Ah, the age-old question. What is the best oil to season cast iron with? Today I share the best oils for cast iron per the experts, along with my personal favorites.
We keep quite a few cast iron skillets in regular rotation here as we are constantly testing new recipes. And with that comes the need for periodic maintenance.
So, for the question of the day, “What is the best oil to season cast iron?” Well, we go to Lodge Cast Iron for the answer.
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Lodge cast iron recommended seasoning oil.
Lodge recommends vegetable oil, melted shortening, or canola oil as found in their own seasoning spray.
I go to Lodge specifically since they make most cast irons found in homes across America. And the fact that they have a reputation for creating lasting USA-made skillets for over a hundred years.
My favorite oils for seasoning cast iron
I have used a lot of different oils to season cast iron, and upfront, I want to say, I have never had a bad experience.
Every time I have used oil to season a skillet, it has always worked well and lasted as long as I would have expected.
The best oil for cast iron, from my personal experience, is coconut oil.
This oil is great for seasoning cast irons in the oven, which you can read about here.
It’s definitely not the most popular oil to season cast iron with, being on the lower end of the smoke point scale at 350°.
It does make the baking process a bit quicker, allowing me to apply more coats to my skillet in less time.
Is a high smoke point or low smoke point better for seasoning cast iron?
For best results, choose an oil with a smoke point above 350°F. This will ensure a nice, solid, durable non-stick coating.
Do cast irons require frequent seasonings?
Of course, the frequency of seasoning your cooking skillet all comes down to use. Under moderate use, a skillet can easily go a year between seasonings.
That time can drastically be reduced if abrasive scrubbers such as stainless steel sponges come into play.
If you notice the bottom of your skillet looking worn, or food is starting to stick in the pan, you may be able to get away with doing a quick seasoning on the stovetop.
I walk you through seasoning a skillet on the stove here.
Oil smoke point for cast iron
- Avocado oil: 520°F
- Soybean oil: 450°F
- Corn oil: 450°F
- Peanut oil: 450°F
- Sesame seed oil: 410°-450°F
- Sunflower oil: 440°F
- Canola oil: 400°-425°F
- Grapeseed oil: 420°F
- Vegetable oil: 400°F
- Olive oil (extra virgin): 325°-375°F
- Coconut oil: 350°F
- Flaxseed oil: 225°F
The flaxseed trend
You’ll notice flaxseed oil making an appearance at the bottom of the list above. Recently, at least to me, flaxseed oil appears to be increasingly popular for seasoning cast iron.
I have yet to see its long-term durability, but I look forward to testing it on my own equipment to see how it holds up.
Is olive oil a good choice for seasoning cast iron?
One more oil I want to mention is olive oil. It has a lot of bad press surrounding the fact that it is on the lower end of the smoke point scale and burns easier than other oils.
Along with having a lower smoke point, if the skillet is constantly heated up to that temperature, the seasoning will degrade quicker than a higher smoke point oil.
I have used olive oil to season skillets in the past and have not noticed any issues with it. But with that said, if you are doing high-heat cooking, you may consider using a different oil for seasoning cast iron.
Choosing the right oil to season cast iron has never been easier!
There are so many oils to choose from, there is no need to go out and buy any special oil for your skillet.
I hope this post provided you with the best oils to season cast iron skillets and that you can feel comfortable creating a protective coating on your favorite cooking pans.
If you have an old skillet with rust, like more than a little surface rust, you need to check out this post here.