Every person has their bag of tips and tricks in seasoning a cast iron. But for that to happen, they need the best oil. The burning of the oil creates a non-stick coating on the cast iron. The key is to use the best oil to season cast iron with a high smoke point because it can survive high temperatures.
If you ask online which is the best oil to season cast iron, people will say this and that. Most people never agree with only one thing. Perhaps you simply have to look for the specific seasoning oil that suits your taste. In that case, this review and buyer’s guide might be of help.
Quick Overview: Top 3 Best Cast Iron Seasoning Oils
|Barlean’s Fresh Organic Flax Oil||Check Price|
|Pompeian 100% Grapeseed Oil||Check Price|
|Nutiva Organic Cold-Pressed Virgin Coconut Oil||Check Price|
7 Best Oils For Seasoning Cast Iron – Review
1. Barlean’s Fresh Organic Flax Oil – The Best Organic Gluten-Free Cooking and Seasoning Oil
Barlean is a known dependable brand for cooking oils, and its Fresh Organic Flax Oil is an excellent example of that. It is not only healthy for being gluten-free and rich in ALA omega-3 fatty acid. It is also ideal for seasoning a cast iron cookware. It is an excellent oil with a high smoking point that leaves no food sticking onto the cast iron’s surface.
Many enthusiasts swear by flaxseed oil, and Barlean’s Fresh Organic Flax Oil does seem to work well. Homeowners and amateur cooks would undoubtedly find it useful to know that Barlean’s Flax Oil is non-GMO Project Verified, vegan, and USDA organic. It is also cold-pressed and unfiltered that presents excellent versatility.
Flaxseed oil is a bit expensive, though, which may deter you. However, it creates a hard, durable seasoning that lasts a long time. When it comes to flaxseed oil, it is vital to use unfiltered, cold-pressed, and 100% organic to avoid re-seasoning a lot. Fortunately, Barlean’s Fresh Organic Flax Oil is just like that.
- Protected from light and air
- It can be used for smoothies, yogurt, salad dressings, etc.
- Great bottle design
- It has a bitter taste
2. Pompeian 100% Grapeseed Oil – The Best Non-Allergenic and Affordable Oil for Cooking and Seasoning
The biggest benefit of grapeseed oil is it is one of the most affordable oils you can use to season a cast iron. Grapeseed oil is high in polyunsaturated fats. Because of that, it has the best cross-linking, allowing it to create a durable coating over the surface of your cast iron skillet.
That and along with Pompeian Grapeseed Oil’s added health benefits, make it at the top of this list. This particular brand especially boasts of the grapes imported from France that were used in this oil. Pompeian Grapeseed Oil also claims to be a rich source of omega 7, fatty acids, and vitamin E.
It is a healthy and multifunction oil that genuinely works well in seasoning a cast iron skillet. At first, you might be concerned that it bakes onto the pan in a blotchy way, but it results in an even color after a few more coatings. By the end of the seasoning process, you get a durable, incredibly smooth, and non-stick surface.
- Delicate taste
- Excellent fluidity
- Healthy and multipurpose
- Not a great packaging, leaks often happen
3. Nutiva Organic Cold-Pressed Virgin Coconut Oil – The Freshest Virgin Coconut Oil for Cooking and Seasoning
Nutiva Organic Cold-Pressed Virgin Coconut Oil is one of the best organic oils and the freshest one on this list. It is organic and adheres strictly to the USDA guidelines, making it an excellent addition to your kitchen. This oil is also extremely versatile since you can use it for cooking, baking, and of course, seasoning.
Pure coconut oil has a smoke point of 450-degree F, which is excellent for seasoning cast iron. However, this cold-pressed, virgin coconut oil has a lower smoke point of 350-degree F. You can still use it to create the patina, but you need to warm up the pan well before using it. Still, Nutiva Organic Virgin Coconut Oil is an excellent all-rounder.
Even with Nutiva, though, proper seasoning is essential so that the cast iron skillet does not need to be re-seasoned regularly. Coconut oil creates a durable coating, but if you see it wearing off, showing the uncoated metal or rusting, then it is time to re-season. On that note, you can once again use Nutiva Virgin Coconut Oil to season it.
- Multifunction oil
- Dense in nutrients
- Extracted naturally
- Cold-pressed in an all-natural process
- Light taste
- No odor
- Cold-pressed, virgin coconut oil isn’t the best for seasoning
4. California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil – The Best Certified Virgin Olive Cooking and Seasoning Oil
California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a cold press oil that is non-GMO Project Verified. It is a certified extra virgin oil attested to have great quality, making it an excellent addition in the kitchen. With its mildly balanced flavor, it serves as a go-to for all kinds of cooking preparations.
Olive oil is a good source of oleic acid, polyphenols, and antioxidants, making it a healthy oil. However, these benefits only apply during sauteing and cooking. It does not have much effect on creating a patina on the surface of a cast iron. You can still use it for seasoning, although its melting point is not that great because it is not as high.
