Need A Refresher? Here's How To Season A Carbon Steel Pan

Our Blue Carbon Steel Pan is the perfect hybrid of a cast iron skillet and a stainless steel frying pan. It has cast iron’s heat retention, seasoning, and stick resistance properties with the added 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 only gets better with age. In fact, the more worn it is, the better it performs!

cooking lemon chicken in carbon steel pan

The key to getting started with Blue Carbon Steel is a solid first seasoning. We don’t pre-season our pans — which is a good thing — and that means you are in the driver's seat with a little work to do before you can get cooking.

One of the most common questions we get from customers is about how to season a carbon steel pan correctly, and we are here to help!

What Is Seasoning?

In order to get a slick surface that evenly cooks food, imparts more flavor upon ingredients, and resists sticking, rusting, and corrosion, you'll need to put your new carbon steel pan through a seasoning process that includes coating it with a thin layer of oil. This oil fills the pan’s small surface pores and kicks off your pan’s seasoning.

As you get cooking, the fats and oils in your food will continue to fill these pores and build up a layer of polymerized oil that creates a slick patina.

Our carbon steel pans have relatively small and shallow pores. This means you'll acquire a solid seasoning layer after your initial seasoning and you’ll have a super slick surface within a few uses. As a point of comparison, cast iron skillets have deep pores. This means you need to spend more time building up seasoning to make their surfaces slick.

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 cast iron. Plus, if your seasoning doesn't turn out how you'd like, you can always reverse it by boiling equal parts vinegar and water and starting over.

There are many, many ways to season a pan. We’re big fans of the stovetop-to-oven method, which locks in your pan’s initial round of seasoning using the technique below:

  • Wash your pan with hot, soapy water and rub off any oil residue. The dark residue on your new pan is just dried oil that we apply to preserve the pan and prevent it from developing any rust during transit. It won’t hurt you if you consume it, but you should remove as much of it as you can with soap and water.
  • Place a foil-lined baking sheet on the bottom rack of your oven, then preheat your oven to 400-450 F. The oven temperature should be at or slightly above the smoke point of your oil or wax, and most high-smoke-point oils and waxes fall in the 400-450 F smoke-point range.
  • Once your oven is preheated, place your dry and empty pan over medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes to zap any remaining moisture and open up your pan's pores.
  • Remove it from the burner and use a paper towel to apply a very thin layer of Made In Wax or high-smoke-point oil to the inside of the pan, ensuring it is completely coated.

using oil to season a carbon steel pan

  • Carefully move your hot, waxed/oiled pan to the oven and place it upside down on the center rack.

seasoning carbon steel pan in oven

  • Leave the pan in the oven for an hour at 400-450 F.
  • Don't be alarmed if you see some smoke.
  • After one hour, turn your oven off and leave the pan in the oven until it has completely cooled.
  • Your pan is now ready to be used, or you can repeat these steps as many times as you'd like to continue building that seasoning.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You can expect your pan to change colors once your seasoning journey begins. Embrace the discoloration — it's what makes your Blue Carbon Steel pan different from all others!

22 comments

  • Ram N Shenoy

    Finished with first seasoning, am inclined to get it done thrice before cooking. Can’t wait.

  • Richard Johnson

    If the oil puddles, when you season the pan, you have used too much. Thin is in! You havent damaged the pan, but you need to scrub off the excess and repeat the process with a thin layer of oil, wiping with a paper towel. I usually do at least 3 cycles before I use a pan. And yes, you can season stainless steel, also.

  • Ocraoke Island

    To the poster about splotchy, yes, that is normal, with use it should get a more uniform as the coating builds up.

    To be clear, splotches isn’t what you want, it is what you can get with the first coat, it usually is very useable.

    I also use as light of coating as possible of oil, after applying the oil with tongs, I use a clean paper towel with tongs to try to remove it all, before going into the oven.

    You really just want a slight film of oil, where if you were able to touch it it would just feel slightly oil. That is the trick to it, no puddles, no thick oil surfaces. It’s amazing how little oil it should be.

    I learned this the hard way with cast iron wok. Thick oil, made a mess, the coating was gummy, didn’t bake on.

    Thick oil isn’t good, with hinder the effort to fill the microscopic nooks and crannies you are trying to fill.

    You can once the pan has completely cooled in the oven, repeat the steps of heating the pan, rubbing oil on it, back into the oven.

    It is what I do.

    Well, I do it 3 times, just like when I shave with a safety razor, first pass just to get most of it, second pass to get the places I know I have missed, third to make sure I have gone over my face at least twice.

    The pan comes out slick as black ice. It’s hard to catch a fried egg on it.

  • Cindy Nichols

    Hi. Love my pan. I think your instructions need to make clear that you actually don’t want to douse the paper towel in too much oil and put the pan in the oven with anything but a very thin coat. I’m pretty sure the weird baked-on blotches are the result of too much oil.

  • CAROL

    I did the one time seasoning and had very adhesive eggs. I had to start from scratch. Did the 3 times seasoning and it works much better. However, be sure to carefully clean up any gunk in the pan after cooking and give it a quick heat up with oil rubbed over the interior. It definitely needs time to build up that coating. Once we’ll seasoned, it works like a dream.

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