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10-Inch Carbon-Steel Skillet

Published November 2018
More on the Best Carbon-Steel Skillets
We also love the 12-inch and 8-inch versions of this skillet. Our full review of carbon-steel skillets with detailed brand comparisons is available here.

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.

The Results


Design Trifecta 360 Knife Block

Admittedly expensive, this handsome block certainly seemed to live up to its billing as “the last knife block you ever have to buy.” The heaviest model in our testing, this block was ultrastable, and its durable bamboo exterior was a breeze to clean. Well-placed medium-strength magnets made it easy to attach all our knives, and a rotating base gave us quick access to them. One tiny quibble: The blade of our 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a little.


Schmidt Brothers Downtown Block

This roomy block completely sheathed our entire winning knife set using just one of its two sides—and quite securely, thanks to long, medium-strength magnet bars. Heavy, with a grippy base, this block was very stable. An acrylic guard made this model extra-safe but also made it a little trickier to insert knives and to clean; the wood block itself showed some minor cosmetic scratching during use.


Schmidt Brothers Midtown Block

This smaller version of the Downtown Block secured all our knives nicely, though the blade of the slicing knife stuck out a bit. With a base lined with grippy material, this block was very stable. An acrylic guard afforded extra protection against contact with blades but made it a little harder to insert knives and to clean; the wood itself got a little scratched during use.

Recommended with Reservations

Swissmar Bamboo Magnetic Knife Block

This small, scratch-resistant model had a stable, rubber-lined base and could hold all our knives, though the blade of the 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a bit. But inch-long gaps between its small magnets made coverage uneven and forced us to find the magnetic hot spots in order to secure the knives. Its acrylic guard made it safer to use but harder to insert knives and to clean.

Not Recommended

Messermeister Walnut Magnet Block

This handsome block was done in by its shape—a tippy, top-heavy quarter-circle that wasn’t tall or broad enough to keep the blades of three knives from poking out. It lacked a nonslip base, and its extra-strong magnets made it unnerving to attach or remove our heavy cleaver. Finally, it got a bit scratched after extensive use.


Epicurean Standing Knife Rack 12"

This magnetic block sheathed all our knives completely, though with a bit of crowding. But it was hard to insert each knife without hitting the block’s decorative slats on way down, and because the block was light and narrow, it wobbled when bumped. Worse, we couldn’t take it apart, so splatters that hit the interior were there to stay. Additionally, the outside stained easily, and when we wiped it down, the unit smelled like wet dog.


Kapoosh Rondelle Knife Block

This model stabilized knives with a mass of stiff, spaghetti-like bristles that shed and nicked easily after extensive use, covering our knives with plastic debris. While all our knives fit securely, several of the blades stuck out, making this unit feel less safe overall. Finally, though the bristles could be removed and cleaned in the dishwasher, their nooks and crannies made this block hard to wash by hand.


Kuhn Rikon Vision Knife Block, Clear

This plastic block required us to aim each knife into the folds of an accordion-pleated insert that was removable for easy cleaning but got nicked easily with repeated use. Because we could only insert the knives vertically, longer knife blades stuck out; a cleaver was too wide to fit. The lightest model in our lineup, this block was dangerously top-heavy when loaded with knives.