Customer Reviews: De Buyer Mineral 10 Inch Fry Pan
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on July 2, 2010
I wish I could include an image directly in this review. Here's a link to my quick seasoned De Buyer 10" Mineral Steel Fry Pan photo. This was taken after 2 hours of seasoning time: [...]

This pan heats quickly and evenly, and doesn't confer the same texture to the sear as a cast iron does. It's a much more "naked" finished product. So far, I've noticed that the spices and herbs are more up-front than doing something in cast iron. I'm comparing this to cast iron because that's my only reference point for another pan that retains heat, takes a seasoning, and can become extremely non-stick and "self-healing".

I'll update this review after I have some more time with the pan. I wanted to get this up today because I see a lot of different advice on how to season this pan, and I have some relatively foolproof instructions for you.

My wife and I ordered this pan as a lighter weight alternative to cast iron. While it's going to see plenty of kitchen duty, our first use of it will be camping in the wilderness. A really permanent, bulletproof seasoning takes use, care, and time. I needed one tough enough to withstand use and storage in a relatively uncontrolled environment for a few days without rusting. So here's my quick-seasoning guide. Takes a couple of hours, but always produces good results. If you skip or modify any steps, you won't get the same results (this is aimed at those who will invariably try to use grapeseed oil or something as a substitution)

1) You *do* need to peel a couple of potatoes, put the peels in the pan, cover them with an inch of water, and boil for 15 minutes as the instructions mention. There's some sort of shipping coating on this pan that this step removes. You will NOT get a good season on this pan until this coating is removed. While boiling the peels (just the peels, not the potatoes, this step is going to produce inedible results), carefully move the boiling water around the pan by tilting it back and forth. Get that enzymatic, chemically water around all possible cooking surfaces.

2) After 15 minutes of boiling time (not counting the time to get the water to a boil), drain the water, throw out the peels, and dry the pan thoroughly with a paper towel or two. Oil the pan *lightly* with Crisco, lard, clean bacon grease, or peanut oil. Cover the entire pan, bottom and all ... get everything coated except the handle.
*Don't* use canola, olive oil, or any other type of oil right now. You can use them for cooking in the future, but not for this step.

3) I think this is the critical point where people make mistakes. Most people seem to use too high of a heat for an initial seasoning, and/or an uneven heat. Get your oven pre-heated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a clean cookie sheet (uncoated if possible, not non-stick) on the lowest rack to catch drips. Place the pan upside down on the rack above the cookie sheet, and set the timer for 30 minutes.

4) After 30 minutes, let it stay in the oven for another 30 minutes with the heat off, so it can slowly cool. A slow cooling process really helps the seasoning develop in my experience.

5) Once the pan is cool, take it out of the oven, and wipe it down with a different type of high temperature oil. If you used peanut oil first, this time use Crisco. If you used Crisco first, this time use bacon grease. This is the key. Different oils have different properties, and they'll bond to each other in different ways. I've seasoned a lot of pans in my time, and mixing and matching different oils for the process always results in a much more thorough seasoning, that doesn't flake off easily.

6) Now, repeat step 3 and 4 exactly.

7) You should now have a good initial seasoning. This process will take about 2.5 hours, of which, you'll mostly be waiting.

To keep it developing, here's all you need to know. Yes, the instructions say you can use a little bit of soap. Don't. Just don't. The heat of the pan will kill all possible pathogens. Just gently scrape the remaining food out of the pan when you're finished cooking, and let it cool naturally. When it's just warm to the touch, add a 2" puddle of oil to your pan, and rub it down with a paper towel. If something is really stuck to it, add a pinch or two of kosher salt or sea salt to the pan, and use that to scrub gently with a paper towel, and then re-oil it. That's all you should ever need to do. If you constantly resort to a hard bristle brush and (uggh) use soap, your seasoning will develop poorly and slowly.

ALWAYS store the pan lightly oiled. ALWAYS. If it looks dry, you're doing it wrong. When it comes time to cook, just put some fresh oil on a paper towel, and wipe it out to remove the old oil.

Don't heat the pan scorching hot for long when it's empty, as this will weaken an early seasoning layer and it might flake off in the beginning.

Don't use metal tools immediately. Try to stick to plastic, wood, or silicone tools for the first few sessions of cooking.

There, that's that. I hope these tips help some people get started with a tool that, properly cared for, will last a lifetime and be far more non-stick than any teflon surface could ever hope to be.

EDIT - In response to a comment/question that seems to be deleted

Regarding the safety of oven temperatures and the silicone pad at the top of the handle:

I'm pretty sure it's silicone, though I don't see it addressed anywhere in the manual or online.

