Is Carbon Steel Cookware Safe?

With many brands of cookware and different types of cookware materials, many people have questioned the safety of the materials used. In this case, is carbon steel cookware safe? I’ve been asking this question myself because 70% of my cookware is carbon steel and cast iron. I did in-depth research to determine the safety of the carbon steel cookware.

Is Carbon Steel Cookware Safe? YES! Carbon steel cookware is safe to use for cooking or baking since the material of construction is iron and carbon. Iron is a safe material for cookware and carbon has the same characteristics as Iron. This is a natural material without added harmful and toxic coatings.

Most of the manufacturers will claim all their cookware is safe and free from toxic substances like Teflon, but they are out to make money. It’s upon you to take control of your health by understanding the safest cookware available and utilize them.

Carbon steel cookware before use has to be seasoned to create a nonstick surface that prevents food from sticking. The composition of carbon steel cookware is that 1% is carbon and the rest is iron.

Is Carbon Steel Cookware Safe?

One thing that makes me confident in carbon steel cookware is that it has been used for centuries. The manufacturers have been in business long which has led to their reputation for providing natural safe cookware. Most of the modern cookware has been in the market for a short time which is hard to determine their safety.

Its no doubt the nonstick cookware is not the safest pans to use because the coatings get leached mixing with the food. Unlike cast iron when leached to food, iron is a required mineral in the body which makes cast iron the safest cookware.

Every cookware has its advantages and disadvantages, the following are the pros and cons of Carbon steel cookware.

Also, Read: Best Cookware For Electric Coil Stove

Carbon Steel Cookware Pros And Cons

Pros of Carbon Steel Cookware

Durable and Last Forever

Just like the cast iron cookware, carbon steel is very durable which can use for many years without damage. With the right maintenance, the cookware is unbreakable and will serve you for a long time. Although the lightweight nature of carbon steel cookware can bend if not handles carefully but it won’t break.

Heat Conductivity

Carbon steel cookware adapts to heat quickly compared to cast iron cookware with even heat distribution. If compared to stainless steel and copper cookware, the carbon steel cookware is not better than this cookware but it doesn’t mean its poor heat conductor. As the temperature changes, the carbon cookware adapts rapidly to the heat which enables you to great control and quality cooking or baking.

Natural Non-stick surface

When seasoned the Carbon steel cookware surface is natural nonstick which makes cooking easier. With kind of natural nonstick, you can fry and cook many types of food with no limitations. Ensure the carbon steel cookware is always seasoned for better quality.

Healthier Cooking

Healthy cooking is a big concern in modern days because people are now aware of toxic materials on cookwares. Carbon steel cookware when seasoned creates a naturally nonstick surface to prevent food from sticking on the surface. Also, you get to cook with less oil on the natural nonstick surface and save on the amount of oil used. Since carbon steel is free from toxic materials, it’s healthy to cook on their surfaces.

Tolerant To High Heat Temperature

Carbon steel together with cast iron is the best in cooking for high heat temperatures. It can withstand high temperatures of up to 500 degrees and even more without emitting toxic fumes like other nonstick cookware. Cooking practices like searing requires high heat, which carbon steel cookware does very efficiently and comfortably.


For cookware with a durable lifespan like Carbon steel cookware, its relatively affordable due to its natural materials. It doesn’t contain many add ons to make expensive like other high-end cookware.


The carbon steel cookware is lighter compared to cast iron which makes handling easier. You can turn and shake the carbon steel pan effortlessly while cooking making it a good fit for everyone.

Cons of Carbon Steel Cookware

Prone to rust/Requires Seasoning

Carbon steel cookware is highly affected by rust if not well maintained. This requires seasoning the cookware with oil and proper cleaning methods. When you first buy a carbon steel cookware, the first thing to do is to season the surface to have a nonstick surface. Compared to other nonstick cookware, this may be not convenient to maintain for some people.

