How and Why to Season Skillets Made of Carbon Steel?

Latest News Skillets Made of Carbon Steel

Skillets Made of Carbon Steel: Carbon steel skillets are one of the most popular cookware solutions on the market right now. This is because when it comes to the pros and cons of carbon steel cookware, the numerous positive features of the material make it a perfect choice for any kitchen. Whether it’s the ease of use, high-temperature resistance, or a large assortment of sizes and shapes, it is clear how useful such cookware may be in the house.

But, the most attractive characteristic for many people is the smooth surface that your carbon steel skillet will achieve via the seasoning process. Carbon steel cookware is not a non-stick skillet. After purchasing a carbon steel skillet on, it will require seasoning because your pan will not be non-stick out of the box. To achieve a non-stick coating, you must season the skillet and cook in it constantly. 

To begin with, it is crucial to do this step correctly. Seasoning carbon steel with the right technique and ingredients is a simple task that can be completed at any time.

Why season a carbon steel skillet?

The carbon steel needs to be prepared to keep the surface of the pan smooth. Technically, seasoning cookware is the chemical reaction caused by heating the oil (the process of coating the surface of a skillet with wax or oil with a high smoke point to create a hard film of polymerized fat).

The oil fills the small pores on the surface and prevents rust, making the surface resistant to sticking. Think of the seasoning as a protective film on the surface. It prevents cookware from rusting by keeping moisture away from the skillet surface.

The seasoning is also the basic layer for more seasonings as you continue to cook. When you process food in a carbon steel skillet, the natural oils and fats found in your ingredients will season the surface. Having this base layer of seasoning is crucial for the longevity of your skillet. However, to finish the seasoning process, a special oil or wax is needed.

Seasoning carbon steel skillets: what is the best oil?

There are 2 main options of oil to select from to season your carbon steel skillet. In particular, the best choice includes grapeseed, sunflower, and canola oils. There is also a special seasoning wax: this is a blend of two high smoke point oils (grapeseed and canola) with beeswax to keep everything together.

This wax is tasteless, so it leaves no odor in the pan. It is essential to season the pan with a substance with a high smoke point so that polymerization occurs when it reaches the smoke point. Polymerization is a chemical reaction that allows the oil to solidify into a hardened seasoning layer rather than returning to its original liquid state. This wax will stick to the surface of the pan and create a smooth surface appropriate for cooking.

How to season a carbon steel skillet?

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and use a baking sheet with foil. As soon as the oven is heated, put the baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven. Wash new pans with hot soapy water. The leftovers in the skillet are vegetable oils that are used to prevent corrosion during shipping and to simplify the primary seasoning procedure, so any oil left will turn into your first seasoning.

As soon as the skillet gets dry, put it on the stove over low heat. This allows excess moisture to evaporate from the surface. Then turn the heat to medium and apply a tiny layer of high smoke point oil or wax to the cookware surface.

After the application of the wax or oil in a thin and even layer to the entire pan (except for the handle), wipe off the excess with dry paper towels several times until the pan is completely dry. A small amount of oil will remain in the pan. Once the layer of oil has been applied, place the skillet in the oven, upside down over the baking sheet. The baking sheet will collect drops of oil. Leave the skillet in the oven for an hour. After an hour, turn off the heat and allow the skillet to cool down naturally inside.

Caring for carbon steel

The above method is perfect for seasoning a carbon steel wok or pan. This is the first step to creating the perfect non-stick coating. To keep your pan smooth, cook with more fatty foods. Avoid cooking delicate foods such as fish, vegetables, and eggs until a reliable non-stick layer is formed (after 3-5 uses). Finally, it’s important to remember never to put carbon steel cookware in the dishwasher, as this can cause rust and ruin the entire seasoned cooking surface.

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