If you’ve ever seasoned cast iron with coconut oil, then you’ve probably wondered if it’s worth the effort. After all, who wants to use up the good stuff on their cast iron and let the lesser grades go to waste?
Well, that’s a great question! And we’re here to help you figure out if coconut oil is worth it for seasoning cast iron—and if not, what other options are out there. Let’s get into it!
Is Coconut Oil Good For Cast-Iron?
Coconut oil can be used to season a cast iron pan, but it is not the most common choice for seasoning cast iron.
Seasoning a cast iron pan refers to creating a non-stick surface on the pan through the buildup of oil and heat. This helps prevent the pan from rusting and makes it easier to cook.
There are a few reasons why coconut oil might not be the best choice for seasoning a cast iron pan. First, coconut oil has a relatively low smoke point (350-400°F) compared to other oils, which means it can burn or smoke at relatively low temperatures. This can make it difficult to properly season the pan without the oil burning or smoking.
Additionally, coconut oil is prone to rancidity, which means it can go bad over time and produce an off smell and taste. This can be a concern if you are using the pan regularly and want to maintain a good, clean flavor in your food.
Other oils, such as vegetable oil, flaxseed oil, and lard, are more commonly used for seasoning cast iron pans. These oils have higher smoke points and are less prone to rancidity, which makes them better choices for seasoning cast iron pans.
Ultimately, the choice of oil for seasoning a cast iron pan is a personal preference, and you can use any oil that you prefer. Just be aware of the potential drawbacks of using coconut oil and consider whether it is the best choice for your needs.
What is Cast Iron?
The “cast” in cast iron refers to the process by which the metal is formed into a particular shape. The process involves pouring molten metal into an iron mold and then cooling it at room temperature until it solidifies into its final form (hence the name). The resulting pan can be used for cooking or baking, and its surface is non-stick and durable.
How to Clean Cast-Iron For Seasoning with Coconut Oil?
To clean a cast-iron pan for seasoning, follow these steps:
- Rinse the pan with water to remove any excess food or debris.
- Scrub the pan with a stiff bristle brush to remove any stuck-on food or rust.
- Rinse the pan again with hot water to remove any excess dirt or debris.
- Dry the pan with a cloth or paper towel.
- Once the pan is clean, you can season it by rubbing a thin layer of oil.
It’s important to keep in mind that it’s normal for a cast-iron pan to have a slight patina or discoloration over time. This is simply the result of normal use and is not necessarily a sign that the pan needs to be cleaned or seasoned. If you do notice any rust forming on your pan, however, it’s a good idea to remove it by scrubbing the affected area with a stiff bristle brush or scouring pad and re-seasoning the pan as needed.
Using Coconut Oil to Season Cast-Iron Skillet
We seasoned our cast-iron skillet with refined coconut oil, and here are the results:
You can also get similar results by following a simple process.
To season a cast-iron pan with coconut oil, you will need the following supplies:
- A clean, dry cast iron pan
- Refined Coconut oil
- A paper towel or cloth
- Preheat your oven to 350-400°F.
- Place your cast iron pan on the stove over medium-high heat until it is hot.
- Use a paper towel to coat the pan’s surface with a thin layer of coconut oil. Make sure to evenly coat the entire surface, including the sides and handle. We used a small-sized pan and put about 2 teaspoons of coconut oil for seasoning.
- Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake it for 1-2 hours.
- After the time is up, turn off the oven and let the pan cool inside the oven.
- Once the pan is cool, wipe off excess oil with a paper towel or cloth. The pan is now seasoned and ready to use.
To create a better non-stick finish, we double-seasoned our cast-iron pan. Double-seasoning with coconut oil is a good idea if you only season your pans once or twice every year. Simply oil and bake your pan a second time right after the pan has cooled down from the first seasoning. We found that double-seasoning helps pans last longer and makes them easier to clean.
Why Use Refined Coconut Oil For Seasoning?
Refined coconut oil smokes and burns very little, making it suitable for seasoning cast iron at high temperatures. It has a high smoke point and is relatively flavorless, which makes it less likely to impart a coconut flavor to your food. It is also inexpensive and widely available, making it a convenient option for seasoning a pan.
Refined coconut oil is made from dried coconut meat that has been mechanically pressed to extract the oil. It is then refined, bleached, and deodorized to remove impurities and any coconut flavor. This process gives refined coconut oil a higher smoke point than unrefined coconut oil, which makes it less likely to burn or smoke when heated to high temperatures.
When seasoning a cast-iron pan, use an oil with a high smoke point to avoid damaging the pan or creating a sticky or burnt residue on the surface. Other oils with high smoke points, such as vegetable oil or canola oil, can also be used to season a pan.
It’s worth noting that while refined coconut oil may be a good choice for seasoning a cast-iron pan, it may not be the best choice for all cooking purposes. Unrefined coconut oil has a lower smoke point and a more pronounced coconut flavor, making it a better choice for certain dishes.
What Happens When You Season Cast-iron with Coconut oil?
When you season a cast-iron pan with coconut oil, the oil will penetrate the surface of the pan and complete a non-stick layer that helps prevent food from sticking to the pan. The oven’s heat helps to melt the oil and spread it evenly over the pan’s surface.
Plus, you get a non-stick pan that’s also easy to clean. Even though cast-iron pans are known for their durability and long-lasting performance, they can be tough to clean. But if you season them with coconut oil instead of regular cooking spray, then they become easier to keep clean! Overall, seasoning a cast-iron pan with coconut oil can help extend the life of the pan and make it easier to use. It’s important to re-season the pan regularly to maintain the non-stick surface and protect it from rust.
Tips to Care For Seasoned Cast-Iron
Here are some tips for caring for a cast-iron skillet:
Avoid using soap
It’s generally best to avoid using soap when cleaning a cast-iron skillet, as it can strip away the pan’s seasoning. If you do need to use soap, be sure to rinse the pan thoroughly and dry it well before seasoning it again.
Avoid using metal utensils.
Metal utensils can scratch the surface of a cast-iron pan, so it’s best to use wooden, silicone, or nylon utensils instead.
Avoid soaking the pan.
It’s generally best to avoid soaking a cast-iron pan, as this can cause the pan to rust. If you need to soak the pan, dry it thoroughly before seasoning it again.
Avoid using high heat.
Cast-iron pans are resistant to high heat, but it’s still a good idea to avoid using the highest heat setting on your stove when cooking with one. This will help prevent the pan from warping and help preserve the seasoning.
Re-season the pan regularly.
To keep your cast-iron pan in good condition, it’s a good idea to re-season it regularly. This can be done by heating the pan in the oven and rubbing a thin layer of oil over the surface of the pan.
By following these tips, you can help ensure that your cast-iron skillet stays in good condition and retains its non-stick properties for years to come.
Final Thoughts & A Word of Caution
Seasoning a cast iron pan requires high heat and can produce smoke, so you should ensure proper ventilation and keep an eye on the pan while it is in the oven.
To maintain the non-stick surface and prevent rusting, it is important to properly care for the pan after seasoning it. This includes drying the pan thoroughly after each use and storing it in a dry place. You may also need to re-season the pan periodically to maintain the non-stick surface.