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Are you having trouble deciding between a cooking pan made of cast iron and one that doesn’t stick?

Rather than choosing between two excellent options, why not go with a carbon steel pan?

Induction cooktops and ovens are two of the best places to use carbon steel pans, but they are also versatile enough to be used for searing food. All that is required of you is to season them on a consistent basis.

Before they use a carbon steel pan for the first time, many consumers are unaware of how to properly season the pan.

Let’s see if we can get this right the first time!

How to Season a Carbon Steel Pan for the First Time

The first seasoning of a pan made of carbon steel is an essential step to take if you want the pan to survive for many years. You’ll be relieved to know that the procedure is not nearly as time-consuming or difficult as seasoning a cast-iron pan.

In addition to this, the seasoning may be undone using steel wool if anything goes wrong throughout the process. Stop sobbing over a damaged pan and get over it now!

Oil derived from flaxseed or sunflower seeds is required for the first seasoning of a pan made of carbon steel. In the event that you do not have any of these items at home, you may substitute any vegetable oil that you have available.

Please take into consideration that some of the carbon steel pans that are now on the market have already been seasoned. As a result, you need to examine the labels thoroughly before selecting the product that is the greatest fit for your culinary requirements and tastes.

If your carbon steel pan has not already been seasoned, the first thing you need to do is remove any grease or wax that may have accumulated on its surface. This coating is in fact there to keep your pan from rusting while it is in transit; nonetheless, it is perfectly safe for you to remove it.

Make use of a solution consisting of dish soap and hot water to successfully remove the coating. Because carbon steel does not have pores, there is no need for you to be concerned about the hot water damaging the surface of your pan.

To thoroughly clean your pan, just use a bristle brush to scrub it with the mixture. You may also try using a nylon scrubber or a sponge with two sides, but you should steer clear of placing steel wool on the surface of your pan.

Steel wool may cause abrasions, which can render your pan less non-stick once the seasoning process has been completed.

After the grease coating has been removed, make sure the pan is completely dry before using it again.

When it is dry, put it on the stove and turn the heat down to a low setting. While it is getting warm, add a mixture that consists of two potato peels, two-thirds of a cup of oil, and one-third of a cup of salt.

Allow this mixture to cook for a few minutes over a heat setting of medium. This will remove any grease or wax residue that may still be on the surface of the pan. Remember to continue rubbing the potato peels up the sides of the pan after every couple of minutes as you move the potato peels around the pan.

You’ll notice that the color of your pan is starting to change to brown. Don’t freak out because it’s perfectly normal. Discard the mixture, and then let the pan sit out on the counter for a while so it can cool down to room temperature. After that, wipe the pan down with some clean paper towels.

That wraps it up! You’ve completed the first seasoning of your carbon steel pan, and it’s now in excellent working condition and ready to be put to use.

A helpful hint: if you feel that your pan is not non-stick enough after the process, you can repeat the process one more time to achieve the level of non-stickiness that you desire.

Regular Seasoning of Carbon Steel Pan

Maintaining the pan’s non-stick surface and seasoning it on a regular basis are the two most important things you can do to extend the life of your carbon steel pan and get the most out of it.

At other times, you may find that the constant use of your pan has caused it to get unclean, while at other times, it may go unused for weeks or even months at a time. Reseasoning your pan is the solution in each of these scenarios.

Let’s talk about two ways to season your carbon steel pan: the oven approach and the stovetop method. Both of these procedures are quite effective.

Seasoning a Carbon Steel Pan in the Oven

What You Need:

  • Vegetable oil
  • A fresh piece of paper towel or a dishtowel
  • Sheet for baking
  • Tinfoil
  • Tongs
  • Oven mitts

What You Have to Do:

  • The first thing you need to do is get your pan nice and hot. To prepare for this, you will need to turn the oven up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Put your pan in the oven for around ten minutes while the stove is heating up.
  • Wear oven mitts and take out the pan from the oven.
  • Put some vegetable oil on a new paper towel or a clean dishcloth and smear it all over the surface. Before distributing the oil over the inside as well as the external surface of the pan, hold the pan with oven gloves and use tongs to hold the paper towel or dishcloth. Check to see that there are no uncovered areas.
  • Put a layer of aluminum foil on a baking sheet, and then put the sheet on the lowest rack possible in the oven.
  • Turn your pan over and place it on the rack just above the one that is holding the baking sheet. The purpose of the sheet is to collect any drips of oil that may fall from the pan. Keep the pan in the oven at a temperature of 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about one hour.
  • The pan should be left in the oven even after the oven has been turned off. Allow it to cool down naturally at room temperature, and do not remove it from the container until it has reached the desired temperature.

