What Is The Best Carbon Steel Fry Pan?
Every kitchen should have at least one carbon steel pan, which offer many of the benefits of cast iron pans without a lot of the drawbacks. There are an extraordinary number of carbon steel pan options out there, but we’ve found that the 12″ Lodge Skillet is the best carbon steel frying pan.
Depending on the type of cooking you do and where you might want a different type of pan. We’ve provided a round-up of budget, stir-fry, camping pans, and more.
- Top Carbon Steel Pans Comparisons
- 10 Best Carbon Steel Pans
- What Is A Carbon Steel Pan, And Why Does Your Kitchen Need One?
- Things To Look For When Buying Carbon Steel Pans
- Advantages Of Using A Carbon Steel Pan
- What’s The Best Way To Use Carbon Steel Pans?
- Our Recommendation
Top Carbon Steel Pans Comparisons
Pre-seasoned with natural soya bean oil and featuring a non-stick like finish, this ready to use steel cookware from Lodge is constructed with 12-gauge of carbon steel that maintains very low and very high temperatures with ease and can be used on a variety of heat sources.
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With a welded handle, this budget-friendly carbonized steel pan comes with a non-stick surface and brings top-notch heat distribution and temperature control for versatile usage.
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Featuring a flat and riveted handle, this steel carbon pan from Paderno with silver appearance is a breeze when it comes to cooking. Besides, its 9 and a half inches of thickness makes it ideal for long pre-heating at high temperatures.
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Designed with heavy-duty carbon steel that offers excellent heat conduction, this carbon steel pan is an induction ready option that has a polished surface and requires flavoring for non-stick usage.
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Ideal for stir fry, Joyce Chen is made from 1. 5 mm gauge carbon steel. You can use this 12-inch-wide non-sticky WOK on gas, electric, or induction stovetops without any problem.
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Three times denser than aluminum, BK Cookware can resist corrosion and stain easily. Thanks to its heat-responsive design, it gives outstanding results when it comes to searing.
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Made of extra-thick Black Steel with a riveted sturdy handle, Mauviel M'Steel is able to withstand increased temperatures and perfect for searing, browning, and stir-frying.
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Designed as a traditional 14-inch Chinese wok with a round bottom, YOSUKATA is made from heavy-duty steel that needs no flavoring and ideal for pan-frying, braising, or deep-frying.
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Made of 99 % pure iron, De Buyer features a bee wax finish to fight against oxidation while improving seasoning. Besides, the signature French curve handle makes it perfect for sautéing, stirring, and flipping.
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Made of 99% cast iron and 1% carbon, this 9.5-inch round carbon steel cookware comes with a non-synthetic coating that withstands oxidation while helping with the seasoning process.
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10 Best Carbon Steel Pans
What You Will Love: Start your carbon steel journey today with the 12″ Lodge Seasoned Carbon Steel Skillet. With the best all-around features and price point, we recommend the 12″ Lodge to any cook interested in the benefits of carbon steel.
In addition to having a great design, the 12″ Lodge also comes pre-seasoned, which means you can start cooking with it immediately upon purchase.
The 12″ Lodge Seasoned Carbon Steel Skillet is the perfect all-around, entry-level pan. With a long, angled handle (which provides reach), a sleek black surface, and pre-seasoning, the Lodge can be immediately used to cook just about anything.
A riveted steel handle provides additional durability and stability to the pan, while the 12 gauge carbon steel provides a good balance between time-to-heat and heat retention. While other manufacturers use synthetic chemicals to provide a pre-seasoned finish, Lodge uses soybean oil and heat to create the perfect seasoning.
Soybean oil and vegetable oil provide a slick, non-stick finish that can be removed to re-season the pan to its previous finish. As with other best carbon steel pans, the 12″ Lodge can be used on virtually any cook surface, including induction stove-tops.
In addition to the advantages of the steel skillet itself, Lodge is an exceptionally reputable brand known for its cast iron cookware.
Lodge has been creating affordable, durable pans for over 100 years, with excellent reviews and customer support. While there are many brands available for carbon skillets, working with an expert can help. As an entry-level pan, the 12″ Lodge has a great price point, striking the balance between affordable and “budget.”
