Lighter than cast iron
Becomes more nonstick over time
Sizing not similar to cast iron pans
We purchased the Lodge Seasoned Carbon Steel Skillet so our reviewer could put it to the test in her kitchen. Keep reading for our full product review.
We love cast iron, and we’re familiar with Lodge cookware, so we were curious how the Lodge Seasoned Carbon Steel Skillet would fit into our motley cookware collection. There are three sizes available—8 inch, 10 inch, and 12 inch— and we opted for the 10 inch. We readied eggs to test the nonstick quality, and we stocked up on meats to sear. In no time, we were cooking. Read on for all the results of this carbon steel pan.
Let’s get it out of the way: This pan isn’t pretty. It looks like something a forty-niner would pack on his mule on his way to pan gold. But that’s not a bad thing. While ruggedness like this might not be conventionally pretty, it can complement many decors, from country to industrial chic.
The handle is attached to the body of the pan with three rivets in a tight triangle, so we’re confident it will stay secure. The handle rises from the pan at the same angle as the pan’s sides, then takes a quick angular bend. From that point, the handle has a slight curve rather than being completely flat, which makes it more comfortable to hold, while a teardrop-shaped hole at the end of the handle makes it convenient to hang. The Lodge logo is stamped into the handle near that hole. In use, the handle seemed a little long compared to the body of the pan, but we got used to it quickly.
While ruggedness like this might not be conventionally pretty, it can complement many decors, from country to industrial chic.
Since pan sizes are based on the measurement at the rim and this pan has widely flared sides, we’d advise careful consideration when comparing pan sizes. For example, the 10-inch pan we tested didn’t have the capacity of a 10-inch cast iron skillet from Lodge. Instead, the cooking space was similar to that of an 8-inch cast iron pan. We thought the size was perfect for breakfasts, for single servings, and for side dishes. While we wouldn’t choose this pan as our first choice for baking a cake, the flared sides would work well for rustic pies and the size worked well when we baked just a few buns.
This pan does not include a lid, but that’s common with skillets and frying pans. The few times we wanted a lid, we borrowed one from another pan or used a universal silicone cover.
Material: Carbon steel, and pre-seasoned
This is made from carbon steel and is pre-seasoned to prevent rust in transit. While it can be used immediately, without further seasoning, we opted to do a little extra seasoning before the first use. The pan started out a very dark grayish brown that darkened even more over time. With enough use, we expect the pan to be just as black as our favorite cast iron pans.
While this pan doesn’t have a traditional nonstick surface, as the seasoning builds, the pan becomes very nonstick and the rough surface smooths out a bit. After our initial seasoning and a little more use cooking burgers, steaks, and stir-fry, we tried our ultimate stickiness test and cooked a pair of eggs. When the eggs were done, they seemed like they were stuck to the pan. When we slid a spatula under the eggs, we realized the eggs weren’t actually glued to the pan, but they were suctioned on and were easy to remove.
The fact that this is lighter than cast iron makes it very appealing for anyone who has issues with lifting the weight of typical cast iron pans. The fact that it can be used on an outdoor grill makes it even more appealing.
Heating Capacity: Heats faster than cast
It was surprising how quickly this pan heated up, and it can certainly handle high heat as we found when we seasoned the pan on the stove and the smoking began. We appreciated that high heat when we seared a steak. The manufacturer didn’t list a maximum heat for this pan, but since it’s safe on grills and campfires, we’re confident that it will survive anything in our kitchen.
It was surprising how quickly this pan heated up, and it can certainly handle high heat.
Because this pan is thinner than a similar cast iron pan, it cooled faster as well—much like stainless steel. That responsiveness gave us good control of the cooking temperature, so when our pan got a little too hot while shallow frying some breaded chicken tenders, it was easy to turn the heat down to avoid burning the food. The pan also heated evenly, and while it cooled faster than our cast iron pans, it stayed warm long enough to keep our food from chilling before we served.
Because the handle is all metal, it got hot while we cooked, particularly when we cooked on high heat for a long time. However, since the handle is so long, it was cooler on the end, so we could turn the pan without a mitt most of the time and it was cool enough to grab during short cooking sessions.
Cleaning: Just like cast iron
Similar to cast iron, harsh soaps and detergents should be avoided, but occasional soaping won’t ruin the coating on a well-seasoned pan. We found that hot water and a simple scrubbie sponge was all we needed most of the time. Foods that appeared to be burned on weren’t a problem—they released easily with a 30-second soak or by using a plastic scraper. This pan isn’t dishwasher safe, but cleaning was easy enough by hand that we didn’t mind.
The price of this pan is similar to cast iron pans and is quite affordable when compared to the many high-end pans available. We think the price is very fair for a pan that’s quite useful.
We think the price is very fair for a pan that’s quite useful.
Lodge Seasoned Carbon Steel Skillet vs. Made In Blue Carbon Steel Frying Pan
At first glance, the Made In Blue Carbon Steel Frying Pan, which we also tested, couldn’t be more different from the Lodge pan. The Made In pan has higher sides, a smoother cooking surface, a graceful handle, and a higher price. However, in use, the performance is similar. Design aside, we’d suggest looking at the shape of the pan and choosing the one that makes the most sense for your cooking style.
- Product Name Seasoned Carbon Steel Skillet
- Product Brand Lodge
- SKU CRS10
- Price $35.95
- Weight 3.5 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 18.8 x 3.3 x 10.3 in.
- Material Carbon steel