Last Updated on December 20, 2023 by David Michael

Best Carbon Steel Cookware

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When it comes to cookware, there are numerous options available in the market. From stainless steel to cast iron, each type has its own unique features and benefits. One such type that has gained popularity among chefs and home cooks alike is carbon steel cookware.

Whether you want to sauté vegetables, sear meats, or stir-fry delicious Asian cuisine, carbon steel pans and pots can handle it all. Its excellent heat conductivity and even heat distribution ensure that your food cooks evenly and consistently. Carbon Steel cookware is naturally compatible with induction cooking. We run down our top picks of the best carbon steel cookware available now, and explore the benefits of carbon steel cookware and why it is a great choice for your kitchen.

Lighter than cast iron, but the care is similar: Dry it thoroughly after washing, and oil lightly before storing. Like cast iron the seasoning builds with use and becomes more and more non-stick.

Our top picks for Best Carbon Steel Cookware:

Matfer Bourgeat Black Carbon Steel Fry Pan

This pan is recommended by America’s Test Kitchen. It’s the perfect blend of quality and value. You do need to season it before use, and it will develop a dark, non-stick finish in no time. The steel handle is welded on, and allows this pan to be used stove top and high heat oven with no problems.

 Matfer Bourgeat Black Carbon Steel Fry Pan

Lodge Pre-Seasoned Carbon Steel Skillet

Known for their high quality cast iron cookware, Lodge has expanded into carbon steel cookware. These carbon steel pans have steel handles riveted securely to the body. Pre-seasoned, these pans are ready to cook right out of the box.

Lodge CRS12 Carbon Steel Skillet, Pre-Seasoned

De Buyer Mineral B Carbon Steel Fry Pan

De Buyer is one of my favorite high end cookware makers. Rooted in tradition and always looking to the future. Their Mineral B line of carbon steel cookware is no exception. Arriving with a protective beeswax coating, these do need seasoning before use. Most of this collection have epoxy coated steel handles that make handling very comfortable, but that makes the pans oven safe at 400 for only 10 minutes. If you are looking for primarily stove top use. -this is the line I recommend.

De Buyer MINERAL B Carbon Steel Fry Pan - 12.5” - Ideal for Searing, Sauteing & Reheating - Naturally Nonstick - Made in France

Mauviel M’Steel Black Carbon Frying Pan

Mauviel, the world renowned copper cookware maker also makes a line of carbon steel. The M’Steel collection has iron handles and is oven safe. Seasoning is required and will gradually build up and darken the pan as it becomes more and more non-stick. You can’t go wrong with a world class brand as Mauviel.

Mauviel M'Steel Black Carbon Natural Nonstick Frying Pan With Iron Handle, Suitable For All Cooking Surfaces, Made in France

Viking Blue Carbon Steel Nonstick Fry Pan

Viking offers a beautiful blue carbon steel cookware. The blue comes from a heat treatment that helps protect the pans from rust, similar to the anodized finish of other cookware. They come with a beeswax coating that needs to be removed, and they do need seasoning. These are the high quality you would expect from a premium brand. These will darken with use as they become more seasoned and non-stick.

Viking Blue Carbon Steel Nonstick Fry Pan

The Versatility of Carbon Steel Cookware

Carbon steel cookware is highly versatile, making it suitable for a wide range of cooking tasks. Whether you want to sauté vegetables, sear meats, or stir-fry delicious Asian cuisine, carbon steel pans and pots can handle it all. Its excellent heat conductivity and even heat distribution ensure that your food cooks evenly and consistently.

Excellent Heat Conductivity

One of the standout features of carbon steel cookware is its exceptional heat conductivity. It heats up quickly and evenly, allowing you to achieve precise temperature control. This makes it ideal for tasks that require quick adjustments, such as flipping delicate pancakes or searing steaks to perfection. With carbon steel cookware, you can enjoy evenly cooked meals every time.

Lightweight and Easy to Handle

Compared to cast iron, carbon steel cookware is significantly lighter. This makes it easier to handle, especially when dealing with larger pots and pans. You can effortlessly move the cookware from the stovetop to the oven or serve directly from the pan without straining your wrists. The lightweight nature of carbon steel cookware adds to its overall convenience and user-friendliness.

