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Best Oil For Seasoning Cast Iron [2024] – Tested & Reviewed

Norah Clark
Cast iron cracked on eggs.

Norah Clark

Norah Clark, Editor of Boyd Hampers! Norah is a seasoned food writer with over a decade of experience in hospitality as a former pastry chef, sous chef, and barista; former chef at the Savoy Hotel, Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons and Plaza Hotel.

The best oil for seasoning cast ironware is grapeseed oil due to its high smoke points and versatility. Other options are vegetable oil and peanut oil. The oil you use depends on the degree of heat you plan to use and the flavors you like.

Cast iron can last a lifetime or, in some families, many generations if maintained appropriately. It is essential to season your cast iron before using it.

As a seasoned chef, I recommend La Tourangelle grapeseed oil from Amazon. Other experts have weighed in, and all agreed this was the best oil.

I’ve listed the best oils to season cast iron and laid out the pros and cons of each.

If you’ve bought an all-new (or completely new) pan and have never used it before, there are plenty of options for the type of oil you can apply.

Rank

Kind of Oil

Smoke Point

Best Brand of Oil

1.

Grapeseed Oil

420 deg F

La Tourangelle Grapeseed Oil

2.

Flaxseed Oil

225 deg F

Barlean’s Organic Fresh Flax Oil

3.

Avocado Oil

520 deg F

BetterBody Foods 100% Pure Avocado Oil

4.

Canola Oil

225 deg F

Happy Belly Canola Oil

5.

Olive Oil

375 deg F

Pompeian Robust Extra Virgin Olive Oil

6.

Lard

370 deg F

Tenderflake Pure Bakers Lard

7.

Coconut Oil

350 deg F

Nutiva Organic Cold-Pressed Virgin Coconut Oil

8.

Peanut Oil

450 deg F

La Tourangelle Roasted Peanut Oil

9.

Butter or Ghee

300-475 deg F

Original Grass-Fed Ghee by 4th & Heart

 

1. Grapeseed Oil For Seasoning Cast Iron

La Tourangelle Grapeseed Oil.
La Tourangelle Grapeseed Oil.

I recommend: La Tourangelle Grapeseed Oil

I recommend: La Tourangelle Grapeseed Oil

Grapeseed oil is among the most well-known oils used to flavor the cast ironware of professional cooks and cast iron experts.

It has a very high smoking temperature, thus allowing high temperatures to warm the pan rapidly and strengthen the bond between the pan and the oil.

Grapeseed oil is in the neutral range for flavor and aroma, making it ideal for adding flavor to your cooking pan.

Grapeseed oil is widely recognized as healthy and moderately priced, making it an attractive option.

2. Flaxseed Oil For Seasoning Cast Iron

Barlean's Organic Fresh Flax Oil.
Barlean’s Organic Fresh Flax Oil.

I recommend: Barlean’s Organic Fresh Flax Oil

Flaxseed oil to season cast ironware gained a lot of attention after a prominent blogger wrote glowingly about it a couple of years back.

However, the oil has an extremely low smoke level, and therefore, I recommend your cast ironware is seasoned six times over an hour each at a low temperature of 225 degrees F.

The advantage of flaxseed oil is that it bonds to cast iron well, providing an oily finish that allows food to slide off without sticking. If you cook with your cast iron pan frequently and frequently, flaxseed oil is a good choice.

It also dries naturally, an added benefit for cast iron as it's susceptible to moisture.

It’s a great oil to use during the first seasoning process of your cookware if you’ve got time to do several seasons over hours. Be careful not to mix it with other oils, as it can cause the smoke to be distorted, and your pan will not season well.

The flavor won’t be detected in the case of seasoning; however, since it’s a seed oil, it’s ideal for regularly used pans. However, if cast iron is used irregularly, it may become rancid in your cupboard.

Clean your pan thoroughly and refresh it with some seasoning when you want to use it again.

Unfortunately, flaxseed oil isn’t always readily available and is at the higher end of the price scale. It also has a pungent smell that no one appreciates.

3. Avocado Oil For Seasoning Cast Iron

BetterBody Foods 100% Pure Avocado Oil.
BetterBody Foods 100% Pure Avocado Oil.

I recommend: BetterBody Foods 100% Pure Avocado Oil

Avocado oil has a remarkably high smoke point of 520 degrees F. This is both a benefit as well as a disadvantage.

The drawback is that to add it to the pan, you need to heat the pan to 525 degrees F. A pan that hot can be very dangerous, and adding oil will increase the risk. Take extreme care!

Avocado oil is a healthy, neutral oil; however, it’s pricier than the other listed choices. But this drawback is offset by the fact that it sure makes your cast ironware taste deliciously seasoned. Professional cooks like me would use this option, whereas the potential risks would deter ordinary cast ironware users from using this oil.

4. Canola Oil For Seasoning Cast Iron

Happy Belly Canola Oil.
Happy Belly Canola Oil.

