Adam holds a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Linguistics, and creative writing has always been his greatest passion. For more than 25 years he's been working for several well-known automobile and travel magazines as an editor and expert consultant, but when Adam started his writing path here, at WisePick, it turned out that he's capable of writing practically anything about everything.
Initially being an engineering specialist, Tom has never stopped learning and acquiring other knowledge and skills. Now he’s involved in technical support for a well-known household appliances manufacturer, so no wonder he knows everything about almost everything you buy for your home.
Last updated: December 13, 2020
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Whether you are a host of a cooking show, run a professional kitchen at a high-end restaurant or feel like you do at home, the best carbon steel pan can be the answer to all your prayers while cooking. For a faster, smoother, and simpler method of cooking, the carbon steel pan can help you raise your frying game—no matter if you’re a hobby or professional chef.
In this guide, we’re going to go through the various features that help define what the best pan has—from the dimensions you should be looking for to the lightweight weight confinements of what you need to be looking for to the thickness of the pan. We will also go through the warranty information that you need to know before you buy and invest in a carbon steel pan. Although you may think these minuscule details unimportant, they can contribute a lot to the quality of the carbon steel pan and the lifetime of its service to your kitchen duties.
Over hours of sifting through the web to find you the best products, we’ve finally devised this guide, with a list of our top picks of the best carbon steel pans out there. From our comparison, side-by-side table to the in-detail reviews of each product, we hope our guide is helpful in your choice selection. Finally, we’ve ended our article with a buying guide to tie up all the information you need to know together.
If you’re looking for quality, the Mauviel 3651.36 M’Steel is our Editor’s choice for the best carbon steel pan on the market today. Known in France and throughout the world as one of the industry leaders in cookware, the quality of the material backs up the brand.
For a high-quality design at an affordable price, you also get durability with the Mauviel 3651.36 M’Steel. The design is reinforced with extra-thick carbon steel, which is then strengthened with its riveted handle for easy handling.
Looking to make that perfect mark of sear on your meet? The Mauviel 3651.36 M’Steel comes with a great bottom to cast it. It also has the compatibility to work with all types of cooktops—even an induction stove.
Its non-stick surface is also quite durable when it comes to possible scratches—since chances are, you most likely won’t scratch it at all. It is pre-heated, but not pre-seasoned. However, it does contain a bees wax coating to cover it up. Especially if you notice the food sticking to the pan, you just have to darken and coat it again.
The Mauviel 3651.36 M’Steel is a great option if you’re looking for a pan that can withstand extremely high heat temperatures, which makes it great to get that steak sear.
With two centuries of expertise, this French-made brand comes with nonstick capabilities that are worth the buy.
Coming in a close second, the De Buyer MINERAL B Round Country Chef Carbon Steel Fry Pan is a great choice. Backed by a lifetime-limited warranty, the pan is not only lightweight in material, but it also is designed with some of the highest-quality materials around. From 100 percent natural and 99 percent our iron, you will get minimum oxidation. This means that the distribution of heat while you’re cooking is optimal!
Pre-seasoned with the protective features of beeswax, the De Buyer Pan helps keep the pan from rusting—for years—and ups the quality of the material. This makes the product truly a lifetime investment.
When talking about design, it’s also quite flat—perfectly flat, even—which is a huge plus when it comes to carbon steel pans.
The brand is tailored to professionals in the kitchen but can be owned in the home, as well. It has features that set it apart from its competition, like non-stick and even an additional handle, which helps with its 5 lbs weight.
The De Buyer Pan is also 100 percent oven safe and induction stove compatible, which helps eliminate the worry if you can put in the oven or on that stove.
What we liked:
The perfectly flat design on the surface
The added handle on the pan for easy maneuverability
The ICON Carbon Steel Wok is rated as our Best Carbon Steel Wok for a number of reasons. As an easy-to-clean pan, the leftover, baked-on pieces that are stuck to the wok (which is common with this type of cookware) can be simply removed with a metal spatula and a paper towel. This clean and maintenance feature makes it simple to maintain.
Not only does this wok come with just about everything you need, but it also comes with a 1 oz. bottle of sunflower oil for additional seasoning if you need to re-oil the pan. Although it doesn‘t come with a lifetime warranty, it is still backed by a 25-year one!
The ICON Carbon Steel Wok is designed with a 98 percent iron core, which makes it 30 percent lighter than the traditional cast iron.
