10 Best Carbon Steel Pans of 2020 – Carbon Steel Skillet Reviews

If you don’t want a short-lived and potentially harmful non-stick pan, a carbon steel version can be a healthier and more long-term alternative. They are extremely solid, last practically forever and, when properly seasoned, are almost as “non-stick” as a traditional non-stick pan.

There are many options to choose from, and since some of them are expensive, finding the right one can be a challenge. To help, here are our top picks for best carbon steel pan to ensure you make the right decision.

Quick Summary: Best Carbon Steel Pan 2020

Product

Weight

Dimensions

Our Rating

best Carbon Steel Pan De Buyer

De Buyer 12.5" Carbon Steel Frying Pan

6.34 pounds

4.2 x 12.6 x 1.7 inches

best Carbon Steel Pan Lodge

Lodge 12" Carbon Steel Skillet

4.1 pounds

20.25 x 12 x 3.5 inches

best Carbon Steel Pan MINERAL

MINERAL 9.5" Carbon Steel Pan

3.04 pounds

17.7 x 9.7 x 3.1 inches

best Carbon Steel Pan Garcima

Garcima 20" Carbon Steel Paella Pan

4.4 pounds

24.25 x 24.25 x 2 inches

best Carbon Steel Pan BK Cookware

BK Cookware 12" Black Carbon Steel Skillet

3.84 pounds

12 x 5 x 5 inches

best Carbon Steel Pan MINERAL

MINERAL 11" Round Carbon Steel Frying Pan 

3.5 pounds

20.25 x 11 x 1 inches

best Carbon Steel Lodge

Lodge Manufacturing Company 8" Carbon Steel Pan

2.09 pounds

10.75 x 8 x 2.38 inches

best Carbon Steel Winco

Winco 11" Carbon Steel Frying Pan

2.64 pounds

20.7 x 10.1 x 2.2 inches

best Carbon Steel ICON

ICON 9.5" Carbon Steel Pan

3.2 pounds

12 x 10 x 2 inches

best Carbon Steel Oklahoma Joe's

Oklahoma Joe's 18.5" Carbon Steel Deep Dish Pan

6.84 pounds

19 x 19 x 4.2 inches

The Best Carbon Steel Pan Reviews 2020

1. BK Cookware 12 Inch Black Carbon Steel Skillet

OUR TOP PICK
best carbon steel skillet BK Cookware

  • Pre-seasoned – can be used right out of the box after a quick wash
  • Black steel – more durable than grey steel
  • Oven safe – resists temperatures up to 600°F
  • Works on most stovetops – including induction heaters
  • Great non-stick performance – if you keep it well seasoned

BK Cookware’s carbon steel skillet is made of black steel, which is tougher and more durable than traditional grey steel. The pan comes pre-seasoned, meaning you can simply give it a quick wash with soap and water and then start cooking with it.

One advantage is that this pan is oven-safe up to temperatures as high as 600°F, making it a highly versatile cooking tool. It is also compatible with most stovetops, including induction heaters, again, making it a versatile pan to own.

On the downside, the heat distribution is not perfectly even. For most cooking jobs, it is adequate, but when you need the utmost precision, it might let you down a little. Also, it doesn’t come cheap – but we still think it’s good value for this level of quality.

All in all, a solid and reliable carbon steel pan that most people will be extremely happy with. If you’re looking for something in this price range, this could be an option that’s worth checking out.

Pros

  • Pre-seasoned – can be used right out of the box after a quick wash
  • Black steel – more durable than grey steel
  • Oven safe – resists temperatures up to 600°F
  • Works on most stovetops – including induction heaters
  • Great non-stick performance – if you keep it well seasoned

Cons

  • Some issues with heat distribution – not perfectly even
  • Pricy option – expensive for a single pan

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2. De Buyer 12.5 Inch Carbon Steel Frying Pan

carbon steel frying pan De Buyer

  • 100% natural – no chemicals like PTFE or PFOA
  • Induction ready – can be used on induction stoves
  • Advanced grip – with extra balance and French-style shape
  • Warp-resistant – built to hold its shape
  • Oven safe – up to 400°F for 20 minutes

If you are serious about your cooking, this is a pan that will be up to your standard. It’s a French-made pan that’s 100% natural – it consists of 99% iron and 1% carbon, meaning there are no harmful chemicals like PTFE or PFOA to worry about.

After a few uses, it develops a patina that leaves it naturally non-stick, and the advanced French-style grip makes it easy to handle. It also has an extra helper handle for even more control. We like that fact that it’s warp-resistant too, so it should keep its shape.

The major sticking point is the price since many occasional home chefs will be unwilling to part with so much cash for a single pan – although if you can afford it, it’s well worth the money.

