Cast iron is a fantastic material for cookware but needs to be seasoned with oil to keep it nonstick and rust resistant. Here are the best seasoning oils for your cast iron cookware.
Cast Iron Cooking
Cast iron is an ideal cooking material for getting the perfect sear on steaks or other proteins. Cast iron is capable of holding a large amount of heat; therefore you do not get the dreaded temperature drop when you add ingredients, like your steak, to the pan. This steady consistent heat is what makes cast iron cooking so good at producing a sear, and why it’s so desirable and popularly used to make skillets and dutch ovens.
Best Oil For Cast Iron Cooking
While cast iron is an ideal cooking material, it does need to be seasoned. Seasoning your cast iron:
- provides a non-stick surface
- protects against rust
- keeps it looking nice
Cast iron does not have a perfectly smooth surface. Applying a light layer of oil fills in the gaps of the rough surface. When heated, the oil becomes hardened and binds to the cast iron, achieving a hard smooth non stick surface. Layers of seasoning can be built up to achieve additional layers of smoothness.
Top Seasoning Oils for Cast Iron Cookware
Here are some of the best oils and fats to use to best care for your cast iron cookware.
Grapeseed oil is a very common oil for seasoning cast iron. The smoke point of grapeseed oil is fairly high, meaning it takes higher temperatures to break down the oil. Grapeseed oil is also neutral in flavor, which is a positive so that the flavor of your food will not be affected.
Grapeseed oil is a practical seasoning solution. It is fairly inexpensive. Since you won’t need much for seasoning your cast iron cookware, you will be able to use the rest for cooking. Due to its neutral flavor, it’s perfect anytime you need oil but don’t want any flavor.
Flaxseed oil is regarded by some to be the best oil for seasoning cast iron. Its smoke point is low, so it can be seasoned at lower temperatures. Flaxseed oil is not a neutral flavor oil.
Flaxseed oil can be a bit on the pricey side. Also, because of it’s low smoke point, it is not great for cooking. Especially if you don’t like the flavor, which some don’t.
Overall, it’s a good oil for seasoning cast iron cookware. However, you may be stuck with a lot of pricey extra flaxseed oil afterwards if you don’t like the flavor.
Canola oil is another very popular seasoning oil for cast iron. Canola oil has a high smoke point, so the cast iron will have to be seasoned at high temperatures. Canola oil is also neutral in flavor.
Canola oil is probably the most practical seasoning oil. It is very cheap and widely available. It likely to already be in the pantry. Due to its high smoke point and neutral flavor, it can be used for many cooking purposes. Therefore, it won’t just sit around in your pantry after you’ve used it for seasoning.
Another option is to use a specialty oil to season your cast iron. This certainly will work perfectly to season your cast iron, as it is specialized to do so. The downside is that it is quite pricey, and it does not serve another purpose. It is not meant for cooking. This is a good solution if you are seasoning cast iron often.