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Oct 20, 2010 07:43 PM

Our de buyer Carbon Steel Cookware Experience

There are many carbon steel cookware partitioners and many de Buyer fans. A few of us have recently purchased the de Buyer’s Force Blue cookware due to the price reduction. Hopefully, users like pabboy, tkoff, iyc_nyc and many others will share our experience here, which will be helpful among us and for future readers.

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  1. As expected, I will be the first to update.

    Here is my first day update on my 9.5” (24 cm) Force Blue frying pan. I have attached two photos. The first one is an out-of-the-box photo of the pan. If you look closely, you can see a small white spot near the center of the pan off at 7 o’clock position. That was a scratch. It did not bother me though because I knew it is a superficial mark in the long run as the cookware will be seasoned, but I do want other buyes not to expect a perfect looking pan. Overall the pan has a very polished look. It is definitely 2 mm thick as advertised. It has a solid weight, but nothing like a typical cast iron skillet. It had some black powder on the pan as pabboy said. I was able to remove it after washing the pan between dish washer detergent and cooking oil. I am disappointed that the pan is smaller than I hoped for. This 9.5” frying pan has a a 6.5" cooking surface. In constract, my 10” cast iron skillet has a 8.25" cooking surface. This is because this frying pan has an angled side, whereas the skillet’s side comes straight up.

    I then seasoned the pan according to my own method (not the De Buyer instruction). I figure carbon steel is carbon steel. 15 minutes later the pan looked ready to use and I fried an egg. The pan acted fairly nonstick and the egg was able to move around without tear apart. The second photo is after the seasoning and after cooking an egg. The pan looked darker and had very little food residue after cooking an egg. The pan is not perfectly balanced because this pan has a relatively small cooking area/base, and the handle is fairly heavy. The pan tilts ever slightly toward the handle. I presume this won’t be a problem for a bigger pan.

    Summary thus far:
    1) Nonstick in one seasoning session -- much faster than my cast iron skillet
    2) 2 mm thick -- more than enough for me
    3) Lighter than cast iron skillet -- easier to manage
    4) Heats up faster than a cast iron skillet.
    5) Polish looking cookware

    1) Wish the cookware surface is larger (I know it is not the manufacturer fault, rather it is mine)
    2) Unbalanced pan (not too bad, but it has a tendency to tilt toward the handle).

    26 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      Chem, do you think the pan is a good size for a two-egg omelette? I am considering to get 8" or 10" of de buyer mineral but your force blue 9.5" might be a good option, too. How wide is the bottom diameter? I am also cooking two fish (Salmon) fillet in it, too. Do you think it is wide/narrow for that? Thanks for your thoughts!

      1. re: hobbybaker

        Report in a minute. I cannot measure right now because I am cooking more stuffs in it :)

          1. re: hobbybaker

            Ok. The top of the pan is 9.5" diameter. The cooking surface is about 6.5". For perspective, a US one dollar bill is 6" in length. In contrast, my cast iron skillet has a 10" diameter top and a 8.25" diameter cooking surface. The de Buyer pan has a gentler and shallower side. The disadvantage is clear -- less cooking surface. The advantage is that it is easier to toss and flip foods in this de Buyer pan as well as sliding foods directly from pan to dish.

            In my opinion, a two egg omelette is do-able. I think two salmon fillets will be very difficult unless we are talking about tiny fillets. I would say my 10" cast iron skillet can barely manage two salmon fillets.

            P.S.: Now that I looked at the following pictures, I think it really depends on the size of the fillets. I still lean toward saying no, but you can decide base on the dimensions.


            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              Thanks chem, it is very helpful! I might go with 10" mineral but definitely not 8" :) I find 12" is just way too heavy for me.

              1. re: hobbybaker

                I think 10" sounds like a good balance. Please update us on your experience. Thanks.

      2. re: Chemicalkinetics

        Can I use stainless steel spatulas on them?

        1. re: Monica

          I have only had this pan for a day, but I can tell you that based on my xperience from numerous carbon steel woks and many other people's opinions: when the pan is very new and barely seasoned, it may be a good idea to use a wooden or plastic utensils just to be be gentle in the first few days, so that the seasoning have time to build up. After that, you can use whatever tools, stainless steel, carbon steel, iron, plastic, wood... whatever.

