Is Carbon Steel Cookware Safe For Everyday Using – Everything You Need to Know

With the market filled with numerous cookware brands, choosing the best one is not always easy. Apart from the brand, the material is also a major factor that distinct cookware. One of the most common materials used for making cookware is carbon steel.

That is why the safety of the material is widely researched, especially by users. Is carbon steel cookware safe? The answer is a straight yes. Apart from cooking, you can use the cookware for baking, or boiling because the material is a combination of carbon and iron. For one, iron is typically a safer cooking material. Then, carbon has the same characteristics as iron.

What Is Carbon Steel Cookware?

Carbon steel cookware is made from an alloy conducted of 99 percent iron and 1 percent carbon. The carbon adds strength and hardness while also making the material less malleable and more brittle. It is a natural material combination with no added harmful or toxic coatings. 

The fact that carbon steel has been used for cookware for centuries should make you feel even more confident in it. Carbon steel cookware is also thinner and smoother than cast iron cookware. 

Is Carbon Steel Cookware Safe

Who Makes The Best Carbon Steel Pans?

Numerous reputable companies make the best carbon steel cookware out there. At the top of the list, you find brands such as Lodge, Matfer, and BK. De Buyer and Magefesa are also very good manufacturers. 

How Do I Know My Cookware Is Carbon Steel?

There are various ways through which users can determine if cookware is made of carbon steel. One of the most obvious ones is that when you compare it with cast iron cookware, to which it is almost entirely similar, carbon steel cookware is generally lighter. 

It is also a less clunky sibling to cast iron. Similarly, it is worth noting that carbon steel pans feature sloped sides and cast iron cookware pans have vertical walls.

Carbon Steel Cookware Pros and Cons



Carbon steel cookware lasts forever. The combination of 99 percent iron and 1 percent carbon creates durable cookware and that can be used for many years without damage. It may bend if you mishandle it due to its lightweight nature, but it is unbreakable. If you go further to maintain it well, it will serve you the longest.

2.Fortifies Iron Into Your Food:

We can speak about how durable or strong carbon steel is all day long, but what is even more important for this topic is how it makes your food richer in iron. This cookware fortifies into food, making your food richer in iron. Since iron is a healthy mineral needed by our body, when carbon steel cookware adds it to your food, your body benefits more.

3.Excellent Heat Conductivity:

Carbon steel also passes for an excellent cookware material because it adapts to heat quicker than cast iron. Likewise, it boasts a more even heat distribution than cast iron cookware. Carbon steel may be slightly inferior to copper and stainless steel cookware on heat conductivity, but that does not mean it is a poor heat conductor.

The best part about the carbon steel’s heat conductivity is that as the temperature changes, the cookware adapts rapidly to heat, hence giving you more control for quality baking or cooking.

4.Non-toxic And Eco-friendly:

If you need non-toxic and eco-friendly pans and pots, carbon steel offers a very tempting choice. It is a safe and non-toxic material for use.

5.Light In Weight:

Carbon steel is a lightweight material and is lighter than cast iron. The former is also a bit thinner than the latter, which makes carbon steel cookware more comfortable to use, especially if it is a large skillet or pan.

You can coordinate various cookware in your kitchen and cook various foods at ago and the lightweight cookware will make your work easy. For instance, your wrist will not struggle to flip a pancake in a cast iron pan. Due to this nature, other tasks like cleaning the cookware is also easier.

6.Non-toxic And Ecofriendly:

If you need safe cookware for use all the way, carbon steel can be a very tempting choice. Generally, carbon steel cookware is mostly preferred by professional chefs and home cooks alike for its non-toxic nature and for the fact that they are not harmful to the environment.

So, if you care about your health and the environment, carbon steel cookware would be an excellent choice for you. Since it is made up of iron and carbon and nothing else toxic, you can trust it to cook food that is entirely safe for consumption.


1. ProneTo Rust:

You can find carbon steel cookware hard to take care of if you do not have the right capacity to protect it from rusting. One of the bad news about carbon steel is that it is prone to rust, especially if you cannot maintain it well enough.
To prevent them from rust, the cookware requires seasoning, which should be done with oil and proper cleaning methods.

The first thing any user should do to a freshly bought carbon steel cookware is to season the surface to make it non-stick. As you can see, this may be very difficult for some people to properly maintain.

2. React Highly With Acidic Foods:

The biggest downside of carbon steel cookware is they are highly reactive to acidic foods. The acid in such foods reacts with the surface of the cookware causing the non-stick seasoning to break down.

Therefore, the best thing for you to do when carbon steel cookware is all you have is to avoid acidic foods such as vinegar. However, you can still cook them and re-season your carbon steel pan.

Is Carbon Steel Pots And Pans Safe For Food?

Of course, carbon steel pots and pans are safe for food. Since healthy cooking is a huge concern these days, toxic materials in cookware put them off. When carbon steel cookware is seasoned, they create a naturally non-stick surface. 

Consequently, they prevent food from sticking on their surfaces. That also means you can cook with less oil and save so much on the amount of oil you use. The natural nonstick surface makes it possible to cook with less oil without your food sticking to the surface and burning. And since carbon steel cookware does not contain toxic materials, they are safe for food. 

Looking for cookware that you can use your gas stove top? Then read our in-depth Review Of Best Cookware For Gas Stoves.

How Do You Clean Carbon Steel Pots And Pans Properly & How To Maintain


  • Cleaning a carbon steel pan requires that you use a clean paper towel, dish towel, sponge/nylon scrubber, and warm water. 
  • Do not clean it in a dishwasher, because that might not be the best place to clean it. 
  • Soak the dirty cookware in warm water first for some minutes to help soften any food that has dried on the surface of the carbon steel cookware. 
  • Clean the cookware by scrubbing with a sponge in slightly soapy warm water to remove the food remains.
  • Rinse them in a clean water. 
  • Dry them using a dish towel.


  • Maintaining carbon steel cookware involves cleaning and seasoning. 
  • Make sure you do not scrub off all the seasoning of the cookware. 
  • Once you have cleaned the pan, for instance, add a tiny layer of oil and heat it on a stovetop or oven for about 15 minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is carbon steel cookware made of?

A: Carbon steel cookware is made of 99 percent iron and 1 percent carbon. 

Q: Is carbon steel cookware toxic?

A: No, carbon steel cookware does not contain toxic materials and is therefore safe and healthy to use.

Q: Is carbon steel good for cooking?

A: Yes, they are good for cooking and make cooking easier too.

Q: Is carbon steel safer than stainless steel?

A: Yes, carbon steel is harder, stronger, and safer than stainless steel.

Q: What can you not cook in carbon steel?

A: Acidic foods such as vinegar may react with the surface of the cookware. 

Q: Which is better cast iron or carbon steel?

A: Yes. Carbon steel heats up faster than cast iron and reaches the ideal cooking temperature quicker. 

Q: Is carbon steel safe for baking?

A: Yes, it is safe for baking.

Q: Do carbon steel pans rust?

A: Yes, they rust easily, especially if poorly maintained. 

Q: Is carbon steel cookware nonstick?

A: Yes, carbon steel cookware is generally non-stick

Final Verdict 

As we have now determined, carbon steel cookware is safe. The level of safety however increases with the increase in how well you take care of and maintain them. Therefore, you can now ditch your toxic cookware and buy a non-toxic carbon steel collection. Since health is a vital aspect to enjoy life, you need to be highly concerned about it. 

Therefore, consider using nothing but safer utensils. With the best information at hand, you should be able to make the right choice or healthy choice the next time you go shopping for cookware. 

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