10 Best Carbon Steel Pan Review in 2021

I’ve been living in the carbon steel pan closet, and today is the day I embrace this part of me.

Please meet the queen of my kitchen. Yeah, that’s my babe right there.

Phew!

Now that we have the awkwardness out of the way, we can proceed to more important matters.

For the longest time, I didn’t want to say that the carbon steel pans were behind my big grin in the kitchen.

I wanted to keep this secret to myself (I’m the jealous type). But today, I’ve decided to share everything I know about the carbon steel material pans.

So, let’s get to it before I change my mind.

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Best Carbon Steel Pan

Like any other relationship, I’ve kissed very many frogs before I finally got my the one. I mean, some cast iron carbon steel pans were so bad I had to return them.

Today, I present to you the carbon steel material pans that have worked for me. The ones that I’m sure are worth your bucks.

I’ve also researched, read tons of reviews, and watched countless videos on the carbon steel cookware I’ve not used on the list. And I confidently give them my approval stamp (and trust me, it means something).

So, shall we?

Carbon Steel Pan: Our Top Picks

Product

Features

Prices

Here’s our in-depth review of the selected carbon steel pans.

Expert Reviews of the Best Carbon Steel Pans

BEST OVERALL

If you’ve read any of my reviews, you know I’m a big advocate of lightweight pans. I certainly don’t want to feel like I’m at the gym in the kitchen.

But the de Buyer fry pan gave me a reason to look past the whole weight thing. It’s 4.72 pounds, but I couldn’t have it any other way.

Like most carbon steel pans on this list, It has almost everything that describes the features of the best carbon steel pan.

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Overall, the De Buyer mineral pan is great and very well priced. One interesting fact about the company is that it’s been in business for over 200 years. Yup, they’ve been doing this since 1830, and they’ve been able to evolve with their users.

So, who is the de buyer mineral b pan for? People who cook a lot and don’t want to keep replacing their crepe pan. The pan thrives in being used; the more you use it, the better its shine is. Also, it has to be someone who doesn’t mind lifting heavy stuff or is ready to overlook it.

But if you’re not the person I described and don’t have the patience of seasoning pans, check out my other options ( hint: some of them are seasoned carbon steel).

Premium Choice

This is among the carbon steel pans that I would recommend for someone new in the pan world.

It’s easy to handle,and it’s heavy-duty too, but it’s lighter than our previous counterpart.

I was on the fence about buying this pan because some reviews were not very pretty. But I realized the perfectly flat bottom pan wasn’t the problem; it was more of a handler’s problem.

I’ve learned that to use woks and pans succesfully, you’ve got to get the seasoning, cleaning, and caring part right.

Anyway, back to the Mauviel M’Steel pans.

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If you can get the seasoning part right, you’ll have a beautiful experience with this pan. I love that it sustains high temperature and that tossing is so easy even for beginners.

So, in my opinion, the price is well accounted for.

Editor’s Choice

Have you ever heard of the Winco Brand? Probably not. I had not used any of their products before this frying pan.

The thought of putting my money in this pan was a little petrifying because of the price.

You know when someone gives you a big discount, and you start questioning the quality and authenticity of the product? That was the case

Anyway, it turns out it was just a smart buy.

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Winco is among the companies why we should give unknown brands a chance. It’s based in Spain, and they’re always working to provide quality products at a friendly price.

The Winco pan is a good match for professional chefs in busy restaurants and people who often cook in their homes.

You can use this pan twice a day and still maintain its quality. It can also be used in extreme temperatures directly, which significantly reduces the pre-heating time.

Best Australian Carbon steel pan

I was a bit skeptical about buying a skillet from AUS-ION because they’ve only been around since 2015. Usually, I go for companies that I’ve been around for a few decades because I feel like they know what they’re doing.

So, what changed my mind? The design of the skillet, it’s modern and unique, and other features are excellent too.

Their frying pan is made for the modern kitchen, and I think that’s a good thing.

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AUS-ION may be new in the market, but it’s already shaking up the industry. We may not know how many years the pan lasts, but we can vouch for it based on its performance.

One little thing, though, I know the pan comes seasoned, but I found that the skillet cooked better after I removed the coat and repeated the seasoning.

Overall, this frying pan is worth every penny, and it takes care of all customer’s pain points like seasoning and the handles coming off.

Best Black carbon steel pan

I know everyone who tries the Mafter Bourgeat pan is looking for a Teflon alternative.

