Oils To Choose While Cooking In Cast Iron Pan

Cast iron pans have been used for countless centuries for a reason. These valued cooking utensils are frequently handed down through families. Pans constructed of cast iron are almost unbreakable and can last for a very long time. Cast iron can be used in the oven or on the stove. If you treat your cast iron pan properly, it can be used for frying, baking, sautéing, braising, stewing, and more. 

The appropriate seasoning of your pan is one aspect of that care. This entails heating the oil to a point at which it starts to smoke, which causes the fatty acids in the oil to reorganise into a layer of molecules that gives the pan its shining, nonstick surface. Seasoning is the term for that surface. The best oil to use is one with a high smoke point because reseasoning a cast iron skillet involves heating the oiled pan for a long time in a very hot oven (450 to 500 F), then repeating the process multiple times. If the temperature is too high, you won't polymerize; if it's too low, your neighbours might decide to call the fire department when the smoke alarm starts to go off. 

After each usage, you should continue to oil the pan to retain the nonstick coating. In fact, it improves a little bit more each time. See the list of recommended oils below for use with cast iron pan. 

Soybean Oil 

The smoke point of refined soybean oil is 450 degrees Fahrenheit (via Healthline). Pure soybean oil is a suitable option for seasoning because it can withstand the high temperatures required to produce polymerization. But because a mix could alter the smoke point, it's critical to determine whether your vegetable oil is genuinely a blend. Soybean oil also has a neutral flavour, so the food you cook in your pan won't pick up any flavour from it. Can it turn bad? Soybean oil has a shelf life of around six months after opening, similar to that of the majority of vegetable oils. Always keep it in a cold, dark location with a tight seal. 

Olive Oil 

When used as a seasoning, olive oil can add flavour to the food you are cooking, depending on the variety you choose. There is hardly any flavour to light olive oil. Many people prefer to cook with extra virgin oil because it has a mild flavour. It's actually regarded by chefs as a good all-purpose cooking oil. Cast iron can be seasoned with olive oil, but according to some sources, you might want to give it a second thought. This is due to the possibility that the seasoning layer made of olive oil could deteriorate more quickly than that made of other oils, necessitating an earlier seasoning step than anticipated. 

Canola Oil 

Because it contains fewer saturated fats than other widely used oils, canola oil is regarded as heart-healthy by the American Heart Association. Canola oil, according to the Harvard School of Public Health, contains a lot of unsaturated fats. This is what makes the oil ideal for seasoning cast iron. According to the American Chemical Society, unsaturated fats are much more heat-reactive and hence readily create the polymer bonds that give your cast iron its nonstick coating. 

Flaxseed Oil 

This is one of the exceptions, though. The smoke point of flaxseed oil, in contrast, is only 225 F. But how does that benefit cast iron?  Flaxseed (linseed) oil is a drying oil, according to the Encyclopedia of Applied Plant Sciences. Due to their high quantity of unsaturated fats, drying oils, like flaxseed oil, are more prone to bonding chemically. The mixture enables fast polymerization and the formation of a glassy seasoning layer despite flaxseed oil's low smoke point.  

Rice Bran Oil 

Rice bran oil has a 450 F smoke point (via Rice Science). Keep in mind that unrefined rice bran oil does have a slightly sweet and nutty flavour when seasoning or using cast iron to cook. A Technavio Market Research analysis that was featured in Business Insider claims that rice bran oil has a long shelf life. The oil, which is best stored in the refrigerator and can last up to two years, is a seasoning tool that you can buy once and only consider using as needed.