How To Season a Carbon Steel Pan
So you just purchased a new carbon steel pan. Maybe you pulled out the big bucks and splurged, or just picked up an inexpensive one at your local kitchen store. Either way, take care of your new pan, and it will take care of you — in the form of delicious, perfectly cooked food that won’t stick!
Before you put your new pan into action, give it a little TLC by seasoning it properly. Sure, you might have read it doesn’t need to be seasoned, and you’re eager to make some soft, warm crepes, but slow down. You’ll be happy you took this step first.
There are two different ways to season a carbon steel pan: by oven or by stovetop. Here are instructions for both.
For the oven method:
- Oven mitts
- Clean dishcloth or paper towel
- Vegetable oil
- Baking sheet
For the stovetop method:
Clean dishcloth or paper towel
Instructions for the Oven Method
Heat your pan: Preheat oven to 400°F. Put pan in oven for 10 minutes while oven is preheating.
Remove pan from oven: Use those oven mitts!
Oil your pan: Coat a clean dishcloth or paper towel with vegetable oil. Using oven mitts to hold the pan and tongs to hold dishcloth or paper towel, spread oil all over the interior and exterior of pan until completely coated.
Place a foil-lined baking sheet in the oven: Layer a baking sheet with tinfoil. Place in the oven on the bottom rack.
Place coated pan upside-down in oven: Place your oil-coated pan on the rack above the baking sheet. The baking sheet will catch any oil drips. Leave pan in 400°F oven for 1 hour.
Let the pan cool in the oven: Turn off oven and let pan cool completely inside oven. Remove pan when cool.
Instructions for the Stovetop Method
Heat your pan: Place pan on stovetop burner set to medium-high heat. Heat pan until hot. Wisps of smoke will rise and pan will start to turn brown.
Remove pan from stovetop: Again, use those oven mitts; the pan will be hot!
Grease your pan: Coat a clean dishcloth or paper towel with vegetable shortening or lard. Using oven mitts to hold the pan and tongs to hold dishcloth or paper towel and spread vegetable shortening or lard all over interior and exterior of pan until completely coated.
Place pan back on burner set to high heat: Heat until fat starts to liquify and turn black.
Remove from heat: Remove pan from heat and wipe away excess oil with paper towel.
Let pan cool: Set your pan somewhere safe, where you won’t bump into it, and let it cool completely.
Work in a well-ventilated kitchen; it will get smoky!
Your new pan will discolor, but it's OK — it's what you want to happen, actually, so you know it's perfectly seasoned. Also, repeat seasoning process if/when food starts to stick or any rust starts to show.