You probably have heard about the differences of carbon steel vs stainless steel pan – focusing on each strength and perk from the material. Finding the right cookware can be a hassle. It can be confusing because of the many options of materials, brands, types, and so much more. Each cookware has its own perks and downsides. Not to mention that they aren’t exactly cheap. When you want to save money while making sure that you have picked the right item, things can be quite confusing and overwhelming. That’s why it doesn’t hurt to learn the details of each cookware and their materials.
When we are talking about steel, there are actually four types of them. However, only stainless and carbon steel can be used for cookware. Of course, there are slight differences between the two. Carbon steel is made from the combination of iron alloy and carbon. The carbon itself is around 1% to 2% from the alloy. When compared to cast iron (containing a slight more carbon), carbon steel is less brittle nature. It is also heavy to retain heat and yet it is also thin so it heats up pretty fast. The texture of a carbon steel is smooth and easy to season. If you are able to season it well, carbon steel pans can be non-stick.
Stainless steel is made from iron and between 10% and 30% chromium. Stainless steel doesn’t corrode or rust, which is completely different from other types of steel. Stainless steel pans that aren’t cladded will be inexpensive, but you should completely avoid it. While those that are cladded can perform better – they won’t scorch food or they can heat up evenly – can be quite costly.
In carbon steel vs stainless steel pan, each material comes with their own signature styles and characteristics. Naturally, each material has its own perks and flaws, and so is with carbon steel. Carbon steel can be non-stick once you have seasoned it well. It can withstand higher temperature when compared to stainless steel. When you sear chicken, steak, and fish with this material, you can expect amazing result. You won’t have to use a lot of cooking fat either, resulting in healthier outcome. And the material is cheaper than the higher-end stainless steel.
However, on the downside, the carbon steel requires proper seasoning, and you can’t use it for acidic foods like tomatoes or lemon. The leaked acid can affect the flavor of the food, resulting in metallic taste to it. For the cleaning, you need to properly wash, dry, and oil it to avoid any rust – you won’t be able to put it into the dishwasher either.
When compared to the carbon steel, stainless steel is prettier and somewhat more artistic. If you take a look at All Clad pans from stainless steel, the design and the final finish is absolutely beautiful. Another good thing about stainless steel is that it is free of rust. And the pans don’t need any seasoning at all.
On the downside parts, the pans aren’t exactly non-stick. The real stainless steel pans will cause food sticking to the surface – which can be a huge problem for everyone. Even the experienced cooks or chef still have problems with the food sticking to pans.
In carbon steel vs stainless steel pan, there are several things to consider. First of all, what is your heat source? For liquid, induction, or gas stove, carbon steel would be the best pick. For halogen stove, stainless steel would be the perfect option. Second, think about the handle. Carbon steel pans generally come with carbon steel handles. They don’t have helper handles. You can use carbon steel pans under the broiler or in the oven. However, it means that the pans can be super hot. That’s why several manufacturers may use neoprene or silicone cover for the handles. You can either have it within one package or have a different purchase for it.
For the stainless steel pans, however, they can also come with handles too. But the handles may be made from plastic, stainless, or neoprene (or silicone) cover. Whereas you can put the carbon steel pans into the oven, you won’t be able to do the same with the stainless steel.
There is nothing right or wrong about cookware materials. It doesn’t mean that carbon steel is better than stainless steel, or vice versa. You just have to choose the suitable pan based on your cooking habits. For instance, if you like cooking foods with high acid levels, then you should avoid using carbon steel pans. If you want to enjoy better cooking experience, having different kinds of cookware types and materials can be handy. From the facts about carbon steel vs stainless steel pan, you may be able to make a better (and wiser) decision.