The $38 Pan Everyone Should Own, According to Bon Appétit’s Top Food Expert

updated Oct 25, 2019
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Credit: Christine Han/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Pearl Jones/Kitchn

Carla Lalli Music, the Food Director at Bon Appétit, has no shortage of strong food opinions and cooking tips, so when we got a chance to chat with her as part of her Week of Dinners feature, we were all ears.

When Carla dished all the details about her favorite kitchen gear, she revealed the one pan that she believes that every person should have in their kitchen. Now, if you’re thinking that Carla said cast iron, stainless steel, or nonstick, think again. Do you feel the suspense building?

“Every cook should own a black steel pan because they have all the heat conductivity of cast iron but they’re lightweight and incredibly easy to clean,” Carla told us.

Credit: Amazon

Not in the market for a pan that big? The 10-inch size is also a great buy.

Note: Prices were accurate during the time of reporting but may have changed since then.

It’s not the first time that a Bon Appétit staffer has extolled the virtues of this kind of pan. They’ve previously touted the carbon steel pan as a great alternative for “cast iron obsessives,” noting its thinner, lighter body, heat conductivity and retention, and general versatility. Not to mention, it’s a lot easier to clean.

This Lodge skillet is made with 12 gauge carbon steel and can be used on gas, electric, or induction cooktops, in the oven, on the grill, and over an open flame. Since it’s lighter than cast iron, you won’t break your arm carrying a full skillet dinner from the oven to the table.

Carla also says the price point can’t be beat. A 12-inch Lodge Carbon Steel Skillet is normally $50, but is currently $38 on Amazon. Considering how durable this style of pan is, it’ll outlast most of your other gear for a fraction of the price.

“I think a lot of home cooks buy low-quality pans. A black steel pan is not expensive, but it’s high-quality, so for the same amount of money you get something that you’ll own forever,” says Carla. We’re sold.

More About Carbon Steel Cookware

Curious about carbon steel and why it’s so great? Start here.