Five Plus One is our weekly series of buyer’s guides. We pick a specific category and dig up five great options along with one that’s a little outside the norm.
I love cast iron skillets as much as the next heritage-wear obsessed blogger, but they aren’t without their issues. They are heavy, difficult to clean due to their rough texture, take longer to reach temperature than other cookware, and, despite rumors to the contrary, heat quite unevenly. While no material is perfect carbon steel improves upon a handful of these complaints, and depending on your use cases might be a better choice for you.
1) Matfer Bourgeat: 11 7/8″ Black Steel Fry Pan
If you are looking for a great, entry level carbon steel pan then Matfer Bourgeat’s Black Steel Fry Pan is a fantastic choice. With it’s highly angled sides and quality metal, this pan will be incredibly nonstick once seasoned properly. Mix that with its even heating, made in France quality, wide range of sizes, and over safe construction and you’ll be hard pressed to find a more versatile pan.
Available for $54 from Amazon.
2) Made In: 12″ Frying Pan
Made In’s Frying Pan is another great, made in France pan that may well become your favorite. This 2mm carbon steel pan has been blue annealed to prevent rusting, and is as naturally nonstick as any other quality, carbon steel pan on the market. The handle is riveted, which may not be what everyone wants, but it remains oven safe due to its all metal construction and lack of coatings.
Available for $89 from Made In.
3) BK: Pure Black Steel 12″ Frying Pan
BK’s Pure Black Steel Frying Pan is a fantastic option for your next carbon steel pan and comes with just about everyone you could want. It features a riveted, cast iron handle, which gives it a unique look unrivaled by the others on this list, and has the same oven and metal utensil safe properties that you’d expect from a carbon steel pan. That said, this pan’s handle is connected with two in-line rivets, which may be slightly weaker than other connection types.
Available for $60 from Crate & Barrel.
4) de Buyer: 12.5″ Mineral “B” Fry Pan
de Buyer’s Mineral Fry Pan is a bit more expensive than some of the others on this list, but it is a seriously well made piece of kitchen equipment. This made in France pan features a triple riveted handle and natural beeswax finish that will darken and patina with age. That said, please note the lower-than-some baking temperature to ensure this pan is suitable for your needs.
Available for $100 from de Buyer.
5) Lodge: 12″ Carbon Steel Skillet
Lodge has quickly become the de facto brand for cast iron skillets, so it makes perfect sense that they’d offer a quality Carbon Steel Skillet as well. This pan is both inexpensive and well made, and features shallow sides, triple riveted handle, and is suitable for basically any cooking style you can throw at it; be that on the stove, in the oven, or over a fire. While this piece is certainly versatile don’t blame us if you buy one and quickly find yourself with an entire set.
Available for $40 from Lodge.
Plus One – Smithey Ironware Co: Carbon Steel Farmhouse Skillet
If you are looking for a carbon steel skillet and don’t care what it costs then Smithey Ironware Co.’s Carbon Steel Farmhouse Skillet is the clear and obvious choice. Each pan is handmade in the Charleston, South Carolina, resulting in truly one-of-a-kind pieces, and has a slightly coppery finish that differentiates it from all others on the market. That said, it features the same lightweight feel, nonstick nature, and even heating of all other carbon steel skillets. These pans are made in small quantities, so make sure you get one now if you can’t stand to live without it.
Available for $275 from Smithey Ironware Co.