First Things First

Initial steps for seasoning your Black Steel Pan

  1. Wash your pan thoroughly with soap and warm water. Use a sponge or bristle brush to remove the pan’s protective vegetable-oil based coating.
  2. Peel the skins of two large potatoes. Sautee the potato skins with ½ cup of oil and a quarter cup of salt on medium high heat for fifteen minutes. The surface of your pan will start to take on a golden brown color as the oil bonds to the surface.
  3. Once potato skins are crisp, discard and wipe out your pan with a kitchen cloth or paper towel.
  4. Repeat the steps above to add another layer of seasoning to your pan, or go ahead and start cooking.

It Only Gets Better With Time

Fresh from the Factory

Your pan is composed of a single, pressed piece of fine high-carbon steel. It leaves the factory with a vegetable oil-based coating to protect it during transit.

After 3-5 Uses

Seasoning is the process of bonding oil to the surface of your pan to create a protective and non-stick surface. After your first seasoning, your pan will take on a light brown hue.

After a Few Months of Use

The more you cook with your pan, the more your seasoning will develop. If your seasoning looks spotty, streaky, or darker in certain places, that’s okay. The best thing to do is keep cooking. Trust the process!

For years to Come

Eventually, your well-seasoned pan will have a slick, consistent black “patina” over the entire surface. With the proper maintenance and care, your pan will offer you natural, non-toxic, nonstick properties for years to come.

Keep it Slick

There’s a lot of advice about seasoning and caring for black carbon steel cookware out there. Here’s a regularly updated list of frequently asked questions, featuring our top facts and recommendations.

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To protect your black steel pan while it is shipped from France, your pan is covered with a high-viscosity vegetable oil coating to prevent rust. The coating is non-toxic, and plant based. If you miss a spot while scrubbing it off, do not worry too much. The abrasive qualities of the salt and potato skins during the seasoning process will help pick up any spots you might have left behind.

No animal products are used in the manufacture of Black Steel Pans.

Use hot water, soap, and an abrasive surface to scrub the protective coating off your pan. This may take a few minutes of scrubbing. We recommend a copper wire pad, as it will quickly remove the coating without scratching your pan surface. Steel wool may scratch your steel pan surface, which might affect your seasoning results. If you are having trouble, soak the pan with soap and hot water and let sit for ten minutes, then try again.

As it is nearly transparent, it can be a little hard to tell if you've gotten all the protective coating off your pan. Try the "squeak test:" Rub your finger over the damp pan once you've cleaned it. Your finger will run smoothly over the bare pan and "squeak" against any remaining spots of protective coating.

There is no difference in materials between cookware sold as “black steel” and cookware sold as “carbon steel.” Both are constructed of high-carbon steel. We call our pans “Black Steel” because that’s how they are referred to in professional kitchens in France.

“Bluing” is a process of applying a blast of heat to the surface of a carbon steel product, creating a corrosion-resistant outer layer. “Bluing” is a thermal, not chemical, treatment. Some companies use this process on fry pans, but Matfer Bourgeat does not. However, we do use the Bluing process on our Blue Steel Baking Sheet.

Yes. You will have best results if your pan comes in complete contact with the surface of your cooktop. If your pan is tipping or warped, contact Matfer Customer Service.

An induction burner can apply heat very rapidly to your pan, causing some parts to warm up faster than others. In rare cases, this can cause high carbon steel pans, like ours, to warp. If you intend to season and use your black steel pan on an induction or glass cook top, we suggest bringing your pan up to medium-high heat slowly, spending 15-20 seconds on low, medium low, and medium heat first.

If you are cooking on a glass or induction stovetop, we recommend giving your pan an initial seasoning using the oven method:
  1. Bring your pan to medium-low heat on the stove top.
  2. Using a paper towel, apply a thin coating of high-heat oil, such as canola, to the entire inside surface of your pan.
  3. Put your pan upside down in a cold oven. Place a baking sheet on a rack underneath to prevent any oil drips.
  4. Bring the oven to 400 degrees and bake for 45 minutes.
  5. Let oven cool completely before taking out your pan. This method will help temper your pan to heat while providing you a great initial base coat for your seasoning.

There are lots of different opinions about what the best oil to season cast iron and black steel pans. We recommend choosing a neutral-flavored oil with a high smoke point for the initial seasoning process. Avoid fragrant oils like extra virgin olive oil or sesame oil for seasoning. Canola oil, peanut oil, grapeseed oil, avocado oil, and refined coconut oil are all good options. Animal fat, like beef tallow, duck fat, or bacon fat, works well, too.

Depending on the oil you choose to use, seasoning your pan may exceed the smoke point of your oil and result in some smoke in your kitchen. Use your hood fan and choose a high-heat oil to prevent excess smoke. You can also season your skillet on the propane burner of an outdoor grill, if you’re concerned about smoking up your kitchen.

The seasoning process will take multiple uses for your pan to develop a dark, consistent patina. After a few uses, your pan may have a streaky or brown appearance and be darker in some spots than others. This is perfectly okay! Your patina will continue to darken over time.

If you have some surface rust on your pan, use warm water, a few tablespoons of salt, and a sponge to gently scrub the rust off the affected area. Wipe dry and then re-season your pan according to factory instructions. If your pan has rusted to the point where the steel is pitted along the surface, your pan’s nonstick properties will be compromised and you should consider replacing it.

A combination of heat and friction will help. Bring a small amount of oil and a half a cup of salt to medium high heat. Scrape the sticking or burned bits with a wooden spoon or spatula to dislodge them. Rinse and wipe your pan clean. Next time you use your pan, make sure to use some oil to reseason the area that was sticking. Seasoning is an ongoing process, and will occasionally require maintenance like this over the life of your pan.

Our pans and kitchen tools are manufactured for use in commercial kitchen environments. Slight cosmetic imperfections, weld marks, or discolorations may occur and will not affect the use of your pan in any way. If the surface of your pan has scratches that affect its performance, please let us know and we can issue you a replacement.

If a piece of cookware has good "Heat Retention," that means it gets hot and stays hot. Think: heavy-bottomed dutch ovens, cast iron pans, enameled steel, etc. Heat retention is important for getting excellently seared meat and beautifully caramelized onions. But sometimes heavy, retentive cookware can take a while to heat up evenly. If a piece of cookware has great "Conductivity," that means it heats up fast and with even distribution across the cooking surface. Copper Cookware is the best of the best when it comes to this. Aluminum and stainless steel cookware is good, too. Matfer's Black Carbon Steel Cookware falls right in the middle. It retains heat better than traditional nonstick or stainless cookware, and conducts heat better than a cast iron pan. This versatility is what has made this material a professional kitchen workhorse for decades.