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What's the difference between cast iron and carbon steel?

In 2013, we unveiled a line of seasoned carbon steel cookware. Made with a sleek, modern design, these tough pans are cousins to our tried-and-true cast iron cookware. While both types of pans deliver unparalleled versatility and extreme durability, there are some key differences between cast iron and carbon steel.

Unlike cast iron, which is made using sand molds, our carbon steel cookware is formed by spinning and stamping. This process allows them to be lighter and thinner than cast iron.

While cast iron is slow to heat up, carbon steel pans reach the ideal cooking temperature quickly. The slight bow in the carbon steel cookware allows the pan to cool down quickly. This feature is desirable when cooking delicate foods such as flash frying, sautéing, etc.

Cast iron cookware is slow to heat up, but retains heat longer than carbon steel. This makes cast iron ideal for pan-frying and roasting.

Our cast iron skillets have shorter handles, which makes them easier to use in the oven and store in your cabinet. Carbon steel skillets and pans have a longer handle for easier lifting, which is great for cooking outdoors over an open flame.

The smooth surface of the carbon steel pan is ideal for sauteing vegetables, preparing fish, and so much more.

Most of our cast iron skillets and pans have covers and glass lids you can purchase. Our carbon steel pans currently do not have glass lids.

Both types of pans are tough as nails and can withstand high heat. This makes carbon steel and cast iron great for searing meats.

Both types of pans can be used on any kitchen stovetop, in the oven, on the grill, and even over a camp fire.

Both types of pans are seasoned in our foundry and ready to use right out of the box. The natural seasoning gets better over time and creates an easy-release cooking surface.

Both types of pans are cleaned the exact same way: wash in warm water, dry, and oil. It's that simple.

How are carbon steel and cast iron the same?

Cast iron and carbon steel share features that make both types of pans great additions to your cookware collection.