Also, some people might find it a little heavy, so if you want something lighter, you might prefer to look elsewhere.

In sum, an excellent option if you want the best and are willing to pay for it – but if not, there are less expensive options that might be more suitable.

Pros

  • 100% natural – no chemicals like PTFE or PFOA
  • Induction ready – can be used on induction stoves
  • Advanced grip – with extra balance and French-style shape
  • Warp-resistant – built to hold its shape
  • Oven safe – up to 400°F for 20 minutes

Cons

  • Heavy pan – not ideal if you are lacking strength
  • Expensive option – not a great choice for occasional cooks

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3. Lodge 12 Inch Carbon Steel Skillet

best carbon steel skillet Lodge

  • Can take high heat – perfect for searing
  • Very tough – will last for many years
  • Long handle – makes it easy to hold
  • Suitable for all stovetops – including induction
  • Made in USA – all-American product

This is a 12” pre-seasoned carbon steel pan from Lodge. It can stand up to very high temperatures, making it ideal for searing and similar techniques, and it’s also extremely tough and durable, meaning it will last practically forever.

We like the long handle that makes it easy to hold and use, and we also appreciate the way it’s suitable for all stovetops – you can even use it on an induction stove. Finally, this product is made in the USA, something that may be important to some people.

One drawback is that the sides are a little low – this may be a problem for some, depending on the kind of cooking you need it for. Also, the surface is a little rough out of the box, so if you want it to be smooth, you will have to sand it down.

This is the kind of product that will appeal to the kind of person who wants a heavy-duty, tough pan that they can rely on. If that sounds like what you need, this is a product that should be on your radar.

Pros

  • Can take high heat – perfect for searing
  • Very tough – will last for many years
  • Long handle – makes it easy to hold
  • Suitable for all stovetops – including induction
  • Made in USA – all-American product

Cons

  • Rough surface – will need smoothing down
  • Low sides – easy to splash

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4. Lodge Manufacturing Company 8 Inch Carbon Steel Pan

carbon steel frying pan Lodge

  • Highly versatile pan – suitable for the stove, the oven, the campfire and more
  • Easy to care for – just wash with warm water and then apply oil
  • Pre-seasoned – but gets better with use
  • Reasonable price – great value for money
  • Good weight – not too heavy

Here’s another pan from Lodge, this time a double-handled version. It’s a highly versatile piece of cookware that can be used on the stovetop, in the oven, under the grill, on the campfire or just about anywhere else. You can use this to create a whole range of dishes.

A big positive is that it’s easy to clean and care for. You simply wash it with some warm water, perhaps with a little soap, and then wipe it with a small amount of oil. It comes pre-seasoned and ready to go, although it will improve with use.

One thing that some people might not like is its small size – this is not a criticism in itself, but be aware that the 8” measurement is from rim to rim, so if you want something bigger, this might not be right for you.

Also, like many carbon steel pans, it comes with a rough surface that will need sanding if you want it to be smooth from the start.

There’s a lot we like about this product, and if you’re looking for a small double-handled pan you can trust, this is one that should be high on your list of possibilities.

Pros

  • Highly versatile pan – suitable for the stove, the oven, the campfire and more
  • Easy to care for – just wash with warm water and then apply oil
  • Pre-seasoned – but gets better with use
  • Reasonable price – great value for money
  • Good weight – not too heavy

Cons

  • Comes with a rough surface – but will smooth with use
  • Small size – 8” from rim to rim

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5. MINERAL 9.5 Inch Carbon Steel Pan

best carbon steel skillet MINERAL

  • Great shape – ideal for turning and folding omelets
  • Enhanced natural non-stick properties – right from the first use
  • Tough pan – almost indestructible
  • French-style handle – for comfort and ease of use
  • Oven-safe – up to temperatures of 400°F

For those who like to own top-end kitchen tools, this is a pan that should be of interest. It has the perfect shape for cooking, turning and folding omelets, and we love the enhanced all-natural non-stick properties that work out of the box but just get better with time.

This is also an incredibly tough pan – it’s practically indestructible – and something else we love is the curved French-style handle that makes it comfortable to hold and easy to work with. It’s also oven safe up to 400°F for 20 minutes.

Having said that, the handle has an epoxy coating, which means you can’t put it completely inside the oven or the coating will melt.

Otherwise, the only other downside is the price since this pan isn’t cheap. However, if you want the best equipment, you have to be ready to pay, and if you’re willing to put your hand in your pocket, this could be a great pick.

