The 10 Best Carbon Steel Frying Pans
This wiki has been updated 11 times since it was first published in April of 2018. If you love the ease of cooking in a nonstick skillet, but consider a good sear on your steak a necessity, one of these carbon steel frying pans can give you the best of both worlds. Once properly seasoned, they're so slippery that food slides right off, which makes cleanup a breeze, and they can stand up to super high heat, so you can even use them over open flames on a grill or campfire. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
December 18, 2020:
Carbon steel pans are not for the faint of heart, as you need to be willing to season them, which can be time-consuming and tedious, and maintain them properly throughout their life. Those who are willing to care for these pans the way they ought to be, like professional chefs, reap the rewards of workhorses that will last a lifetime with exemplary nonstick properties. Unlike typical frying pans, carbon steel uses no toxic nonstick coatings and remains functional for years to come. Many of the complaints you'll find across this category are from users who were unprepared for the special care this cookware requires.
That all being said, some are easier to maintain than others, and we prioritized those for our list. We decide to say goodbye to the Lodge Pre-Seasoned in favor of the exceptional Aus-Ion Skillet, a premium selection shot-peened with two layers of natural pre-seasoning to get you started and without a thick wax layer that requires stripping. These pans are heirloom quality and made to last for several lifetimes, with a sophisticated design that conducts heat well and vented handles to keep them cool and easy to maneuver.
Also joining the ranks today are the Craft Wok Traditional and Souped Up Recipes Wok, two different style woks we brought on to add more diversity. Souped Up comes from the popular Youtuber known for her Asian recipes and therefore has a step-by-step seasoning video easily available. Its flat bottom is suitable for many cooktops, but as it expands and contracts due to heating it may wobble a bit on flat glass ones. The Craft Wok Traditional is a round-bottomed option that can be used with a wok ring if you don't have a gas stove. It's solidly-built, generously sized, and has a helper handle to make it easier to move, which is a good thing due to its weight. It's likely to be the last wok you'll ever buy, though.
June 14, 2019:
The Matfer Bourgeat is a heavy-duty pan that has a slick interior with no rivets for food to get stuck on. It's reasonably priced and comes in a variety of sizes ranging from 8-1/2 to nearly 18 inches in diameter, so there's an option to suit anyone's cooking needs. The De Buyer Mineral B and De Buyer Steak Pan are both authentic French skillets with slightly curved handles that are comfortable to grasp. Their thick, heavy bottoms are resistant to warping, and they come coated with beeswax to protect against rust during shipping, but you will need to remove the coating prior to seasoning. Deeper than traditional skillets, the De Buyer Country Chef and Joyce Chen Flat Bottom Wok are great for tossing, stir-frying, and other styles of cooking that require taller sides.
If you want to start cooking right away without having to season your pan first, the Lodge Pre-Seasoned and Lodge 15-Inch arrive ready to use with a factory seasoning of natural soybean oil. They won't be completely nonstick at first, but the finish will improve with use. The 15-inch model has two short handles rather than one long one, so it will fit in most ovens and grills.
For those who don't mind spending a bit more, Blanc Creatives' pans are forged, polished, and seasoned entirely by hand. They come in several styles and sizes, with both long and short handles, and they're guaranteed to last a lifetime. Blu Skillet Ironware also makes their cookware by hand, and as their name suggests, they use a heat treatment that gives each pan a blue finish. However, note that they will darken with use just like any other carbon steel.
Blanc Creatives Pro Saucier Used by many professional chefs, this pan has a wide, flat base with elegantly curved sides for basting and tossing. It's polished to a smooth finish and pre-seasoned with coconut oil, and the handle is split to slow heat transfer and prevent it from burning your hands. It also has a helper handle to make it easier to carry when full. blanccreatives.com
Marquette Castings This skillet gets hot quickly and retains heat well, and it's fully seasoned and ready to use right out of the box. It's made in Michigan and comes with a lifetime warranty. Note, though, that even though the size is listed as 10.75 inches, that refers to the diameter of the rim. The actual cooking surface is 7.5 inches. marquettecastings.com
Blu Skillet Ironware Recommended by Cook's Illustrated, these pans are forged by hand and heat-treated to protect against rust, which results in a beautiful blue color that will darken with use. They're available in a variety of styles and sizes, and they come with a practically nonstick finish that only gets better over time. Highly prized, they are made in limited quantities and sold via monthly lotteries and one yearly flash sale. bluskillet.com