A carbon steel pan is one of our favorite cookware. The more you use them, the more nonstick they get, just like cast iron skillets and cookware. They heat evenly and are a great choice for cooking at high heat.
A carbon steel pan is a valuable piece of cookware. If it is properly cared for, it can last for many years. But how do you properly care for a carbon steel pan? You can keep your carbon steel pan in excellent condition in just a few simple steps.
Why Use Carbon Steel Pans?
Carbon steel pans are popular for a reason. Most homeowners and cookware enthusiasts favor carbon steel pans for the following reasons:
Among the reason why many people prefer carbon steel pans is that they heat evenly. When cooking a meal, you want to make sure that all the food is cooked evenly. You do not have to worry about hot spots with carbon steel pans.
Another reason why carbon steel pans are so popular is that they develop a nonstick surface over time. The more you use your carbon steel pans, the more nonstick they will become.
Carbon steel pans are also very durable. With proper care, your carbon steel pans can last for many years.
🍳High Heat Tolerance
Carbon steel pans have a high heat tolerance. You can cook with carbon steel pans at very high temperatures without worrying about damaging the pans.
How to Care for Carbon Steel Pan
Taking care of your carbon steel pans start with the proper washing and seasoning. Cleaning a carbon steel pan is easy, but it is essential to do it correctly. If the carbon steel pans are not cleaned properly, they can rust. Here are 3 steps to clean your carbon steel pan.
❗Step 1: Wash with Soap and Hot Water
The first step is to wash the pan with hot, soapy water. Use a non-abrasive sponge or brush to remove any food stuck to the pan. Do not use harsh detergents or abrasive cleaners, which can damage the carbon steel pans. Rinse the pan thoroughly with hot water to remove any soap residue.
Simmer a little water for 3-5 minutes before using the scraper after the pan has cooled if you’re having trouble getting rid of hardened food. It will soften the food and make it easier to remove.
❗Step 2: Dry Immediately
After you have washed it, it is essential to dry it immediately. Drying the pan will prevent water spots and help prevent rusting. Use a clean, dry cloth or paper towel to dry the pan. If you are not going to use the pan right away, you can store it with a light oil coating.
❗Step 3: Oil the Pan
The final step is to season the pan with oil. This will create a nonstick surface and will also help to prevent rusting. Place the pan on the stove over low heat and add a small amount of oil. Use a paper towel or cloth to spread the oil evenly over the pan’s surface. Once the pan is coated with oil, increase the heat to medium and cook for two minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool.
Seasoning a New Carbon Steel Pans
Seasoning a new carbon steel pan is easy. But why should you season new carbon steel pans? Seasoning a new pan will help create a nonstick surface and prevent rusting.
If you use your carbon steel pans regularly, it’s important to season them often. Seasoning is simply coating the pan with oil and then heating it so that the oil polymerizes. It creates a nonstick surface and also helps to prevent rusting. You should season your carbon steel pans every time you wash them.
Thus, it is an important step in caring for carbon steel pans. Here’s how to season a new carbon steel pan.
🔵Step One: Heat the Pan
Place the new pan on the stove over low heat. Allow the pan to heat for about two minutes. This will help to open the pores of the metal, which will allow the oil to penetrate the surface better.
🔵Step Two: Add Oil
Once the pan is heated, add a small amount of oil. Use a paper towel or cloth to spread the oil evenly over the pan’s surface. Be sure to cover the entire surface of the pan, including the sides and bottom. However, avoid using oils like olive oil or vegetable oil, as these can smoke and cause the pan to become sticky.
🔵Step Three: Remove Excess Oil
After adding the oil, increase the heat to medium and cook for two minutes. This will help polymerize the oil, creating a nonstick surface. Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool. Once cooled, use a paper towel or cloth to remove any excess oil. Repeat the process if necessary until it turns black.
Pan Performance After Cleaning/Seasoning
If you have properly cleaned and seasoned your carbon steel pans, they should last for many years. Here are some more benefits of a season/clean carbon steel pans:
✔️Less Likely to Rust
A well-seasoned pan is less likely to rust because the oil creates a barrier between the pan and the air.
✔️Natural, Healthy Surface
Cleaning and seasoning your carbon steel pans will create a natural, healthy surface. The nonstick surface will be free of chemicals and toxins, making it a safer option than other types of cookware.
