Cooking with Carbon Steel

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Cooking with carbon steel is a healthier alternative to other cooking materials. With more and more people becoming aware of the dangers that come from cooking with harmful chemicals, many are turning to carbon steel for their pots and pans.

This article will give you a quick overview of what carbon steel is, why you should be using it, and how to go about cooking with it – keep reading to learn more.

What is carbon steel and why should you use it in your kitchen?

Carbon steel is created from iron, and functions as a non-reactive material in the kitchen. This means that it will not affect any food flavor or absorb outside flavors during the cooking process. Carbon steel can also be used to cook at high temperatures like cast iron but unlike this material, carbon steel is lighter and easier to handle. Check out our article on cast iron vs carbon steel if you’d like to know more about the topic.

using carbon steel in your kitchen
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Carbon steel is rust-resistant, but it does need to be maintained properly to keep the best performance. This means that you will want to avoid leaving your carbon steel soaking in water and also make sure you dry it thoroughly before storing it away.

This is done by simply wiping off any food debris that may have been left behind with a paper towel or dishcloth. 

Also, do not use abrasive sponge pads or metal scrubbers on your carbon steel pans. They can leave scratches which will weaken the material over time making it more susceptible to rusting and pitting. Always make sure both the pan and utensils are completely dry before placing them away.

Why carbon steel is better than other materials for cooking

You may be wondering if carbon steel is worth the effort that goes into maintaining it. Here are a few reasons why you should switch to using carbon steel in your kitchen:

  1. It will not affect the taste or flavor of your food while cooking
  2. It's safe to cook with at high temperatures
  3. You don't have to worry about chemicals leaching into your food from plastic and Teflon surfaces
  4. You can cook anything from eggs to pasta and stew, on them

Carbon steel is durable and can be used to cook a wide variety of foods without fear of the pan becoming damaged or destroyed. Carbon steel will not scratch, dent, or bend easily when cooking with it. It's an ideal choice for those who need pans that are made to last. You can also put your carbon steel in any kind of dishwasher, making cleaning up carbon steel pans a breeze. So the next time you go shopping for new pots and pans, consider getting some nice carbon steel ones. They're easy on the wallet and very long-lasting – in fact, here’s more information about the best carbon steel pans you can buy.

carbon steel frying pan
Image Credit: Kitchen Infinity Photo

How do you go about cooking with carbon steel?

Now that we've established how beneficial a material this is, let's look at what steps need to be taken to get your carbon steel working for you in the kitchen. 

  1. The first thing that should be done is pre-heating the pan before adding anything to it. This can be done over medium heat for about 2-5 minutes.
  2. Next, add a little bit of unsalted butter or vegetable oil to your pan and coat the bottom evenly with it. This should be done when the pan has reached its boiling point. You can then wait until this evaporates before adding any food items to your hot pan. Use a spatula while cooking to ensure that you scrape up all of the pieces from the bottom of your pan, which will help keep your carbon steel in top shape. Avoid flipping foods halfway through cooking as this could cause them to break apart and get stuck into microscopic holes on the surface of the carbon steel, resulting in possible rusting over time.
  3. When removing cooked items from your high heat carbon steel pans, it's important to use a set of tongs to avoid scratching the surface.

How do you care for carbon steel?

It should be noted that if your pan is not cleaned properly and you don't dry it thoroughly after washing, there's a chance it will rust while being stored away. Rust spots can also appear if there's water left on the pan while cooking. 

Cooking with carbon steel
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The good news is that these spots are easy to fix – simply scrub the rust off with some salt and an old toothbrush then dry with a paper towel or dishcloth before returning to storage. Carbon steel must be dried thoroughly before being stored to avoid any rusting.

There are many health risks associated with cooking with other types of pans like Teflon and plastic which could be found in most department stores and retail outlets. In addition to these health risks, there is also a large negative impact on the environment that comes from producing them. Carbon steel, therefore, does not have this downside.

Final thoughts on cooking with carbon steel

Carbon steel is an excellent choice for anyone looking for some new kitchen utensils that will last for a long time without having to worry about chemicals leaching into their food from harmful surfaces or scratching up expensive pots and pans while cooking. 

As you saw above, carbon steel is both easy to clean and long-lasting, making it perfect for the kitchen.

Kevin Farrugia

Kevin Farrugia

Kevin is a household and appliance enthusiast and loves to follow the latest trends in kitchen and house decoration. He also loves to walk the isles of Home Depot and Lowes to review products and materials in person. Before joining Kitchen Infinity, Kevin owned a handyman company.

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