Pros

  • Great shape – ideal for turning and folding omelets
  • Enhanced natural non-stick properties – right from the first use
  • Tough pan – almost indestructible
  • French-style handle – for comfort and ease of use
  • Oven-safe – up to temperatures of 400°F

Cons

  • Expensive – not a budget option
  • Handle has epoxy coating – so can’t put it in the oven completely

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6. MINERAL 11 Inch Round Carbon Steel Frying Pan

This is a large 11” pan that is designed especially for cooking steaks. It’s an all-natural pan that’s made of 99% steel and 1% carbon, meaning it’s totally free of all harmful chemicals like PTFE or PFOA, and it comes with a protective beeswax coating to prevent rusting.

You need to wash it and season it for its first use, but after that, it performs better with time. It’s built to last, too, and if you look after it, you will be using this pan for many years to come. Caring for it is a breeze – you simply need to wash it with warm water after each use.

One minor negative that we need to point out is that this pan is not light – which is partly due to its size – so you’re worried about your strength, you might be better off looking elsewhere.

Also, this is not the most versatile option, so if you want a pan you can use for a range of cooking applications, there are probably better choices.

However, if you are looking for a high-quality steak pan that does the job it was made for with no fuss, this could be an option worth considering.

Pros

  • All-natural pan – no harmful chemicals like PTFE or PFOA
  • Comes with protective beeswax coating – but needs seasoning
  • Good size – big enough to hold large steaks
  • Easy to care for – simply wash free and give a thin covering of oil
  • Highly durable – built to last

Cons

  • Heavy pan – not ideal if you’re lacking in strength
  • Not a great all-rounder – this is designed for more limited use

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7. Winco 11 Inch Carbon Steel Frying Pan

carbon steel frying pan Winco

  • No-nonsense pan – a simple and effective tool
  • Lightweight – easy to work with
  • Built to last – can last a lifetime with proper care
  • Great bang for your buck – very reasonably priced
  • Long handle – makes it comfortable to hold

If you’re the kind of person who likes simple, solid and reliable products without any bells and whistles, this is a pan that will probably appeal to your taste. It is tough and built to last, and you will be able to use it for a great many years if you take care of it.

We like that it is very lightweight and easy to work with – the long handle also makes it easy to hold and move around, making it a practical and convenient cooking tool. Finally, we think the price is very reasonable, meaning you get great bang for your buck.

One issue we have is that the handle is not oven-safe – if you put it in the oven, the paint will melt. Also, the sides may be a little low for some people, and you may find that your food splatters, depending on what you are cooking in it.

However, this aside, there’s not much we don’t like about this plan. It’s simple, effective and sells at a very reasonable price point, making it another pan that could be worth considering.

Pros

  • No-nonsense pan – a simple and effective tool
  • Lightweight – easy to work with
  • Built to last – can last a lifetime with proper care
  • Great bang for your buck – very reasonably priced
  • Long handle – makes it comfortable to hold

Cons

  • Handle not oven-safe – paint will melt
  • Low sides – food can splatter, depending on what you’re cooking

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8. Garcima 20 Inch Carbon Steel Paella Pan

best carbon steel skillet Garcima

  • Made in Spain – an authentic paella pan
  • Reasonable price – good value for a large pan
  • Includes recipes – learn how to make real paella
  • Safe for stovetop, oven, or grill – can be used in several different ways
  • Easy to care for – wash with water and apply a thin layer of oil

If you are on the lookout for a large carbon steel paella pan, this is a product that should be of interest. It is made in Spain, so it’s the real deal, and it sells at a very reasonable price point for such a large and high-quality item.

You can use this pan in several different ways, including on the stovetop – the traditional way – in the oven or under the grill. We also like that it comes with a booklet that teaches you how to make paella, so you can try it out right away.

There’s not much to dislike about this pan. We would point out that it is a very large item, so if you’re not sure you need one this big, you’re probably better off choosing a smaller one.

Also, it is a paella pan and is intended for cooking paella! This means if you want something versatile that you can use for making a range of dishes, this is not the pan for you!

However, if you want something to cook paella in, this pan is a winner, making it an obvious choice.

Pros

  • Made in Spain – an authentic paella pan
  • Reasonable price – good value for a large pan
  • Includes recipes – learn how to make real paella
  • Safe for stovetop, oven, or grill – can be used in several different ways
  • Easy to care for – wash with water and apply a thin layer of oil

Cons

  • Large size – not a negative, but be aware that it isn’t small
  • Not a versatile pan – it’s meant for cooking paella!

