Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
Dec 17, 2013 02:46 PM

de Buyer pan, Broken or not?


I got a 32cm de Buyer iron frypan for my birthday and after
using it a couple of times i noticed the center being slightly raised
checking with a ruler.

Now i do know all about how warping works and i followed the instructions closely being very careful about heat on my induction cooktop.

So being 100% sure that i had done everything correct i walked down
to the store complaining about my pan not being flat.

Of course they put the blame on me since pans dont warp if you use them right. But after convincing them that i had done everything by the book, they agree to fill out a return slip and said they would contact me
if the return got accepted.

I waited a month, and got a call to come down and pick up a new pan:)

When i got home and unpacked it, to my horror it too was warped! New out of the box!

So now i'm thinking, maybe they are designed this way? And maybe the one i returned weren't broken? Maybe i just didn't know that iron frypans
were supposed to be this way?

So i sit down on my computer, searching for hours trying to find out if iron pans are supposed to be this way, or that maybe some are and some aren't? I do find some post talking about this being made on purpose to make sure there's not too much cooking oil in the center and another one saying the the elevated center makes the heat spread out more evenly.
but all in all i don't feel like i have found an answer.

So i send a E-mail directly to the Manufacturer witch is de Buyer in France, and got a reply saying that warping can occur on bigger pans.

I send another E-mail explaining that this was a new pan and that it was already warped and if he can confirm to me that de Buyer pans are supposed to be 100% flat i can refer to the E-mail when taking the pan
back to the shop.

When i didn't get an E-mail back i sent 2 more, but now it seems that de Buyer are not going to answer...

Meanwhile i contact the shop where i got the pan and tell them about my troubles and emails with de Buyer and they too cannot tell if the iron pans are supposed to be slightly raised in center or completely flat.
We agree on talking again when i get my confirmation from de Buyer...

So, are there anyone here who can confirm that an iron frypan is supposed to be 100% flat?

Below are a link to the Norwegian shop where i got the pan with pictures of it.

And here is a link to the de Buyer site with the specs and pictures of the pan:

I will attach photos of my pan showing the inside and the outside.

Please, can anyone help me?


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. <So now i'm thinking, maybe they are designed this way?>

    Yes. This is probably true. Are you talking about the interior side, or the exterior side, or both sides?

    <I do find some post talking about this being made on purpose to make sure there's not too much cooking oil in the center >

    I seriously doubt that. This is untrue for sure.

    <When i didn't get an E-mail back i sent 2 more, but now it seems that de Buyer are not going to answer...>

    DeBuyer has some email problems before. I have experienced this before.

    <So, are there anyone here who can confirm that an iron frypan is supposed to be 100% flat?>

    It is easier to make a pan that is not 100% flat.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      Both int. and ext.

      When deBuyer replied i got his personal Email wich i sent 2 more.
      when he didnt reply i tried the debyuer main email.

      1. re: sphinx__88

        If it is both sides, then it is definitely wrong. You can ask for another exchange. It may be easier just to get a refund and then go to a local restaurant supply store and just buy a carbon steel pan (whatever brand may be) that is flat.

        See it, touch it, and buy it. You cannot go wrong.

    2. Hi, Jarle;

      You can safely assume that deBuyer never expected you to cook in a warped pan--it is unacceptable. But it is a completely different question whether the pan's size, shape, manufcture and steel make it prone to warping.

      A few questions. You say the replacement pan was warped before you cooked in it. Does heating it make the warpage better or worse? Was the original one flat before you cooked in it, or did you check? It is *possible* that the pan is engineered to become flatter when heated as it expands, rather than flat when cold and warped when heated.

      It is also possible that quickly heating such a large carbon steel pan empty over an induction ring made it more likely to warp. deBuyer's large crepe pans will sometimes warp when used as an induction converter disk for other, non-compatible pans. Induction's speed, power and ring effect when combined with steel's poor conductivity and unrelieved stresses in a large pan may be a bad combination.

      I would return the pan again, and request that the store VERIFY that the 3rd pan they send is flat to start with. If THAT one warps under heat, I think it is a design problem. It may be that 32cm is simply too large and there are stresses left in the stamped steel that relieve themselves by warping. If the 3rd one warps, I'd get a refund.


      2 Replies
      1. re: kaleokahu

        Yes, i checked the replacement right after opening it, before i even washed it and it were shaped like on the pictures.

        Following the instructions on the pack before use, i:

        1. Washed it in warm water
        2. Heated up the pan with a layer of 1mm oil
        3. Tossed out the oil, wash in hot water and dry.

        Then trying to cook an egg the oil quickly draws to the sides, even the egg managed to slide a bit.

        I used it a couple of times noticing that it was very hot in center and not on the edges where the oil pools up.

        With the first one i did all the above and noticed the warp after 2-3 time using it although i'm pretty sure it was warped
        new out the box like the replacement.

        So heating the pan does not make a big difference in the warping.

        Induction should not be a problem, it says on the pan that its
        made for all surfaces including induction.

        I believe that both pans in fact were warped new out the box, but i cant be sure since i didn't check the first.

        1. re: sphinx__88

          Hi, Jarle: "Induction should not be a problem, it says on the pan that its made for all surfaces including induction."

          Apples and oranges. Because it is carbon steel, it will surely *work* on induction. What I'm alluding to is that induction elements are ring- or torus-shaped, and the steel directly above that ring is going to heat much faster than the periphery (and center) of the pan. Factor in the large diameter, high curved walls and poorly conductive nature of your pan, and you could get large initial temperature differences within the pan. This could cause warping regardless of whether (actually precisely *because*) it works on induction.

