How to Season a Carbon Steel Pan: A Quick Guide

How to season carbon steel pans

Much like a cast iron skillet needs to be seasoned, so too does a carbon steel pan. Many will come pre-seasoned, but if yours does not, following the proper steps protects the pan and helps to  make sure that you get the best out of your carbon steel pan or woks for years to come.

You’ll have to occasionally season the pan again, but the tips here will get you started so that you can begin cooking in your carbon steel pan right away. Experts recommend seasoning a carbon steel pan with flaxseed oil, but sunflower or coconut oil are also viable choices.

Seasoning your carbon steel pan for the first time.

Before you season your carbon steel pan, it’s important to wash it first to remove the coating applied in the factory to ward off rust during transport. You can do this easily by washing the pan in hot water with a mild dish soap.

Scrub the pan vigorously with a scrubbing pad or brush and rinse well. Wipe with a clean towel and place the pan on an oven burner until dry.

Once dry, you can apply the initial seasoning to the pan. Pour ⅓ cup oil and ⅔ cup salt into the pan, along with the peelings from two large potatoes. Cook the mixture over medium heat for about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often and being sure the mixture goes up the sides of the pan for even seasoning. As this happens the pan will turn brown. This is normal and nothing to worry about. Remove the oil mixture from the pan and discard. Cool the pan completely, then wipe with paper towels. Your pan is now ready to use. If you notice foods sticking the first time you use it, repeat this seasoning procedure and try again.

There are a couple of other things to consider during this step. When you season a carbon steel pan with coconut oil, be sure it’s in liquid form so that it easily moves around the pan with the salt. Don’t add the solid oil to the pan because it’s easier to mix the salt in once it’s been melted. You can melt coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl in 30-second increments until it has liquified. You can also season the pan with just oil if you prefer to leave the salt out. Be sure you’re doing this in a well-ventilated kitchen as the process can get quite smoky.

Another method for seasoning a carbon steel pan is to place the pan in a 400-degree oven for 10 minutes. Then, remove it using oven mitts and rub the inside with a paper towel coated in oil. Bake the oiled pan in the 400-degree oven for 1 hour, with a foil lined baking sheet underneath to catch any drips. Turn off the oven and allow the pan to cool in the oven before removing.

The method you choose is up to you and you and you can try both to see which one you like best. Whether you’re seasoning a carbon steel pan with flaxseed oil or you season a carbon steel pan with coconut oil, it’s important to use enough to thoroughly coat the entire surface of the pan, which is how you’ll achieve the non-stick results you’re going for and prevent foods from sticking the first time you use it.;

Seasoning carbon steel pans

Seasoning your carbon steel pan with flaxseed oil

When it comes to seasoning carbon steel, Flaxseed oil is pretty good for the job. You will need to make sure that the oil that you are going to use should be pure. You can have a look at this product below

FSC Organic Flaxseed Oil 500ml
Perfect for seasoning your carbon steel cookware

 

 

Maintaining Your Carbon Steel Pan

carbon steel wok

Proper care and maintenance of your carbon steel pan ensures that you can use it for many years without damage and that you can prepare delicious meals each time you pull it out of the cabinet.

After each use, rinse the pan well with warm water and gently scrub with a sponge as needed. Do not use soap or rough scrubbers on the pan after you’ve done the initial seasoning. Always dry the skillet on a warm burner to prevent rust and apply another thin coat oil before putting away.

This coat of oil is especially important if you cook in a humid kitchen or you don’t use the pan often. It will preserve the pan and prevent rust from appearing between uses. Store the carbon steel pan in a safe place when you’re aren’t cooking.

When to Reseason your pans

If you’ve had your carbon steel pan for a while, you’ll need to reseason it. You’ll know it’s time to do this when the inside of the pan feels bumpy or sticky.

This happens when the oil is partially polymerized. Get rid of this residue by washing the pan in hot, soapy water and scrubbing to remove until the pan is smooth again. Use a scrub brush or sponge that is abrasive, but not too rough on the pan. Let the pan dry completely, again using a warm burner to help the process along.

Next, wipe a couple of teaspoons of oil on the pan with a paper towel. Use a clean paper towel to wipe away as much of the oil as you can. Then, heat the pan over medium heat, using the second paper towel to wipe up any oil that beads during heating. Grip the paper towel in a pair of tongs to prevent burns. Continue wiping up the oil as it beads until the pan starts to smoke. Allow the pan to smoke for 2 minutes, turn off the heat and allow the pan to cool completely before storing.

Make sure you ventilate the kitchen well during this step because the smoke can fill up the house quickly and set off the smoke detectors.

Stir Frying in a carbon steel wok

To sum it all up

With proper care, your carbon steel pan should last for many years and serve you well in that time. You can use the pan to get a good sear on meat, prepare fried eggs, caramelize vegetables, and make stir-fry.

No matter what you choose to cook in yours, it’s a valuable addition to any kitchen and a tool that will come in handy on a daily basis. Proper seasoning and reseasoning means a pan you can count on and meals you’ll be proud to serve to your family and friends.