How to Fix Warped Carbon Steel Pan? All You Need to Know

Many metal pans are susceptible to warping after some time. The same is true for carbon steel pans.

Warping can cause uneven cooking and cause some foods to settle on one part of the pan.

Eventually, the bottom of the pan will become too wobbly to be used properly. The good news is that you can fix a warped carbon steel pan yourself.

The process is simple and won’t cost you much. This way, you can save money on repairs. Thus, this comprehensive guide explains how you must go about the process.

A Step-By-Step Process on How to Fix Warped Carbon Steel Pan

It’s best to try and fix your warped carbon steel pan as soon as you notice the warping.

Leaving it unattended will worsen the warping. As a result, the pan may eventually crack, rendering it useless.

In that case, you will need a replacement, which means spending money. So, it’s in your best interest to fix it yourself and quickly.  

Step 1. Understand Which Way Your Carbon Steel Pan Has Warped

Carbon steel pans can warp in two ways. The pan may be bowed inward or outward.

If your pan is bowed inward, it will cook food unevenly. On the other hand, if it’s bowed outward, it will be wobbly.

You’ll be able to tell the difference just by looking at it. Once you identify which way the pan warped, you can adjust how you fix it.

Step 2. Gather the Necessary Equipment

There’s a good chance that you already have the equipment you require for fixing your warped carbon steel pan.

However, in case you don’t, everything is readily available and relatively inexpensive.

Here’s the equipment you need.

A Plank of Wood

The plank should be level and smooth with no bumps or depressions on the surface.

Make sure that the plank is larger than the pan if it is bowed outward. This way, the entire pan will fit onto the surface of the wood.

Get a piece of wood that can fit inside the pan if the carbon steel pan is bowed inward.

However, make sure that the wood still covers most of the surface of the pan.

Measure the pan beforehand so that you know what dimensions to get for the plank. If it’s too large, you can always cut the wood.

2 Cloth Towels

You will need cloth towels that are suitable for hot pans. In addition to that, make sure that the towels are larger than the pan so that all of it is covered.

You also don’t want the pan to move out of the towel when you’re hammering onto it.

A Wooden or Rubber Mallet

A wooden or rubber mallet will prevent damage to the carbon steel pan.

However, you could use a hammer as an alternative. That said, make sure to hit it gently.

A Level

The level will ensure that your pan is even after you’re done fixing it.

Step 3. Pick a Suitable to Fix the Pan

It’s best to perform this process on a workbench. You could work on the floor or the kitchen counter.

However, the hammering could damage the countertop or the flooring.

Wherever you’re working, make sure that you’re near a stove or other heat source.

In addition to that, the platform should be heat resistant. You will be placing a hot pan onto it.

Step 4. Lay Down the Towel

Lay down the cloth towel on the workbench or the platform where you’re working.

The purpose of this material is to prevent damage to the bottom of the pan.

You may scratch the pan if you place it directly onto the workbench.

If you hammer hard without the cloth towel, you could even risk breaking the carbon steel pan.

Use Only a Dry Cloth Towel

You should never use a damp or wet cloth towel for this process. The heat from the pan can cause the wet towel to release steam.

As a result, you could risk burning yourself. It would also make working on it unnecessarily harder.

Step 5. Place the Pan on a Stove

You will need to heat the pan to fix the warping on it. The heat will make the metal more malleable and less stiff.

As a result, there’s a lower chance of you breaking your carbon steel pan.

Let the Pan Get Hot for a Few Minutes

Leave the carbon steel pan on low heat for about 5 to 10 minutes.

After that, it will make the pan warm enough to fix the warping without getting too hot to work with effectively.

Step 6. Place the Carbon Steel Pan on the Workbench

Remove the carbon steel pan from the heat source. Next, place it over the dry cloth towel on the workbench.

You should keep it with the bowed side upward.

That is to say that if the carbon steel pan is bowed inward or convex, you should place the pan in a way in which its surface faces upward.

This would look like how you would use a pan normally for cooking.

On the other hand, you should place the carbon steel pan upside down if it is bowed outward or concave.

You must remember you’ll be hammering on the side that is protruding.

Step 7. Place the Plank of Wood on the Pan

Place the second cloth towel on the part of the pan with the protrusion. Over that, place the plank of wood exactly on the pan.

This way, the wood won’t be directly on the surface of the pan.

You will only need to put the second towel when dealing with a convex or inward bowed warped pan.

As a result, you won’t scratch the surface of the pan. This is especially useful for carbon steel pans with a non-stick coating.

Make sure to be careful while placing it into the hot pan so that your fingers don’t touch anything but the wood. The sides of the carbon steel pan will be hot.

Step 8. Hammer the Wood on the Pan

Once the wood is placed in the correct position, use your mallet or hammer to hammer it gently.

Make sure that the handle or any other part of the mallet doesn’t come into contact with the pan.

You may have to hit the wood a little hard if the bulge doesn’t budge easily.

Step 9. Inspect the Warping on the Carbon Steel Pan

Keep hitting it until it starts to straighten. Slow down when you feel you’re getting closer to reaching complete evenness.

Don’t get carried away with the hammering because you don’t want the pan to start bulging in the opposite direction.

So, place your level and on the part of the pan with the bulge. Take a good look at its evenness.

If the carbon steel pan still is not completely even, repeat steps 8 and 9.

Step 10. Clean Up the Warped Carbon Steel Pan

Once you’re positive the pan is even, you must clean the pan up.

A non-stick carbon steel pan may leave some shavings of non-stick material after repairing.

Remove the material after the pan is cool, wash it, let it dry, and place it in your cupboard.

How to Prevent Warping of Your Carbon Steel Pans

You could prevent going through the hassle of repairing your warped carbon steel pans by reducing the pans’ chances of warping.

The following tips are applicable to all types of metal pans.  

Don’t Place Hot Pans in Water

After you’re done cooking, don’t place the pan in a wet sink.

The moisture from even a few drops of water can sizzle and change the temperature on the pan suddenly.

The sudden change in temperature can quicken the warping process. You should also keep this tip in mind when you’re cooking.

So, don’t put water in a hot pan immediately unless you really have to.

Avoid Putting Cold Pans in Preheated Ovens

Another way you could abruptly change the temperature of your metal pan is by placing a cold one in your preheated oven.

Instead, let the pan heat in the oven while you’re preheating it.

If that’s not possible, at least make sure that the carbon steel or other metal pan is at room temperature.

Let Your Pans Cool Before Washing Them

You have to do your best to reduce temperature fluctuation. Thus, wait until your metal pans are fully cool before attempting to wash them.

At the same time, don’t let the pan sit for too long after cooking because that can make it harder to remove grease and cooked-on food particles.

Last Few Words

Handle your carbon steel pans with care, and warping will become less of a problem. Also, you should be extra careful with carbon steel pans with no or very low sides.

These pans don’t have the additional support from the sides to keep it straight like deeper pans have. So, these pans can warp easily.

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