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How To Season A Carbon Steel Pan

Our Blue Carbon Steel Pan is a perfect hybrid of a cast iron skillet and a stainless steel frying pan, meaning it has cast iron’s heat retention, seasoning, and non-stick properties from cast iron with the benefits of stainless steel ’s heat control and cooking speed. And best of all, it’s lighter than both cast iron and stainless steel, it seasons more quickly than cast iron, and it’s meant to get dirty. In fact, the more blackened and worn it gets, the better it performs.

carbon steel pan

But the key to getting started is your first seasoning. We don’t pre-season our pans, which is a good thing, but it puts you in the driver seat and gives you some homework before you start cooking.

What Is Seasoning?

In order to get a slick surface that evenly cooks food, imparts a more flavorful taste, and doesn’t rust or corrode, you’ll need to coat the base of your pan with a thin layer of oil, which becomes the foundation of your seasoning. As you continue to cook, the food’s natural fat (or your added fat or oil )will continue to fill the pan’s small surface pores, building up a layer of polymerized oil and create a slick patina.

With Carbon Steel, a pan’s pores are relatively small and shallow, which means you’ll acquire a solid seasoning after your first pre-seasoning, and you’ll have a super slick surface within a few uses. With cast iron, a pan ’s pores are deeper, so you’ll spend more time building up the seasoning.

Your FIRST Seasoning

Your initial seasoning is a crucial step in setting the stage for future use. The good news is that seasoning a carbon steel pan isn’t rocket science, and it isn’t as difficult as seasoning a cast iron (plus, if you think you’ve messed it up, you can reverse your seasoning with steel wool and start over.)

We recommend baking your pan to lock in the initial round of seasoning.

  • Wash your pan with warm water and rub off any oil residue
  • Take a baking sheet and line it with a piece of tinfoil (more on this in a second!)
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F
  • While your oven is preheating, put your pan on a burner and let it sit on medium heat
  • When the oven has reached 350°F, it’s time to oil your pan. Take your pan off the heat and douse a paper towel in the oil of your choice (flaxseed, vegetable oil, olive oil, grapeseed oil). Use tongs to take the paper town and move it across the interior and exterior of the pan until it’s completely coated in oil.
  • Move the hot, oily pan into the oven, face down, so that the interior of the pan can drip onto the oven floor.
  • Add the baking sheet to the bottom rack of the oven to catch any oil drips.
  • Leave the pan in the oven for 1 hour at 400°F. You might see some smoke - don’t be alarmed!
  • After an hour, turn off oven and let the pan cool inside the oven.

When it’s cool, you’re ready to start cooking with your Carbon Steel OR you can run through the process a second (and then a third time) to get extra slickness on your carbon steel pan. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: You can expect your pan to turn brownish, so embrace discoloration! Dirty is better than clean when it comes to carbon steel.

If you're not using your pan every few days, you might need to re-season when you start to see signs of rust or the surface becomes less slick. Check out our article on re-seasoning a carbon steel pan.

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