My silicone portion looks as new as ever after about 2 dozen trips through the oven. All the other silicone tools we own state 500 degrees Fahrenheit as a maximum temperature, so I have a feeling you shouldn't exceed that as an oven temperature. I have used the pan over a 700F direct heat source without any issues as well. I don't feel there are any safety concerns with silicone at temps below 500F in an oven, as we use silicone baking mats that are much thinner material quite often, and there's never any smell or taste from them at any baking temperature.

Some people use a self-clean cycle in the oven to remove a badly damaged layer of seasoning, but I don't think I will ever do this with mine, as those cycles tend to go to 1000F or higher, and I think that would melt or destroy the silicone portion of the handle.
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on February 27, 2011
After reading that NY Times article on nonstick pans, I was looking for an alternative. (It said even the most expensive nonstick pans, with the best possible care, only last 5-6 years.) Food stuck in my stainless fry pans, and cast iron is so heavy and kind of a pain to care for. Then someone recommended carbon steel, which I thought was only for woks.

I love it. Carbon steel is not nearly as heavy as cast iron, so it's easier to handle. It's also smoother, so seasoning is less critical. There are some elaborate instructions for seasoning out there on the net, but all that is not necessary. Follow the manufacturer's simple directions, and you're good to go.

I'm using my new 8" carbon steel pan for everything I used to use nonstick for. It's working beautifully, and I'm kicking myself for not buying these years ago. I've already ordered another, in a larger size.

Carbon steel is very affordable, and should last a lifetime - several lifetimes even, which is important to me. I'm not that worried about nonstick carcinogens, or about the expense of replacing them regularly. But I don't like the idea of sending pans to the landfill every five years if it's not necessary.

One thing to watch for: carbon steel pans have sloping sides that make the bottoms of the pans - the cooking surface - smaller than in comparable stainless steel or cast iron pans. I found this list of dimensions for De Buyer pans on a cookware site:

7-7/8" outer diameter, 5-1/3" interior diameter, 2.5 mm thickness

9-1/2" outer diameter, 6.7" interior diameter, 2.5 mm thickness

10-1/4" outer diameter, 7-1/4" interior diameter, 3 mm thickness

11" outer diameter, 7-7/8" interior diameter, 3 mm thickness

12-1/2" outer diameter, 9.4" interior diameter, 3 mm thickness

14-1/4" outer diameter, 10.4" interior diameter, 3 mm thickness

(If the dimensions seem a little odd, it's because they are converted from metric.)
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on April 12, 2011
I've bought quite a few of the de Buyer pans recently on Amazon, based on an old pan I've used for years that's quite obviously my "go-to" pan for cooking. In hindsight at age 45, I could have saved hundreds of dollars over the years by buying nothing but de Buyer. I wish I had. I'm writing this as a review of the de Buyer Mineral 10" fry pan simply because it's the one piece that would be a good purchase for anyone wishing to experience this type of cookware.

Before you buy: you should note that this pan (and carbon steel pans in general) aren't likely to look pristine after the first few uses, if you're using and treating them right--they look more used after each time you cook with them. The "natural non-stick" surface builds up over time due to the cooking oils forming a glaze on the cooking surface. The outer part of the pan will become discolored due to the direct heat (especially with gas stoves) and spills and whatnot. If you expect to have shiny cookware forever, forget carbon steel. Carbon steel cookware (or "black steel" or "blue steel" or whatever the manufacturer calls it) is chemically only a bit more treated metal than cast iron--the de Buyer "Mineral" items are touted as being 99% iron. They claim it's recyclable inasmuch as it's pretty much iron. The manufacturer also claims it's non-stick without using fluorinated materials or coatings. That goes without saying, since you create the "non-stick surface" with use.

If shiny pristine appearance over time isn't an issue, and you don't mind NOT being able to put it in soaking water or a dishwasher, or to scrub it down to a shiny surface after each use, the only other concern I can think of is iron content in your diet. If you're one of the few people who has an EXCESS of iron in your diet, you'll be getting more cooking in carbon steel cookware (just like you would cooking in cast iron).

All that being said, this is the cookware to use for real cooking. The de Buyer "Mineral" products are sturdy, conduct heat quite well, hold heat quite well, and you may find yourself modifying your cooking times for sauteing or stir-frying. It's almost funny to cook an omelette in this pan after the first pass of cleaning and seasoning--it's not so much "non stick" as it is "the egg wants to get out of the pan RIGHT NOW", and that just gets more obvious the longer you use the pan. The larger fry pans (12" and above) and the so-called French pans (10" and above) should probably be listed as weapons.

The main drawback in some uses may be the handles--they are angled up, and are quite long, so may not fit your oven as you're used to.

A previous review discussed the cleaning and seasoning steps out of the box. Using potato peels and near-boiling water probably works just as well as the simpler hot-to-boiling water followed by a little bit of soap and hot water, then a rinse. In fact, the de Buyer website video for the "Mineral" pans only suggests hot water and wipe-down before the oil treatment--no potato was used or harmed in their video.

