Becomes more nonstick over time
Works on any cooking surface
Seasoning can be spotty
Not dishwasher safe
Needs seasoning before use
We purchased the Made In Blue Carbon Steel Frying Pan so our reviewer could put it to the test in her kitchen. Keep reading for our full product review.
Carbon steel is becoming popular in the kitchen, and we were familiar with Made In from its direct-to-consumer knives, so we were anxious to give the Made In Blue Carbon Steel Frying Pan a try in the kitchen. We stocked up on appropriate foods, got ready to season the pan, and took it for a thorough test on the stove and in the oven. So do you need this carbon steel pan? We’ll let you know.
Design: Sleek and attractive
Right out of the box, the Made In pan was attractive, with a blue finish on the pan itself and a smoothly arc-shaped brushed stainless steel handle. On close inspection, the cooking surface had some mottled coloring, but that didn’t matter since the seasoning instructions told us to wash off the coating that was applied for shipping, then proceed with seasoning. It noted that the shipping oil wasn’t harmful, but it was best to clean off as much as possible.
When we did the first seasoning in the oven, it was a bit uneven, and as we continued, the sides and the outside of the pan got darker a bit more evenly than the cooking surface. Made In notes in the instructions that it should be expected that the seasoning could look uneven, mottled, or different colors, but assure that this is completely normal. After repeated seasonings, the center of the pan still looked blue while the edges were darker. Despite that, the pan released food easily, and eventually, the darker color started to “stick” even in the center of the pan. When we were cooking super-sticky foods like eggs, we noticed that the darker areas were more nonstick that the lighter parts, so we made sure to keep seasoning the pan between cooking sessions and achieved a much better nonstick surface.
Right out of the box, the Made In pan was attractive, with a blue finish on the pan itself, and a smoothly arc-shaped brushed stainless steel handle.
The cooking surface is very smooth, much like what we’d expect from a ceramic-coated pan. We suspect the uneven seasoning might be partly because of that smooth surface since we’ve had uneven seasoning with super-smooth cast iron pans.
The pan is a little deeper than a typical frying pan of this size but not nearly as deep as a saucepan. It was a good depth for stir-frying vegetables and shallow-frying chicken tenders, and great for every other type of frying. We liked it for reheating some pre-cooked rice with just a tiny bit of oil and were pleased that we didn’t have to relentlessly scrape the bottom of the pan to keep the rice from sticking. The sloped sides made it easy to flip our stir fry as we cooked, and gave us plenty of room to stir food without sending it over the pan’s sides.
The handle is attached to the pan with three rivets for security and has a hole on the end for hanging. The brushed stainless steel handle looked attractive when the pan was new, but it darkened and acquired some spots when we seasoned the pan in the oven. We didn’t mind the patina, but it’s something to consider if looks are important.
The pan released food easily, and eventually, the darker color started to ‘stick’ even in the center of the pan.
Material: Carbon steel
The pan is made from blue carbon steel and the handle is stainless steel. While the blue surface looked attractive, it’s literally skin deep and is a result of the final hardening process that turns the steel blue. Over time, seasoning darkens the blue pan to black, just like cast iron.
Heating Capacity: Faster than cast
If we didn’t know this pan was carbon steel, we might have guessed it was stainless steel rather than a cousin of cast iron. Because carbon steel can be made thinner than cast iron, it heats faster, and it’s similarly more responsive when the heat is turned off. When we first seasoned the pan on the stove, we could see the seasoning progressing faster over the circle of the burner flame. That made us wonder whether we’d have hot spots during cooking, but we shouldn’t have worried—the food cooked evenly, and the pan did an impressive job when we seared a steak in a smoking hot pan.
While the company didn’t list an upper limit for heating, it suggested that heating it in the oven to 1500 degrees—which obviously isn’t possible—or throwing it in a fire wouldn’t damage it. While the metal wouldn’t be affected, super-high heat could burn off the seasoning, and that process would have to be restarted.
The food cooked evenly, and the pan did an impressive job when we seared a steak in a smoking hot pan.
Cleaning: Hand wash only
Like seasoned cast iron, this pan requires hand washing, and the manufacturer notes that soap or long soaks can strip off the seasoning. The pan can simply be wiped clean with a paper towel after cooking. If food residue remains, the instructions suggest scrubbing it under hot water and scraping it with a spatula, sponge, or paper towel. We found that cleaning was easy and we didn’t feel like we needed to do any serious scrubbing, even when food looked like it might have stuck.
Price: Similar to stainless cookware
Competitive with mid-range stainless steel cookware, this pan won’t break the bank. Considering that the nonstick surface is due to seasoning rather than a coating, this pan should last nearly forever. It’s also covered by a limited lifetime warranty.
Made In Blue Carbon Steel Frying Pan vs. AUS-ION Satin Wrought Iron Skillet
While the blue carbon steel of the Made In pan we tested is similar in performance to the wrought iron of the AUS-ION Satin Wrought Iron Skillet (view on Amazon) that we tested, these two pans are quite different on the stove. The AUS-ION pan resembles a fancy cast iron pan, while the Made In looks more like a traditional stainless steel piece. Since form makes a difference during cooking, we suggest choosing the pan that fits your cooking style best.
- Product Name Blue Carbon Steel Frying Pan
- Product Brand Made In
- SKU COOK-10-FRY-CN
- Price $89.00
- Weight 4.3 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 21.5 x 4.5 x 12.5 in.
- Material Blue carbon steel
- Warranty Lifetime