It is also great for searing because of its high heat retention and being able to reach temperatures up to 800 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can also enjoy the fact that the ICON Carbon Steel Wok is able to be cooked on all various cooktops. It also has a very large surface that gives adequate room for cooking.
The features of the ICON Carbon Steel Wok also boast a minimalistic design that will look amazing with any type of kitchen decor.
This Paderno World Cuisine Frying Pan is rated as the Best Professional Carbon Steel Pan on our guide today.
Although it comes unseasoned, it shines with a metallic gleam unlike any other. You can even watch as it seasons and as you cook on with it, the unseasoned metal will get darker and darker—as the non-stick surface will become better and better—like a fine wine.
A great advantage of the Paderno World Cuisine Frying Pan is the fact that you don’t need to use any special type of oil to season it—all it takes is normal vegetable oil. With the 9.5 diameter, this is a great family or personal pan—not exactly the best choice for commercial or restaurant use.
The Paderno World Cuisine Frying Pan is designed with durable, heavy-duty carbon. Fortunately, it is backed with a lifetime limited warranty, meaning that it will most likely last an entire lifetime before it begins to decay or be destroyed.
What makes the Paderno World Cuisine Frying Pan unique is the sloping sides of the pan, which make it easier to sauté and then slip right onto your plate when it’s done.
It also boasts easy maintenance, meaning you just have to clean it with hot water and dry it thoroughly before using it again. With its thickness of 3 mm, you can also reach quite high temperatures while you cook.
What we liked:
The thick surface can take high temperatures made for searing
The De Buyer MINERAL B Round Carbon Steel Grill-pan is rated as one of the best grill carbon steel pans on the market.
From its design, you can tell that it is designed for a grill—with its ribs and ridges on the bottom. No other pan on our guide can do what this pan can do when it comes to grilling.
Not only is it broiler and oven safe, but it is also designed as one of the most eco-friendly cookware that you can buy. Especially if you are trying to be as environmentally-friendly as possible, this pan is a great choice.
Seasoned with a beeswax finish, the De Buyer MINERAL B Round Carbon Steel Grill-pan is coated and protected from oxidation. This means that you don’t have work beforehand and season it yourself before using—it‘s already ready!
This carbon steel pan is perfect for any type of cooking you want to do—whether it’s searing, browning or grilling.
The great thing about this pan is that its non-stick surface actually gets better with time as you use it. You’ll notice that this pan also gets darker as you use it, which is normally the case with most carbon steel pans.
The De Buyer MINERAL B Round Carbon Steel Grill-pan also has a round base and Lyonnaise profile, which makes it easy for you to slide or slip the food right off the pan and onto your plate.
What we liked:
Designed with an extra-thick skirt that is un-deformable
Ergonomic design for easy handling
Easy to clean with 100% eco-friendly manufacturing
If you still want a high-quality steel pan but don‘t want to waste all your money, the Lodge CRS15 Carbon Steel Skillet is our top budget pick for the best carbon steel pans on the market.
Backed by a credible company, Lodge Manufacturing has been preparing pans for over a century, which means that it’s definitely put their products to the test.
The Lodge CRS15 Carbon Steel Skillet comes with a variety of different features that make it high-quality. From being able to take high heated temperatures, which make it great for browning and searing, this budget pan is highly capable.
It also gives the head chef the capability of getting an even and quick heat. Weighing only 6 lbs, the Lodge CRS15 Carbon Steel Skillet is pre-seasoned so you don‘t have to. As you use the pan, it only gets better.
So, for a natural, easy-release finish that can be cleaned through hand washing, drying immediately, and rubbing with cooking oil, you can choose the budget pick.
Designed with 12 gauge carbon steel, it‘s built tough to last and durable for high temperatures. It is made to be able to hold 15-inch of surface area and can perform extremely well in residential kitchens.
The Lodge CRS15 Carbon Steel Skillet is also adaptable to use with all types of heating sources including electric, gas, glass, induction, oven, and campfire.
The Taylor & Ng Natural Nonstick 12188 Wok Set is a very unique carbon steel pan found on our guide today. Not only is it different in the fact of the type of pan that it is, it also has a variety of different features that make it unique—along with a 7-piece set.
Weighing only 3 lbs, the Taylor & Ng Natural Nonstick 12188 Wok Set is extremely lightweight and easy to use. This means that if you were a beginner chef, you can easily use it and practice your techniques with this product.
The Taylor & Ng Natural Nonstick 12188 Wok Set also keeps it traditional with its design, from wooden handles, cooking chopsticks, and a wooden spatula included, you can definitely get the design you‘re looking for with this carbon steel pan.