This is true for any carbon-steel pan. You want to remove the manufacturing residue, leave nothing behind, and then start the seasoning process with hot oil. You'll need to continue adding a slight sheen of oil over time when storing it, which (as the other reviewer pointed out) isn't that big a deal. What you DON'T want to do is scrub the pan in soapy water, or soak it, or put it in a dishwasher. Basically, after each use, if there are chunks in the pan, deglaze with hot water and scrape the chunks with the edge of a steel spatula. Rinse, dry well (which you can do by putting on the burner until it's dry), let it cool, and wipe a little oil using a paper towel on the food contact surface. It's not that difficult--it's actually quite easy: deglaze and scrape off the chunks, get it dry, put a little oil sheen on it, and store until you use it again. For my "go-to" pan, storing usually means leaving on top of the stove until tomorrow.

The first time you do the cleaning/seasoning, you'll notice that the paper towel becomes colored with stains (grey to dark grey to almost black). This is normal. You can either repeat the initial cleaning/seasoning, or not worry about it. From what I can gather at other sources (including de Buyer), the protective coating applied before shipping is beeswax or a derivative. If and when you wipe it down after the first few uses (before you start building up the patina), you may see these stains.

Like cast iron cookware, you can cook acidic foods in carbon steel cookware. You don't want to leave it sitting in the cookware, and you probably don't want to boil lemon juice or vinegar in it unless you really want a boost in your iron supplement. Highly acidic liquids can also remove some of the built-up "coating" after some use, which is more of a pain in the butt than it is damaging.

Finally, a comment: you may have noticed in some restaurants (or on cooking shows where the kitchen is shown) that there seem to be a large number of stained and battered pans being put over high flames and used to turn out fantastic dishes in a short period of time. In many cases, where the restaurant is owned by some famous TV chef who touts his or her own cooking line, what is used in the working kitchen looks nothing like what the chef is offering as a product to buy for Mom next Xmas. The useful stained battered pans are likely to be something like this pan. Utilitarian and trustworthy, but over time, not that attractive.
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on November 23, 2008
Nothing beats a carbon steel fry pan. Not All Clad, not Calphalon, not Viking. Its just as non stick as Teflon when you need it to be. Versatile enough to perfectly seer fish, evenly cook pancakes, or gently reduce a delicate sauce. I cannot overstate the perfection of this pan. As a professional chef, I use All Clad sauciers and sauté pans, but wouldn't trade my carbon steel fry pans for anything.
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on January 31, 2015
I was sent the Mineral B, not a huge deal, just irritating. Stamped steel pans are renowned for their smoothness, so I'm not quite sure what a "B" logo pounded into the middle of the pan accomplishes. I skipped the potato peal process and just used a light mix of Bar Keepers Friend and hot water to scrub out the cooking surface. Potato skins and BKF have one thing in common; oxalic acid. To season I got the pan over medium heat to completely dry then added some Crisco. I got the entire surface coated using a paper towel then wiped out as much of it as I could. Brought the temp up until the shortening began smoking (don't just crank your burner knob to max, that's probably too much heat!) . Observed some discoloration (good!) took another paper towel and wiped out the pan again (be careful!) removing/redistributing any oil that had beaded up. I kept the pan hot enough to smoke for maybe 1 to 2 minutes then took it off the heat and let it cool to room temp. I repeated this seasoning process two more times.

Then I cooked two eggs over-easy in some butter for good measure. As expected, no sticking! Cleanup involved a paper towel and a wiping motion. The stamped "B" logo doesn't seem to cause any issues. I'm not sure how the painted/lacquered handle will do in the oven. We'll see. The little silicone logo button in the handle does pop out so you don't have to worry about cooking that in a hot oven. I don't see or need this pan replacing my cast iron and stainless steel stuff. I have a habit of accumulating/consuming in the name of quality and variety. This steel pan and others (I'm already eyeing a set of De Buyer saute pans) will fit well in my motley collection. I could go into the existential meaning and importance of cooking with steel and iron pans but I thinks it's been done. These are great pans that belong in any kitchen adventurers arsenal.
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on March 1, 2016
I'm was hoping to get away from buying those so called non-stick pans every couple years. I had the Debuyers for about a month now, and I kid you not it is wonderful. To think it only gets better the more you use it, is incredible. If you're thinking about carbon steel you're wasting time, JUST DO IT. I'll never buy non-stick again.
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on February 19, 2009
I am a big fan of these carbon steel pans. They season much the same as cast iron pans and need to be taken care of in the same manner as cast iron. Once they are nicely seasoned they are virtualy non-stick. They distribute heat very rapidly and evenly and work well on any burner surface from gas to induction glass top. They are perfect for sticking into the oven or running something under the broiler. The big advantage over cast iron is the long handle that makes them much easier to lift and handle, these pans are heavy, and the shape with the rounded sides.