The Lodge is rougher than some more expensive pans, which means the experience of seasoning the pan may take longer and may take a little more work. As a more porous pan, the Lodge can soak up oils and demand a lot of work to achieve a non-stick surface. Another downside, depending on the type of cooking that you want to do, is that the 12″ Lodge has fairly low walls.
If you’re trying to cook anything large in it, it’s likely to spill. The 12″ Lodge is better for frying: steaks, bacon, sausage, and other small items. For something bigger, such as
Runner-Up, Best Overall:
What You Will Love: Start cooking in style with the 11″ Matfer Bourgeat Frying Pan, an attractive and durable option that can be used as a solid all-around pan. Though this pan does need to be seasoned after purchasing it, it comes with a lot of advantages: it has a high quality, smooth finish, and a classic design.
The only thing holding this pan up from being the winner is its price tag, which is still extremely reasonable. An exceptionally
At a weight of 4 pounds, it’s hefty but not cumbersome-and the ability to season it at home means that you can control exactly what level of seasoning you want. Of course, you can choose not to season it, in which case it will remain a bright, gleaming silver. Pans can be used unseasoned with oil, they just won’t have the typical non-stick surface.
While it is a fairly shallow pan, its size is perfect for most cooking. It has an almost bowl-like shape to it, providing a fairly large cook surface while still making it easy to produce sauces and other liquid dishes.
Despite its lack of seasoning, its surface has been prepared to a smooth finish, and the pan itself comes with directions for seasoning included.
Seasoning a pan can be a multi-hour process depending on the type of seasoning you want, because the pan has to cool down between seasonings. For those who aren’t interested in seasoning a pan, that’s a disadvantage. In reality, though it’s a skill, seasoning isn’t very hard to do.
With a pre-seasoned pan, you may not be able to see the quality of the pan finish itself. In terms of price, the Matfer Bourgeat comes in as a runner-up because it’s significantly more expensive than the 12″ Lodge.
Though it does provide some additional quality, it doesn’t provide quite enough to make up for that price differential-especially because one pan is seasoned and the other is not. However, this is still an extraordinarily reasonable price for a carbon steel pan, and far cheaper than many other competitive brands.
What You Will Love: A carbon steel pan doesn’t have to be a substantial investment. With the 9.5″ Paderno Carbon Steel Frying Pan, you can see what the fuss is about without having to completely renew your kitchen.
You can get a taste of carbon steel for just a few bucks, while also experiencing the magic of a heavy-duty pan. The heavy-duty construction of the Paderno makes searing a joy, though its relatively small size can hold you back from cooking more varied things.
If you want to try out carbon steel, consider the 9.5″ Paderno Carbon Steel Frying Pan. At an extremely low price point, the Paderno is the perfect option for someone who wants to experiment with carbon steel but who hasn’t decided yet to switch over their entire kitchen.
Despite the price, the 9.5″ Paderno is still a high quality pan-and it even has some advantages over some of the more affordable ones. This heavy-duty pan is made to be thicker than others, which means that it will heat over a longer period of time, and it will be able to sear at an exceptionally high temperature.
This is the ideal type of pan to use for searing meats, such as for searing thick cuts of steak. It also comes with a durable and attractive flat, riveted handle, and a unique design. Since it retains heat, it’s better for things like potatoes than stir-fried.
As the Paderno is not pre-seasoned, you will need to season it yourself. This can be a drawback if you’re not interested in doing so, but it can also be a benefit if you want to control exactly how much the pan is seasoned.
Perhaps the most significant issue with this budget pan is that it’s fairly small: at 9.5″, it’s going to be used mostly for searing and preparing smaller portions of meat. A more comparable 12″ version of the Paderno is available (as well as many other sizes), but it doesn’t produce the same cost savings as the 9.5″ pan.
It’s better to select the 9.5″ Paderno if you’re looking to try carbon steel out, and it’s better to go with the 12″ Lodge if you’re looking for something more versatile. The Paderno is also a good option for those that want a heavier bodied pan, which is often more expensive.
Best for Induction Cooktop:
What You Will Love: If you want to cook with induction, you need the Paderno World Cuisine Crepe Pan. You can produce world-class results with this high-contact crepe pan, which has all of the benefits of carbon steel in a flat, almost griddle-like surface.
Your Paderno World Cuisine will let you take advantage to the fullest extent of the material’s non-stick surfaces, in addition to being available at an extremely affordable price. On the other hand, the low walls make it less suitable for other things.
