Kitchen & Appliances

Carbon Steel vs Stainless Steel Pan – Which One is Better?

Planning an upgrade in your kitchen from ordinary pans to either a carbon steel or a stainless steel pan? Look no further for information on which one is better. This article will guide you in making an informed decision. We know it is quite a tough decision to make between any two types of products, especially when they both seem to have just about the same qualities. We have been there before. And we have been able to identify several unique features that technically knock one product out of the ring. Forget the tabulation you have in mind in the form of a carbon steel vs stainless steel pan analysis.

Before we proceed any further, we’ll tell you for free that the best solution between the two is the stainless steel pan. Keep reading to find out why.

In this article, we’ll look at which solution is the best for most situations in accordance with your specific needs and preferences.

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NameTYPEOur Rating
Pre-Seasoned, 8-inch Lodge Carbon Steel SkilletCarbon Steel9.8/10
BK Cookware Skillet Black Carbon Steel 10′Carbon Steel9.5/10
De Buyer MINERAL B Round Carbon Steel Fry Pan 12.5-InchCarbon Steel9.2/10
Carbon Steel Wok For Electric, Induction, and Gas StovesCarbon Steel9/10
Cuisinart Chef’s Classic 12-Inch Skillet with Glass CoverStainless Steel9.8/10
Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Stainless Steel 10-Inch Open SkilletStainless Steel9.5/10
Cuisinart Silver Chef’s Classic Stainless 5-1/2-Quart Saute PanStainless Steel9/10
All-Clad D3 Fry Lid, 10 Inch PanStainless Steel8.8/10

Carbon Steel Pans

Let’s first consider some carbon steel pans available in the market.

1. Pre-Seasoned, 8-inch Lodge Carbon Steel Skillet

The American company Lodge has been in existence and production of unique cutlery for over 100 years now. This skillet is a recent addition to their line of cast-iron cookware and is proof that with so many years of labor, it is easy to master the art of producing timeless cookware sets.

This skillet stands out with its unique handle that has an angle bridge to ensure the surface of the pan is farther away from you to increase your safety in the kitchen.

Technical specifications:

  • Made of carbon steel
  • Pre-seasoned

Pros

  • Compatible with gas, induction, and electric stovetops, open fire and outdoor grills.
  • It is easy to maintain as it only requires drying and rubbing with some oil after hand wash.
  • Can handle multiple functions from simmering, frying, sautéing, roasting, searing, and baking.
  • The angle handle design allows it to fit in most ovens in full length.

Cons

  • Sometimes there is a blister or oil bubble on this cookware that flakes off when rubbed. This leaves a brown spot that may be mistaken for rust.
  • The huge hole in the handle meant for hanging during storage can easily cause injury in the kitchen if unwanted things were to get caught in it, especially during cooking.

 

2. BK Cookware Skillet Black Carbon Steel 10′

Established in 1851, BK Cookware is a maker of Dutch cookware and was the 2019 Red Dot Award winner for design. They are the founders of the famous Dutch oven.

Technical specifications:

  • Made of carbon steel
  • Pre-seasoned

Pros

  • Its black color makes it easy for its blending with most other colors in the kitchen.
  • Compatible with all stovetops, including induction.
  • Can be used with open flames and grills.
  • Safe to use in the oven up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cons

  • Hand wash only
  • Comes with a two-year only limited warranty.

 

3. De Buyer MINERAL B Round Carbon Steel Fry Pan 12.5-Inch

De Buyer has been around for 180 years now and still counting. This France-based company designs and makes cookware for professionals who not only include chefs but also people like you who are perfect chefs right in their homes.

This pan stands out from these others because it has two handles that are opposite each other for ease and safety of handling.

Technical specifications:

  • Made of carbon steel
  • Pre-seasoned

Pros

  • Naturally reinforced with beeswax in the seasoning process to prevent oxidation.
  • Comes with two riveted handles for easier handling and pouring.
  • Safe to use in the oven for up to 20 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • It is induction-ready.

Cons

  • It is not suitable to use detergents in cleaning this nonstick cookware.
  • Highly shiny and reflective, it may be a nuisance to light-sensitive people.

 

4. Carbon Steel Wok For Electric, Induction, and Gas Stoves

This product is brought to you by Souped Up Recipes, a YouTube channel with over 8 million views and lots of Chinese recipes. A regular Youtuber, they have over 600, 000 subscribers who trust their recipes and carbon steel wok.

Things that make this product stand out include a wooden lid, stainless steel spatula, video guide for ease of use, and a link to over 190 recipes that you can try right from the day you receive the wok.

Technical Specifications:

  • Made of carbon steel
  • Pre-seasoned

Pros

  • The fully wooden lid is a perfect fit as it reduces any risks of burning from hot surfaces.
  • Has a flat bottom that rests fully on various stovetops.
  • Compatible with induction, electric, and gas stovetops.
  • The shipping includes a link to over 190 recipes which you can try out for an exceptional experience.

Cons

  • They restrict cleaning to hand washing only.
  • Wiping with a paper towel after washing the wok turns the towel black. This means the wok is still not fully cleaned and needs further washing.