Durability and Longevity

Carbon steel cookware is known for its durability and longevity. It is built to withstand high temperatures and daily use without warping or losing its shape. With proper care and maintenance, carbon steel cookware can last for generations, making it a worthy investment for your kitchen. Its robust construction ensures that it can handle the rigors of professional kitchens as well.

Non-Stick Properties

While carbon steel cookware requires seasoning to develop a natural non-stick surface, it offers exceptional non-stick properties once properly seasoned. The seasoning process involves applying a thin layer of oil and heating it to create a protective barrier. This natural non-stick surface reduces the need for excessive oil or butter while cooking, making your meals healthier.

Health Benefits of Carbon Steel Cookware

Carbon steel cookware is a healthier alternative to non-stick pans coated with synthetic chemicals. When heated to high temperatures, non-stick coatings can release harmful fumes and chemicals. In contrast, carbon steel is a natural material that does not pose any health risks. By using carbon steel cookware, you can enjoy the benefits of non-stick cooking without the potential hazards.

Low Maintenance and Easy to Clean

Maintaining carbon steel cookware is relatively simple. After each use, you can clean it using warm water and a mild detergent. Avoid using abrasive scrubbers or harsh cleaning agents, as they  can strip away the seasoning. Once clean, ensure that the cookware is thoroughly dried to prevent rust formation. With proper care, carbon steel cookware becomes more non-stick over time and develops a beautiful patina.

Stylish and Professional Appearance

Carbon steel cookware exudes elegance and a professional aesthetic. Its sleek, matte black finish adds a touch of sophistication to your kitchen. Whether you have a modern or traditional kitchen decor, carbon steel cookware complements various styles effortlessly. It can be proudly displayed on open shelves, showcasing its functional and aesthetic appeal.

Compatibility with Various Cooktops

Carbon steel cookware is compatible with a wide range of cooktops, including gas, electric, and induction. Its versatility allows you to use the same cookware regardless of the type of stove you have. This makes it convenient for those who frequently move or have different cooktop options in their kitchen.

Cost-Effective Option

In comparison to other high-quality cookware options, carbon steel cookware offers excellent value for money. While it may require a slightly higher upfront investment than low-quality cookware, its durability and long lifespan make it a cost-effective choice in the long run. You won’t need to replace your carbon steel pans and pots frequently, saving you money in the long term.

Tips for Using Carbon Steel Cookware

To make the most out of your carbon steel cookware, here are a few tips:

1. Season the cookware before first use to create a natural non-stick surface.

2. Preheat the pan before adding ingredients to ensure even heat distribution.

3. Use a suitable heat-resistant utensil to prevent scratching the seasoning.

4. Avoid sudden temperature changes, such as transferring a hot pan to cold water.

5. Clean and dry the cookware immediately after use to prevent rust.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is carbon steel cookware safe to use?
Yes, carbon steel cookware is safe to use. It does not release harmful chemicals or fumes like some non-stick coatings.

Can carbon steel cookware be used in the oven?
Carbon steel cookware is oven-safe, but it is important to check if the handles are also oven-safe, especially if they are made of materials different from carbon steel.

How do I season carbon steel cookware?
Seasoning carbon steel cookware involves applying a thin layer of oil and heating it to create a non-stick surface. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for specific guidelines.

Can I use soap to clean carbon steel cookware?
Yes, you can use mild soap and warm water to clean carbon steel cookware. Avoid using abrasive scrubbers or harsh cleaning agents.

What is the best way to store carbon steel cookware?
To prevent rust, ensure that carbon steel cookware is thoroughly dried before storing it. Consider placing a paper towel between stacked pans to absorb any moisture.

Conclusion

Carbon steel cookware offers a multitude of benefits that make it a fantastic choice for both professional chefs and home cooks. Its versatility, excellent heat conductivity, lightweight design, durability, non-stick properties, and health benefits set it apart from other cookware options. With proper care and maintenance, carbon steel cookware can become a cherished part of your kitchen arsenal, elevating your cooking experience to new heights.

For a more in depth look at carbon steel cookware, check out our guide Carbon Steel Cookware: A Comprehensive Guide

For more of our favorite cookware please check out our posts:
Best Induction Cookware: Our Favorites
Best Enameled Cast Iron Cookware

Best Stainless Steel Cookware
Best Stove Top Grill Pans
Best Hard Anodized Cookware Sets
Best Cast Iron Cookware
Best Copper Cookware

Be sure to check out our post Cookware – The Kitchen Cornerstone for quick access to all of our cookware posts.

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