Tuesday, August 10, 2010

How to Season Black Steel Pans

How to Season Black Steel Pans 1

Yay! I hardly ever win anything! I was sooo excited. Dinnerware sets, ice cream makers, Le Creuset, I couldn't decide on what to get when I won the $80 gift certificate to CSN Stores from Gourmet Pigs several months ago.

Half of the prize went toward the Cuisinart ice cream maker, which was also available on Amazon for a few dollars more, so I knew the price was good. Of course, I have to eat down my fridge before I have any room to try it out.

But what else could I get to fill my basket? I kept adding and deleting items. Le Creuset was tempting, but just too expensive when my non-brand name cast iron enamel works fine for me. When it came down to it, I really needed new frying pans. I have a Teflon-coated 10-inch one purchased right after I graduated from college, a 10-inch Lodge cast iron pan that gets a fair amount of use, and a 12-inch Circulon pan that is sometimes too big to be practical.

Which is when I stumbled upon these Paderno World Cuisine black steel pans, also available on Amazon for several dollars more, if you're so inclined. If you like the qualities of cast iron, but don't like the weight, then black steel pans are the way to go.

Seriously, it's hard to find a good frying pan. Teflon is great for non-stick, not so great for the cancer-causing part when it flakes off. I like my Circulon pan a lot, but I bought it for $20 during a sale and the price has never dropped that low again.

These black steel pans were a good price point. I got two 9.5-inch pans for less than $18 each. They have all the great heat retention properties of cast iron, but without the heavy weight. They're not non-stick, but take care of them, use a bit of oil when cooking, and they're pretty good for that too. They don't retain odors so I can fry fish and not worry about lingering smells. I can use metal utensils and not worry about scratching. These pans are now my go-to cookware for everything from searing steak to stir-fries to omelets.

OK, I'm not trying to do a product endorsement, but I haven't been this excited about cookware since I bought my first wok. Plus, several readers have asked me about how to stock their kitchens so I'll post more about my supplies and list them all in Peek In My Kitchen.

Of course, these pans might not appeal to everyone, I'm just telling you what I use in my kitchen. Here's how I seasoned and care for my black steel pans.

How to Season Black Steel Pans 2

How to Season Black Steel Pans

When you get your pans, wash them thoroughly with soap and water, of course.

To dry, put the pan on the stove top and turn the heat to high. Spray with oil. I prefer using oil spray since it coats the pan evenly without adding too much.

Soon, the oil will start pebbling like the photo below. Turn the heat off and wipe the pan with a paper towel, making sure to leave a thin coat of oil on the pan.

How to Season Black Steel Pans 3

That's it!

Cook and use as you wish. I lightly wash the pan after each use with a small amount of dishwashing detergent and repeat the heating and oil spraying. The pans get a lot of use, so they're stored on my stove top or in my oven for easy access. You want to store them in a well-ventilated area so they don't rust. And don't store food in them overnight.

How to Season Black Steel Pans 4

After more than two months of use, the pan looks a little more seasoned, but still performs wonderfully.

How to Season Black Steel Pans 5

I got two 9.5-inch pans because I plan on using them for making banh xeo (Vietnamese sizzling crepes), a good size without being too big or too small. They work fine for me to cook steaks and stir-fries, but you might want a slightly bigger size for regular cooking. Unless you want to make crepes too. Too bad I'm not sharing my mom's banh xeo recipe! Nyah. Nyah! :P

Look forward to lots of recipes using these pans. Well, you can use any pan you wish, I just really love these black steel pans. :)

1 year ago today, Jovino - San Francisco (Marina/Cow Hollow (Closed).
2 years ago today, Uppsala - Sweden: Birthplace of Celsius.
3 years ago today, Tom Kha Gai (Thai Galangal and Chicken Soup with Coconut Milk).


  1. Awesome. I use a little crushed rock salt with the oil if any speckles of rust ever do appear. The salt acts as a nice abrasive (used with a very dry paper towel folded several times for some thickness). Seems to work ok.

  2. Dennis,
    I've heard of that. I have a mesh sponge that's quite abrasive and I use it for rust or really stuck on food.

  3. why do you need to leave a thin layer of oil on the pan after you're done using it? i really enjoyed this interesting tidbit post! and congrats on winning =p

  4. This is great. I *hate* having to season things since I've never done it before and don't want to mess up a pan! The steel pan that I purchased had some instructions about soaking it with potato skins & water, but i think i like your way MUCH better...

  5. did you check that le creuset is on sale? I use same brand for all my pots and pans, paderno :)

  6. Sawyer,
    It's to keep the metal from rusting. I do that for my cast iron pans and my black steel wok. I think it also helps to keep them relatively non-stick.

    But the great thing about black steel and cast iron pans is that you almost can't mess it up. If you do, just reseason. I've never heard of potato skins and water. Wonder how that works? This is the same method I use for my cast iron pans and woks and it hasn't failed me yet.

    Even when Le Creuset is on sale, I still can't afford it. I like my Paderno pans a lot. My enameled cast iron are Innova and Color Cast brands and they work great too.


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