FAQ: Why Is the Black Coming Off My Carbon Steel Pan?

In this new series, we answer your most frequently asked questions.

By Team Made In
Jul 20, 2022
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Hi! I Purchased a Carbon Steel Pan about a week ago. I’ve followed the care instructions but today after cooking a breakfast omelet with tomatoes, cheese and eggs, I noticed the black carbon was missing in spots and I can see silver. I cleaned it with warm water, and soap and it was even more obvious. Can you help me? Why is the black coming off my new pan?

This is a question we get all the time at Made In. And we get it. You just spent a decent amount of money on cookware, and you want it to be perfect. But here’s the thing, it actually is totally fine. In this article we’ll break down what’s happening and how to care for your pan if you even encounter something like this happening.

It’s Not Ruined

One of the best parts about Carbon Steel Cookware is that it’s nearly impossible to ruin. Even if your pan is extremely rusted, it’s still possible to restore. We once left one outside for 30 days and it was totally fine. But in a case like this one where there are missing spots and you can see silver speckles, it actually isn’t a matter of rust. It’s still completely safe to cook with. But what are those spots, then?

This Is Normal

Before we put our pans in transit to you, we bake on a layer of vegetable oil. This is done to protect the pan in transit and aid the seasoning process, and is what gives the pan its blue tint. However, once you begin to season your pan and cook with it, this vegetable oil should and will come off.

Cooking with acidic ingredients like tomatoes can accelerate this process, or a deep cleaning like using soap and water. To recap, all that is happening here is that the baked-on layer of vegetable oil is coming off.

Here’s How to Fix It

Fixing this can take two different forms. The first is by reseasoning. By adding an additional layer of seasoning to your piece of cookware, you can essentially heal your Carbon Steel Pan in no time. For an in depth guide to seasoning Carbon Steel Cookware, check out this guide.

After you’ve seasoned your pan again, if it still is showing silver specks, just cook with it. The more you cook with it, especially fatty foods like bacon, the quicker it will develop a black-like patina. In fact, the reason Carbon Steel Pans you might see in restaurants are so deeply black is because of how frequently they are used.

We hope this helped answer your question, and if you have another one, please reach out to us at or check out our Carbon Steel FAQs.