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How to re season carbon steel pan

How to re season carbon steel pan

When seasoned the right way, carbon steel pans will be more “non-stick” and rust-resistant. Plus, you’ll enjoy yummier eggs, burgers, pancakes, and more all the time. Don’t fret if your carbon steel pan’s seasoning has come off- you can always re season it.

Below we teach you how to re season carbon steel pan properly so that it cooks your meals in a way you enjoy.

How to re season carbon steel pan

How to re season carbon steel pan
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Seasoning simply means to create solid, plastic-like layers of oil.

Follow these steps to re-season your carbon steel pan whenever you feel it’s getting “grabby” to food.


  1. Edible oil -Any edible oil should work (think of grapeseed oil, canola, etc.) though some, for example, Flaxseed or sunflower may provide better protection than others.
  2. A pair of Tongs
  3. Paper towels

Step-by-step guide

Step 1: Cleaning the cookware

Start by cleaning the pan- it’s nearly impossible to re season a dirty pan properly. The first thing to do is wash it the usual way (using hot, soapy water). 

Next, you’ll need to clear any residue and the good thing is that a soft-bristled brush should get rid of the mess – simply scrub it off the surface. Otherwise, you can scrub off any grime with an abrasive sponge or something similar.

How to re season carbon steel pan
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Step 2: Heat it

Next, heat the carbon steel pan evenly and slowly on a warm burner until it’s well heated. This will dry all moisture.

Word of caution: You don’t want to overheat it as this may cause the still to expand causing problems when re seasoning.  

Read: Best double hot plate

Step 3: Swab the interior with oil. Get the pan off the burner and swab the interior with oil. Spread it evenly over the entire surface. Note that you don’t want it flooded with oil- just apply a light coat of your preferred oil using paper towels (It’s hot so use tongs to hold the paper towels).

Step 4: Another round of heating

Return it to the burner and proceed to heat the pan again- this time you want to heat the kitchenware until the oil begins smoking. At this temp, the tension of the oil surface changes and it starts to bead-up the same way water beads up on glass.

Step 5: Wipe the beads

Now smooth the oil beads still using paper towels. You must act fast to prevent them hardening before you’ve wiped them off.

Step 6: Reapply oil and clear oil beads

Reapply more oil with paper towels thinly over the surface as soon as the first round of beads has been knocked down while still heating it then mop up all newly formed beads. You need to repeat several cycles of this process (about 3-4 times) to create a more solid non-stick layer.

Step 7: Let it cool

Now turn off the burner and allow the pan to cool (give it enough time). That’s all- you should now have an appropriately re-seasoned carbon steel pan!

Read: Best non stick saucepan

How to re season carbon steel pan – useful tips

1.      Preparing for fresh re-seasoning

If you ever require to strip and re-season afresh, heat some water then mix with vinegar and pour the mixture into the pan first thing.

This helps dissolve the old polymerized oil/residues easily.

2.      Safety first

Like BBQ smoke, the oil smoke is mildly carcinogenic. Never breathe it.

3.      Work quickly

Paper towels tend to scorch pretty quickly during the process.

As such, try to move fast when rubbing oil on the hot pan.

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When to re season carbon steel pans

Most of us are familiar with the telltale signs that the pan is in dire need of re-seasoning.

Here is a quick reminder for the benefit of starters:

·         Having stick issues

If you’re having annoying stick issues when cooking despite adding plenty of fat to the pan, then it’s clearly time to re-season.

This is certainly the cue for many of us.

·         Rust shows up

You might also need to repeat the seasoning process when any rust begins to show.

And make no mistake about it- even those faint rust spots are not a good sign.

Yea, small quantities of rust won’t harm you but you surely don’t want to have them in your food.

·         The presence of sticky residue

That grimy, sticky mess – it loves the rim of the yok or the pan itself- is not your friend and may need to go as well.

Of course, the best way to handle it is by giving your pan the exfoliating treatment we’ve discussed above.

The other related pointer is the pan failing to acquire its usual nice shine after cleaning, no matter how hard you try.

Tips to prevent food from sticking during cooking

Master these techniques (besides making sure that your pan is nicely seasoned) to prevent food from sticking:

1.      Add some oil before

Make it a habit to add some oil to a hot pan to prevent sticking. In fact, the tradition of spreading out cold oil very thinly is likely to help you cook with less oil and it’s considered good practice even among professional chefs.

2.      Heat the pan adequately

When the pan is sufficiently hot (and oiled), a layer of steam comes between your food and the chemical bonds that lead to sticking will have nowhere to form. This is dead simple: You’ll be asking for trouble if you cook in a cold pan.

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3.      Dry your foods

I know you can dry all foods but it’s something you want to do with foods such as your breakfast sausage patties – and every other possible delicacy- to reduce the risk of them sticking.

The reason is obvious: with wet foods, more water has to be evaporated before the steam buffer can form.

There is , therefore, a real chance that such foods will stick as they wait for the barrier.

Seasoning means your pan is protected from rusting and that your meals will stop sticking to the cookware.

You have just learned how to re season carbon steel pan the correct way so your time in the kitchen is now going to be more fun.

More importantly, your veggies, cheese, steaks, stews, soups, crepes, and more will always come out rich and insanely delicious.

Read: Oxo good grips splatter screen

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