine.
Some customers complained about a certain coating on top, but that can just be removed by seasoning it. A few swipes with oil and tissues should do the trick. Some people use alcohol for this pan too, because it seemed to help better.
The steel strip handle is extra strong and of high quality
The blackening over time when used creates more nonstick qualities
Very durable and can handle a lot of heat
Carbon Steel Pan Buying Guide - Things to Consider
Right now, I'm about to give you some guidelines on how to choose the right carbon steel pan to buy. There are lots of features you need to pay attention to before you decide the pan that is meant for you.
Some fry pans come pre-seasoned by the manufacturers themselves. This means the protective layer that you need to season and remove will have already been removed when sold.
These kinds of pans tend to have high-quality non-stickiness. Plus, this saves you on a lot of time from having to season from the start.
It is very important to buy what you need from a well-known manufacturer whether it’s pans or something else. Popular companies come with more guarantee because they have a reputation to keep up. So, their main focus will be on satisfying customers. You will feel safer in their hands.
You need to make sure to buy your pans from manufacturers that have sold in mass to lots of people. Checking the internet to see what professional chefs recommend is also a good trick.
Most carbon steel pans come in thickness of 2 or 3 millimeters. The thicker the pan is, the more it weighs. That might be a burden on your stove and takes longer to gain heat. So, choose wisely depending on what goes well with your environment and what your needs are.
Every pan comes with a handle or two. Each has its own unique design. When you're at the store, be sure to hold the various pans to test out the gripping and comfort on your hands.
Also don’t forget that handles that are too long are troublesome to store in your home or your oven because of the angles.
It might be hard to test out the quality of the carbon steel if you're new to this. My advice to you would be, to make sure, take a friend with you who knows a thing or two about cookware material.
If you're a regular cook who’s used to many kinds of cookware types, it should be easier for you to determine the quality of the carbon steel in the pans.
Quality isn’t always related to money. It’s possible to get good pans at a cheap or affordable price and still have good quality which will give you what you want.
This feature generally refers to how much heat the pan can endure. How fast it can heat up and how long it can stay heated are also included.
The thicker the pan, the longer it takes to heat up, and it will also take longer to cool down. Thinner pans are suitable. But it depends on your situational need for the pan.
If you need thick pans for professional cooking, then, by all means, you should choose the thicker ones. It has its own advantages for professionals.
How to Season A Carbon Steel Pan?
Seasoning means to clean the surface of any cookware with heated fat so that it makes corrosion resistant and stick-resistant coating on that surface.
Seasoning is usually needed for cookware made of cast iron or carbon steel. These sorts of metals rust quickly when around oxygen mostly from water or other wet materials.
So, if such cookware stays unseasoned, the food will eventually stick to the body of the cookware. Some manufacturers pre-season their cookware when selling; others don’t so it's important for us to season it ourselves.
But cookware like carbon steel pans will need regular seasoning after being used, despite being pre-seasoned at purchase.
Now, you see, there are various techniques on how to season a carbon steel pan. And for each pan, there are different techniques, though some have similar patterns with others. Below are some ways for carbon steel pan seasoning:
Some people like heating the pan first, to the point smoke comes out. And then, they apply the fat or oil carefully and rub it with a napkin. Then they put it back on the stove to heat again and then take it off again to wipe the excess oil off.
Some people use exotic oils like flax-seed, olive, grapeseed, safflower, canola, etc. oils or just any edible oil at all to rub on the pan surface before heating it on the stove for that coating needed for seasoning their carbon steel pans.
For your first dish after seasoning, it’s best to use a lot of onions, garlic and ginger in oil, because it helps get rid of any remaining smell and adds flavor to the pan.
Sometimes when you buy a new pan without pre-seasoning, you must run it under hot water for a while. While it's under the running water, use a scrubbing brush with soft bristles and brush off the protective layer on top.
Take a paper napkin and dry it off gently and follow the usual oiling and heating method. Then you can put it over the stove and add your oil and ingredients and fry away.
