15 Pros and Cons of Carbon Steel Cookware

Carbon Steel cookware is a great choice for anyone looking for an inexpensive, durable option. Carbon steel is a top choice for professional chefs and home cooks alike. This is because it is an excellent conductor of heat and is also very durable.

Like every other cookware, Carbon Steel also has some pros and cons that you should be aware of before making a purchase.

But before we dive into the Pros and Cons of Carbon Steel Cookware, let’s first take a look at what Carbon Steel actually is.


what is carbon steel cookware made of

Carbon Steel is a combination of iron and carbon. The carbon steel contains a minimum of 0.5% to 1% carbon and 99% iron. This allows the steel to be hardened and tempered without becoming brittle(1).

The primary benefit of carbon steel cookware is its durability. A well-made carbon steel pan will last for decades with proper care, and it will develop a natural patina that improves with age.

Another advantage of carbon steel cookware is its ability to heat evenly. When properly seasoned, a carbon steel pan will develop a smooth, non-stick surface that is ideal for cooking at high temperatures.

This makes it an excellent choice for stir-frying, searing, and other cooking methods that require quick and even heating.

Pros and Cons of Carbon Steel Cookware

Carbon Steel Vs Cast Iron

The primary and main difference between Carbon Steel and Cast Iron is the carbon content in Carbon Steel. The carbon percentage can range from 0.5% to 1% carbon, while cast iron can have a 2% of carbon.

This difference in the carbon percentage is what gives these two types of cookware their unique properties.

Pros of Carbon Steel Cookware

1. Durability: Carbon steel is a very tough and durable material that can withstand high heat without warping or damage.

2. Versatility: Carbon steel cookware can be used on a variety of cooking surfaces, including stovetops, grills, and ovens.

3. Inexpensive: Carbon steel cookware is relatively inexpensive compared to other types of cookware, making it a great option for budget-minded cooks.

4. Even Heating: Carbon steel conducts heat evenly, making it ideal for cooking methods that require quick and even heating.

5. Non-Stick Surface: When properly seasoned, carbon steel develops a smooth, non-stick surface that is ideal for cooking at high temperatures.

7. Natural Patina: With proper care, carbon steel cookware develops a natural patina that improves with age.

8. Lightweight: Carbon steel is lighter than cast iron, making it easier to handle and less likely to cause fatigue when cooking.

9. High Heat Tolerance: Carbon steel can withstand high temperatures without warping or damage. It can handle up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit without deforming.

10. Safe: Carbon steel is a safe material to use for cookware, and it is not known to leach toxins into food.

11. Induction Safe: Induction stovetops become more popular but the issue with them is they only work with certain types of cookware. The good news is that carbon steel is induction safe because it is made of ferrous metal.

Cons of Carbon Steel Cookware

1. May Rust: Carbon steel cookware is susceptible to rusting if it’s not properly cared for. Be sure to dry the cookware immediately after washing and avoid storing it in a damp place.

2. Not Dishwasher-Safe: Carbon steel cookware should not be washed in the dishwasher. Because dishwasher detergent is harsh, it can strip the seasoning from the cookware and cause rusting.

3. Requires Maintenance: Carbon steel cookware requires regular seasoning and maintenance to keep it in good condition. If not properly cared for, it can develop rust or a sticky surface.

4. Reactive: Carbon steel is a reactive metal, which means it can react with acidic foods. Be sure to avoid cooking acidic foods on carbon steel cookware.

Tips for Cooking with Carbon Steel pans

1. Use oil or butter: Be sure to use oil or butter when cooking with carbon steel cookware to prevent sticking.

2. Preheat cookware: Always preheat your carbon steel cookware before adding food to it. This will help prevent sticking and ensure even cooking.

3. Don’t overcrowd the pan: When cooking with carbon steel cookware, don’t overcrowd the pan. This will cause the food to stick and make it difficult to flip or turn.

4. Season regularly: Be sure to season your carbon steel cookware regularly to keep the surface in good condition.

5. Store in a dry place: Be sure to store your carbon steel cookware in a dry, cool place to prevent rusting.

6. Don’t cook Acidic Food: As it is reactive and acidic food can damage the seasoning on carbon steel cookware, so it’s best to avoid cooking them in these pans.

How to remove rust from steel pan

Removing rust from a steel pan is not as difficult as it may seem. With the right tools and a little elbow grease, you can have your pan looking like new in no time.

Here are the steps you need to take to remove rust from your steel pan:

1. Start by cleaning the pan with soap and water. This will help to remove any dirt or debris that may be on the surface of the pan.

2. Next, you will need to use a rust remover. There are a number of rust removers on the market, so be sure to choose one that is specifically designed for use on steel pans.

3. Once you have chosen a rust remover, follow the instructions on the packaging. This will usually involve applying the rust remover to the affected area and then scrubbing it with a brush.

4. After you have scrubbed the rust off of the pan, rinse it well with water.

5. Finally, dry the pan thoroughly to prevent new rust from forming.

How to Season Carbon Steel Cookware

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Wash cookware in warm, soapy water.

3. Dry cookware thoroughly.

4. Rub a thin layer of vegetable oil or shortening over the entire surface of the cookware.

5. Place cookware upside down on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour.

6. Store cookware in a dry, cool place.


Carbon Steel is the favorite choice for many professional chefs because it is a durable and long-lasting option that can withstand high heat. It is also a great choice for those who are looking for an alternative to non-stick cookware.

If you’re looking for a durable, long-lasting cookware option, carbon steel cookware may be the right choice for you.

However, it is important to note that carbon steel cookware requires some maintenance and care in order to keep it in good condition.

So, if you’re willing to put in the effort to care for it, carbon steel cookware can be a great addition to your kitchen.


Is carbon steel cookware nonstick

No, carbon steel cookware is not non-stick by nature. However, it can develop a natural patina over time that helps to create a non-stick surface.

Carbon Steel pan vs Nonstick: What’s the Difference?

The main difference between carbon steel and nonstick pans is that carbon steel pans are made of uncoated raw steel, while nonstick pans are coated with synthetic material.
This coating makes it easier to release food from the pan and also makes cleanup simpler. Carbon steel pans need to be seasoned before use, while nonstick pans do not.
Carbon steel pans can reach higher temperatures than nonstick pans, making them better for searing and stir-frying.
However, they are also more likely to rust if not properly cared for.
When choosing between carbon steel and nonstick pans, it is important to consider your needs and preferences.
If you want a pan that is easy to use and clean, a nonstick pan may be the better choice.
If you are looking for a pan that can reach higher temperatures and has a more natural look and feel, a carbon steel pan may be the better option.

What not to cook in carbon steel cook?

There are a few things that you should avoid cooking in carbon steel cookware, as they can cause problems.
First, acidic foods like tomatoes can react with the metal and leave behind a metallic taste.
Second, wine and vinegar can also cause a reaction that will result in an off-flavor. Finally, fatty foods can cause the cookware to develop a sticky film.