But as much as I would love to match that narrative, that wasn’t my case. I was just exploring, and I happened to love it.

Like everyone else, my favorite feature of the pan is that it comes in all sizes. You can buy many and have a set that you can alternate or simply get your desired size.

And that’s not the only thing that standouts when it comes to this frying pan. Read on to see the features.

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So, is this pan worth your money? Absolutely. The most common issue with woks and pans is always the loosening handles. Not having to ever deal with that is a huge plus for me.

The company has been around since 1830 so you can be assured of quality. They also have a very good policy. And they aim at giving their clients high-performance products that meet high hygiene and quality standards.

Best Raised Bottom carbon steel pan

I know this is starting to look like a De Buyer affair, but I promise they earned this spot too. A chef advised me to get a grill pan in one of my adventures, and I’m impressed.

And yeah, this is my first grill pan, and I think every household deserves one. It’s especially beneficial when you want to grill, and it’s cold outside or if you don’t have a backyard.

The pan is made using carbon steel, and it’s heavy-duty like their other pans. Is it heavy? Yes, but that’s precisely what you want in iron pans.

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I highly recommend adding a grilling pan to your collection. It’s among my best kitchen investments.

There is one problem, though; the seasoning is very challenging because of the raised ridges. One great hack is to ensure you use a very thin oil layer; that way, oil won’t gather between the ridges.

Best Runner Up carbon steel pan

I love the Merten company because they have high standards and they live up to them. This is especially great for someone who has been using a cast iron pan and is looking for a carbon steel experience.

So, is it worth a spot in best carbon steel pan list? Let’s find out.

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The motto of the Merten company is ‘if it can’t stand the heat, get it out of the kitchen.’ And that should be the case because carbon steel should thrive in high temperatures. Most pans have a limit of 400F, so 600F is a terrific deal.

I also recommend it for people who hate seasoning because it’s pre-seasoned, and unlike other manufacturing seasonings, this one is great.

It passed the egg test!

And the more you use it, the darker it becomes, so you don’t have to worry about seasoning.

However, if you’ve been using cast iron for years, you may want to start with a thicker pan unless you want something light.

Best Wooden Handle carbon steel pan

I love the Yosukata company, everything they stand for, and their products. Before this pan, I had their wok, and it was performing so well, so I decided to give their pan a chance.

Was it worth it? Yes, otherwise, they wouldn’t be on my best carbon steel pan list.

One Amazon user described it best. She said the carbon steel frying pan was so good in cooking eggs that they slide like they were on glass.

You probably think it is some marketing BS, so let me tell you everything about the stir frying pan and let you decide.

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Overall, the pan is worth the money. While I love pans with welded handles, I appreciated having one that I can use in the oven.

The design is also great, and it’s not as heavy as other carbon 12inch steel pans. It’s also strong enough to withstand tough conditions; one user mentioned they’re using it for camping, and it’s been great.

Best Stay Cool carbon steel pan

This carbon steel pan very different from the previous recommendation. I included it for those who may be looking for something smaller.

I admit I don’t have experience with the Delihom products, but based on the countless reviews I’ve read and watched, it’s a pan I’d buy.

There are a few caveats of buying the pan, but it’s nothing you can’t get past (I’ll let you in on that in the review).

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This pan is an excellent choice for someone who appreciates small and lightweight pans. I love that it has a detachable handle, but having to assemble it is a deal-breaker because I’m not crafty.

However, if you’re planning to remove the handle and use it in the oven at some point, this should be a non-issue for you.

Best carbon steel pan

I wanted to make a grand exit, so I saved the best carbon steel for last. Can you imagine having something that’s like a wok and a paella pan? Isn’t that a dream?

Well, you’re welcome; it’s time to live that dream.

This is one of my best carbon steel pans.

And I’m about to explain why.

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You have to be cautious to ensure you don’t scratch the surface

Having this carbon steel skillet has been among the greatest blessings in my kitchen. Seriously, it helps me cook food for at least six people, which is amazing for a 12.5-inch pan. Thanks to the thickness, the heat distribution is constant and even. The lid really comes in handy when cooking simmering food, which is often.

Do I like the fact that it weighs 7 pounds? Heck no! However, you got to take the good with the bad. Right?

Benefits of Carbon Steel Pans

Now that I have given you the recommendations, it’s time to let you know why professional kitchens go for 

the best carbon steel pan.

