What is the Best Oil to Season a Cast Iron Skillet?
When cared for properly, a cast iron can last a lifetime or multiple generations. You should season your cast iron before you start using it and also throughout the time of usage.
Seasoning protects your pan from rusting and provides a non-stick layer for cooking. The best oil should have a high smoking point, and the best is grape seed oil, animal fat, and flaxseed oil.
These are oils with different qualities. Some are good for seasoning, while others may affect your final product when using the cast-iron cookware.
This leads to the question then, what is the best oil to season out a cast-iron skillet? This is a very divisive question, and no one agrees on the best oil to use despite everyone having tricks and tools of seasoning.
Four cast-iron skillet experts, namely; Isaac Morton, Liz Seru, Dennis Powell, Stephen Muscarella, and Stuart Shank, were asked to explain the best oil to use in seasoning, and they responded by grouping them into four categories as follows;
- The Best –Grapeseed Oil
All four experts confirmed that grapeseed oil is the best in seasoning cast iron skillet. According to Stuart Shank, grapeseed strength is attributed to its low saturated fat content and high smoke point.
Grapeseed oil has a neutral odor and will not alter the taste of the food you cook on your cast iron cookware. Besides, this oil is relatively affordable.
- Good-Saturated Fats
Dennis Powell prefers saturated fats such as animal fats and butter. He argues that they season the pan naturally while cooking. This is advantageous since you don’t need to buy special oil to season your pan.
You don’t also need to apply many layers of seasoning. The only shortcoming is that the pan will not look great, and instead, it will have some dark spots and streaks. After seasoning it this way severally, it will turn black eventually.
- Also good-Flaxseed
Flaxseed oil falls in this category. It is an odd choice but very popular with some cast iron experts like Liz Seru. It is preferred because of its low smoke point. This is the temperature at which oils start polymerizing to the pan.
Flaxseed oil is also among the few oils that are food-safe and dries out naturally over the pan’s surface, creating a strong and non-stick layer. The main downsides of flaxseed oil are smell, price, and precision.
The flaxseed price is high compared to other common cooking oils and can only be found in health food stores and pharmacies. Some users say the oil is somewhat finicky. Other testers question its long-term durability.
- Bad-Olive Oil
There is no cast-iron skillet expert who recommends olive oil despite being the most popular and widely available cooking oil in America. According to Isaac Morton, olive oil is tougher due to its low smoke point.
When you use olive oil, the seasoning may start to degrade as you cook it in the pan. The seasoning does not last as long as with other oils and also adds a smoky flavor to your food.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best amount of oil to use when seasoning a cast-iron skillet?
All you need is a little dab of oil, about an eighth teaspoon of your preferred oil.
However, you can start with a little more to spread it more evenly and wipe out the excess oil before using the cast iron skillet.
- Why makes all food stick to a cast-iron skillet?
Several reasons can cause food to stick on cast cookware. One of them is the use of too little oil, which means the skillet is not well-seasoned.
If your skillet is new, you must use a good layer of seasoning oil; otherwise, your food will end up sticking on it.
- What is the best temperature to season a cast-iron skillet?
The recommended temperature to season a cast iron skillet is 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Most of the traditional skillets do not come with a non-stick surface.
You, therefore, must season it with cooking oil and use it at a temperature of about 350° F
To keep your pan in good condition, you should regularly season it. If you notice food sticking to the surface or rust, it is t time to clean your pan and season it.
Choose the seasoning oil to use carefully as it determines how your pan turns out.