I recommend: Happy Belly Canola Oil

Canola oil and oils made from soy are among the most used oils used to season cast iron for two primary reasons:

  • They’re cheap and readily accessible everywhere.
  • They can handle excellent smoke points and withstand temperatures up to 105 degrees.

They’re so cheap and have such great smoke points because they’re highly sophisticated.

It is better to season with canola, soybean, or any other vegetable oil than to cook with.

 

5. Olive Oil For Seasoning Cast Iron

Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

I recommend: Pompeian Robust Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Olive oil has a wonderful flavor and delicious aroma and is healthy.

Most people have olive oil in their kitchen cupboards. It’s easily accessible and affordable in every supermarket. 

However, it has a lower smoke point, so if you use olive oil as the seasoning for your cast iron pan, it is necessary to use it at lower temperatures over longer intervals.

To ensure you’re not overheating your olive oil, using an oven is a good method to regulate the temperature. Three hundred fifty degrees F is the ideal temperature.

During the initial seasoning of your pan, the olive oil won’t bond to the cast iron if you're not careful. Moreover, when you cook at a temperature higher than the smoke point of olive oil of 375F, the oil will start to disintegrate and break off, which isn’t ideal.

6. Seasoning Cast Iron Using Tallow or Lard

Tenderflake Pure Bakers Lard.
Tenderflake Pure Bakers Lard.

I recommend: Tenderflake Pure Bakers Lard

If you’re going traditional, you can season cast ironware with Lard.

In the past, this was the most easily accessible source of fat to keep cast iron from getting rusty and maintain the easy-to-clean sheen.

It’s perfectly adequate if there aren’t any dietary, ethical, or personal reasons for using animal fat.

Use tallow or lard by melting a small amount in a hot pan, then pressing on the cast iron.

The reason that rendered animal fat won't continue to be effective is if you don't use the pan frequently. Lard can turn rancid over time. If your pan is left in the pantry for a long time, it may develop a smell.

If you keep your cookware upside down or cover it with the lid, it’ll be more likely to create an unpleasant smell, which can be transferred to food items.

If you use tallow or lard to season your cast ironware, use your pan frequently and keep it in an area with enough airflow.

7. Coconut Oil For Seasoning Cast Iron

Nutiva Organic Virgin Coconut Oil.
Nutiva Organic Virgin Coconut Oil.

I recommend: Nutiva Organic Cold-Pressed Virgin Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a very popular option to season cast ironware.

Due to its health benefits and price point, it has become a sought-after oil in the last 10 years. You can buy it in large “club-sized” vats at an affordable price.

If you love coconut, its scent and slight taste are delightful. However, the question remains: can coconut oil condition cast iron?

You can apply coconut oil to season cast iron, but it has a low smoke point, so you must be cautious when you first begin to season.

It is important to heat the pan to approximately 350 degrees F before adding the coconut oil and then buff it into the pan thoroughly. The temperature must be close to your chosen oil’s smoking point. However, it shouldn’t go over it significantly.

If it is well seasoned, it will cook excellently. If the seasoning does not take when cooking food that is heated greater than the point at which the coconut oils smoke, it’ll begin to degrade that carbonization layer.

If you do not cook at high temperatures frequently, coconut oil can be the ideal solution to season cast iron, particularly if you use it frequently and have it in your kitchen.

If you cook frequently at high temperatures, you may want to spice up your cooking using an oil with a higher smoke point, such as grapeseed oil. I would highly recommend using La Tourangelle Grapeseed Oil.

8. Peanut Oil For Seasoning Cast Iron

La Tourangelle Roasted Peanut Oil.
La Tourangelle Roasted Peanut Oil.

I recommend: La Tourangelle Roasted Peanut Oil

The most significant risk when using peanut oil to flavor cast ironware is that you’ll need to be very careful about using it to cook meals for people allergic to peanuts.

If you’re not suffering from an allergy and aren’t concerned about cooking for someone else shortly, peanut oil is an excellent oil to flavor casting iron.

You should verify whether your oil is refined because they differ in smoke points and must be seasoned at different temperatures.

Peanut oil is not too expensive or difficult to locate; however, it’s certainly not the cheapest.

It has a moderate to high smoke point of about 450 degrees F in the case of refined oils and is used extensively when deep frying, which is why you could have it on hand.

9. Seasoning Cast Iron by Rubbing It With Butter or Ghee

Original Grass-Fed Ghee.
Original Grass-Fed Ghee.

I recommend: Original Grass-Fed Ghee by 4th & Heart

Like lard, seasoning cast iron using butter is a quick and delicious way to spice your regularly used skillet. But you should ensure that you’re using unsalted, real butter.

Margarine and butter substitutes are not the best options to season cast iron. Always stay clear of anything with salt to flavor your skillet, though you can cook your food with salt.

