The $70 Nonstick Carbon-Steel Skillet I Wish I Bought Years Ago

updated Mar 12, 2021
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

As a professional recipe writer and food stylist, I spend a lot of time watching cooking videos, checking social media, and browsing cooking stores’ websites. I’m always looking to see what’s trendy and what other people are up to. One thing I keep seeing again and again? Carbon-steel skillets. No, they’re nothing new, but while they’ve been popular among professional chefs for a while now, they’re new to a lot of people, including me. Carbon steel promises to have all of the best qualities of a nonstick pan without any of the drawbacks of the typical black coating, which can scratch or become less nonstick over time.

Read more about carbon steel here: The Kitchn’s Guide to Carbon-Steel Pans & Knives

I’ve been skeptical, but intrigued. So I got my hands on Mauviel’s M’steel Carbon Steel Skillet and got to testing. (Note: There are plenty of other brands, and I know that a few Kitchn staffers like the fry pan from Made In. Mauviel is also a popular option and priced similarly to Made In, so I gave it a try.)

Credit: Joe Lingeman

An Honest Review of Mauviel’s M’steel Carbon Steel Skillet

The first thing you need to do before cooking with this pan is wash it. The pan comes coated in a thick layer of beeswax that prevents it from rusting (this is true of other carbon steel skillets, too). To do so, all you have to do is wash the pan under hot water and scrub off the wax. I had a bit of trouble getting the wax to come off at first, but once I increased the temperature of the water, the wax melted right off. After that you have to season the pan with a bit of oil. This process takes some time, so I suggest planning ahead and allotting at least 30 minutes to prep the pan before cooking in it the first time. (You can watch a video from Mauviel to see exactly how to do this.) Once the pan is seasoned it’s ready to go.

Related: <a href="http://<!– wp:paragraph –> <p><strong>Related: </strong></p> The Best Way to Season a Carbon Steel Skillet Is … with Potato Skins

The Egg Test

At this point, I decided to cook up some eggs in order to test out the nonstick properties of the pan. I added just a teaspoon of olive oil to the pan, followed by three eggs that were whisked together. The eggs glided around the pan and didn’t stick in a single area. When it was time, the eggs slid right out of the pan without sticking to the bottom.

The Cheese Test

To make sure this wasn’t a fluke, I decided to try some cheese next. Melted cheese is the stickiest thing I could think of, so why not try it? Lo and behold, the cheese didn’t stick at all. It slide right out of the pan and I was shocked.

Conclusion: Carbon steel truly is nonstick.

Credit: Jesse Szewczyk

Other Things to Know About Carbon-Steel Skillets

Given that the pan is much heavier than a typical nonstick skillet (but lighter than a cast iron skillet), it is able to heat to a much higher temperature. The skillet can be used on all types of cooktops and used in the oven up to 680 degrees. (Just know that the handle will be hot!)

Keep in mind that this pan cannot go into the dishwasher, so it takes a bit of love to properly take care of. You’ll also need to re-season it every now and then to keep a nonstick finish (just like you would a cast-iron skillet).

My final takeaway: I really wish I had gotten on board with carbon steel earlier. If you really want to step up your cooking and start using pro-level cookware at home, this pan is a great place to start. It can go from stovetop to oven, can safely heat up to a super high temperature, and honestly just looks really darn cool. Sure, it’s a bit of a splurge compared to other nonstick pans, but the idea is that it’ll last a lot longer. And it certainly looks a lot prettier.

Do you use any carbon-steel pans in your kitchen? Tell us about what you have and how you use it in the comments below!