They’re naturally non-stick

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If you cook with a new carbon steel cookware, food may stick on it. But that’s only because it’s yet to be seasoned. After seasoning and a few uses, a steel pan becomes smooth and non-stick; their great choices for people looking for Teflon-coated pots alternatives.

They thrive in high heat

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This is the one thing that you can’t get from a Teflon pan. When the latter gets to 500 degrees, it starts to emit toxic stuff.

On the other hand, when it comes to carbon steel cookware, you don’t have to worry about high temperatures.

They’re inexpensive

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Many carbon steel pans are relatively cheap. This is all thanks to their low production cost. For instance, they don’t require any coating to give them non stick properties since this can be achieved through seasoning.

However, stainless steel has an aluminum core, which makes them slightly expensive.

Equal distribution of heat

Carbon steel pans are excellent at distributing heat very evenly, which is why it looks delicious. They also retain heat, which helps in saving energy.

Cons of Using Carbon Steel Pans

I don’t want to be that salesperson who only tells you about the good of a product. It’s crucial I let you know some of the setbacks of using the carbon steel pieces.

So, here you go.

They require seasoning

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One of the biggest challenges of using carbon steel pans and woks is the seasoning process. I almost gave up because I had to repeat it several times to get it right.

If you don’t do it right, it gets bumpy, and it doesn’t become non-stick. On the other hand seasoned carbon steel frying pan is smooth and very convinient.

They’re prone to rust

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Unlike stainless steel, carbon steel doesn’t have chromium, so it forms iron oxide (rust) when the surface reacts with oxygen.

But this shouldn’t discourage you from buying the pan; you can prevent it or fix it.

They react with acidic foods.

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It’s essential to avoid foods such as tomatoes and vinegar on carbon steel pans because they break the crepe pans seasoning.

And no, cooking acidic food isn’t dangerous; you only need to be prepared to re-season your surface.

They’re not dishwasher-friendly.

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It’s crucial to avoid dishwashers because the hot water and detergents affect even the best carbon steel skillet seasoning. You want to ensure your seasoning lasts to avoid issues such as rusting or sticking foods.

Best Carbon Steel Pans Buyer's Guide

If you didn’t get a good carbon steel pan on my list, that’s okay. Here is what to look for when shopping for a carbon steel frying pan.

Size

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The two things you want to consider when buying carbon steel skillets are the diameter and the depth of the pan.

It doesn’t matter if people call it cast iron skillets or carbon steel pans; these are the two things you need to consider.

The diameter can be anywhere between 8 to 20 inches, while the debth is mostly between 11/2 inch to 4 inches.

Deeper pans work best, but if you can’t find deep pans, you can always go for top-rated carbon steel woks.

Weight and Thickness

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When you check the description of every paella pan, you’ll find the weight and thickness description.

So, which one is better? A thick or a thin carbon steel skillet? Both are great, depending on what you’re looking for.

Thick carbon steel skillet take more time to heat up, but its heat retention is fantastic. On the other hand, thin carbon steel heats up fast, but they have poor heat retention.

Also, if you go with heavy-duty pans, tossing food may feel a little like you’re working out in the kitchen. People buy them because thin pans are more prone to rust compared to thick frying pans.

Handle

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A handle is essential for every frying pan. It helps in tossing food and balancing the pan. Some carbon steel pans also come with an additional handle on the side, which helps in transferring food.

When it comes to handles, you have a few options to explore. Some handles are welded, so they’ll never loosen or come out. On the other hand, while riveted handles may loosen, they make the pans oven-friendly because they can come out.

Seasoned vs. unseasoned

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Some carbon steel cookware come pre-seasoned, while others come unseasoned. The only difference is that you can use a seasoned pan immediately when it’s out of the box.

However, after some time, the seasoning gets off, and you’ll need to re-season it. For this reason, I prefer buying unseasoned pans and saving the slight difference.

Also, to be honest, the pre-seasoning never makes the pan smooth and non-stick, so I’d instead do it myself.

Carbon Steel Vs. Cookware

Every cookware is different from the other; each of them has their weaknesses and strengths. Here is a comparison of a few cookware with carbon steel pans.

Carbon steel vs. stainless steel

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This is probably the most confusing of all of them. The difference is that stainless steel has chromium on the surface that reacts with oxygen to form chromium oxide. This helps in preventing rust formation. As a result, it doesn’t require frequent seasoning. The additional alloys make stainless steel costly.