If you have an induction cooktop, you need to be a bit particular about the pan you purchase. Enter the Paderno World Cuisine Blue Carbon Steel Crepe Pan. Unlike gas grills and other types of stove, an induction cooktop requires surface contact.
Many of the other pans on this list have shallow, bowl sides, and a fairly small surface area connecting with the stove. This could cause uneven cooking. That’s not true with the Paderno Crepe Pan. The Paderno Crepe Pan has a low slung, broad surface, which will hit an induction cooktop and immediately begin heating.
It’s specifically made for crepes, but it can also be used for anything else that needs to be cooked fairly flat: burgers, steaks, bacon, pancakes, and more. At the same time, it’s very low sides make it impossible to use for anything liquid, like sauces.
At an affordable price, this 9.5″ carbon steel crepe pan is a great tool for any cook, especially those looking to purchase their first carbon steel pan. However, it should be noted that this is not a seasoned pan: you will need to use a lot of butter or oil with those crepes, or you will need to season it yourself. Like the other Paderno pan, it has a distinctive, attractive, and durable handle.
Not only can the Paderno crepe pan be used on an induction stove, but it can even be used on a hot plate. This makes it a pretty good pan for cooking on the go. A limited lifetime warranty further rounds out this excellent product.
If you need a pan or skillet that can be used on-the-go, the Paderno crepe pan is a good buy. It also comes in a number of sizes, all of which are extremely affordable.
Best for Multiple Heat Sources:
What You Will Love: Sometimes, you’ve just gotta go where it’s cookin’. The 12″ Joyce Chen Stir Frying
This pan can go anywhere and cook on anything, but it’s specifically built to make it easy to
Most people cook in only one location, but if you frequently find yourself using different types of cook top, the 12″ Joyce Chen Carbon Steel Stir Frying Pan is going to be a great choice for you.
That’s not the only benefit this pan has, though, thanks to its attractive build and unique design. The 12″ Joyce Chen Pan can be used with electric, gas, or induction stove tops.
Apart from its variety of heat sources, the shape of the 12″ Joyce Chen Pan makes it perfect for stir fries and other combination meals. With a large, high-walled bowl, anything can be tossed in it-though it’s less suitable for things like frying. In addition to its bowl shape, the 12″ Joyce Chen Pan also features an attractive birch wood handle. You can grip this handle to toss food over a hot surface.
The birch wood handle of the pan means a couple of things. One, it’s easy to manipulate the pan while you’re cooking, moving it from burner to burner, tossing the food inside of it, and taking it off when it needs to be.
However, it also cannot be used in the oven, which means it can’t be used for finishing dishes in the oven. This is a major benefit to all metal pans like grill pans, & Springform Pans. Other than those unique aspects, the 12″ Joyce Chen Pan is an extremely affordable pan that does not come pre-seasoned, so seasoning is going to need to be done.
With a 1.5 mm gauge body, it’s substantial without being too weighty, and will heat up very quickly. This is really the ideal pan if you love to make stir fries and if you frequently cook on different stove tops. It’s also a good pan for flash cooking anything at high heat, like rice dishes.
Best for Camping:
What You Will Love: One of the best carbon steel pans on a budget, BK Cookware is no joke when it comes to performance. Crafted with hot-rolled black steel that is three times denser than aluminum and much durable than traditional gray carbon steel, BK Cookware is made to last.
Plus, it comes with a thickness of 2 mm and features a black iron oxide layer that offers resistance to corrosion, damage, and stains.
Don’t let the price of BK Cookware fool you as this carbon steel frying pan’s layer is pre-seasoned with oil and has an additional easy to remove silicon wax coating, making it ready to use in no time.
The most impressive feature of this carbon steel pan is its ability to develop a natural non-stick patina layer, which gets better and better after each use. The innovatively shaped coated cast iron handle comes with rivets and allows you to have a firm grip for making sudden moves.
- The winner of the 2019 Red Dot Award for design
- Not very good at seasoning as the pan is raised in the middle so the oil takes a bit of work
Best for Stir-Frying:
What You Will Love: Get the stir-fry of your dreams with the Mauviel Black Carbon Steel Frying Pan, an elegant and attractive frying pan with a solid, durable iron handle. The Mauviel Black Carbon Steel pan can be used anywhere and is a high grade product produced by a company with a lot of history. With an affordable price point and a number of different sizes, you can create an entire set of Mauviel to adorn your kitchen.