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9. Oklahoma Joe’s 18.5 inch Carbon Steel Deep Dish Pan

best carbon steel skillet Oklahoma Joe's

  • Suitable for a range of uses – stovetop, grill, ovens and more
  • Heavy-duty construction – will last a long time
  • Relatively lightweight – for such a large pan
  • Great price – great bang for your buck
  • Useful handles – easy to maneuver

This is a huge pan from Oklahoma Joe’s that can be used to cook a whole range of dishes. It is suitable for all kinds of cooking, including stovetop, grill, oven and more, and it benefits from heavy-duty construction that ensures you will be using it for many years to come.

One of the biggest advantages here is the relatively affordable price – for such a large and well-made pan, we think it represents great value for money. Also, for such a big pan, it’s quite light.

That said, when it’s full, you will find it’s quite heavy – although that’s not the fault of the pan, it’s just because it’s so big.

Also, be aware that this is a large item so make sure it’s not too big for your needs. However, again, this is not a criticism since many people will consider the large size a positive point.

There’s not much we can find wrong with this pan, so if you’re looking for a large and versatile piece of cookware, this one could be a no-brainer.

Pros

  • Suitable for a range of uses – stovetop, grill, ovens and more
  • Heavy-duty construction – will last a long time
  • Relatively lightweight – for such a large pan
  • Great price – great bang for your buck
  • Useful handles – easy to maneuver

Cons

  • Huge size – be aware that this is not a small pan
  • Can be heavy when full – although this is not a problem with the pan

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10. ICON 9.5 Inch Carbon Steel Pan

best carbon steel skillet ICON

  • Resists extreme heat – safe for up to 800°F
  • Built to last – almost impossible to break it
  • Safe for all stovetops – including induction
  • Versatile pan – can be used for steaks, crêpes and more
  • Dishwasher safe – for easier clean-up

If you need a pan that is suitable for cooking at extremely high temperatures, this could be just the thing – it is safe for use in up to 800°F. It is also solid and built to last, and with the proper care, you can use it practically forever.

We like how versatile it is. You can use it to cook a whole range of foods, from steaks to crêpes, and it is also safe for any kind of surface, including induction stoves. Finally, it’s also dishwasher safe, which makes cleaning up after easy and hassle-free.

One downside to point out is that, since this company has now gone out of business, the warranty is no longer worth much. Also, some people might find it a bit heavy – although not excessively so.

To summarize, a good option for anyone looking for a solid and reliable pan that can be used for a range of cooking applications. If that’s what you need, you’d do well to check it out.

Pros

  • Resists extreme heat – safe for up to 800°F
  • Built to last – almost impossible to break it
  • Safe for all stovetops – including induction
  • Versatile pan – can be used for steaks, crêpes and more
  • Dishwasher safe – for easier clean-up

Cons

  • Company out of business – not good for warranty
  • A little heavy – although not overly so

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How To Choose A Carbon Steel Pan: A Buyer’s Guide

best carbon steel skillet

If you’re looking for a carbon steel pan, you’ll probably be wondering about the kind of factors you should take into consideration when choosing – so let’s have a look at some of the most important ones now.

Temperature resistance

Different pans have different temperature limits, so you should check the maximum temperature a pan can withstand. The final pan in this review can withstand temperatures of up to 800°F but 500°F is more normal.

Oven safe

Can the pan be placed in the oven? Also, check the maximum temperature as well as the maximum length of time it is safe to leave a pan in the oven for.

Related to this, some pans have epoxy coverings or similar on the handle, which means that, while it is safe to put the pan in the oven, the handle can’t go in and has to remain outside.

Easy to clean

Ease of cleaning is an important factor. With most carbon steel pans, you should just clean them with warm water and perhaps a little soap. When you do this, any food should come off easily and you shouldn’t need to use anything stronger to clean it.

Easy to season

Carbon steel pans need to be seasoned when you first use them, and after that, their performance will improve with time. Make sure the pan is easy to season and that it responds well to the seasoning process.

Non-stick performance

Properly seasoned carbon steel pans should be naturally non-stick. Make sure that any pan you are considering performs well in this area.

Handle

Make sure the handle is long enough and is comfortable to hold. Pans with short handles can be awkward to hold and difficult to cook with.

Shape

Depending on what you want to cook with it, the shape of the pan may be important. For example, if you want to cook omelets, it’s better to have a pan with gently rounded edges that allow you to fold or flip the omelet easily.

In short, make sure the shape of the pan you choose is the right shape for the kind of cooking you need it for.

Durability

A properly cared-for carbon steel pan should last a very long time – practically forever. However, this might not be the case with inferior quality products, so check that any pan you are considering is solid and well-made.

Plenty of great options to choose from

As you can see, there is a wide range of carbon steel pans to choose to suit just about any budget. If you’ve decided carbon steel is the way to go but you are having trouble making up your mind, any of the pans in our review would be a great place to start your search.

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