        2. re: Chemicalkinetics

          I also got the 9.5 fry pan and crepe pan from world market.
          I cleaned, dried on the stove, then seasoned the pans and immediately made an omelet. Did the veggies in the fry pan and the egg in the crepe pan. Food release was excellent and no particulates on the pan at all.

          I had a sticking issue with a textured vegetable protein based "alternative meat" (my wife is vegan). I used a nylon scrubby and hot water to remove the particulates. It did not seem to affect the seasoning as I made potatoes in the pan after that without sticking. This stuff would even stick in a teflon pan, so I'm really not surprised that it stuck in this application.
          I found that if I patted the fake-chicken down with a paper towel to remove the moisture I would not have sticking issues.

          I also had a bit of a tipping problem on the fry pan when it was empty. A slight bump would cause it to teeter. I put the handle into the bench vice on my workbench in the garage and bent it to a steeper angle just a little bit. This changed the center of gravity on the pan to where it would no longer teeter when accidentally bumped and as a side benefit made the handle a little more comfortable to my preferences. The coating on the handle didn't crack up or flake off, but it seemed like I got lucky and I was really expecting it to not hold up to the bending.

          When searing the handle of the fry pan seems to get pretty hot. I'm debating going with the silicon handles offered by de buyer, but I am rather fond of the minimalism of the bare handles and just using a kitchen towel when handling the pan.

          I'm very pleased with the performance of these two pans.

          1. re: cannibal


            I enjoy the part where you felt it is your duty to explain why you were cooking vegetable protein based alternative meat -- with the explanation of "my wife did it"

            Thanks for the update and please feel free to continue to update.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              Yes it is all her fault :)
              Her and I are complete opposites when food is concerned.
              also, going to make fritatas tomorrow as another test

              1. re: cannibal

                fritatas this weekend were excellent. The first one had a little bit of residue on the pan, i used a metal spatula to release the bits that were left behind and after that none of the other fritatas stuck to the pan, just slid around like they were on actually made it a little tough to get the spatula under them to flip :)
                Now that I think about it, i did sweat some onions in the pan before the potato mixture went in and I think I burnt some onions and that's what the first fritata stuck to.

          2. re: Chemicalkinetics

            Sorry if this has been addressed, but a search isn't yielding the info. Where have these pans been reduced? On line or at a b&m shop? Thanks.

            1. re: fauchon


              Cost Plus World Market was having a ~50% reduction for the Force Blue line of de Buyer, but they have been sold out.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                Awwwww...thanks for the info, tho.

                I wonder if anyone else will get inspired to run a sale? Or maybe Cost Plus might do a repeat?

                Lights candle, crosses fingers....;-)

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  They are on sale for 50% off again; alas only the 9.5" Force Blue Steel frying pan is available, but a good deal at $19.99.

                  1. re: ahack

                    Thanks for posting this but I can't find this item at Cost Plus. I've looked in Cookware, Pro Cookware & Sale. A search for de Buyer returns 0 results.

                    Am I missing something? I'd love to have this frying pan...Can you provide a link? TIA

                    1. re: fauchon

                      I don't know about the website. I just go to the B&M store and get it.

              2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                Pans arrived this evening. The 14" is massive and has some serious heft. Still lighter than a cast iron equivalent. They both look and feel great. I have seasoned the 10" according to DeBuyers instructions and will cook some pork chops later this evening.

                If you've read the DeBuyer seasoning instructions, what does it mean to heat some oil in the pan? Get it smoking? Heat slowly over low heat?

                Chemical, how do you season your pan?


                1. re: JuniorBalloon

                  Hi JB,

                  I can imagine the 14" being very heavy. I read the de Buyer seasoning instructions months ago when it had this part about boiling water with potato skin. Now, I checked its website and that potato part has disappeared. To answer your question, I believe the "Pour one centimeter of oil in the pan and heat it for 5 minutes" means getting it to barely smoking but not excessive. If you look at this video from de Buyer, it shows the oil is bubbling and faintly smoking.

