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How to Season your Carbon Steel Cookware

How to Season your Carbon Steel Cookware

If you know, you know. Raw carbon steel comes home with you a brilliant and beautiful silvery steel color, but don’t be fooled. Carbon steel can only truly shine once it’s been properly seasoned and transformed into something decidedly less flashy. 

Properly seasoned carbon steel takes on a caramel color which intensifies over time and with use. That beautiful brown color is a full fledged badge of honor, proudly declaring its superior performance. And depending on the particular type of steel used in the creation of your pan, you may see hues of blue or black. Think of seasoning as a patina that makes your pan more non-stick and improves its performance. The more you cook in your carbon steel pieces, the more seasoned they’ll become.

So what is seasoning? Seasoning the result of a process of heating oil in your pans. Through this process, the fats polymerize and bond to the surface of the cooking surface, creating a coating that protects against rust and creates a more non-stick surface.

So easy. So worth it. Seasoning ensures the best possible performance and life for your cookware. Here’s how:

Seasoning 101

Raw carbon steel is untreated and requires a quick and easy seasoning prior to your first use. 

  1. Clean your carbon steel with soapy water and hand-dry completely.
  2. Preheat your oven to 400°. Place your pan in the oven for 10 minutes while the oven is preheating.
  3. Remove from the oven.
  4. Soak a paper towel or dishcloth with a neutral, high-heat friendly oil, such as vegetable or canola. While the pan is still hot, carefully but completely coat the inside of the pan with a layer of oil.
  5. Place a lined baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven to catch any oil drips.  
  6. Place your pan upside down on the rack above the lined pan and leave to season in the 400° oven for 1 hour. Things may get smokey, this is normal. 
  7. Turn off the oven and allow your piece to cool completely while the oven cools down. Remove when cool. You’re all done! You may notice that your carbon steel has changed color. Don’t fret, this patina means your pan is seasoned and ready for use. 

Please note: if you have a non-stick pan, skip the seasoning! Just clean, dry and cook on!


Repeat the seasoning process anytime you’ve had to vigorously clean the piece or if you feel you’ve lost some of the non-stick quality of your carbon steel. 

Follow some basic cleaning and maintenance etiquette to ensure that seasoning stays intact and your pans perform their very best. Now enjoy that beautifully seasoned carbon steel pan and let that seasoning shine.