Read This Before Using Your New Carbon Steel Pan

Carbon steel pans are a game-changer. Made with 99% iron and 1% of carbon, they're similar to cast-iron pans while also giving you the benefit of using a stainless steel pan (via Food Network). Because of their ability to fare well in high heat cooking, carbon steel pans have long been used in restaurants that require heavy-duty cooking. And anything restaurants use is a top-notch gadget to have in a home kitchen, too.

As per Serious Eats, when seasoned well, carbon steel pans can act as non-stick pans, meaning you can go ahead and sear your meats or give them crispy skins without having to worry about the food sticking to the bottom of the pan. They can also go from a stovetop straight into the oven without you having to transfer your food into an oven-safe tray. Use a carbon steel pan right, and you will never look back again.

However, as with all kitchen equipment, there are a few things to keep in mind before you go ahead and bring your carbon steel pan out.

Make sure to season your carbon steel pan well

Food Network warns that some carbon steel pans come with a coating of wax. If you've just bought a shiny new pan, chances are, it has a thin layer of wax that prevents the pan from rusting, so make sure to clean the pan thoroughly before you use it for the first time. Carbon steel pans are generally not dishwasher safe, either, so to clean it, you might have to wipe the pan with paper towels after each use or wash it under running water with some soap and a gentle scrubber.

As with cast-iron pans, to make the most of your carbon steel pan, make sure to season the pan well. Bon Appetit suggests coating the inside of the pan with a neutral oil like vegetable oil. Then, place it on an oven-safe tray upside down (with the oiled side facing down) and let your pan cook in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour. To make your seasoning even stronger, you should only cook foods high in fat for the first few times that you put your carbon steel pan to use. The fat from meats like bacon will make your pan's seasoning a lot better.

Once your carbon steel pan is well-seasoned, Food Network suggests keeping your pan away from wines, tomato sauces, and really anything acidic, which can remove the layers of seasoning from your pan and make it rust over time.