Stir fries require high heat and solid maneuverability. For those purposes, take a look at the Mauviel Black Carbon Steel Frying Pan.
The Mauviel Black Steel pan is made out of thick carbon steel, which will heat hotter and impart a good sear to any stir-fry.
With a solid iron handle, the Mauviel can be easily manipulated, tossing stir-fry ingredients before they burn. Mauviel has been making pans for decades, improving upon them with each new generation.
The Mauviel Black Carbon Steel frying pan can be used on any cooking surface. It’s a high grade product, with a protective beeswax coating designed to prevent the pan from being damaged before it’s properly seasoned.
Of course, like many of the other cookware on this list, it does have to be seasoned before it’s used. It makes up for that with its rather affordable price.The 8″ Mauviel Black Carbon Steel Frying Pan is the perfect size for many smaller stir fries, but it also comes in 11″, 12″, and larger, depending on the size of the meal.
Stir frying also requires both a large, flat surface for frying, with moderately high rims for keeping the ingredients in the pan while they’re being tossed. All of this is provided by the elegant Mauviel pan.
Finally, commercial-grade materials mean that the Mauviel pan is intended to last for a long time, not only conducting heat better (and more evenly) than many other pans, but also ensuring that the surface (once seasoned) will last generations.
This is a solid pan for those who often make stir fry dishes, in addition to those who want an all-around pan that’s on the smaller side.
Best for multipurpose work:
What You Will Love: This multipurpose WOK comes with a round bottom for locking the juice and flavor inside ingredients.
The carbon steel fry pan on our list, YOSUKATA is inspired by traditional Chinese and Japanese wok designs. With a diameter of 14 inches, the string pan is made from heavy-duty black carbon steel that is pre-seasoned and tested at raised temperatures to ensure consistent temperature spread and optimal heat retention.
The large size and non-stick like surface not only makes YOSUKATA suitable for stir-frying healthy and delicious meals like fried rice, noodles, Kung Pao Chicken, and Moo Shoo pork but also allows deep-frying or braising.
Thanks to its ergonomically designed beechwood handle, cooking with this carbon steel cookware is like a breeze. Besides, it allows you to cook a range of cuisines like a professional chef without any accidental burn or spilling.
Overall, this sturdy and easy to use carbon steel pan from YOSUKATA is an ideal pick for anyone who is looking for adding multipurpose and long-lasting cookware in their kitchen.
- Treated beechwood handle is easy to grip while cooking and prevents burning yourself
- It can be heavy for some people. Some users have complained about the edges being not smooth, as well.
What You Will Love: The pan features a bee wax finish that was discovered by De Buyer as a by-product in nature to help protect the pan against oxidation and assist in seasoning.
There is no disappointment when it comes to de buyer carbon steel pans. Featuring an eco-friendly construction that is based on 100 % natural materials, De Buyer MINERAL B comes with a 12.5-inch diameter and has 99% pure iron as its base material.
With no PTFE, PFOA, and added chemicals, this 2.5-inch-thick pan offers excellent sealing, browning, and grilling options. Besides, it improves its non-stick performance in time by enhancing its natural non-stick properties.
The ergonomically designed French curve handle enables easy grip and helps in balancing the pan. Plus, it makes it ideal for sautéing, stirring, and flipping.
As the cookware is induction ready, warp-resistant, oven safe (up to 20 mins at 400F), and distributes heat evenly, it is one of the popular choices of chefs in France and other parts of the world.
- Made in France and perfect for those who are into French cuisine
- A bit small in size, you can’t fit two steaks side by side
What You Will Love: This 9.5-inch fry pan is designed in a manner that it reaches raised temperatures in no time and quickly sears food, therefore preserves vitamins and nutrients.
Made of 99% iron and 1% of carbon, Mineral B Round Country Chef comes with a non-stick like finish and does not include any synthetic coating or chemicals.
Protected with a signature beeswax finish, this mineral carbon steel pan withstands oxidation and helps in the self-seasoning of the carbon steel cookware.
With a surface that goes darker and improves its non-stick performance with each usage, it increases its shelf life as well as the flavor it gives to your ingredients.