You can still use this olive oil to season cast iron. The black coating it creates is not as durable as other oils. But it works if you do not have anything else. If you have this oil in your pantry, it can create a protective layer good enough to last a few cooking preparations.
- Rich in nutrients
- An all-rounder oil
- Low smoke point
5. Chosen Foods 100% Pure Avocado Oil – The Best High-Heat Avocado Oil for Cooking and Seasoning
Chosen Foods 100% Pure Avocado Oil is one of the top avocado oils for various uses. This oil is quite popular for being delicious and made to perfection. It is a kitchen workhorse that can be used for dressings, cooking, and marinading. Its 500-degree F smoke point can handle flame grilling, high-heat sauteing and seasoning a cast iron.
Avocado oil is an excellent choice for cast iron seasoning because it does not taste or smell. It is neutral and also has a higher smoke point, which means it can handle the higher temperatures needed to create the patina. It is a great all-around oil that would do well in your kitchen.
Its neutrality makes it ideal for both Western and Eastern cooking. Chosen Foods Avocado Oil is also gluten-free, plant-based, and certified by the Non-GMO Project. Although these do not affect the oil’s use for cast iron seasoning, they make you want to get this oil for all-purpose use.
- Can be widely used in the kitchen
- Suitable for vegans and health-conscious people
- Taste is not ideal for seasoning
6. Planters Peanut Oil – The Best Refined Pure Peanut Oil for Cooking and Seasoning
Planters Peanut Oil is made purely from peanuts without any other oils added. It is refined for cooking and does not have any flavor. It is particularly great for cooking snacks, but it can also be an excellent oil to season a cast iron thanks to a smoke point of 450-degree F. Although it is said to have a taste, it does not smell like peanuts at all.
People expect that it should taste and smell like a peanut, but Planters Peanut Oil is neutral. That means you can use it to create a patina on a cast iron without worrying that it will affect the taste of the other foods you make. Even though it is not perfect, being a vegetable oil makes it ideal for creating a cast iron’s black coating.
Peanut oil is primarily used by the Chinese in reaching high temperatures when they stir-fry. Cooking with peanut oil helps retain flavors. Thus, it does not only help develop a patina on the cast iron. It may even help add flavor to whatever you cook. Planters Peanut Oil is one of the best and most affordable options in the market for this.
- Pure peanut oil
- Refined oil
- Not the best smoke point
7. Happy Belly Canola Oil – The Best Light-Tasted, Versatile Oil for Cooking and Seasoning
Out of the many different nut oils or vegetable oils that you can use to season a cast iron, canola oil is one of the most popular. It is particularly great for cooking and seasoning because you can store it for quite some time. Happy Belly Canola Oil is an excellent canola oil with a light taste and high smoke point.
It is excellent for both stir-frying and deep-frying, the former a good way of creating a patina on a cast iron. After the seasoning process, Happy Belly Canola Oil creates a resin finish on the skillet, protecting the cast iron even when in storage. However, you have to be prepared for the pungent odor it creates after using it for seasoning.
Canola oil has a high smoke point of up to 400-degrees F. You can therefore safely use it for seasoning a cast iron through the baking method. It should be able to stand a hot enough temperature to create the patina. It is said to have a bit of taste, but it is relatively neutral for cast iron seasoning.
- Light flavored
- Made of 100% canola
- Poor packaging
A Buyer’s Guide to Look for the Best Oil for Cast Iron
Before buying oil to season a cast iron, you will need to consider a few things. It is vital that you avoid purchasing and using the wrong oil, or it might end up damaging your cast iron skillet. Instead of maintaining or seasoning your cookware, the wrong seasoning oil could lead you to buy new cast iron.
This can happen when your only guideline to buying oil is the price. Everyone likes a bargain, that’s for sure. However, the price you pay must be equal to a good quality oil you can use to cook and season. That said, below are the main points to think about when looking for the best oil for a cast iron cookware.
Some oils need to be refrigerated, such as flaxseed oil. It will turn faster if you do not refrigerate it. On the other hand, you can keep other oils at room temperature. That said, you must choose a seasoning oil that you can store properly. If you don’t have a refrigerator, flaxseed is not the best oil for you to buy.
The oils in this review article come in various sizes. With that, you need to consider if a bottle of the oil you bought is enough for the cast iron cookware you want to season. The amount of oil you usually need for seasoning is typically 1-2 teaspoons. But if you have more items to season, that means you might need more oil than you bought.
The type of oil to use
As you have seen in this article, different kinds of oils are ideal for seasoning cast iron. The best oil is a hard choice, but vegetable oils are the most recommended than animal-based oils. This is because animal fats can smell rancid, which means a cast iron seasoned with it will smell unless you use the cookware all the time.
