Carbon steel pans have been mainstays in restaurant kitchens for years. They are excellent for a variety of cooking tasks, from searing meat to sautéing vegetables to cooking the perfect omelet.
Carbon steel skillets are making their way into more and more home kitchens, and with good reason. They are lighter than cast iron, heat up quickly and maintain a consistent temperature. When properly seasoned (which is easily accomplished), carbon steel provides a nonstick cooking surface without a synthetic layer that can scratch loose and make its way into your food.
Carbon steel is less porous than cast iron, so it is less likely to rust, but that little bit of potential rust is super-easy to prevent with proper seasoning. Seasoning with oil protects the pan and makes it nonstick.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the initial seasoning. The process may be as simple as rubbing the skillet with a neutral oil and baking it upside down (over a sheet pan to catch any drips) for an hour at 350°F. If the first few things you cook in your carbon steel are high in fat like bacon or sausage, you’ll gain additional layers of seasoning that will improve the performance of your pan.
The handles can get hot, so have a potholder or silicone handle grip nearby.
The patina that builds with repeated seasoning makes cleanup easy. Most of the time you can simply wipe the pan with a paper towel to clean it. A light coat of oil after drying will continue to improve the nonstick surface. The dishwasher is a definite no-no!
For stubborn bits, you can use a light scrubber, but avoid abrasives - they’ll remove the patina you have worked to achieve and you will need to re-season the pan. Re-seasoning is easy, but wouldn’t you rather get started on that new recipe?
Be aware that acidic foods such as tomato sauce can strip some of the patina, but you can re-season the pan by heating and wiping with oil a few times on the stovetop.
It's easy to find the right carbon steel skillet for your kitchen if you start your search with top-rated tools. We've narrowed the list to help you choose the right skillet for your kitchen and cooking style. A 12-inch pan is a versatile size to start with. Consider other sizes if you cook for one or for a crowd.
Lodge is a classic name in cast iron cookware, and they are a player in carbon steel skillets, too. Seasoned at the factory with natural soy bean oil, Lodge skillets are ready for first use right out of the box. They heat quickly and maintain high and low temperatures equally well.
The handle angle allows the skillet to fit inside most ovens in addition to cooktop use. They work well with all heat sources except microwave ovens, even electric and conduction cooktops.
Matfer Bourgeat is a top name in carbon steel cookware. Heavy duty construction distributes heat evenly at all temperatures. The steel handle is extra strong. The pan ships with a protective layer, so before first use, follow instructions to ready it for first use. Season on any cooking surface for years of nonstick use. The steel grip handle gives you lots of control while cooking.
Made in France of extra thick carbon steel the Mauviel skillet adds a professional touch to your home cooking toolbox. All Mauviel products are guaranteed for life against any manufacturing defects for household use. Best known for its copper cookware,
Mauviel's M'steel collection is made with carbon steel for durability and excellent heat conduction. The steel withstands high temperatures allowing for longer preheating and excellent searing on all cooktops including induction. Prior to first use, remove the protective beeswax coating with hot water. Then season with flavorless oil to achieve an easy-care nonstick finish.
This carbon steel skillet with a smooth Lyonnaise profile is ideal for searing, grilling and browning. The riveted handle is curved in the French style - ohh-la-la! Like many carbon steel pans from France, the De Buyer arrives with an easy to remove protective beeswax coating. Regular seasoning will enhance the nonstick qualities. Use on all cooktops. Deglaze and rinse with warm water, dry and oil lightly before storing in a dry place.
The heavy duty Paderno skillet allows for long pre-heating at high temperatures to get just the results you want with excellent heat conduction
. It's perfect for searing
and sautéing. If you want more, the Paderno is available in a range of sizes from just under 8 inches to just over 19 1/2 inches.
The handles of carbon steel skillets can get very hot. Fortunately, there are inexpensive grips and handle covers available to keep your hands safe. They resist heat more effectively than regular potholders to prevent nasty burns.
The Hot handle is made of the highest quality FDA kitchen approved, medical grade, BPA free silicone
. Cleans easily in the dishwasher
. Heat resistant to 675°F, the HotHandle is designed to protect you from burns even taking items right from the oven. It is slip and skid resistant ensuring you have a safe grip on your hot pots and pans.
Hot Handle Cover fits over most metal pan handles.
Silicone sleeve slips on easily, keeping your hands safe
. The set of two durable handle covers is dishwasher-safe
FDA-approved food-grade silicone. Stain and odor resistant with a non-slip texture for a firm grip on hot pans.
Easily cleaned by hand or place in top rack of dishwasher
, the Duncan set of 2 Kitchen Grips handle covers includes 1 small (6-inch) and 1 large (7-inch) cover. They provide protection against hot surfaces up to 500°F and easily help move hot pans. Non-slip grip, non-skid, raised nub surface creates more insulation between the hand and heat source. Made in USA of a non-porous material that stops bacteria growth. Stain resistant.
Protect hands from hot pan handles
. High-quality, heat-resistant silicone creates an insulating layer of protection up to 475°F.
The textured surface is comfortable and non-slip for safety.
Slides on and off easily and stays securely in place while in use. Works with a variety of long cookware handles