This is my personal manual on how to season and blue a carbon steel pan the best way possible.
It has taken me 5-6 years of playing around with 15+ different carbon steel pans from De Buyer, Darto and Matfer Bourgeat.
I now feel I have the proper knowledge to help rookies out on how to properly season a carbon steel pan and how to avoid the rookie mistakes I also made several times.
Here you go.
Here’s my seasoning manual.
I own 3 Darto, 2 De Buyer Mineral B Pro and 1 Matfer Bourgeat - so 6 carbon steel pans total.
Remove the first layer of coating all carbon steel pans come with from the factory. It’s a coating to protect the pan from rusting during factory storage and shipping. You remove this layer by washing the pan in detergent and scrub away on it.
Wash the pan off THOROUGHLY in detergent to remove the protective layer.
I STRESS THOROUGHLY ! Take your time. If you don’t remove this protective coating layer completely, the seasoning oil will not be able to bond/stick to the pan like it should.
Dry the pan with a paper towel or dishcloth.
Place it on the burner at low heat until it’s completely dry. Very important to let the pan dry completely, avoid any chance of moisture hiding anywhere on the pan - I repeat- this is very important.
If you want to ‘blue’ your pan, now is the time to do it. Raise heat to medium for a few minutes, then raise the heat to medium high or even high.
If on gas turn the pan around and heat it up all over the pan. You’ll now see the pan turn orange and blue. Continue to ‘blue’ it for further 3-5 minutes.
Blueing a carbon steel pan will make it less prone to rusting and furthermore makes the initial ULTRA THIN oil coating bond to the pan much faster and in my view better.
Let it cool down until almost cold. This step is important since if you try to massage oil into a too hot pan, there’s a tendency that the oil will get a bit gluey and create small tiny pools in the corners of the pan where the bottom meets the sidewalls.
Massage high smoke point refined oil into the pan - outside as well as inside - with a paper towel until the pan looks completely dry. No oil left. I repeat NO OIL RESIDUE LEFT IN THE PAN. Very important. The pan should look totally dry. You should only be able to see a very faint shine on the pan from the ULTRA THIN oil layer.
Place it back on the burner at medium heat, raise heat to medium high after 3-4 minutes.
Once you see the oil smoke a bit let it continue to smoke for a few minutes and turn off the burner.
Wipe the pan again with a new paper towel until it’s completely dry.
Let the pan rest and cool down for 15-20 minutes before storing the pan away.
FYI When I say completely dry from oil, I mean it literally.
No oil residue left in the pan.
Zero tiny oil pools.
Rookie mistake NUMERO UNO is to think you need a bit of oil here and there in the pan when applying the seasoning oil layer. You don’t.
FYI High smoke point refined oil is grape seed oil or sunflower oil. Avoid fibre rich oils like avocado oil and olive oil for seasoning. The fibres in the oil will burn. Use the fibre rich oils for cooking later on instead.
Avoid flaxseed oil altogether. Flaxseed oil is crap. Expensive crap oil. It will start to flake once you start to actually use your pan for high heat searing. Avoid this oil.
My Blueing manual - my personal take on how to blue a pan.
My advice is based on my limited personal experience on blueing 4 of my 6 carbon steel pans.
- If possible always use a gas stovetop for blueing and seasoning
- Always try to use a burner big enough for the pans bottom
- Always start on low heat and slowly/gradually raise the heat by 15-20% every 3-4 minute
- I do this trick - but it’s just a trick I do with my pans, when blueing them.
First heat the entire pan up on the large burner that fits the pans bottom.
Now use a medium sized burner approximately the size of 20-25% of your pan.
Avoid heating up the center of the pan, as it will have a tendency to warp here first.
Instead place the pan so the burner starts heating up the outer edges of the pan.
First the front 15%, heat it up until it turns blue/orange, then move the pan so the next 15% is heated up and continue to heat it up until this area also turns blue/orange and continue a long the outer edges of the pan until you’ve blued the entire area of the pan EXCEPT the center of the pan and end the blueing by placing the pan back on the larger burner and heat up the center of the pan until that turns blue/orange too.
This way, you minimise the risk of a warped pan since a pan rarely ever warps on the outer edges of a pan but 99% of time warps in the center of the pan.
Here’s an example of how well a seasoning oil will bond to a carbon steel pan once you have blued the pan.
It’s my small 22 cm Matfer Bourgeat carbon steel pan, and my other 5 carbon steel pans don’t look anything close to this pan as I use them for high heat searing.
I only use my Matfer for 1-2 fried eggs, bacon and for spice & nut roasting. But take a look at how jet black the pan is.
It’s because I blued the pan first, the seasoning oil bonded so well and so easily to the pan.
Here you see my Darto N30 pan, first blued then seasoned. It doesn’t look as jet black as the Matfer, but that’s perfectly okay. You don’t need your carbon steel pans to look beautiful jet black. They are workhorses in the kitchen, not beauty contest participants.