          I'm back to my original advice: Demand a new pan that is flat right out of the box. If *that* warps without excessive heat, get a refund. Or, better yet, get a straight-walled saute because the shape is functionally stiffer (and therefore more warp-resistant) than these truncated cone shapes.


      2. Hi, Jarle:
        I have a d/B Carbone Plus 12 inch skillet, and out of curiosity I used a ruler against the underside. The bottom is absolutely flat. This pan has been heated to screaming hot, so I don't think excess heat is the problem. I've got a few pieces of the C/Plus line and checked them all. No warping so far. I wish I could provide an answer - but I do wish you luck in getting a solution.

        16 Replies
          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            No, the cooking side is not flat.

            here's a picture of the inside.

            1. re: sphinx__88

              :) Sorry, I meant to ask breachick that question. Many pans are flat on the bottom side (exterior) and not flat on the top side (cooking side or interior). This would not be unusual. If you pan is not flat on both side, then something is wrong.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                Chem, is the interior lack of flatness due to: (1) intentional design, with a functional purpose; (2) lower standards of manufacturing/quality control/difficulty in getting the inside flat; and/or (3) warping? Or something else I might not be thinking about?

                1. re: iyc_nyc

                  < (2) lower standards of manufacturing/quality control/difficulty in getting the inside flat; >

                  I consider it to be number 2.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    Makes sense - thanks! I too had heard theories, like another poster, re: some pans being made intentionally rounded in center to account for heat warpage..I'm pretty sure a pan manufacturer -- can't remember which one -- actually promotes their pans as such.

                    1. re: iyc_nyc

                      For a lot of things, it really does not matter that much. I am sure you heard of stories about how someone's grandmother can cook the best meals using the simplest and deformed cookware.

                      I have seen a quiet a few restaurant kitchens. Most of them have very simple and beat up cookware.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        Exactly! The flame reaches every nook and cranny. No worries about beat up pans. Perhaps that makes the gas range option most forgiving?

                        1. re: breadchick

                          Hi, breadchick:

                          The big issue of a warped skillet is uniform depth of the fat. If there's a dome rising like Lō‘ihi (the next Hawai'ian island) out of the fat in the OP's pan, it's a problem. If Jarle is deeper-frying, not so much.

                          Also, Jarle is cooking on induction, which brings into play both stability on the dead-flat Ceran sheet and proximity to the coil. The field falls off sharply over small distances.

                          And are we really advising someone that their new pan shouldn't be flat?


                          1. re: kaleokahu

                            Nope, just that if those restaurant pans are all dinged up it's all good. From what I see on these television shows, a lot of these pans look like they've been beat on. So, the gas flame works no matter what.

                            1. re: breadchick

                              Hi, breadchick:

                              With respect, it's *not* all good if part of your prep is frying dry in one spot and and another is swamped in fat (or vice versa). Restaurant or not. There's a reason why a large % of vintage Griswolds and Wagners on the market are warped, and a reason we level our stoves.


                          2. re: breadchick


                            Yes, the flames will reach up pretty good, and actually induction field will have no problem reaching up there as well. Despite that the magnetic field does drop off. It does not matter for a mm. It is rather illogical to think that the field will drop off so bad for 1 mm difference when the coil is way deeper than 1 mm off from the flat surface anyway. Moreover the field travels with the path of least resistance.

                            Everyone has advised the original poster to get an exchange or a refund, me included, but this does not change the fact that a slightly concave cookware has little impact of the cooking performance -- which is why most professional chefs can use a slightly beat up pans because it is functional

                2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  I just checked mine, and they're flat on the inside as well.

                  1. re: breadchick

                    :) Good for you. Take my Calphalon Triply cookware for example. It is dead flat on the bottom, but concave on the cooking side.

                    1. re: breadchick

                      Quite nonsensical to think a stamped, straight sheetstock pan would be warped on one side and not on the other. What a bubble mysteriously formed within the steel?

                3. Thanks to all who replied you have been very helpful!

                  Today i went down to the shop to return the pan and the
                  guy behind the counter was very understanding and gave me my money back.

                  He did say though, that the pans actually were designed
                  this way on purpose and that they are slightly convex rising the center 0,5mm or so and the reason is to actually prevent warping.
                  according to this guy the pan is supposed to flatten out
                  when it gets hot and then return to its convex shape again when cold.

                  I told him that my pan stayed warped hot or cold and he clearly didnt want to get in an arguement and returned me my cash with a smile.

                  So now im off to read som reviews and find a new
                  suitable frying pan for my induction cooktop!
                  Any recommendations are welcome=)

                  thanks again everybody and happy holidays!


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: sphinx__88

                    Thanks for the update.

                    <they are slightly convex rising the center 0,5mm or so>

                    This is done as a preventive measure, so yes. For a cookware, it is better to have center rising (concave) than center sinking (convex). This is what I have seen for many cookware out of the box. They are either dead flat or they are slightly rising at the center.


                    <So now im off to read som reviews and find a new
                    suitable frying pan for my induction cooktop!>

                    A rough rule of thumb is that a thicker pan is less like to warp. Also, cast iron cookware is less likely to warp compared to other materials.

                    However, your experience has more to do with the pans being concave (not flat) out of the box as opposed to getting warped under heat. So cookware material may not be something you need to be concern now. As mentioned earlier, it may be better for you to go to a restaurant supply store and pick a pan off the shelf. This way, you can inspect it beforehand.
                    Happy holiday