You can use these products for proper seasoning and cleaning of carbon steel pans, see here

Not Dishwasher safe

It’s highly recommended to avoid tossing your carbon steel cookware in a dishwasher. The hot water and soap in the dishwasher break down the nonstick coating surface created by seasoning. For proper and safe cleaning is to use a sponge to rub carefully the surface and rinse with water. After cleaning, dry the carbon cookware by heating until the surface is dry.

Highly Reactive To Acidic Foods

One of the biggest downsides of carbon steel cookware is the reactivity to acidic foods. The acid reacts with the surface leading to the nonstick seasoning to break down. It’s recommended avoiding highly acidic foods like vinegar. This should be not the case because you can still cook acidic food and re-season the carbon steel pan.

Facts On Carbon Steel Cookware You Need To Know

  • Carbon steel needs to be seasoned before your first use and also from time to time needs seasoning.
  • Good at retaining heat and tolerant to high temperatures
  • Carbon steel cookware is made of 99% iron and 1% carbon
  • Carbon steel cookware is highly reactive to acidic/alkaline foods.
  • It is lighter compared to cast iron cookware but heavier than stainless steel cookware.
  • Carbon steel pans cookware is durable and unbreakable.
  • Carbon steel cookware may leach iron into food but iron is a mineral required in our bodies. Safe!
  • Carbon steel has a natural nonstick due to the seasoning applied

How do you maintain carbon steel pans?

The most important thing you should pay attention to maintain a carbon steel cookware is cleaning and seasoning.

How do you clean a carbon steel pan?

To properly clean a carbon steel pan you need to use a clean paper towel, sponge/nylon scrubber, warm water, and dish towel.

The first thing to do is to soak the dirty carbon steel pans into warm water for some minutes. This allows the pans sticking food to soften before you start rubbing.

Clean the pan with a sponge to remove the remains or sticking food on the surface of the pan. If the sticky food is tough for the sponge nylon comes in handy to remove them.

You can dry the pan using the dishtowel or opt to heat the pan until it gets dry. After the pan is dry, vegetable oil is applied or other approved seasoning oil to the surface of the pan. By doing this routine, the carbon steel cookware is guaranteed free from rust and it will last long.

It’s not advisable to put carbon steel in a dishwasher because of leaching the natural nonstick

Frequently Asked Questions

Is carbon steel pans safe to use?

Yes, carbon steel is very safe to use because it is made from carbon and iron which is a safe cooking material. Carbon steel cookware doesn’t contain toxic substances like other modern nonstick cookware.

Is carbon steel safe for baking?

Carbon steel cookware is safe for baking just as it is for other cooking purposes. A well-seasoned carbon steel pan makes a great nonstick surface that can be used for baking purposes. It is not popular in baking but with good experience in using carbon steel cookware, you can bake with it.

What is the safest cookware to use?

The safest cookware to use is the ones that don’t contain toxin substances and leach the least amount of chemicals. The safest cookware are the following

  • Cast Iron
  • Carbon Steel
  • Enameled coated cast Iron
  • Glass
  • Stainless steel
  • Copper
  • Lead-free Ceramic

If you are on the market for a carbon steel frying pan, here are some of the best to buy.

BK Cookware CC002354-001 Carbon Steel Skillet, 12' Check Price On Amazon
De Buyer MINERAL B Carbon Steel Fry Pan 12.5-Inch Check Price On Amazon
Carbon Steel Wok For Electric, Induction, Gas Stoves Check Price On Amazon
Craft Wok Traditional Hand Hammered Carbon Steel Pow Wok Check Price On Amazon
Winco CSFP-8, 8-5/8-Inch French Style Fry Pan Check Price On Amazon

Do carbon steel pans rust?

Carbon steel cookware is highly prone to rusting just like cast iron because iron gets rust easily. The alloy of carbon steel is made of 98% of iron which can rust if not well seasoned.

Conclusion (Is Carbon Steel Cookware Safe?)

Now we have determined the carbon steel cookware is safe,  its time to ditch your toxic cookware and get a carbon steel cookware. Health is an important aspect to enjoy life which you need to be highly concerned about.

Make use of the listed safe cookware to use at home and avoid harmful toxic pans. I hope this article will help you with your healthy cooking routine and practices. Happy cooking!


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