I Finally Tried This Constantly Sold Out Carbon Steel Skillet and It’s Given Me the Perfect Sear Every Time

published Jul 27, 2023
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

I’ve always loved cooking in my cast-iron skillet — probably because I can’t get enough of the old-school look and feel of the pan. I even love the unique cleaning and care process, where you scrub out the skillet with a special cleaning brush, rinse the pan, heat to dry, and give it a once-over with heat-resistant oil. The only downside to cast-iron cookware? It’s heavy. Like, really heavy — “home defense weapon in a pinch” heavy. My apartment came with glass cabinets (not sure whose brilliant idea that was) so I don’t really feel safe popping my skillet on those shelves, however thick they may be. Thankfully, I have brick walls with super-old square nails sticking out of them (definitely not a safety hazard) so I can hang my skillet on the wall. That’s worked thus far, but when I heard about a lighter, more manageable medium that produced the same results as cast iron, I jumped at the chance to test it out. Enter: Made In’s constantly sold out 12-Inch Blue Carbon Steel Frying Pan

What is Made In’s Blue Carbon Steel Frying Pan? 

First off, carbon steel is an alloy of steel and carbon (It’s in the name!), which combines the heat retention of cast iron with the control and maneuverability of stainless steel, which results in a natural nonstick surface that’s perfect for searing, when used correctly. Each of Made In’s Blue Carbon Steel Frying Pans are “crafted in a French village where Carbon Steel has been made since the 1700s,” according to the website. Some of the pros — when compared to cast iron — besides the lightweight build? Well, carbon steel tends to season faster, respond quicker to heat changes, and is usually less bulky. Plus, with this pan’s wide, sloping walls and massive surface area, this pan is good for pretty much any dish you’re making — especially since it’s oven-safe up to 1200 Fahrenheit and can go straight on the grill, over the coals, and under the broiler. 

Credit: Ian Burke

Why I Love Made In’s Blue Carbon Steel Frying Pan

Of course, the biggest benefit Made In’s Blue Carbon Steel Frying Pan has for me is the lightweight construction. It’s so much more manageable than a heavy cast-iron skillet, but it has enough heft that it doesn’t slide around on the burner. I also love the high sides and big surface area (again, I’m working with the 12-inch), which helps with cutting down on splatter and reducing sauces in seconds. The great searing capabilities are, as advertised, really good. I’m talking crispy edges on pancakes, crusts on steaks, and even blackened shrimp in seconds. (Though I did set my smoke alarm off a few times attempting that last one.) Its shape is also kind of like a wok, but still fits on my comically small stovetop with plenty of room. Plus, it’s easy to hang from the handle when I’m storing it, it’s practically indestructible, and has a long handle to help keep your hands burn-free. 

If you’ve been on the lookout for a pan that’s going to take your cooking to the next level year round, this is the one. Even if you’re not super familiar with carbon steel, you’ll get the hang of it right away — and you’ll be wowing dinner guests and family members in no time.