✔️Easy to Clean
Carbon steel pans that are properly seasoned will be easier to clean than other types of cookware. The nonstick surface will make it easy to remove food from the pan, and you will not have to worry about scrubbing or soaking the pan.
Carbon steel pans that are adequately seasoned will improve the flavor of your food. The natural oils in the pan will add flavor to your food, and you will not have to worry about chemicals or toxins leaching into your food. Also, it tends to hold onto heat better, so your food will stay warm longer.
Carbon steel pans will last for many years when properly cared for. The pan will develop a patina over time, a natural process. The patina will help create a nonstick surface and give the pan a unique appearance.
Storing Your Carbon Steel Pans Properly
Storing your carbon steel pan is essential if you want it to last. If the pan is not stored correctly, it can rust. Here are a few tips for storing your carbon steel pans.
🗸Store the Pan in a Cool, Dry Place
The carbon steel pans should be stored in a cool, dry place. Do not store the pan in a humid environment, as this can cause the pan to rust. If you are not using the pan, you can store it with a light oil coating.
It is important to avoid stacking carbon steel pans when storing them. Stacking the pans can cause scratches and dents, leading to rusting. If you must stack the pans, use a layer of protection, such as parchment paper, between each pan.
🗸Use a Pan Cover
It is good to use a pan cover when you are not using the carbon steel pan. A pan cover will help keep dust and dirt from accumulating on the pan’s surface. It is also ideal for storing the pan in a bag or container to keep it clean and protected.
🗸Hang the Pan
You can also hang the pan on a wall or in a cabinet. This is a good option if you have limited space for storage. Be sure to use hooks made of non-rusting material, such as stainless steel or plastic.
Tips for Cooking with Carbon Steel Pan
Now that you know how to care for your carbon steel pan, here are a few tips for cooking.
◼️Preheat the Pan Before Adding Oil
Preheating the pan will help to create a nonstick surface. It is important to add the oil to the pan before preheating it. Otherwise, the oil will start to smoke and create a sticky residue on the pan’s surface.
◼️Do Not Use too Much Oil
When cooking with a carbon steel pan, it is crucial to use the right amount of oil. If you use too much oil, the food will stick to the pan’s surface and will be difficult to remove.
◼️Use a Wooden Spatula
When cooking with a carbon steel pan, it is best to use a wooden spatula. A wooden spatula will not scratch the surface of the pan and will not conduct heat.
◼️Avoid using Metal Utensils
It is important to avoid using metal utensils when cooking with a carbon steel pan. Metal utensils can scratch the surface of the pan and can also cause the food to stick to the pan.
◼️Do Not Use Abrasive Cleaners
When cleaning your carbon steel pan, it is essential to avoid using abrasive cleaners. Abrasive cleaners can damage the seasoning on the pan and cause the pan to rust. Instead, use mild soap and water to clean the pan.
◼️Wash by Hand
It is best to wash your carbon steel pan by hand. If you wash the pan in the dishwasher, it can damage the seasoning on the pan. Follow the above steps on how to clean your pan.
◼️Re-season The Pan
If you notice that the seasoning on your carbon steel pan has become damaged, it is important to re-season the pan. You can do this by following the above steps to season your pan.
The Best Foods to Cook in a Carbon Steel Pan
Carbon steel pans are ideal for cooking a variety of foods. Here are a few of the best foods to cook in a carbon steel pan.
Carbon steel is the same stuff that woks are made of, so it’s only natural to use a pan for stir-fries. The blistered veggies are the best aspect of a stir-fry. A well-heated carbon steel pan will give you the perfect sear on meat and a nice char on vegetables.
Roasting vegetables in a carbon steel pan is a great way to get evenly cooked, crispy veggies. The key to roasted vegetables is high heat. Preheat the pan in the oven before adding your veggies. It will help to ensure that they cook evenly.
Chicken is one of the best things to cook in a carbon steel pan. The pan will help give chickens a nice sear on the outside while keeping it juicy on the inside. Chicken cooked in a carbon steel pan is also less likely to stick to the pan.
Eggs are another great option to cook in a carbon steel pan. The pan helps create a nice, even cook on the eggs. Eggs cooked in a carbon steel pan are also less likely to stick to the pan.