Stainless Steel Pans

Still with me and wondering when we will consider some stainless steel pans available in the market? Well, let’s do this!

1. Cuisinart Chef’s Classic 12-Inch Skillet with Glass Cover

Since the introduction of Cuisinart in America in 1973, the company has been a revolutionary in the competitive kitchen appliances industry. The company lives up to its ambition of turning the art of excellent cooking into an American lifestyle.

The skillet stands out as it comes induction-ready for your ease of first-time use.

Technical specifications

  • Made of stainless steel
  • Dishwasher safe

Pros

  • It has measurement markings to make it easier to determine the right quantities of items to be cooked.
  • Has a lifetime warranty.
  • The base has an aluminum core for even heating and to eliminate hot spots.
  • It is drip-free during pouring.

Cons

  • There is no indication for the optimum heat range for the glass lid. This is risky because glass is prone to shattering when exposed to extreme heat.
  • The mirror finish makes it reflective and maybe a source of light disturbances in the kitchen.

 

2. Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Stainless Steel 10-Inch Open Skillet

 

Yet another skillet from Cuisinart rated 4.6 stars on Amazon. It stands out as it is rated broiler-safe and oven safe for up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit. It also has a stainless steel cover that is dishwasher safe as well.

Technical specifications

  • Made of stainless steel
  • Dishwasher safe

Pros

  • Compatible with gas, electric, and induction stovetops.
  • Has patented heat surround technology that helps avoid hot spots through even heat distribution on the bottom and sides of the skillet.
  • The rims are tapered to allow pouring with no dripping.
  • The stainless steel interior allows for pro performance of delicate cooking such as sauteing vegetables and simmering sauces.

Cons

  • Comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
  • The bottom is concave, and only the outermost edges come into direct contact with glass stovetops.

 

3. Cuisinart Silver Chef’s Classic Stainless 5-1/2-Quart Saute Pan

 

Rated 4.7 stars, this stainless steel cookware from Cuisinart stands out from the others in this list since it has two handles that are directly opposite each other for ease of storage and handling during cooking.

Technical specifications

  • Made of stainless steel
  • Dishwasher safe

Pros

  • Has a helper handle so you can even hold it safely with both hands.
  • Has a lifetime warranty
  • Has calibrations for easy measurement of food items that you are to cook.

Cons

  • No information is provided on use in the oven for the lid.
  • Has highly shiny surfaces that reflect and may be a source of disturbance with lighting in the kitchen.

4. All-Clad D3 Fry Lid, 10 Inch Pan

This fry pan is made in the USA by Groupe SEB, which has over 30 patented brands and 42 industrial entities.

The pan has a dishwasher safe stainless steel lid and a 3-ply bonding for better heat retention and distribution.

Technical specifications

  • Made of stainless steel
  • Dishwasher safe

Pros

  • 3-ply bonding with aluminum core for even heat distribution
  • The glass cover allows you to observe your meal as it cooks as well as retain natural flavors in your meals.
  • The glass cover is also dishwasher safe.
  • Oven and broiler safe up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cons

  • Shipping is only within the U.S. to APO/FPO addresses and to some select countries outside the U.S.
  • The handle is quite short, which means you will be in closer contact with the pan and cooking top.

Features of Carbon Steel and Stainless Steel Compared

After the foregoing, it is only natural that we look at the feature both carbon steel and stainless steel pans share.

  • Resistance to corrosion and rusting

Both sets of pans have iron and Chromium as components. Carbon steel is an alloy of carbon and cast iron. Stainless steel is an alloy of at least 10.5% Chromium and iron. The alloying makes the iron less prone to rusting. Carbon steel is more prone to corrosion and rusting even by moisture present in the air since it has a lower amount of Chromium and a high amount of carbon. The high level of Chromium in stainless steel makes it more resistant to corrosion by staining because Chromium prevents the oxidation of iron in the stainless steel pans.

Verdict: Stainless steel pans win in resistance to corrosion and rusting.

  • Strength and durability

Alloying various components results in products with better characteristics aimed at achieving a set target, such as improving durability and strength. Using high amounts of carbon in steel improves the characteristics of steel in that it becomes stronger and harder.

Verdict: Carbon steel wins on the strength and durability scale. 

Stand out Features

  • Pre-seasoning: All the carbon steel cookware reviewed in this article come in pre-seasoned, unlike the stainless steel ones discussed here for which you have to do the seasoning after you purchase.

Conclusion

You are now better placed to make a straightforward decision between carbon steel and stainless steel pans, as well as the perfect fit for you from the specific products we have discussed. But just before we go, here’s one more thing  to guide you further:

Use carbon steel pans if:

  • You dislike the Do-It-Yourself things since as these carbon steel pans are pre-seasoned; you don’t have to do any seasoning yourself before using them.
  • You live in areas where humidity is low and therefore your pans are not exposed to excessive moisture in the air.

Use stainless steel pans if:

  • You prefer using a dishwasher to hand washing.
  • You like decorative kitchen products since the shiny nature of stainless steel pans makes them suitable for this purpose.

See you at the dinner table!

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