Seasoning a Carbon Steel Pan on the Stovetop

What You Need:

  • Vegetable oil
  • A clean paper towel or dishcloth
  • Tongs
  • Oven mitts

What You Have to Do:

  • Put your pan on the burner, and turn the heat up to a medium-high setting to get it started. Maintain the temperature until the pan is browning, smoke is coming from the surface, and it has reached the desired temperature.
  • Before removing the pan from the burner, make sure you have oven mitts on.
  • Use a clean paper towel or dishcloth to coat the pan with vegetable oil before proceeding. When touching the pan, protect your hands with oven gloves, and use tongs to handle the dish towel or paper towel. Be sure that the pan is fully coated with vegetable oil on both the inside and the exterior before you begin cooking.
  • Put the pan on the stove, and start the heat on the highest setting possible. Maintain the temperature until you see the fat melting and developing a dark color.
  • To remove the pan, first turn off the burner and then remove it. Make use of a paper towel to remove any excess oil from the surface of the pan.
  • Put the pan to the side and let it cool down to room temperature.

Note: Besides vegetable oil, you can use any neutral oil, including canola oil and Grapeseed oil.

Using a Carbon Steel Pan after Seasoning

After you have finished seasoning the pan made of carbon steel, you are free to begin using it. The pan’s nonstick qualities will improve as you continue to roast and sauté food in it, and the surface will get more seasoned as more food is cooked in it.

Aside from this, you may repeat the seasoning methods indicated above if you feel as though your pan is losing its ability to prevent food from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Depending on how often you use your pan, the seasoning that is already on it may start to lose its effectiveness.

It is time to re-season your pan if you notice that the surface has grown rough or if it still has food residue on it after cleaning it.

Cleaning a Seasoned Carbon Steel Pan

Always wash your pan in warm water after using it so that the seasoning will remain on it for a longer period of time. In the event that it is required, you can scrub the surface of the pan using a bristled brush that is not abrasive or a soft sponge in order to remove stubborn stains or food that has been scorched.

Before you begin cleaning your dirty carbon steel pan, you have the option of soaking it in warm water for a few hours first. This will allow you to avoid having to scrub the pan.

The remaining food particles on the surface of the pan will become more dislodged as a result of this, which will make it much simpler for you to wash them down the drain.

When cleaning your pan, you should never use abrasive cleaners or dish soap that is infused with chemicals because doing so can remove the seasoning that is still on the surface of the pan.

Place the pan you want to dry on the burner of the cooktop and turn the heat down to a medium setting.

If you only use your pan made of carbon steel on occasion, you should make sure that after you clean it each time, a thin layer of oil is applied to the surface of the pan to protect it from rust and corrosion.

Why is it Important to Season a Carbon Steel Pan Regularly

Here are the top reasons why you should season your carbon steel pan on a regular basis.

  • Ensures that food is cooked properly and evenly.
  • Avoid getting rust on the pan at all costs.
  • Make sure the food doesn’t turn a strange hue because of the pan.
  • To prevent food from being stuck on the pan’s surface, its nonstick characteristics should be used.
  • Maintain the pot so that it continues to function properly and in excellent shape.

Pans made of carbon steel are an excellent piece of cookware to have in your home kitchen. They not only make the process of cooking and releasing food from the pan simpler, but they also impart a greater texture and taste to the dish.

If you season these pans before you use them for the first time and continue to season them on a regular basis to keep the non-stick surface in good condition, they will also last longer.

If you season your pan properly, you may make it last longer, improve its functionality, and keep it looking like new at the same time


What is the best oil to season a carbon steel pan?

When seasoning and cooking with carbon steel pans, use an oil that is neutral in flavor and has a smoke point in the middle range. Canola oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, corn oil, and vegetable oil are some of the oils that fall into this category. It is best to steer clear of cooking oils that have a high smoke point because carbon steel cookware heats up very rapidly and may cause the oil to smoke.

Does a carbon steel pan need to be seasoned?

Carbon steel needs to be seasoned just like cast iron does; this is the process that polymerizes fats heated in the pan and bonds them to the cooking surface, forming a coating that protects against rust and makes it easier to release food from the pan. Seasoning carbon steel is similar to seasoning cast iron.

Can you season carbon steel with olive oil?

Olive oil should be saved for dipping bread and making salads because of the distinctive flavor it imparts. When it comes to seasoning carbon steel, this method is not recommended.

Can you cook on unseasoned carbon steel?

It is not suggested to cook with carbon steel that has not been seasoned. Rust will form over time, and it may cause food to get stuck. Because of this, it is difficult to clean and use in the kitchen.

Why does everything stick to my carbon steel pan?

You will notice that food can adhere to carbon steel before it has developed a patina, which is a slick seasoned coating. Patinas are developed over time. This is normal and will change once the product has been used for an extended period of time or has been seasoned multiple times. The development of this patina can be aided by cooking with oils or proteins that are high in fat.