Steak is one of the best things to cook in a carbon steel pan. The pan gives the steak a nice sear on the outside while keeping it juicy on the inside. Steak cooked in a carbon steel pan is also less likely to stick to the pan.
What to Look for When Buying a Carbon Steel Pan
When shopping for a carbon steel pan, there are a few things that you should keep in mind.
The material is the first thing to look for when shopping for a carbon steel pan. Carbon steel is a combination of iron and carbon. The higher the amount of carbon in the pan, the better it will be at conducting heat. Carbon steel comprises just 2%, while cast iron ranges from 2% to 3.5 percent. Carbon steel is relatively malleable, allowing it to be shaped, pounded, and stretched (cast iron, on the other hand, is fragile and likely to break). It’s also less likely to rust than cast iron.
Another thing to look for when shopping for a carbon steel pan is the weight. Carbon steel pans are typically heavy-duty and should be fairly heavy. The weight of the pan will help to distribute heat evenly. Carbon steel pans are lighter than cast iron pans; a 12-inch Lodge cast iron pan weights around 8 pounds, but a similar-sized Lodge carbon steel pan weighs less than 5 pounds.
It is also essential to pay attention to the construction of the pan. The best carbon steel pans have a seamless construction. It means that there are no welded seams on the pan. Welded seams can cause the pan to rust and affect how evenly the heat is distributed.
🔴Response to Heat
The thickness makes a difference. A thicker pan will heat up more slowly but retain heat better. In contrast, a thinner pan will heat up quickly but not retain heat. If you are looking for a carbon steel pan that heats up quickly, look for one that is less than an inch thick.
Carbon steel is excellent for all-purpose cooking, but it excels when used for high-heat, dry-cooking methods such as searing, sauteing, and stir-frying. You should also keep in mind how versatile a pan is. The best carbon steel pans can be used on various cooking surfaces, including induction cooktops.
Carbon steel cookware from several major manufacturers comes with a limited lifetime warranty if bought from an authorized seller. So, if you’re looking for a durable pan that will last for years to come, look for one that comes with a warranty.
🔴Maintenance and Care
Once you have found the perfect carbon steel pan, it is important to take care of it. The first thing that you should do is season the pan. Seasoning the pan will help create a nonstick surface and help prevent the pan from rusting.
Finally, you should also pay attention to the appearance of the pan. The best carbon steel pans have a smooth surface. This smooth surface will help prevent sticking and make it easier to clean the pan.
When shopping for a carbon steel pan, keep these things in mind. The better the quality of the pan, the better it will perform and the longer it will last.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is carbon steel prone to rust?
Carbon steel is less likely to rust than cast iron, but it can still happen. The best way to prevent rust is to season the pan and make sure that it is dry before storing it.
Q: Is it possible to cook with a carbon steel pan on any cooktop?
Carbon steel pans can be used on various cooking surfaces, including induction cooktops.
Q: How frequently should a carbon steel pan be re-seasoned?
A carbon steel pan should be re-seasoned as needed. If the pan starts to stick or if the surface starts to look dull, it is time to re-season the pan.
Q: What is the best way to clean a carbon steel pan?
The best way to clean a carbon steel pan is to use hot water and a stiff brush. If the pan is filthy, you can also use a mild detergent. Be sure to rinse the pan well after cleaning and dry it thoroughly before storing it.
Q: What is the best size carbon steel pan to buy?
The best size carbon steel pan to buy depends on how you plan to use it. If you use it for large meals, a 12-inch pan would be a good choice. If you plan to use it for smaller meals or side dishes, an eight-inch pan would be better.
Q: Does carbon steel need to be oiled?
Yes, carbon steel needs to be oiled. The best way to do this is to rub a thin layer of oil on the pan’s surface with a clean cloth. Then, heat the pan over low heat for about 15 minutes. Allow the pan to cool completely before using it.
Q:What is the difference between carbon steel and stainless steel?
The main difference between carbon steel and stainless steel is that carbon steel tends to develop a patina over time, while stainless steel does not. Carbon steel is also more affordable than stainless steel.
Carbon steel is an excellent choice for cookware. It is durable, affordable, and easy to care for. The tips in this article will help you care for your carbon steel pan and how to season it. So that you can keep it in excellent condition for years to come. Thanks for reading!
Do you have any tips on how to care for a carbon steel pan? Let us know in the comments!