Pans are common in every kitchen. They are one of the most used pieces of cookware in the kitchen too. There are many types of pan available but carbon steel pans and stainless steel pans are the most popular ones.

Stainless steel pans and carbon steel pans are used widely around the world. Both of them offer a large set of benefits. They are lightweight, durable, and non-reactive. These features make them the best pans for heavy usages.

Though stainless steel pans and carbon steel pans have many similarities, they are not the same. Today we’ll talk about carbon steel vs stainless steel pan to decide which one is better.

Let’s dive in

Carbon steel pans

We’ve to know what carbon steel is before knowing about carbon steel pans. Carbon steel is a special kind of steel that has a high concentration of carbon in it. While ordinary steel has a carbon content of about 0.05%-0.3%, carbon steel has up to 2.5%.

As the name suggests, carbon steel pans are made of carbon steel. They are generally a little bit heavier than ordinary steel pans.

Carbon steel pans come with a non-stick surface that is natural and free from harmful substances. They heat up evenly and can tolerate high temperatures when cooking. They are pretty durable and resistant to corrosion too.

Advantages of carbon steel pans

  • Carbon steel pans can endure high temperatures. So, it can be put in the oven for cooking.
  • As they can retain more heat, they are also best suited for grilling and frying.
  • They are more efficient than other steel pans as they require less oil for cooking.
  • If the non-stick coating gets damaged by overuse, it can be easily regained by proper seasoning.

Disadvantages of carbon steel pans

  • The non-stick coating of carbon steel pans is vulnerable to acidic food. So, foods like tomatoes and any citrus fruit should be avoided.
  • They need to be washed and dried regularly to save them from rusting.
  • You have to season them frequently to maintain their non-stick coating.
  • You have to wash them manually as it’s not safe to wash them in the dishwasher.

Stainless steel pans

Stainless steel is made of iron and carbon just like other steel. The only difference is that stainless steel has a coating of alloying elements such as chromium (Cr) and nickel (Ni). This coating helps them to stay corrosion-resistant.

It’s a no brainer that stainless steel pans are made of stainless steel. They are corrosion-resistant and rust-resistant. This nature sets them apart from other types of pan.

As stainless steel isn’t a good heat conductor, a layer of aluminum or copper is used in between the steel to improve the heat conductivity of stainless steel pans. They are versatile and durable. They generally come with a lifetime warranty, just don’t go for a cheap one.

Advantages of stainless steel pans

  • The best feature of stainless steel pans is that they are rust-free.
  • Just like carbon steel pans, they can endure high temperatures and be used safely in the oven.
  • They are crafted beautifully and look better than all other types of pans including carbon steel pans.
  • They can be cleaned easily as you can use the dishwasher to clean them.
  • They don’t need to be seasoned.

Disadvantages of stainless steel pans

  • Stainless steel pans are on the heavier side, especially the copper core one.
  • Any damages on the surface can lead to metal leaching. This can significantly affect the taste of your food.
  • They don’t come with a non-stick coat.
  • Stainless steel pans aren’t a good heat conductor like carbon steel pans.

Carbon steel vs stainless steel pan- major differences

As you already found out a thing or two about both types of pans, it’s time to compare carbon steel vs stainless steel pan to decide which one is best for your kitchen.


Both carbon steel pans and stainless steel pans have a shiny bright look. But stainless steel pans generally look better. Carbon steel pans need a clear coat after they are polished. Stainless steel pans don’t require any such things.

Heat Resistance

Both carbon steel pans and stainless steel pans can handle high temperatures. But due to the higher carbon containment, carbon steel pans can endure a little more.

Corrosion Resistance

Corrosion resistance is very crucial for cookwares as they help your pans to last longer in the kitchen. Stainless steel pans are the clear winner when we are talking about corrosion resistance. They have chromium in them. Chromium forms a protective layer on the pan to keep them safe from corrosion.

On the other hand, Carbon steel pans don’t have enough chromium to form that layer of protection. As a result, you have to regularly wash, dry, and season them to keep away the corrosion and rust.


Both carbon steel pans and stainless steel pans have many qualities and variants. But Stainless steel pans are usually costlier than carbon steel pans.

Carbon steel vs stainless steel- the verdict

As you have learned the differences between carbon steel pan and stainless steel pan, I hope it’s going to be easy for you to choose between these two.

Carbon steel pans and stainless steel pans have their own sets of perks and cons. Even their price difference is pretty high. So, consider these facts and decide which one is best suited for you and your kitchen.

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