The Taylor & Ng Natural Nonstick 12188 Wok Set is also pre-seasoned, which means less work for you. It’s also quite unique, coming included with a wok ring and steam, tempura racks and a Pre-seasoned Carbon Steel wok.
The wok is surfaced with a nonstick coating and can be used compatibly with any type of cooking utensils—not just the ones it comes with.
Maintenance is also quite simple—all it takes is a quick hand wash and dry.
What we liked:
Compatible with electric or gas stovetops
Comes as a set of seven different pieces
What could be better:
Doesn’t have a specified warranty
Things to Сonsider
We’ve put together this buying guide to help you take a look at the finer details of a pan product to help you decide which is best for you and your kitchen.
If you’re looking for longevity, quality, and price, you definitely want to have a quick read through these various features.
Before you choose the best carbon steel pan for your personal or professional kitchen, check out the notable features and answers to your most frequently asked questions here on our buying guide.
What is carbon steel and why to choose it for cooking?
Anyone who has gone shopping for the components of their kitchen has been confronted with a number of different decisions to make.
From the type of countertop to which blender to buy, another debatable item would be the decision between choosing from carbon steel and a cast iron pan.
So, why make the case for carbon steel? Well, it is a mix of steel with carbon and is much lighter in weight—making it easy to maneuver from burner to burner.
As a popular choice for cookware, the carbon steel material is recommended not only by hobby chefs but professional, top-end cooks. Not only is the lightweight material great for convenience and quality, but it also helps distribute the heat at a much faster rate, reducing cooking times.
Carbon steel pan seasoning tips?
Before you choose a carbon steel pan for your kitchen, you should first familiarize yourself about how it can help improve your cooking—and a few tips when you’re seasoning your pans.
What is seasoning? This process will bond the oil to the surface of the pan. When you do this before you start cooking with it, it will help prevent the process of rusting on your pan. Fortunately, most pans come already pre-seasoned. Another benefit to seasoning your pan is that it helps keep the food from not sticking to the surface.
To help you out, here are a few things to remember:
Especially since you’re going to be working with a high level of heat, you’ll want to watch out for the smoke. If you are able to, open the windows to let the smoke out of the house—so you aren’t dealing with a wailing smoke detector.
Don’t freak out if you notice that your carbon pan appears to be burning—turning a black, brown or dark color. This is actually part of the seasoning process. When you’re finished with it, you’ll want the pan to be a completely different color than when it started. That’s actually when you know it’s ready.
Place it on the burner and turn it to a medium-high level. Make sure the pan gets hot—which may draw smoke as it heats up. Once the pan begins to change color and become hotter, remove it from on top of the burner. You should protect your hands and use a kitchen towel or oven mitts.
Use a high smoke point oil to lather the interior and exterior of the pan, spreading it with a paper towel. Once that’s done, return it back to the burner and turn up the heat. The oil should then transform your pan into a darker black color.
Once you’ve got the black color you’re looking for, remove the pan from the heat and take it off the burner. Using a mitt and a paper towel again, remove the oil.
Let the pan cook down and then you can finally use it for cooking properly.
Before swiping your card on your desired carbon steel pan, you should make sure that you’ve set a price range on what you would want or would be willing to pay for high quality.
Within reason, you should definitely be able to find a high-quality carbon steel pan for your price—you just might have to do a little extra research on your part—or check out our products above.
Features to consider while buying the best carbon steel pan
To help you compare one carbon steel pan to another, you need to have a look at the various features that are included in the product description.
Depending on what types of features there are, this can make a difference in your experience—both with the pan and with cooking.
To help you compare one product to another, here are a few features that you should keep an eye out for:
Especially if you’re planning on sautéing, lifting the pan, and tossing the contents around as you cook, the weight will make a huge difference in your decision.
The size of the carbon steel pan can also play a role if you’re working with a kitchen that has limited storage space. You won’t be able to have a whole lot of space to place your pan if it disagrees with the width of the free space in your kitchen (whether commercial or private).
You should also pay attention to the thickness of the bottom of the steel pan—which can make a huge difference when cooking.
A 2.5-3 mm thickness is ideal which will help from prevention of warping—especially if you’re going to be cooking with the pan for an extended period of time.
Especially if you are sautéing, the handle length of your pan can make a huge difference to the leverage while you’re cooking.
Depending on how the pan you’ve learned to cook with was built, you may feel comfortable with a longer length handle. To help you choose which handle length is best for you, you can either try them out right there in the store or take a look at the reviews associated with various lengths.