There is no problem in finding the balance thanks to the ergonomic handle that is fitted with three carbon steel rivets. These rivets expand and contract at the same rate as the pan, thus ensuring the intact integrity of the pan.
Handcrafted in France and featuring a lifetime warranty, Mineral B Round Country Chef is surely multipurpose cookware in the true sense. You can use it on inductions or in ovens upon your need, knowing that those steaks will be delicious.
- It is oven safe up to 20 mins at 400F
- Some users complained about the uneven heating, which makes cooking longer
What Is A Carbon Steel Pan, And Why Does Your Kitchen Need One?
Even if you’ve never used carbon steel pans, you’ve probably experienced the results of them. Commercial kitchens frequently use carbon steel pans as a versatile, durable cooking surface.
Made with a carbon steel alloy, these pans are able to develop a non-stick surface over time. They can be refinished, last generations, heat quickly, and retain exceptionally hot heats.
Carbon steel fry pans provide many of the advantages of cast iron pans without the drawbacks. Compared to cast iron pans, carbon steel pans are lighter, thinner, and sleeker, with a smooth surface and blackened finish.
If you’re looking to upgrade your kitchen tools, carbon steel frying pans are a good place to start. Frying pans are a versatile day-to-day tool, have varieties like Gotham Steel Pans, Calphalon Pans & so on. These are one of the first kitchen implements you should consider replacing.
For those that really enjoy cooking, a carbon steel cookware can grow and evolve with them, developing a stronger and better patina over time. But not all carbon steel pans are made equal.
Carbon steel pans come in an extraordinary number of sizes and styles, and they also range significantly in price. Some of these are budget options, while others can represent a fairly significant investment.
Further, if you’ve never cooked with a carbon steel frying pan before, you may not know what to look for. If a carbon steel cookware isn’t made properly, the surface may be too course to create a proper non-stick surface.
If the handle isn’t constructed properly, the pan could easily fall apart. So while a carbon steel pan may appear to be simple, it’s really not. There’s a lot more to it than it may seem.
In addition to the concerns about product quality, when you cook, you often use your pans for different things. Skillets, woks, and crepe pans are all used for different things. Depending on the type of cooking you want to use carbon steel for, you may need to invest in different types of pan.
With all of that in mind, we’ve created a list of the best carbon steel fry pans for different types of cooking styles, budgets, and environments. Whether you’re looking for an affordable pan to go camping with or an all-around everyday cooking solution, these pans are the best options for you.
Things to Look for When Buying Carbon Steel Pans
While carbon steel frying pans share many characteristics in common with cast iron pans, choosing the right carbon steel pan is a different experience altogether.
Carbon steel pans are created as an alloy of both iron and carbon, and these material characteristics change what you can expect from a pan.
There are a number of things that you should consider, from appearance to budget.
In general, a carbon steel pan is going to be thinner and lighter than a cast iron pan. While that makes them easier to maneuver, you may want to consider that a heavier pan still does provide more sustained, even heat.
Meanwhile, a lighter pan will heat up faster. Whether you’re more interested in retaining heat or more interested in heating quickly depends on your cook style.
You’ll usually find that carbon steel cookware are available in either 2mm or 3mm thicknesses. 2mm provides a fast, hot surface, whereas 3mm thickness will heat slower, but retain heat more.
If you’re doing things like stir-fry, you want a thin pan that will heat fast. If you’re doing thick cuts of meat, you want a heavy bottom pan with a large, flat surface.
If you want to start using your pan immediately, you should look for a pan that has been pre-seasoned.
Like cast iron, a carbon steel pan has to be seasoned to create a non-stick surface. On the other hand, if you’re comfortable seasoning pans yourself, you may prefer to do so.
Apart from this, there are
A standard 12″ pre-seasoned carbon steel pan is going to be useful for just about everything, while a smaller or larger pan is more specialized.
Both frying pans and saute pans are frequently purchased in carbon steel, and you can purchase an entire collection if you find that you like the material.
Finally, a major consideration when you purchase a carbon steel pan is going to be the brand.
There are many types of carbon steel cookware on the market, but a trustworthy brand can make the difference between a pan that is going to last you decades and a pan that is going to need to be replaced within the year.
