Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
Nov 2, 2013 10:06 PM

Did I botch my De Buyer Mineral B Element frypan seasoning?

Hey Chowhound!

I'm very new to the world of CS / CI, but I did extensive research on seasoning and oils and such on here and elsewhere before beginning my seasoning process.

So, here's what happened:

1. As per De Buyer's instructions, I ran the pan under extremely hot water for probably about 5 minutes, swirling it around, and then I rubbed it down with a paper towel, drying it thoroughly.

2. I then poured probably about 2 tbsp of olive oil in the pan, and then spread it all around the inside of the pan, and used a paper towel to absorb ALL extra oil (I mean, I couldn't even tell there was oil on the pan when I was done!)

3. I then heated the pan on high until the oil started smoking.

4. Maybe 15 seconds after it started smoking, I turned the heat off, and let the pan cool.

5. What I found was a disappointingly gummy, kind of thick, light brown residue that seemed surprisingly spotty for the way I'd rubbed it on - it almost looked like what water would do if you poured it on an oily pan.

6. From reading other threads here, it seemed like the problem might be that I still had beeswax left on the pan. So, per that thread, I boiled water in the pan for about 15-20 minutes.

7. By the end of this, I saw that weird dark streaks were forming on the sides of the pan. I was pretty sure this was rust. To combat this, I added a whole bunch of potato skins, and boiled it for another 15 minutes. This seemed to help a bit, but not that much. The water turned gray, which is apparently expected when you boil potato skins.

8. I then ran the pan under very hot water and scrubbed the hell out of it, and wiped it down with a dry paper towel. What I'm left with, is what seems to be a combination of tons of tiny rust spots, some burned oil, and weird rainbow splotches. The attached picture should give you an idea. I tried getting rid of the rust with a potato, but it seems like the rust splotches are *under* the 1 layer of half-assed seasoning, and it's impossible for me to get off.

Did I ruin it? Do I need to replace it?

(As of right now, I'm going to try re-seasoning it, but my hopes aren't very high.)

** I got my seasoning method mostly from this Amazon reviewer:

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. IMHO everyone worries way too much about how they season their pans. There's no way you can do rust damage to a pan in fifteen minutes. The gummy stuff that was in the pan was excess oil that wasn't completely burned off. Just keep using it like normal, the whole thing will eventually turn black, and you will forget about all of this. If you think the surface is not sufficiently seasoned, heat it up, wipe it with a very lightly oiled paper towel, and keep the heat on until it stops smoking. Repeat as many times as you wish. Just make sure that the oil you burn on the pan is thin and even.

    I have pans that have beautiful even black seasoning on them, and I have pans that are blotchy and ugly. They all work equally well. If something gets stuck to one of the beautiful ones, it may have to get scrubbed out, and it may not look nice any more, but it will still work fine. Eventually it will be all black again. As long as you don't gouge the surface or warp it by sticking it in cold water when it's hot, there's nothing to worry about.

    1. I agree that your pan is definitely not ruined. From the pictures, it looks like you simply failed to get all the wax (lacquer, whatever) coating off the pan. I'd suggest scrubbing the inside under hot water with steel wool till you get down to bare metal and then doing the oil thing again once or twice. Then just start using it.

      1. <2 tbsp of olive oil in the pan>

        Extra light olive oil or light olive oil is ok, but don't use extra virgin olive oil.

        <5. What I found was a disappointingly gummy,....>

        This is the classic indication that you have incomplete seasoning, and that is usually because you have too much oil residue.

        <rainbow splotches.>

        The bluish or rainbow spots are perfectly fine. In my opinion, it is a good thing, but that is another story.

        <Did I ruin it? Do I need to replace it?>

        You cannot really ruin a carbon steel pan, and most certainly you don't need to replace it. In the worse case scenario, you just have to restart the seasoning process. In this case, I would advise you to use the standard "oil and salt" method to scrub the pan, and then season it again. There are tons of seasoning instructions on CHOWHOUND past threads. Good luck.

        1. Don't "baby" your pan. Heat it a lot more.

          Mom thought I ruined mine but, no worries it came out beautifully. Heat your pan to the point of the handle becoming too hot to hold near the rivets. Wipe it down with oil again and repeat. I used peanut oil for its higher smoke point but, almost any oil will work fine.

          At this point, the beeswax should all be gone so, you just need to season your pan properly. Brown sticky bits means the pan wasn't hot enough and/or you applied too much oil. Heat a very lightly oiled pan 3 times as mentioned and then start cooking in it!!!!

          1. Your pan is fine. Issues with seasoning are easy to remedy; there are CI pans that have been seasoned from scratch dozens of times (often new owners like to reseason).

            Couple of tips...

            I wouldn't use olive oil to season, though a lot of the seasoning you build from cooking will come from this. The reason is the relatively low smoke point. This means when the oil polymerizes, the resulting seasoning won't be as strong (easier to flake and scratch). Peanut oil, grape seed oil, and flax seed oil are all good. More common oils like canola and corn would be better than plain vegetable, then olive oil. Lard is somewhere in the middle. There's a "Vollrath University" YouTube video on seasoning a carbon steel pan (sorry, link wouldn't work, but easy to find). I just ordered a couple of De Buyers (awesome sale at, and will try this method.

            Also, make sure pan and oil are warm/hot when you coat. This ensures a much thinner coat, and avoids pooling, humming, etc. I like to wipe as I'm heating.

            Finally, don't worry. If you're a perfectionist you can reseason again and again till you get it perfect. If you're a realist you'll get it good enough (don't let great be the enemy of good) and end up with something that looks and (more importantly) works just fine.