Please before you mark this as a dupe, I did refer to this stackexchange question.

I have a Matfer carbon steel that won't hold seasoning at all.

I first attempted the Cooks Illustrated flaxseed oil technique.

I was very careful to follow the instructions carefully. I got a nice root-beer colored seasoning that looked tough but food stuck to it like there was no seasoning at all and it came right off.

I redid this several times, each time I:

  • made sure each coat was very very very thin, wiped all but the sheen off
  • baked the pan for a full hour each coat at 500F with full hour cool-down
  • ensured each coat was not tacky
  • applied 5 to 10 coats
  • used very fresh pure flaxseed oil
  • Completely cleaned the pan of seasoning between attempts with ovencleaner and scotchbrite

All very time consuming and ultimately ended in failure.

I also referred to this article and followed the tips there.

I additionally followed everything on this stackexchange article.

I just can't get this to work. I also tried a traditional seasoning. That doesn't stay either.

I use wooden utensils. The food just sticks and pulls the seasoning right off. I don't ever wash the pan.

One other thing I've noticed - on subsequent seasonings, no matter how thin I have the flaxseed oil on the pan, at the end of a baking cycle, it appears to pull together into little droplets. Even with the oil practically wiped off the pan with just a nanometer thick coating. I'm wondering if the oven cleaner messed up the pan or something. It didn't do this when I first had the pan (though the seasoning still was a failure)

Any ideas? I'm about ready to send this pan to goodwill.

Note I have no problem keeping seasoning on a lodge cast iron pan.

  • I saw your first sentence, but nevertheless I have to close as a duplicate, because it is one. You can also use the search terms "season carbon steel" to see more questions about it. The thing you probably didn't recognize: you failed not because the instructions are wrong, but because carbon steel is difficult to season and failures are the norm before you have had enough experience. I realize that you are now probably feeling angry at me closing the question, this is a situation which has happened multiple times here. I now opened a new Meta question on that, hoping to find a way to (cont.) – rumtscho Sep 24 '16 at 17:14
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    I'm reopening this, because rumtscho and I don't entirely agree about the duplicate-ness, so we'll leave it to the community. If you want to discuss, hop over to Seasoned Advice Meta, and if you want to answer, please don't just repeat generic advice, but rather try to address what specifically may have gone wrong for the OP and what could be improved. – Cascabel Sep 24 '16 at 18:39
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    500F seems a bit high to me, but I don't muck about with carbon steel pans, so I don't really have any specific tricks for the OP. But my gut reaction would be to go a bit less extreme on the temperature. I actually spent the morning cooking crepes (hundreds, 10 at a time) on a carbon steel commercial flat-top, and that is simply scrubbed (oil and abrasive) and oiled after each use, not even above 300F, and has no visible seasoning layer if cleaned properly. It's used with stainless steel spatulas and if run at appropriate temperatures does not stick. The sign on the wall advises no chemicals. – Ecnerwal Sep 24 '16 at 21:19
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    I would try a good soaking and cleaning in lye. Then rough the surface a bit with steel wool. – paparazzo Sep 24 '16 at 21:32
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    It's not taking the seasoning because there's nothing for the seasoning to stick to, those pans have little to no pitting. A well-used one would probably take it fine. Have you considered using a steel cleaner (the steel chain mail looking contraption) that you'd clean your lodge with to rough it up a bit? (I don't think steel wool would do it) – Tim Post Sep 28 '16 at 17:18

Before you go scouring your pan with steel wool.

When you said you followed the instructions, did you follow the manufacturer's instructions, or some other website?

Because although random websites might have good advice on building up the seasoning, they don't know how the pan was treated by the manufacturer, and what needs to be done to remove the protective layer that they put on it.

As you said this is a Mafter, their instructions are on the warranty page:

Black Steel Frypan Seasoning

Before the first use – Place the frying pan under hot running water for a few minutes, to remove what remains of the protection layer, with a brush if necessary. Dry the frying pan, then fry in a portion of oil, slices of sprinkled potatoes, and large portion of salt for a few minutes. Discard contents, then briefly reheat frying pan with a little oil, remove from heat and wipe with paper.

After use - Wipe with paper or if necessary rinse under hot running water. Clean without dish washing liquid. Dry and re-grease lightly.

Pan and Blue steel Preparation

Do not use pans or new molds before under going preliminary treatment. Pans and molds must be warmed in a temperature of 230º F to allow a good hot cleaning with a cloth. After they have been cleaned with a cloth, they are put back in the oven, one of two times more, until the cloth has very little soil left. Then the pans or molds are greased with vegetable oil of quality and subjected to a temperature of 390 degrees F for two hours. You have to clean them a second time with a cloth, then grease them. Now they are ready for use. The greasing must be repeated before each use.


The blue steel molds are sensitive to dampness. Do not stock in a humid environment, such as a cold room. You must clean with a dry cloth. DO NOT use an abrasive sponge, it could damage the upper coat of metal, which would lose its properties. Washing is not recommended, however, if a wash is done, you have to dry and grease the molds or pans immediately according to the process described above.

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    And if you think the potato thing is strange ... I agree, but see cooking.stackexchange.com/q/12378/67 – Joe Sep 28 '16 at 22:35
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    And now that I think about it -- you're probably going to have to strip the seasoning off before doing the potato thing. – Joe Sep 29 '16 at 0:43

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