It’s largely the quality and density of the metal, in addition to the quality of the surface, that will matter.
Though the pan itself may look similar, the connections between the handle and the pan may be loose, or the pan itself may be made out of a lower quality carbon steel.
A bad carbon steel pan may also not be finished properly, and therefore may be more difficult to properly season.
Choosing a pan from a brand with good reviews can help.
Advantages of Using a Carbon Steel Pan
Why should you use a carbon steel pan?
If you frequently use cast iron, you may wonder what the difference even is. If you’ve never used a cast iron pan, you may not know what the excitement is about.
Here are the major advantages to using a carbon steel frying pan:
- Heats quickly. Compared to a cast iron pan, a carbon steel pan is going to heat much faster, making it easier to use in the kitchen, as well as more efficient.
- Stays extremely hot. Carbon steel pans are made out of a dense metal, which will retain heat and transition it directly to the food. This creates crispy foods with good sears, perfect for cooking meat and potatoes.
- Can move from stove to oven. A carbon steel pan can be moved from stove top to the oven, for dishes that need to be finished in the oven. A traditional pan often has a rubber or plastic handle, which can’t transition to the oven without melting. (Of course, this also depends on the material on the handle.)
- Lasts for a long time. Compared to traditional pans, a carbon steel pan is going to last for a very long time. As a metal material that can be resurfaced, it can be handed down to generations. Other traditional pans have an exterior non-stick coating which will eventually become damaged.
- Provides a non-stick surface. Both cast iron and carbon steel pans will provide a non-stick surface as long as they are seasoned, giving them an advantage over most traditional cookware. You don’t need to use heavy oils and greases when cooking with these pans, which makes them healthier. The non-stick surface will grow over time.
- Is easy to maneuver. Compared to a cast iron pan, carbon steel pans are much lighter and therefore easier to work with. A cast iron pan can feel like a brick. It isn’t possible to make a cast iron wok, but it’s possible to make a carbon steel wok.
- Won’t shatter. Cast iron pans will often shatter because they’re brittle. You may find the handle coming off as you take it out of the oven, or the entire thing breaking part if you drop it on the floor. Carbon steel is more malleable and hence less likely to break.
As you can see, carbon steel pans are able to take some of the best aspects of regular pans and cast iron pans, making them more versatile and functional than cast iron, while also being more durable than traditional, regular pans.
With all of that in mind, here are our picks for the best incarbon steel cookware. We’ve separated them by broad category.
What’s The Best Way To Use Carbon Steel Pans?
Carbon steel pans certainly aren’t for everything. Like cast iron pans, carbon steel shouldn’t be used for anything acidic. Acids can easily eat into the seasoning and the finish, ultimately causing rust. To really take advantage of carbon steel pans, they should be used for two things: non-stick cooking and high heat searing.
Once the pan has been seasoned, it becomes effectively non-stick. One way in which you can use a carbon steel pan is to cook things such as eggs without any additional oil.
Not only does this improve the healthfulness of the food that you cook, but it also makes it possible to cook foods without altering their taste profiles.
In addition to cooking without oils or butters, a carbon steel pan is best for cooking at extremely high heats. Heating a carbon steel pan on high and then dropping meat in to sear is a popular method of cooking with carbon steel.
How quickly the pan heats depends on the thickness of the carbon steel, but it can be tested by watching for smoking oil, or by flicking water on the carbon steel pan to see whether it evaporates.
Ultimately, carbon steel cookware is going to be best used for things that need to be cooked quickly and at a high heat, or for things that need to be cooked both on the stove and then in the oven.
Foods that are best prepared in carbon steel pan include eggs, pancakes, crepes, bacon, sausage, steak, stir fries, and crispy potatoes.
Finally, it should be noted that most carbon steel pans are entirely metal, which means you should also invest in a silicone pan holder or cloth pan holder in order to move it while cooking. Very few carbon steel pans come with other handle materials.
Our Recommendation for The Best Carbon Steel Pan
That’s it: our list of the best carbon steel pans for your kitchen. Depending on what you want to cook and where you want to cook it, one of those pans above is going to be a clear winner. We have chosen 12″ Lodge Skillet as the best carbon steel frying pan. But the final decision is yours.
In the meantime, you can follow the BestPickist for more information and news, including interesting things that you can do with your newly seasoned carbon steel pan.