On the other hand, carbon steel doesn’t have a high amount of chromium, which means it’s prone to rust and requires regular seasoning. The best part is that they’re affordable and easily become non-stick.

Carbon steel vs. blue steel

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Blue steel is carbon steel that has undergone heat treatment to form an outer layer.

The layer doesn’t change the performance of the carbon stir frying pan.

Carbon steel vs. cast iron

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Cast iron and cast steel are the same. They build up the non-stick feature; and they’re adorable and durable.

The main difference between the two materials is heat responsiveness and thickness. For example, carbon steel pans are thinner, so they respond more to temperature changes. On the other hand, cast iron pans are heavier and are excellent at heat retention and distribution.

Due to the weight, carbon steel pans are easier to toss compared to cast iron skillets. Also, a carbon steel cooking surface is smoother than cast iron cookware.

How to maintain and clean a carbon steel pan

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The other important thing you need to learn is how to take care of your carbon steel pan.

Seasoning

 

 

The process involves adding a protective thin layer of vegetable oil to prevent rusting and create the smooth surface.

As you continue cooking foods with fat and oil, the seasoning and non-stick only get better.

One mistake that people make is thinking that seasoning is a one-time thing. However, re-seasoning is equally essential to maintain a smooth cooking surface.

When you realize your food is sticking or you notice a scratch on your paella pan, it’s a sign you need to re-season your pan.

Some pans are pre seasoned, and you don’t have to season them. A pre seasoned carbon steel is black or dark grey.

Cleaning

When cleaning your carbon steel pan, avoid detergents as they destroy the seasoning.

Instead, use a bristle brush and hot water. You can also use a towel & coarse salt to remove sticky food.

After cleaning the good carbon steel skillet, pat it to dry with a paper towel and add mineral oil to prevent the carbon steel from rusting.

Best Carbon Steel Pan FAQ

Here are the common questions that people ask regarding about best carbon steel skillet.

How is carbon steel made?

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Carbon steel is made from 1% carbon and 99% iron, while cast iron is made using 2-4% carbon, as a result, carbon steel is bendier. To make a carbon steel pan, you only need to cut a piece of steel and hammer or press it to the desired form.

On the other hand, thanks to the high carbon content in cast iron, it has to be melted and molded into a pan.

This explains why carbon steel skillet is smoother and thinner than a cast iron skillet.

Is carbon steel durable?

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The carbon steel line lasts for years. One way to explain this is that carbon steel is malleable, so it never cracks. It can only bend or warp, unlike cast iron pans that are brittle, which makes them crack easily. However, this rarely happens, but it’s safe to conclude a carbon steel pan can outlive a cast iron pan, all other facts kept constant.

How heavy is carbon steel?

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The only way to answer this question is if I compare carbon steel with cast iron. The latter is popular because of its thickness and weight that contribute to its heat distribution and durability.

While carbon steel isn’t that heavy, it’s also made from strong metal. You’ll find that many pans have a thickness of 2-3 mm, while cast iron cookware have a 5mm thickness.

Best carbon steel pans (Final Thoughts)

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If you don’t have any carbon steel skillets, it’s time to go shopping. They’re the main workhorses in my kitchen, and I couldn’t be happier.

Food tastes better, it cooks faster, and the cleaning is much easier. I’ve finally figured out the seasoning, so there is no con in using these pans for me.

I hope my best carbon steel skillet review gave you a better understanding of how the carbon steel pans work.

Back to you. Have you used carbon steel frying pans before? If yes, how was the experience and what is your favorite carbon steel skillet?

The only way to answer this question is if I compare carbon steel with cast iron. The latter is popular because of its thickness and weight that contribute to its heat distribution and durability.

While carbon steel isn’t that heavy, it’s also made from strong metal. You’ll find that many pans have a thickness of 2-3 mm, while cast iron cookware have a 5mm thickness.

Colin Matthews

Colin is a passionate chef by trade and a kitchen nerd on the side. Growing up in the kitchen, Colin has always had a passion for learning the absolute best way to cook a dish. He quickly realized most kitchens have duplicate cookware and small appliances and had to decide which ones were going to be the “keepers” – causing him to take a closer look at all his products.

As it turns out, small differences make a big impact on the experience. Whether it’s how hard you have to press a microwave button, to how long a cast iron skillet stays warm after you turn off the heat, these little difference changed everything.