As we know, seasoning is a must for all cast iron cookware. And the most important thing that you need for a proper seasoning is an oil. For seasoning purposes, you need an oil that has a low smoke point, and that can rapidly oxidize and carbonize due to the heat. It’s because of the burning oil that forms the non-stick coating on the surface of the cast iron cookware.
However, when it comes to perfect and proper seasoning, the low-smoke oils are the best compared to the high smoke points such as peanut, sunflower, safflower, or soybean oil.
To determine which is the best oil to season a cast iron cookware, the simple answer would be the one that can survive and smoke at high heat or temperatures. If you want to use nut or vegetable oils, they should be refined.
To assist you in determining the correct oil for seasoning, below are our recommendations for you.
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Why we need to Season Cast Iron
Seasoning a cast iron skillet or any other cookware makes the surface non-stick. Due to this non-stick surface, there is less need for butter, fat, or oil when cooking. Well-seasoned cookware is also simple to maintain and clean. And it is less prone to rust, which results in long-lasting working life. When you use a thin coating of oil on the cast iron and heat it, it evaporates like smoke. And there is only carbon polymer left that is bonded to the cast iron.
This creates a barrier that safeguards the cast iron cookware from the air so it will not rust. In this way, the seasoning also protects cast iron from rust and corrosion.
Conversely, a well-seasoned cast iron cookware might not be as non-stick as Teflon, but it is much better than the stainless steel.
By performing a proper and correct seasoning, bare iron cookware can develop a non-stick surface without any toxic or synthetic coatings.
What is the Best oil to Season Cast Iron Skillet
So, it is the time to look at some of the best oils that you can buy to prolong the life of your cast iron skillets.
1. The Best: GrapeOla Grapeseed Oil
GrapeOla comes from Spain. The oil is obtained from the hand-picked Spanish wine grape seeds, and it is quite popular for its flavor and multiple purposes. But here, we would like to recommend you to use this Grapeseed oil for seasoning of your cast iron skillet and other cookware.
GrapeOla is perfect for dressings, baking, or sautéing. But most of the users are unaware that it has great heat surviving properties; hence you can use it for seasoning purposes. To be precise, the oil can safely handle the high heat up to 420°F. So, you can use it to season cast iron pans, deep frying without smoking, or splattering.
The oil contains a high amount of vitamin E and phenolic antioxidants along with omega-6 fatty acids. All these ingredients are entirely safe for your health. USDA Organic certifies the product itself.
2. Good: Caron & Doucet – Cast Iron Seasoning & Cleaning Oil
Caron Doucet Cast Iron seasoning and cleaning oil are suitable for all types of cookware such as skillets, woks, pots, griddles, ovens, and more. This Caron & Doucet oil is extracted from refined coconut oil, and it also contains food-grade essential oil.
This cast-iron skillet conditioner will enhance the lifespan of your cast iron cookware by protecting them from various elements. After using this cast iron seasoning oil, there will be no bad odor left behind in the pan; neither your pan will get over sticky when seasoned with other oils such as canola and palm oil.
This seasoning oil is not like canola oil, hemp, flaxseed, or other common oils, so it will never go rancid. This is because it is made from refined coconut oil that does not contains high fatty acids.
This seasoning oil keeps your food healthy and safe and allows for natural seasoning. The oil is safe for your health as it is made from 100% natural ingredients. It does not contain parabens, phosphates, and synthetic foaming agents.
Read more: How to Season Cast Iron – Beginner’s Guide
3. Barlean’s Fresh Organic Flax Oil
Here comes the top-rated organic flax oil by Barlean. Like other products on this list, this flax oil is also well-suited for different uses, including seasoning purposes. When you are using this Barlean’s flax oil to season or re-season your cast iron skillets, you will see the significant difference in the condition of your skillet immediately.
Furthermore, after using this flax oil for four to five times, your cast iron cookware will come back to their original condition, and importantly, they will be free from rust. It offers a smooth and shiny appearance to your cast iron pans that you all want.
However, we will advise you to use this flax oil on a regular basis to maintain this shiny and smooth look of your cookware.
Lastly, this Barleans Organic Flax Oil is available in 8, 12, 16, or 32-ounce bottles to pick the one according to your specific needs.
Read more: 10 Best Cast Iron Skillets
4. Kuche Chef Organic Cast Iron Oil & Cast Iron Conditioner
Kuche Chef Cast Iron Oil and Conditioner is perfect for seasoning purposes as it is a “drying oil.” In simple words, as you will use this oil, it will change into a tough film over the period of the time.
This cast iron oil is safe to use on all cast iron cookware such as skillets, pots, pans, ovens, woks, grills, and mineral B pans. This Kuche Chef Cast Iron Oil is made in the USA. It contains organic flaxseed oil. It also contains Omega-3 fatty acids in large quantity.
As it is a drying oil, it does not work in the same way as some other common oils such as canola oil, palm oil, and other household oils. This organic cast iron oil and conditioners make your cookware non-stick, and it will never stink.
This oil also protects your cast iron cookware from rust and corrosion. It becomes quite simple and rapid to maintain the cookware by using this oil. It will not leave any false odor behind in your cookware; in fact, according to the consumer reports, it will make the taste of your food better than before.
Lastly, with the pack, you will also get detailed instructions regarding its usage and clean the cast iron cookware.
5. Crisbee Swipe Cast Iron and Carbon Steel Seasoning
If you want an oil that enhances the life of your cast iron cookware significantly and is safe for your health as well, then look no further; your quest end here. This Crisbee Swipe cast iron and carbon steel oil is perfect for seasoning uses. It efficiently enhances the life of both carbon steel cookware and cast iron cookware.
After using this Crisbee to season the cast iron skillets, you will notice a positive change in your cookware’s overall condition. The cleaning and maintaining the cookware will be effortless when you use this seasoning oil.
The 3.4 OZ pack of this Crisbee swipe cast iron contains plant-based oils that are enough to season a large 10-inch skillet more than 300 times. In this way, not only the product is effective, but it is highly efficient as well.
With this Crisbee Swipe Cast Iron Plant-Based Oils, all your cookware of carbon steel and cast iron will have a smooth and non-stick surface, and only with the regular maintenance; their working life will be longer than ever before.
Lastly, the cost of this product is within everyone’s reach, and in our opinion, it is the best oil to season a cast iron skillets.
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Signs That Your Cast Iron Cookware Needs Seasoning
Well-seasoned cast iron is a blessing and offers many benefits to your health. But will the passage of time, it might get less effective or damaged. Below are common some signs that indicate that your cat iron cookware needs a proper seasoning.
Forming of Rust
Rust on the cookware usually occurs when the cookware gets exposed to moisture for a long time, and it is not harmful to your health. Forming of rust on the surface of the cast iron cookware or the outer side indicates that it needs rusting. However, you can try to scrub it out before seasoning, and if rust is removed, you are good to go, or else you will have to season it properly.
Sometimes you will notice that food is sticking to your cookware. This might happen due to many reasons, such as not using enough oil, using bad oil or your cookware is losing its seasoning. So, you can check when cooking, and if there is a need for seasoning, and you will have built extra layers of protection through seasoning.
Occasionally, after cooking, you will see the black specks in your cast iron cookware. It is an indication that your pan is not well-seasoned, or it requires seasoning.
Residues can be due to the bad seasoning, or they indicate that seasoning is getting damaged on your cookware. The residue is harmful to your health and should be addressed timely in a proper way. If these are present after you cook every time, then it means your cookware needs seasoning.