                  Now that de Buyer has removed the potato skin part, my seasoning procedure is more similar to de Buyer. I think if you already have a seasoning method that works for you, then you should just use that one.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    I don't have a method :) Following the DeBuyers Potato method seemed to work just fine. The Chops came out great. No stick and comparable to maybe a bit better than my enamel coated cast iron pan. I look forward to working with both of these pans.


                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      I'm new to de Buyer and "the potato skin method" of seasoning. What do potato skins have to do with seasoning??? I'm visualizing heating some oil in the pan and then adding potato skins until they are toasty and then calling the pan seasoned. Am I close or clueless? (Duh! I feel like an idiot.)

                      1. re: stukin


                        The potato skin method is really specific to DeBuyer. The toasting method you refer to is certainly common, but that is the one DeBuyer used. It is actually of potato skin and water and bring to boil:


                        It is not really a seasoning method per se. It is more of a cleaning method before the actual seasoning step. DeBuyer no longer advertises this method. Exactly what the potato skin is cleaning, that I am not sure. I know potato has rust removal property, so may it was used to remove the oxidized layer, but if so, why just the skin and not the whole potato. I don't know. Another theory is that DeBuyer pans actually come with a very thin coating and potato skin water mixture help remove that layer. Again, I am not sure.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          I don't think it's entirely specific to de Buyer because someone comments on that YouTube video that his/her mother recommended the same technique (I'm going to hazard a guess that she wasn't a de Buyer employee). As to no longer advertising it, see my previous post. Regardless, it removed a LOT of crud--so much so that I repeated the process and those peelings looked horrible enough that I couldn't in all conscience throw them into the local composting bin. I found the method effective enough that I'll repeat it if I buy a carbon steel wok.

                        2. re: stukin

                          I believe the reason they recommended boiling potato skins is that they contain "oxalic acid". Oxalic acid is used as a cleaning/stain removal agent. Note the following quotes:

                          From Wikipedia:
                          "Oxalic acid's main applications include cleaning or bleaching, especially for the removal of rust (iron complexing agent), e.g. Bar Keepers Friend is an example of a household cleaner containing oxalic acid."

                          "Oxalic acid in products such as bleach, rust removers and metal cleaners is toxic to humans, but these contain high concentrations of oxalic acid. Oxalic acid in foods in heavily diluted, making it unlikely to cause damage to organs or tissues, reports If you notice a slight sharp, sour taste from your potato skins, you may be tasting oxalic acid."

                          So, boiling potato skins would help to remove any oils, compounds, stains left over from the manufacturing & shipping processes utilizing a relatively natural cleansing method.

                          So, with that in mind, if they were handly, this same method might be used to remove stubborn cooking debris without using harsh manufactured chemicals...

                          I know this threads pretty old, but I just thought I'd throw that out there for future readers.


                          1. re: jbmia

                            That's an interesting theory although according to online sources (I was intrigued enough to check), the levels are pretty low. For whatever reason, the peels did a great job on the pan, although given that the manufacturing process undoubtedly involves the use of "unnatural" products, I can't imagine why a "natural" cleansing agent would be preferable. Come to think of it, doesn't spinach contain rather high levels of oxalic acid? If that's the magic bullet, why not suggest spinach?

                  2. Very glad you started this thread, Chem. Can't contribute yet as I have received but not yet seasoned or used the pans. But will report back and also eager to hear of others' experiences.

                    I do LOVE the feel of them. Easier to handle than CI as others like breadchick have noted and look nice, but plan to keep most of my CI for now.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: iyc_nyc

                      A thick cast iron cookware still has its advantages over a carbon steel pan in some cases, especially searing a thick steak. However, the carbon steel pan may marginalize the cast iron skillet for normal cooking. My update is above. Thanks.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        Same for me. I use the cast iron a lot less since I got some carbon steel. Only really use it for when its huge heat retention is a plus (eg, loads of mushrooms). Advantages for me are :-

                        1) Lighter than cast iron, Can flip food around! Love doing that!
                        2) Smoother surface = faster seasoning,.. better non-stick!
                        3) Heats up quicker than cast iron

                        I actually find a thick bit of steak easier in carbon steel. Sear first side. Flip to different part of the pan and sear other side. Flip back and chuck it in the oven. I find I get a more even steak like that. With cast iron there is too much pan heat going on during the oven phase. BTW, I have the Carbonne Plus line - so that might make a difference.