There’s also a way to season your pan inside an oven. Pre-heat your baking oven to 400°F, and then place the pan in the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes. Remember to use mittens when removing the pan.
Use the same method of dabbing the oil on the pan and then put it back in the oven, but this time for an hour. Turn the oven off and let the pan cool inside overnight.
Carbon Steel Pan Care Tips for Lasting Longer
Carbon steel pans generally are very durable. And if cared for the right way, they can last for generations. There are a few tips I would like you to pay close attention to so that you can take care of your carbon steel pans better.
These tips will help your pan sustain a longer lifetime:
Solution for Accidental Scratching on Non-Stick Properties
In case you accidentally scratch the pan’s non-stick material, rub a coat of oil on it and put it on the stove's heat until that scratched spot darkens again. This would take about 5 to 10 minutes, and it's possible it will smoke.
But you can just turn on an exhaust fan or open the windows quickly afterward. And that damaged area will work as good as new again.
Boiling Water to Soften Stains
There’s a lengthy method to clean your pan thoroughly. Get some warm water, sponge/scrubber, dish towel, and paper towels. Soak the pan in hot water. Make sure to add no soap. Let it sit for a few minutes. Scrub off any residue of food on it.
Dry it with the towel properly. And then dab the paper towel in some oil and season it like we’ve mentioned before.
Salt-Rubbing Method to Remove Burnt Food on the Pan
The salt method isn’t recommended for all pan types. But it’s not completely useless. Here’s how you do it. While your pan is still warm with remaining oil, sprinkle some salt over and use tongs to rub paper towels over the salt and oil.
This removes food that’s stuck on the pan. You can later rinse and dry and season your pan again.
Emergency Soaping to Kill Germs
There’s a rare soaping method which isn’t very necessary unless it’s an emergency. People usually do this to get rid of bacteria. For this, you just need to pour water on the pan and set it on the stove for a while.
After it boils and then, add a few drops of dishwashing soap and let the suds form and kill any germs you're worried about.
Keeping Your Pans Dry at All Times
Keeping your pans dry is essential if you don’t want it to catch rust. After oiling it, you could heat it on the stove again so it’s dried up.
Storing in the Correct Way
Always store your pans in dry places. Never leave the lid on or any other kind of covering. It will get humid inside and start to mold with the oily bottom.
And if you're not going to use it for a while, make sure to season it well. It's possible it could get sticky, but that’s not a huge issue. You can rinse and wipe it off and then season it again.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are carbon steel pans actually made of?
Carbon steel is very durable, right? So, it’s obviously made of strong materials like iron. Correctly broken down, these pans consist of 99% iron and 1% carbon.
2. For what reason(s) can I use a carbon steel pan?
Such pans have high versatility in the culinary world. For example, cooking on a stove, sautéing, searing, frying, etc. And it’s used for both savory and sweet dishes, so it doesn’t matter whether you're cooking stir fry or just casseroles.
3. Why and how did carbon steel pans get popular among cooks?
These pans are very advantageous as cookware, so why not? It's versatile, durable, and highly conducting. Restaurants have carbon steel pans because professional kitchens often have powerful burners, so heavy-duty material like carbon steel is perfect to endure all that power.
4. Is it necessary to pay such attention to caring for carbon steel pans?
In my honest opinion, no.
It’s the same routine repeatedly after every use. Just wipe it clean and swipe the pan with an oiled napkin to keep it seasoned. If necessary, then washing the pan with water sometimes because it got messy, isn’t so troublesome.
5. What are the demerits of using a carbon steel pan?
It’s most probably the size and weight of these pans. It’s hard to carry or store them in certain places.
Some chefs say you should avoid putting acidic food in the pan because it reacts with the iron material in the pan and discolors it. But the trick to prevent that is to add acidic food only when your pan is already very seasoned and used to cooking.
So, I’m hoping I helped somehow to clear any confusion you had earlier about what kind of carbon steel pan to buy. The above reviews should give you a bit of an idea to go along with when choosing and purchasing one.
Nevertheless, now, you are ready to make a well-informed decision and find the best carbon steel pan for you.