Investing in a high-quality pan can help save you money down the road—especially since you’re going to want it to last a while. This investment should actually be for a lifetime. However, you’re going to have to be careful when choosing which pan is going to be your lucky stove partner. Choose wisely!
Not all pans are the same—whether it’s their build or the quality of the material. You definitely have to do your research before you invest in the durability of the pan. A pan designed with well-crafted material, will use high-quality, durable materials.
Although these various products and pans are all under the name of the “carbon steel pan”, they tend to differ when it comes to compatibility.
You’ll have to look into the manufacturer’s guide on how to best use the pan—whether the product is compatible with an induction stove or if you’re going to be restricted with usage, you definitely should look into the compatibility of it.
Although we’ve already helped give you some tips on how to season your pan, there are options of getting already, pre-seasoned pans.
The decision to go for pre-seasoned is neither here nor there—it’s simply based on preference. If you’ve never seasoned a pan before, however, you might benefit from an already seasoned one, meaning that you won’t damage the new product you’ve just bought.
By means of quality, there isn’t that big of a difference between pre-seasoned and un-seasoned.
Whether or not your carbon steel pan is oven-safe may be a deciding factor if you like to cook directly with it in your oven.
The warranty—how long the pan should and most likely will last—plays also a huge role in the buying decision of which product to choose.
In our guide today, we’ve reviewed pans that have warranties from 5 years (the ICON Carbon Steel Wok) to the lifetime-limited warranties. If the brand has backed up their product, this says a lot about the quality of pan you’ll be getting. You definitely want to look into this before you buy.
Carbon steel pan maintenance tips
As we mentioned before, your carbon steel pan should really last a lifetime—if not that, then an extremely long time.
However, to help you with the upkeep and to make sure that your pan is running at its best at all times, here is a well-informed video to introduce you to some maintenance tips to follow:
If you’ve chosen your desired steel pan and you’re ready to make the decision—before you finally make that purchase you might have a few questions to ask.
To help you sort out the minor details or the answers you may have to any questions about your purchase, here are the answers to our most frequently asked questions:
There are a few difference between the material used between carbon steel and cast iron pans. When it comes to composition, don’t let the names fool you. Carbon steel is designed with 99 percent iron and only one percent carbon—while cast iron is actually made up of three percent carbon!
Because of all that extra carbon, cast iron pans have more angular sides while those from carbon steel are rounded out. In general, carbon steel pans are also much thinner than cast iron—and much lighter in weight.
For a short answer: the shape and weight of the pan make all the difference.
Yes, it can! Although the oil coated on the pan makes a huge difference with the initial use, a carbon steel pan can definitely still rust with time—turning much browner than it was before and being not as effective as it was initially. Washing the carbon steel pan with regular dish soap can inhibit rust—water and other fluids will cause a reaction in iron and the drinking water will actually become contaminated. So, in other words—stay away from regular dish soap, water, and liquids!
A pan designed with carbon steel cookware is extremely safe. Why? Because it is designed with the material of carbon and iron. The way they coat and protect the pan also makes it extremely safe—since it doesn’t use harmful, non-stick coatings. It’s actually rated as one of the safest cookware for your health because neither carbon or iron is toxic to humans—however, you definitely want to keep maintenance and care up to help your health stay in its optimal form.
If you’ve skipped over everything—from our carefully thought-out buying guide to our product review—and just want the final verdict, here it is!
Here are our top three choices of the best carbon steel pans on the market:
Our best, editor’s choice is the Mauviel 3651.36 M’Steel. Weighing only 2.5 lbs, you definitely can appreciate its lightweight build and how easy that makes it to sauté. Backed by a lifetime-limited warranty and with a pre-heated design, you can also enjoy the induction stove compatible feature for convenience in cooking.
The De Buyer MINERAL B Round Country Chef Carbon Steel Fry Pan made our runner-up position for the best carbon steel pan. Also backed by a lifetime-limited warranty, this pan comes pre-seasoned with beeswax and comes included with features like a triple riveted steel handle, being induction stove compatible AND oven safe.
The Lodge CRS15 Carbon Steel Skillet is our Budget Pick carbon steel pan if you’re looking for quality at an affordable price. Designed with 12-gauge steel, being induction stove compatible, open fire safe, pre-seasoned, and having a riveted handle, this is a great buy for a great price.
We hope that this guide has helped you choose the best carbon steel pan for your kitchen—whether commercial or personal.