Cast Iron is one of the most popular cookware out there. Its the original nonstick and its affordable to boot. However, the performance of its nonstick ability is related to the seasoning. How well developed the seasoning and how durable the seasoning depends on the oil used initially. While corn oil is a good and affordable oil to use, they are not as durable as Flaxseed oil. It has certain chemical properties that makes it one of the most durable oil out there. Manufacturer like lodge also sell their own proprietary oil blend for seasoning. The one you choose should really depend on your need and preference.
Best Cast Iron Seasoning Oil List
Below you can find a list of some of the Best Cast Iron Seasoning Oil on the market. While flaxseed oil is the best, other oil from different manufacturer is a good choice. Theyre more affordable and better for the occasional re seasoning.
Barlean’s Fresh Organic Flax Oil, 16 Fl Oz (Best Overall)
Barlean’s Fresh Organic Flax Oil is 100% pure flaxseed oil. You can use the oil for more than just seasoning cast iron. It can be used in salad, food and more. Its recommended that you store the oil in the fridge to prolong the life of the oil. Its one of the best selling flaxseed oil on the market.
Crisbee Stik Cast Iron and Carbon Steel Seasoning (Best Alternative)
If you want a different oil from flaxseed, crisbee is a good alternative. Its easier to apply than regular oil. All you need to do is coat it with the stick. After a few run, you will get a unbelievable sheen like no other.
Lodge Seasoning Spray (Best for Seasoning Up Keep)
If you want a easy way to maintain the seasoning, then Lodge Seasoning Spray is a good choice. All you need to do is spray it after using your pan. After that, dry it with a towel to get a nice even coat. This oil is made in usa like a lot of their cast iron cookware.
What is Seasoning
Contrary to what most people believe, seasoning has no effect on flavor. Seasoning is the polymerization of fat. It does two thing, protects the pan from rust and gives it a nonstick coating. The problem with the seasoning is that its pretty delicate. It cannot withstand detergent nor can it withstand harsh scrubbing. If you cook acidic food in the pan, you can risk ruining it. The worse part of it is that it takes decades to build up a good seasoning. That is why you see a lot of cast iron fan get made when you wash their pan.
With that being said, not all seasoning is created equal. Traditional cast iron seasoning uses animal lard as a seasoning oil. Unfortunately, buying animal lard is becoming increasingly rare. While you can use bacon fat, the salt in it makes it a poor choice. It can potentially ruin the general durability. Other cast iron manufacturer will use their own blend of oil to season their cookware. While its not bad, most of the time, those are more done for efficiency rather than durability.
Out of all the food edible there is, you want one that is the hardest. In this category, flaxseed oil will be your best choice. In general, it is more durable than most other type of oil. If you buy a cast iron pan from one of those newer artisinal manufacturer, it will most likely be seasoned with flaxseed oil. The generic cast iron pan that you have, is most likely done with corn oil. When buying flaxseed oil, make sure that its 100% flaxseed oil. The cheaper alternative will use a blend of different ingredients. They dont work as well for seasoning.
How to Reseason Your Pan
Luckily, you can easily reapply the seasoning with a oil of your own choice. All you need to do is strip the existing oil and reapply with a oil of your choice. The process of seasoning is taken straight from Sheryl Canter Blog. You can read the whole article on the subject.
There are many ways you can strip your pan of the old seasoning. You can dunk it in vinegar, use electrolysis, the self cleaning setting in your oven or even oven degreaser. Whatever you choose, make sure that most of the old grease is removed. When that is done, get the oil of your choice and apply a thin coat on to the pan. After it is fully coated, remove any excess oil to get a thin even coat.
Flip the pan upside down and stick it in a cold oven. Turn the temperature up to 500 degree and bake it for an hour. Keep the oven door closed and reopen it a 2 hour later. Repeat this step 4-5 more time for the best result.
Best Cast Iron Seasoning Oil Thoughts
While the use of cast iron is not as prominent as the early 19th century, it has made a raging comeback. The fear of the toxicity of teflon cause people to look for an alternative. The problem is that cast iron nonstick ability wont be good unless you season it well. In my opinion, flax seed oil is the best choice you can get. Although there are good alternative to use. If you want to maintain the seasoning lodge seasoning spray is a good option. All you need to spray it on.
Want to know the difference between cast iron and nonstick pan? Check out our article on Cast Iron vs Nonstick Pan.