Carbon-steel skillets are restaurant staples, where chefs use them for everything from searing steak to sautéing onions to frying eggs. While carbon-steel has been popular in European homes for some time, they never caught on in the US. Instead, we’ve been stuck with delicate, synthetic non-stick pans that damage easily and only last a few years before needing to be replaced. Like cast iron cookware, a carbon-steel skillet can last a lifetime, and stays perfectly non-stick with just a little bit of maintenance.
A good carbon-steel skillet can bake, broil, sear, and stir-fry, and can cook delicate foods like fish and eggs without sticking. It’s just as slippery as a brand new non-stick pan, but it can sear and brown foods like cast iron, and can go directly into your oven with no temperature limits to finish off a meal.
Another benefit is price: The top rated carbon-steel skillet by Cook’s Illustrated, the Matfer Bourgeat Skillet, costs just one-third of the price of their favorite All-Clad tri-ply skillet, and because it never needs to be replaced, you’re investing in a kitchen staple that will last forever.