10-Inch Carbon-Steel Skillet
How We Tested
Versatile, light, and durable, with excellent heat retention, carbon-steel pans have won a prized place in our kitchens. And while these skillets were once nearly exclusive to restaurant kitchens, home cooks are now embracing them, too. In our review of 12-inch carbon-steel pans, we commented that carbon-steel pans are “as great at browning as they are at keeping delicate foods from sticking.”
For most home kitchens, we recommend a 12-inch carbon-steel skillet (a size we’ve found roomy enough for cooking up to six burgers, fish fillets, steaks, or portions of stir-fry), but smaller skillets also have their benefits. When we’re cooking for just one or two people, we particularly like a 10-inch skillet. It’s the perfect size for searing a single steak or making a scaled-down shepherd’s pie.
In our review of full-size carbon-steel skillets, our favorite was the Matfer Bourgeat Black Steel Round Frying Pan, 11⅞", which costs just under $50.00. We loved the pan’s comfortable handle, nonstick performance, and browning capability. To see if our recommendation would hold true for a smaller size, we tested the 10¼-inch version of the Matfer pan, using it to cook Perfect Scrambled Eggs for Two, Shepherd’s Pie for Two, and steak and to make a pan sauce.
We loved the thick, solid construction; slick surface; and comfortably angled handle of the Matfer Bourgeat Black Steel Round Frying Pan, 10¼". We first seasoned the pan using the company’s instructions (which we’ve since adopted as our preferred method for seasoning carbon-steel pans). After this, it performed excellently: Scrambled eggs slid right onto a plate, and steak browned evenly. The one downside to this pan is that its cooking surface is cramped, even for a 10-inch pan. It’s 7 inches across, while other 10-inch pans we’ve tested are about 9 inches. We had to be extra-careful when sautéing a skillet full of vegetables for shepherd’s pie; some pieces flew over the sides as we stirred. However, our scaled-down recipes for two still fit well in this pan. If you’re looking for a smaller, cheaper alternative to a 12-inch carbon-steel skillet, we can recommend the Matfer Bourgeat Black Steel Round Frying Pan 10¼", which costs about $35.00.
We tested the 10¼-inch version of our top-rated carbon-steel skillet, using it to cook Perfect Scrambled Eggs for Two, make Shepherd’s Pie for Two, sear steak, and make a pan sauce. To assess how the 10¼-inch skillet compared to the 11⅞-inch version, we weighed, measured, and visually compared the two skillets.
Cooking: We scrambled eggs, seared steak, made an acidic pan sauce, and cooked shepherd’s pie. We looked for a good crust on the steak, no off-flavors, and a shepherd’s pie with tender, browned meat and a crispy potato topping.
Nonstick Ability: The pan received high marks if it consistently released food without sticking.
Ease of Use: We considered design factors such as shape, weight, and thickness as well as the angle, length, and comfort of the handle. We also rated the pan higher if it was easier to clean.
Capacity: We took note of how much food could comfortably fit in the skillet and whether it could accommodate our recipes that call for a 10-inch pan.