Since coconut oil has a high smoke point, seasoning cast iron with coconut oil is a great idea. Learn how to do it, benefits, and more in this post.
Coconut oil is one of the most versatile oils that has a multitude of uses. While unrefined coconut oil is most popularly used for skin and hair care routines, refined coconut oil is a popular choice as a cooking oil. Coconut oil has a high smoke point and mild flavor. This makes it a preferred edible oil for cooking and an ideal choice for seasoning cast iron skillets. Find below more information on how coconut oil can be used for seasoning cast iron.
Seasoning Cast Iron with Coconut Oil
Any oil used for cast iron seasoning needs to have a higher smoking point so as not to burn when cooking at high heat. Refined coconut oil has a high smoking point of almost 400 F, making it an excellent alternative for seasoning cast iron. Also, the mild flavor of coconut oil does not affect the taste of the food.
How to Season a Cast Iron Pan with Coconut Oil
Follow the below-mentioned steps for proper seasoning of cast iron skillet:
- Clean the pan thoroughly. Do not use a metal scrubber to clean the pan, but a soft sponge.
- Place a layer of aluminium foil on the lower rack of the oven. This protects the oven from oil spillage.
- Preheat the oven to 325 F. This temperature should always be lower than the smoking point of the seasoning oil to avoid it from burning.
- Using a brush, coat the inside of the pan evenly. Make sure your pan is completely dry before performing this step.
- Place your pan facing downwards inside the oven. Let it bake for around 90 minutes. When the oil reaches its smoke point, it bonds with the iron surface through polymerization.
- There might be some smoke coming out of the oven. Hence it is important to keep the kitchen ventilated while performing this step. Also, keep a close eye on the oven.
- Now turn off the oven and let the pan stay inside it for a few hours until it has cooled.
After taking it out from the oven, you can see a shiny black coating on the surface of the skillet. This makes sure the surface is non-sticky. Re-season the pan if you feel it is getting a little bumpy or losing its shine. Repeat the steps 2-3 times if necessary.
What is a Cast Iron Skillet?
Cast iron skillets are forged from a single piece of iron alloy with 2-4% carbon. These skillets have a high heating capacity, great compressive strength and are known for their extremely high durability. They can last for years and are suitable for mostly all types of heat sources. Cooking on cast iron pans helps in even cooking because of high radiation capacity, and also, iron from these skillets is absorbed into the food, adding to the nutritional value.
Why Do You Need to Season Cast Iron?
Cast iron skillets are prone to rusting and need a proper care routine for long-lasting life. Seasoning is an essential part of the care routine. Through the process of seasoning, a protective layer of oil is formed over the iron base that helps in preventing corrosion. Seasoning creates an even layer over the porous and bumpy surface of iron, perfect for non-stick cooking. Every time you cook, this layer is re-seasoned, creating a smooth layer over the base.
Other Care Tips for Cast Iron
- It is essential to wash the cast iron skillet within an hour of cooking.
- Always hand wash the cast iron skillet. One should not use a dishwasher to clean it.
- Re-season the pan every few months for extended durability.
- Never use a hard brush or a metal brush to clean the pan. Food usually doesn’t stick on an adequately seasoned pan and hence does not require any rigorous scrubbing.
Other Oils for Seasoning Cast Iron
A high smoking point and neutral to mild flavor are essential before choosing oil for seasoning cast iron pans. Here are some other oils that you can use for seasoning:
Seasoning with peanut oil is perfect for all-purpose cooking. It is also rich in antioxidants and Vitamin E.
It is considered one of the best oil for seasoning cast iron, even with a low smoking point (225 F) and a strong flavor. This is because it is a ‘drying oil’. It creates a solid layer over the iron, ideal for a non-sticky surface.
With a very high smoking point of 520 F, avocado oil is suitable for seasoning if you plan to cook at very high temperatures. It can be a little expensive, though.
We have an article on how to use avocado oil for seasoning cast iron, do check it out here.
Easily accessible and economical option for seasoning, vegetable oil has a smoking point of 425-450F.
It has a neutral flavor, making it an excellent alternative for seasoning cast iron pan. Grapeseed oil has a relatively higher smoking point (400 F) too.
A commonly used oil for cooking, you can use it for seasoning cast iron as well. It has a smoking point of 450 F but has a mild flavor associated with it.
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