If you screw up the seasoning by burning something, simply run the pan through a cycle of a self cleaning oven. All the accumulated grease and crud will come off, rinse off and carefully dry. The pan will be as new and will need to be re-seasoned much as a brand new pan. With a minum of care these pans last a lifetime.

Do not confuse these pans with much less expensive and much lighter weight French style steel pans. Those heat unevenly and get hot spots.
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on February 12, 2011
I'm really liking this pan. I bought it to replace an older non-stick omelet pan that was past its prime. I was concerned initially because the photo makes it look like it has flat sides (like a pie pan), but I decided to take a chance. I was relieved to find that it has a perfect curve for flipping eggs. The hefty weight and sturdy quality were also impressive out of the box. Fine for cooking or hand to hand combat.

I have to admit I was apprehensive about abandoning non-stick for eggs. I'm also impressed on this count. I seasoned the 8" pan per the instructions, but using bacon grease instead of oil, which can get gummy over time. Just made my first scrambled eggs today, and while my method calls for cooking them a long time over very low heat, 1 tbsp. of butter kept them from sticking through all the stirring and scrambling. Sponged it clean in warm water, re-seasoned, and I'm ready to go again. Excellent performance on the first time out.

My only criticism of the pan itself is that the handle is not very comfortable to hold. I'll invest in a silicone handle pad, and that should solve it.

The most serious complaint I have is that was packaged poorly from Amazon - two air bags with the pan flopping around in an oversized box. The tape on the box was damaged (according to the post office, it was that way when they received it from Amazon). Fortunately, the pan was not scratched or bent.

I'm ready to try the big fry pan now.

3/20/2011 Update: The Paderno World Cuisine silicone sleeve fits the De Buyer handle reasonably well, and makes the grip much more comfortable. Also purchased the 12.5" version. I was alarmed by the weight of it when I first received it. However, it was not an issue when actually using it. Pan seared a New York strip, and was able to develop a great crust, even on my wimpy propane range, thanks to the thermal mass of the pan.
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on April 16, 2011
De Buyer Mineral 10 Inch Fry Pan

I have collected high end cooking equipment since I was 19 - most of which I still have other than the occasional disaster (falling asleep for 2 hours while reducing a blueberry coulis resulted in the burial of a 30 year old Le Creuset sauce pan - egh). Anyway, I have re-discovered why I like all things French in the kitchen having tried De Buyer for the first time this year. I was a little skeptical having read all the disclaimers about these pans - that they are too heavy, not really non-stick, handle is too large, can't put them in the dishwasher, etc. SACREBLUE! Are you kidding me? There is nothing I like better in a heavy use pan than weight, no toxic non-stick surfaces, a big handle, and God forbid the dishwasher! Bravo De Buyer - the Mineral Steel Pan is nearly perfect and nothing is perfect in this world.

I simply followed the directions for first use - then seasoned it according to the packaging and also on the website - and VOILA - my favorite new pan! It is absolutely incredible that I have never used one of these pans in my first 50 years...I am not a professional chef just a cooking enthusiast. But I have to say that simply prepared foods, quickly seared and reduced until done is not only my favorite way to cook but is also healthy and often lower in fat. The initial sear is most important for steak or fish or even chicken in order to develope some fond and flavor and this pan rules! After only 3 uses of frying bacon slowly, having done the seasoning noted above, and this pan is virtually non-stick already. Not black yet - that will only come with age - and not necessarily pretty like my shiny All Clad - but slick as you know what - fantastic. This pan heats up quickly on medium heat, holds in the heat twice as long as cast iron, and not even an egg sticks in a short 3 days of useage. The surface of this pan is so "dense" or "polished" or something that I think it's naturally slick, not to mention even heat distrubution so you don't get hot spots. Crazy. Wonderful. I'm going to gain 10 pounds this weekend at this rate - pan seared beef tenderloin came out perfect, pan seared swordfish was quick and easy, blackened Florida Grouper held the crust on the filet not on the bottom of the pan - fantastic! At this price you cannot go wrong - I'm going to collect several more for myself and give a few as gifts to those friends who deserve something nice if not the best!
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on January 22, 2015
I bought this item a while ago but I'm only writing a review now. Like many of us, I bought this item after reading the overwhelming positive reviews. I followed the instructions to the detail on how to season and prevent rust. I've used it twice then properly seasoned and after putting it away for just a few days I've noticed that it was covered in rust. I've tried scrubbing it as hard as I could without looking demented and severing a limb, but the stain remains along with the funky smell. Not happy and will not recommend this pan to others unless you want to develop big arms.
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