Using butter as your first seasoning won’t give a consistent black patina right away; however, it will begin to develop with time. It’s not the ideal choice, but it can be effective if it’s the only thing you have available and you frequently use it in your cooking.

Ghee’s seasoning is very similar to butter, with one significant distinction--it has a more intense smoke point. When butter is at the upper temperature of the optimal cooking range at 300 degrees F, ghee can hold temperatures up to 475 degrees F. However, it’s not an evenly-spaced seasoning.

Based on your preferences and depending on your priorities, you can choose to rank them differently. Hopefully, the information I have provided will help you determine the appropriate oil to coat your cast ironware, and the chart will be an effective guide.

The Best Method To Season Cast Iron

This article is mainly on the oil used for seasoning cast ironware. It’s recommended to consult the pan’s manufacturer for suggestions regarding the best seasoning.

Some experts suggest that you season up to six times at a low temperature before using the product, while others say the seasoning process should be limited to three times at higher temperatures.

No matter how you prepare to season your cast ironware the very first time,  keep these tips to keep in mind for long-term success:

  • In the beginning, for a few applications, cook fatty meats or roast vegetables in oil frequently.
  • Do not attempt to cook delicate items like eggs or salmon until the pan has been used at least 10 times
  • Beware of highly acidic ingredients like vinegar, tomatoes, wine, or citrus
  • Clean your pans using boiling water. Don’t soak them for any length of time, and only use soap when you’ve prepared something delicate or highly fragrant
  • Be sure to dry your cast ironware thoroughly and quickly, and buff it with a tiny amount of oil after each use

Please note that seasoning anything cast iron is very different from seasoning griddles or other pots and pans.

How To Recondition Cast Iron

After each use of the cast ironware, you must dry and clean it thoroughly. Food particles don’t adhere to cast iron like stainless steel. Therefore, using a towel and a little soapy water is simple to get rid of any food remnants.

Once you’ve got it clean, you must ensure it’s completely dry. It is recommended to heat the pan over the flame to ensure that all water has evaporated before storing it. The water absorbed by an iron skillet can result in the pan rusting.

As long as the pan is dry and clean before storage, you may decide to apply a bit more oil on the surface when you use it or heat the oils in your pan before you use it again.

Frequent use is the best method to ensure your pan is well prepared.

FAQs

What Are the Advantages of Cooking With Cast Ironware?

 

The heat is evenly distributed, and food is not likely to stick to it.

It can handle extreme heat and even tough cooking utensils. 

How Do You Prepare A Cast Iron Grill For Seasoning?

The oils you use to season a grill made of cast iron are the same ones you would apply to season the cast iron pan; however, the method is slightly different.

Using the heat from your oven is simpler than using the grill itself to cook and season the cast iron grills.

  • The oven should be heated to 200 degrees F, and the grates should be heated for 15 minutes.
  • With oven mitts, remove the oven grates and raise the temperature to 450 degrees F.
  • With a paper towel or microfiber cloth, cover each grate with a light coat of your preferred oil (reference the article above).
  • Return the grates to the oven for one hour, at high temperature, to let the oil set.
  • Let your grates cool for an hour before repeating the process three to five more times.

Yes, spicing up an iron grill can be a time-consuming task, however, it’s well worth it to safeguard your grill from damage and to provide the highest quality food in the long run. Regularly keeping your grill clean is much faster and less time-consuming. If the grills on your grates have become dirty or sticky due to prior use, follow these simple steps:

  • If they’re not rusted but sticky, turn up the stove, then cook until the iron turns to char. This makes it simpler to scrape off
  • If they’re sticky but not too rusty, put them in a large bin filled with a solution of vinegar and water (1 part of vinegar to four parts of water)
  • After you have completed steps 1 or 2. Ensure the grates are cool enough to be handled, and then dry them with an extra-large microfiber cloth or a paper towel.
  • Sprinkle the grills with the preferred oil to make it easy to re-season them

How often should you refresh cast ironware?

Re-season only whenever it is necessary. Regular usage keeps it fresh.

If you’re working with cooking equipment for camping or any other reason, only use your pan a couple of times per year and be sure that it’s cleaned thoroughly and is dry before storing it. Re-season it only if you find that rust has formed.

What Is The Best Oil to Season Carbon Steel?

Although your carbon steel pan is already seasoned, it’s an excellent idea to season it like a cast-iron skillet.

Flaxseed oil is now the most talked-about oil. Canola oil is likely to be the most widely used oil because of its high smoke point, however, all these oils listed above will work with carbon steel in just the same way as cast iron.

How Do You Season an Old Casting Iron Dutch Oven?

When seasoning a cast iron Dutch oven, choose an oil that doesn’t become rancid. Seed oils or anything else that has to be kept in the refrigerator, like butter or lard, can cause an unpleasant smell or taste in your Dutch cooker, even if it’s not being used often.

 

 

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