                        I'm off to make an omelette in one right now. Ham and cheese I think.

                    2. I have done very limited cooking in the Frying pan and Crepe pan I bought from Cost Plus World Market so far. The crepe pan is nice and shallow so, it is easy to get under anything I need to for a "spatula" flip. The Frying pan is very deep so a spatula doesn't work too well. I find I use a spoon a lot more and the curved deep sides promote flipping in the pan with a toss.

                      I'm still getting used to using the rental place's electric stove with these pans. Cast Iron is giving more even and consistent heat with the these new pans being more responsive to stove settings.

                      At first, I wondered if I warped the crepe pan but, as noted above both pans have heavy handles that put a lot of weight on one side of the pan. For the crepe pan, the electric coil I was using wasn't totally flat and I had the handle on the "low" side of the coil. ;-)

                      So far, I think these pans were a good buy for someone looking for a "cheap" good pan if they have a good stove. The light weight is a real asset for people with the limited muscle tone (older people like my grandmother) or with arthritis (like my mother). The smooth surface shows great promise for anyone moving away from disposable teflon pans. For bad rental place stoves, if you can deal with the weight, cast iron still is a better choice IMHO due to even heating. However, the carbon steel pans would be easier to move for a college student or road warrior "vagabond".

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Sid Post

                        Thanks for the respond Sid. As always, you give very balance feedback. Yes, I do agree with your two main point. 1) it is easier to handle a carbon steel pan than a cast iron pan, and 2) the thicker cast iron pan appears to give a more even heating surface.

                        I don't know if I agree with the "I think these pans were a good buy for someone looking for a "cheap" good pan " statement. These de Buyer pans are not cheap if they are not on sale. $60 for a 10" pan:


                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          I think the Mineral pans are slightly more expensive, but still, those prices seem really high. They are cheaper this side of the pond :-


                          They even sell them now with stainless steel handles and cast iron handles - but I think I like the el cheapo restaurant-style stamped handles. For me, the attraction of these pans is they perform so well, look great, last forever and are cheap! It's rare to see all of those things together.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            I got mine pretty cheap, cheaper then most of the disposable "teflon" pans I see everywhere. But, I must say I keep an eye out for good deals and I will impulse buy when I see something extra good I'm interested in. That's how I got my hands on some good copper from France.

                        2. Yay, CK!

                          Hmm, the tipping thing is a new issue. My carbonne plus pans are too heavy for any sort of tipping, and yet, I have the thinner crepe pan and just checked it. Tipping is not an issue either. I wonder if they're making them a little different now? I actually pushed on the handles and they didn't move. Can't figure it out.

                          Anyway, so glad to hear reports back on the pans. I find, even with a seasoned pan, that if I pre-heat these pans at a med-high for a minute or two and then add the oil or butter or whatever, I don't have any sticking. I think it's that old "hot pan, cold oil, food won't stick" mantra I've heard forever.

                          I agree that the actual cooking surface isn't larger like my All-Clad, but I takes what I can gets!

                          Good luck and happy cooking!

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: breadchick


                            Nah, I don't think they make it different. Blue steel is lighter than carbonne plus. On top of that, mine is 24 cm (9.5"), yours may be larger. If it is not apparent already, I really wish there was a larger one I could buy. I still like Force Blue. Lighter, easier to work with. :)

                            Evidently, a few of us here experienced this very minor tipping issues, so I don't think it is just me. Thanks for stopping by and please feel free to guide answer any question here since you are an old timer with de Buyer cookware :)

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              I want that blue steel 24 cm crepe pan...

                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                  Hahahaha! According to SNL, water pressure is too damn low! Got to love our NY politics. My job puts me in the political arena, so I'm at ground zero - haha. We were betting on what part of that debate was going to end up on SNL.

                                  Okay, back to the pans...

                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                    Actually...yes. Good water pressure, though.;))

                            2. hi CK

                              One skillet, one crepe pan here. Love both, easy seasoning, no 'tipping' problem so can't comment there, really nice pans to use.