The Best Carbon Steel Pan is thick and easy to use. These carbon steel pan are not as popular in america as they are in Europe. However, if you want a lighter cast iron equivalent, these are the best option. They develop a nonstick coating overtime much like cast iron cookware. The surface is smooth like how older cast iron cookware use to be. If you want a nonstick pan that will last a lifetime, carbon steel pans are the way to go.
Best Carbon Steel Pan List
Below you will find a list of some of the Best Carbon Steel Pan on the market.
Best Overall (Mineral B)
The Mineral B is one of the thickest carbon steel pan here. It comes in at a thickness of 2.5 – 3 mm thick. One of the thickest in the bunch. I recommend that you get the omelette version as the sides are rounded unlike the regular model. This lets you roll and toss food a lot easier.
Rivetless Design (Matfer Bourgeat)
Matfer Bourgeat is rated by America Test Kitchen as their best carbon steel pan. It has a rivetless design and the surface area of the pan is generous. They are made in france and one of the most popular choice.
Best Nonstick Coating (Lodge)
Lodge is the only american made pan. They have a rough surface that lets it hold on the seasoning better. If you do not want to deal with the seasoning day in and day out, this is the best way to go. It also becomes preseason from the factory. The one odd thing is the handle angle. It is slightly raised with a perpendicular angle. A slightly raised one would be better.
Best Light Weight Carbon Steel (Mauviel)
Mauviel is one of the oldest copper cookware manufacture. They have a carbon steel pan with a slightly curved interior. These are the best for a frying pan. They will evaporate liquid the quickest and fry stuff better. The handle is slightly raised so that its easier to move around.
Characteristic of the Best Carbon Steel Pan
There are a few defining features of the Best Carbon Steel Pan. The guide below will help you decide what works best for you.
Manufacturer will develop carbon steel pan at various thickness. Usually, these pans will come in at 2mm plus, which is around half the thickness of regular cast iron cookware. As such, you can expect it to weight around half the weight.
When looking at the thickness, you should consider what you are planning on doing. A thicker pan will hold more heat. This lets you get a better sear on steaks and meats. However, this also means that it will be heavier and take a longer time to heat up.
Lighter and thinner carbon steel pan are easier to maneuver and take less time to heat up. These are better for eggs and general stir frys. I recommend that you get a pan for the two different purpose. If you overheat the seasoning, it can cause it to burn off. If you have one for searing and the other for sauteing, this should alleviate the problem.
Best Carbon Steel Pan Seasoning
Since most modern carbon steel cookware comes with a smooth surface, their seasoning performance is around the same. There are cast iron collector who love the older model because of the smooth surface. They think that it makes the food stick less. When that is not true, what makes thing nonstick is really the seasoning.
A smooth surface actually has a more difficult time holding the seasoning. Rough surface can hold onto the seasoning better. As of now, only Lodge comes with a rough surface. If you want a more convenient carbon steel cookware, that that is the way to go.
Preparing Your Pan
When you first get these pans, they usually come coated with with wax or another coating. This is to prevent it from rusting. You have to strip it and season it to get it to working condition. All you need to do is wash it in hot water and scrub it off.
To season the pan, you can coat it with a light oil then heat it up to a smoking point. Rinse and repeat until it develops a black coating. Another way to do this is just fry potato peels in oil. It will get better with age.
Some of these cookware have a rivetless design. Some proponent say that this makes it easier to clean. If you think about it, you need to maintain the seasoning. This makes a rivetless design pointless. The only time where I see a rivetless design to be important is when you are making crepe. For those pan, you should really get a pan with low sides instead of these carbon steel pan.
Most of these shape are all very similar. In all honesty, they are not that good. They have no rolled lip and the corners are very sharp. The only one that is different is the one by mauviel and mineral b omelete pan. They are shaped like how a traditional french skillet are. It has a wide surface and is perfect for frying.
Best Carbon Steel Pan Thoughts
These are the list of some of the best carbon steel pan around. I personally would prefer a version with a slightly rounded interior. However, you should consider other factor as well. If you want a pan that is preseason from the factory, go with lodge. For a rivetless pan, go for matfer bourgeat. A heavy thick pan that can sear like no other, I recommend the mineral b omlette pan.
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