What oils should you use for cast iron cooking and seasoning?
Oil is a key component in what creates the natural, easy-release cooking surface of cast iron.
What oils are great for cooking in cast iron?
When cooking in cast iron, you should add a little oil to the pan before adding your food. This helps ensure the food doesn't stick, and it helps build layers of seasoning. You can generally use whatever oil you prefer, as long as the cooking temperature is below the smoke point of the oil.
Olive oil, vegetable oil, sunflower oil, and grapeseed oil are all great multipurpose cooking oils—you can use them for everything from sautéing to baking.
What oils are great for seasoning cast iron?
Lodge was the first brand to begin seasoning cast iron cookware in the foundry. We spray a thin layer of soy-based vegetable oil onto our cast iron and carbon steel pots and pans and then bake the cookware in a large oven. There are no synthetic chemicals added. The oil is kosher and contains no animal fat, peanut oil, or paints.
All cooking oils and fats can be used for seasoning cast iron, but based on availability, affordability, effectiveness, and having a high smoke point, Lodge recommends vegetable oil, melted shortening, or canola oil, like our Seasoning Spray.
Traditionally, lard was used to season cast iron, and while that is still okay, we do not recommend it unless you frequently use your cookware. If the cookware is stored for too long, lard and other animal-based fats can go rancid.
Using flaxseed oil to season cast iron pans is a growing trend. Flaxseed oil has a very low smoke point—at just 225 degrees F—which means it's quick to polymerize into a layer of seasoning. But, it can be quite expensive and difficult to find. It also has a strong smell to it.
Whichever oil you choose, it’s important to make sure you heat up your pan to that oil's smoke point. When the oil hits that smoke point, a chemical reaction called polymerization occurs, bonding the oil to your pan to create a layer of natural seasoning.
The oil that we use to season our cookware is a Kosher-certified, soy-based vegetable oil. Although the oil is Kosher, Lodge's manufacturing process is not certified Kosher.
View the Kosher certification on our supplier's website, here.
No, we do that for you. When we make cast iron in our foundries in South Pittsburg, Tennessee, we spray a thin layer of vegetable oil onto the surface and bake it at a high temperature in a large oven. This provides a protective layer of seasoning on your cast iron, giving it an easy-release finish that's 100% natural. All you have to do after you purchase your cast iron is rinse, hand dry, then start cooking!