Even if you’ve never heard of a carbon-steel skillet, you’ve almost certainly eaten a meal made in one. Restaurant chefs use these pans for all kinds of tasks, from searing steak to sautéing onions to cooking eggs. French omelet and crêpe pans are made of carbon steel, as are the woks used in Chinese restaurants. Even Julia Child had a few carbon-steel pieces alongside her familiar rows of copper cookware. In European home kitchens, these pans are hugely popular. Somehow, though, despite their prevalence in restaurants, carbon-steel cookware never really caught on with home cooks in the United States. Given their reputation for being as great at browning as they are at keeping delicate foods from sticking, we wondered if it was time that changed.
We loved this pan’s thick, solid construction. Once we’d seasoned it, the slick surface worked like nonstick, and scrambled eggs slid off without a hitch. The long, sturdy, comfortable handle allowed us to effortlessly pick up the skillet and move it around the stovetop. The actual cooking surface is only about 5.8 inches wide, so the skillet’s capacity is small: We had to be extra-careful when browning a stick of butter, as a few splashes of butter sloshed over the side when we stirred. However, with some extra attention, this could easily be avoided.
Weight: 2 lb, 10⅝ oz Cooking Surface Diameter: 5.8 in
Matfer Bourgeat Black Steel Round Frying Pan, 10¼"
WINNER - RECOMMENDED
EASE OF USE ★★½
NONSTICK ABILITY ★★★
We loved this pan’s solid construction and slick nonstick surface. Scrambled eggs slid out of the pan without hesitation, steaks flipped easily, and the pan performed effortlessly as we moved it from the stovetop to the oven when making shepherd's pie. The actual cooking surface is only about 7 inches wide, so we had to be extra-careful when sautéing a skillet full of vegetables for shepherd’s pie; some pieces flew over the sides as we stirred. However, our scaled-down recipes for two people fit well in this pan, and we loved its long, sturdy handle.
Matfer Bourgeat Black Steel Round Frying Pan, 11 7/8"
WINNER - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
EASE OF USE ★★★
Reviewed in November 2018
This affordable pan had it all: thick, solid construction; a smooth interior with no handle rivets to bump the spatula or trap food; an ergonomically angled handle; and sides flared just right for easy access but high enough to contain splashes. Steaks formed a deeply crisp crust, tarte Tatin caramelized beautifully and released neatly, and fried eggs just slipped around in the pan.
Material: Black Carbon Steel Made In: France Item Number: ATKBS
This item is final sale and cannot be returned. This item can only be shipped within the United States See return policy for details.
FREE STANDARD SHIPPING: Ships within 2-4 days.
Need it faster? Choose expedited shipping at checkout.
*Expedited shipping may not be available for all America's Test Kitchen Exclusive Deal items.
How We Tested Carbon Steel Skillets
We tested the 8⅝-inch version of our top-rated carbon-steel skillet, using it to cook Perfect Scrambled Eggs for One, to toast almonds, and to brown a stick of butter. To assess how the 8⅝-inch skillet compared to the 12- and 10-inch versions, we weighed, measured, and visually compared the three skillets.
We tested the 10¼-inch version of our top-rated carbon-steel skillet, using it to cook Perfect Scrambled Eggs for Two, make Shepherd’s Pie for Two, sear steak, and make a pan sauce. To assess how the 10¼-inch skillet compared to the 11⅞-inch version, we weighed, measured, and visually compared the two skillets.
We tested eight carbon-steel skillets, all close to 12 inches in diameter, rating them on their cooking performance, sticking, and ease of use, including directions for seasoning. (Two pans were preseasoned; we seasoned the rest according to manufacturer instructions.)