How To Season Carbon Steel Pans in 5 Simple Steps

Seasoning isn’t an oily layer left behind from not thoroughly cleaning a skillet, and it certainly needs to be a taste developed through time. It’s a protective layer created by burning oil in the pan. Learn with me how to season carbon steel pans correctly.

Unfortunately, carbon steel pans are less recognized than cast iron pans since they can be equally advantageous in a household kitchen. Like cast iron, carbon steel has relatively limited heat conduction and relatively strong heat retention, making it an excellent choice for pan-roasting meats. 

On the other hand, carbon steel pans have sloping sides and are thinner and lighter than cast iron because they are stamped or spun from metal sheets rather than released in shape. Two main characteristics of (How to Season carbon steel pans) make them ideal for tossing items, making them one of the most fantastic for sautéing meats and veggies.

Similar to cast iron, carbon steel also requires seasoning. It’s worth noting that the term “seasoning” in cookware doesn’t relate to the flavor that builds up in a pan with time. Seasoning is a buildup of exceedingly thin layers of oil that have been heated to change from liquid grease to a solid, plastic-like polymer.

Best Ways to Season Carbon Steel Pans

When you look at a new carbon steel pan, you’ll notice something you don’t see with cast iron: the hue of the bare metal. If you season your carbon steel pans enough times, they will become as black as cast iron.

Most carbon steel pans arrive unseasoned, enabling you to watch the seasoning develop right in front of your eyes. After witnessing this, you’ll no doubt know what herb is and isn’t.

Preparing is undoubtedly not an oily covering left behind from not appropriately washing a container, and it’s most certainly not flavor developed over long periods of utilization. It’s a defensive covering made by consuming oil in the skillet. 

Here’s the correct method for seasoning your carbon steel pans, and we’ll provide you with quick tips to get it done right.

Step 1- Take Off the Protective Coating and Wipe Down the Pan

Most carbon fibre pans arrive uncooked, with a protective layer that prevents the exposed metal from rusting. How can you decide whether your pan is lightly seared? Unlike black, it will have a metallic grey tint, as most off-the-shelf cast iron pans are.

Firstly, remove the coating. Because various manufacturers use different layers, follow the directions on How to season carbon steel pans. After that, thoroughly wash the pan.

Step 2- Dry the Pan

After you’ve removed the protective covering and washed the pan, you should dry it straight away since the substance keeping your pan from rusting is gone, and you’d be surprised how rapidly a little layer of rust may form on bare, damp steel.

best way to Season Carbon Steel Pans

Normally towel-dry the damp pan before placing it over stovetop heat to cook out any lingering moisture. This also leads us directly to heating the pan.

Step 3- Preheat the Skillet

It’s time to put on the first coat of seasoning, and heating the pan first allows the oil to be applied as thinly as possible.

Preheat Season Carbon Steel Pans

If the handle of your carbon steel pan is a stove, you can also cook it in a 450°F oven (unlike cast iron pans, which are solid pieces of iron, handles, and all, carbon steel pan handles are riveted on; some handles can’t withstand hot oven temperatures).

Step 4- Use the Oil Sparingly

Use a minimal amount of oil. Take a neutral oil and lightly grease a kitchen towel you don’t mind staining, such as canola, vegetable, or grapeseed. You want to avoid using butter, which contains water and milk solids; olive oil, which is more costly and frequently contains sediment; or flaxseed oil, which produces a beautiful seasoning but is prone to flaking off.

Use oil to Season Carbon Steel Pans

Now brush the oil all over the pan, inside and out, buffing away any excess until the pan seems dry. I can’t emphasize this enough: Too much fat can ruin your seasoning, leaving you with a splotchy, sticky covering that will be tough to remove. 

If you even doubt that you have used too much oil, you can assure yourself. Buff it out, buff it dry, and remove any traces of oil from the pan. Don’t worry. There’s still some oil there, just enough for your work.

Step 5- Burn it On

Let the greased pan heat up on the stovetop or in the hot oven. Due to its low heat conductivity, it may be necessary to rotate the pan to ensure the oil has created a polymer layer across the entire surface. How can you tell when carbon steel pans are adequately seasoned? With new carbon steel, you can visually observe the seasoning layer forming.

Way to Season Carbon Steel Pans

The regions where the oil has solidified will have turned a light brown. That’s it for the seasoning! Be aware that the pan will intensely smoke throughout this procedure, so open your windows, put on your fans, and send your children outside to play.

The smoke finally stops, indicating the oil covering has finished its metamorphosis. The time it takes over a burner depends on its heat output and the pan’s size, although it might take several minutes. Thirty minutes in the oven should be enough.

Step 6- Repetition

Keep adding thin layers of oil and heating them until they darken, repeating the process until the pan has become dark brown. This should provide sufficient seasoning to begin with.

Step 7- Re-Season with the Pan as Needed

Your task from now on is to utilize the pan. Cooking and sautéing in the pan will contribute to further seasoning. Additionally, you can always add more layers of seasoning using the heat-oil-heat method mentioned earlier. 

With time, the pan will develop a black color. However, based on my experience, seasoning on a carbon steel pan may be more prone to flaking than on cast iron. If this happens, don’t worry; strengthen the pan several times to cover a problem area.


What is seasoning, and why is it essential for carbon steel pans? 

Seasoning adds a layer of oil to the pan’s surface, creating a non-stick coating and helping prevent rust. Herb is essential for carbon steel pans because it protects the surface and enhances the cooking performance.

How do I season a new carbon steel pan? 

First, wash the pan with hot, soapy water and dry it thoroughly. Then, apply a thin layer of oil to the pan’s surface using a paper towel. Place the pan in a preheated oven and bake for about an hour at 400°F. Repeat this process several times until the pan has a smooth, non-stick surface.

Can I season a carbon steel pan on the stove? 

You can season a carbon steel pan on the stove by heating it over medium heat, adding a thin layer of oil, and rubbing it into the surface with a paper towel. Let the pan cool before using it.

How often do I need to season my carbon steel pan? 

You should season your carbon steel pan whenever it loses its non-stick properties or you notice rust forming on the surface.

Can I use soap to clean my seasoned carbon steel pan? 

Yes, you can use soap to clean your carbon steel pan, but avoid using abrasive sponges or steel wool that can damage the seasoning. Use a gentle scrubber or sponge, and avoid soaking the pan in water for long periods.

What oil should I use to season my carbon steel pan? 

Season your carbon steel pan with any high-smoke-point vegetable, canola, or flaxseed oil. Avoid using olive oil or butter, which have low smoke points and can create a sticky residue.

Can I use my carbon steel pan on an induction cooktop? 

Carbon steel pans are compatible with induction cooktops and can be used on any stovetop. Ensure the pan’s bottom is flat and in contact with the cooking surface.

Final Words

Seasoning a carbon steel pan is essential to protect the surface and enhance the cooking performance. Proper seasoning gives the pan a smooth, non-stick surface, perfect for cooking various foods. 

Once seasoned, it is essential to maintain the seasoning by avoiding abrasive cleaning tools and soaking the pan for long periods. A well-seasoned carbon steel pan can provide years of cooking pleasure with proper care and maintenance.

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