This Is The Best Oil To Season A Cast Iron Skillet With

One of the beautiful aspects of the cast iron skillet is the seasoning process. It can also be a little overwhelming if you are a newbie. One of the biggest questions new owners of this fine cookware ask is: What is the best oil to season your cast iron skillet with? Lodge Cast Iron, a longtime maker of these skillets, is truly an expert when it comes to the seemingly temperamental pans. 

On the company website, Lodge credits itself with being the first brand that ever seasoned cast iron pots and pans. The company does this by spraying the utensils with soy-based vegetable oil and baking them in the oven before they are packaged up and sent to market. Seasoning is done to protect them from rusting and keep them shiny and ready to use. But how do you best continue to season your skillet once it is in your kitchen? 

Basically, every time you cook with the pan you are adding to and maintaining its seasoning. Over time, you are building up layers of fat that will contribute to your foods when you cook, as well as the longevity of the skillet, so using the right oil can be critical. 

The best and most economical oil is vegetable oil

According to Lodge, vegetable oil, melted shortening, or canola oil are your best options for seasoning your cast iron pan at home. The criteria they factored in when ranking oils included "availability, affordability, effectiveness, and smoke point." But whatever oil you choose, it is important that you heat your cast iron pan to the oil's smoke point so it can bond with the pan. Lodge also cautions those who favor using lard to season their pans, noting that only individuals who cook with their cast iron skillets a lot should do so – otherwise you risk adding a rancid flavor to your food. 

If you are not a fan of vegetable oil, World of Pans favors grapeseed oil, highlighting its high smoke point of 420 degrees Fahrenheit as its greatest attribute when it comes to seasoning cast iron cookware. The site also notes that grapeseed oil is a flavor-neutral oil, which might add to the attractiveness of using it. Both Lodge and World of Pans noted that flaxseed oil is becoming a trendy option to use despite it having a low smoke point because it dries out, forming a hard coating over the skillet. But Lodge points out that it is kind of pricy.