On that note, coconut, flaxseed, peanut, and almond oil are the best oils for seasoning cast iron. Among them, flaxseed oil is at the top of the choices. It is said to create a protective layer on the surface of the cast iron. It develops a tough patina that can last even after a long-time of use.
That means you need not have to re-season your cast iron cookware regularly. Flaxseed oil is also said to create a smooth, even, but hard surface. Other oils also create a beautiful patina, but they are soft and easy to scratch. This means the flaxseed oil in this list may be the one to give your cast iron the results you want.
High Smoke Point
There are all kinds of oils you can use for cast iron seasoning. This makes it confusing to choose one. But if there is only one criterion to look for, it is the oil’s smoke point that is most important. The seasoning process involves high temperature. Low smoke oil will burn, while high smoke oil can withstand the heat to create the patina you desire.
Another critical criterion is to choose all-natural oil. The reason why you cook with cast iron is likely because you want to avoid the harsh chemicals of other cookware. That means a processed oil with toxic chemicals is the last thing you would like to apply to your cast iron.
You can use this guide to look for the seasoning oil that suits your needs and preferences.
When do you need to re-season your cast iron?
It is quite apparent when it is time to season your cast iron. You will know if you see food sticking on it, which means the seasoning broke down. Because there is no longer enough barrier, food adheres to the iron pores, and so it sticks onto the cookware. It creates a sticky mess that you can avoid by re-seasoning the cast iron. You can season your cast iron by following the instructions below.
- Clean the cast iron
Start by cleaning your cast iron cookware thoroughly. Use steel wool to scrub the entirety of the pan or skillet. You can use soap since you will be seasoning the cast iron anyway. When you clean inside, remove not only the food stuck on it but the rust as well.
- Preheat the oven
While cleaning, it is best to preheat your oven. Set it to around 180-degree C. This way, you can quickly bake the cast iron and speed up the seasoning process.
- Rinse and dry the cast iron completely
After you are done washing the cast iron, make sure you rinse it well and dry it thoroughly.
- Season the cast iron
Once the cast iron is dry, season it with your chosen oil. Add a teaspoon of the oil onto the inner surface, then use a paper towel to rub it all over the cookware. Rub it all over until it creates a thin layer of oil, and then remove any excess.
- Place cast iron into the oven
After you are done coating the cast iron, place it inside the oven you preheated before. When you put it inside, it has to be upside down. Let the cast iron bake for about an hour.
- Let them cool off
When an hour passed, turn off the oven. Remember to let the cast iron and oven cool off first before opening the oven door. It might take at least half an hour, so it helps to be patient. You can take the cast iron out once it cooled off to see the difference.
- Repeat the steps several times
If you can, repeat the steps above 2 to 3 more times. You will need to bake the cast iron this much to see it well-seasoned with a glossy shine and smooth, non-stick surface.
- Clean the cast iron regularly
So that the pan is always in good shape and the seasoning lasts a long time, cleaning it after every use is crucial. It’s also important to dry it thoroughly before storing it so that your cast iron does not rust.
Frequently Asked Questions
One of the great things about gaining information online is that you can also get insights from people’s frequently asked questions regarding a certain subject. Not everyone knows everything, so to help you, below are some answers to the most common questions about the best oil for cast iron seasoning.
Can you use olive oil to season cast iron?
You can use olive oil to season a cast iron, but it's not ideal. This is because olive oil has a relatively lower smoke point. You need a high smoke point to create the patina on the cast iron skillet, but olive oil can work if you no other option.
Is grapeseed oil good for seasoning cast iron?
It is excellent for seasoning cast iron as it has a high smoking point of 480-degrees F. It also resists breaking down, so it can withstand cooking at a high temperature quite well. However, don't use 'virgin' or 'cold-pressed' grapeseed oil as it’s only designed for cooking.
How much oil does it take to season cast iron?
Add one teaspoon of oil into the skillet. Don't overdo it, or your skillet will feel sticky after you seasoned it. Use a paper towel to rub the oil evenly all over. Add one more teaspoon if needed, but it should only coat the pan in the thinnest layer.
Is lard good for seasoning cast iron?
You can use lard or pig fat to season a cast iron. However, it’s not the best unless you often use your skillet. This is because lard and animal-based fats often go fetid if you store the cookware for too long. You can use vegetable oils instead.
How many times do you season a cast-iron skillet?
It takes more than a single coating of oil to season a cast iron thoroughly. You need to repeat it two to three times to get an excellent non-stick surface. As for re-seasoning, you can do so when you see the patina wear off, which depends on usage.
Looking for the best oil for season cast iron is not easy given all the options available. But with the buyer’s guide and reviews above, your search might become easier. It’s important to remember to choose an all-natural oil with a high smoke point. Of course, a cheap but good quality seasoning oil is the best.