7 Best Oils for Seasoning Stainless Steel Pans (Ultimate Guide)

/ / 7 Best Oils for Seasoning Stainless Steel Pans (Ultimate Guide)

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Stainless steel pans are a favorite of many home cooks. When cared for properly, they can last a long time.

However, stainless steel cookware is notorious for one thing: they make your food stick!

Fortunately, with the right oils and technique, you can make your stainless steel pan nonstick.

This leads us to the next question: What is the best oil to season a stainless steel pan? The best oil for seasoning stainless steel pan is grapeseed oil as it versatile and has a high smoking point. You can also use other oils with high smoking points, such as canola and peanut oil. The seasoning oil you choose depends on your preference.

The best oil brand for seasoning your stainless steel pan is grapesees oil.

If you want more choices, read the list of best oils for seasoning stainless steel pans below. I’ve also explained why you should choose each one – or why not.

3 factors to consider when choosing stainless steel pan’s seasoning oils

Smoke point

The smoke point is defined as the temperature at which the oil stops glistening and begins to smoke. It is also known as the burning point.

Oil’s smoke point ranges from low at 325ºF to very high at 520ºF.

A more refined oil tends to have a higher smoke point since fatty acids and impurities are taken out during the refining process.

High smoking point oils can generally withstand beyond 400ºF. Low smoking point oils, on the other hand, will begin to burn and smoke when reaching this temperature.

When burned, these oils will release an unpleasant smell, give your food a burnt taste, and have a lower amount of nutrients since the nutrients are broken down as the oils start to burn.

The best seasoning oils for stainless steel pans are those with a high smoking point, so your pan can absorb as much oil as needed when heated to create a nonstick surface.

Examples of popular oils with high smoke points are canola oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, and rapeseed oil.

Taste

Another factor you might want to consider is the oil’s taste.

Since you’re going to use the oil to season your pan and not to add flavor to your food, you should pick one that has a mild or neutral flavor.

Otherwise, all your food will have the oil flavor!

Health Benefits (Non-GMO)

Choosing a seasoning oil based on their health benefits or non-GMO feature entirely depends on your preference.

Still, it’s worth noting that you’ll only be using a small amount of oil when seasoning your pan. You also need to remove excess oil to create an even and thin layer of nonstick coating. 

So you might not be able to enjoy the maximum benefits of the oil, and it will not give much impact on your health.

But then again, it all comes down to your preference and stance.

7 best oils for seasoning your stainless steel pans (Review)

Here’s a quick view of the best oils to season your stainless steel pans:

Rank

Seasoning Oil

Recommended Brand

1

Grapeseed oil

La Tourangelle Grapeseed Oil

2

Canola Oil

Happy Belly Canola Oil

3

Peanut Oil

Happy Belly Peanut Oil

4

Avocado Oil

BetterBody Avocado Oil

5

Sunflower seed oil

Spectrum Naturals Sunflower Oil

6

Sesame oil

Kadoya Sesame Oil

7

Soybean oil

Healthy Harvest Soybean Cooking Oil

1. Grapeseed Oil for seasoning stainless steel

Recommended brand: La Tourangelle Grapeseed Oil

As the name suggests, grapeseed oil comes from grape seeds, which are generally derived from grapes left over from the wine-making process. If it weren’t for wine, we wouldn’t have grapeseed oil.

Grape seeds are pressed to create a slightly flavorful oil.

Grapeseed oils are rich in omega-6 and vitamin E, which are good for heart health and your immune function.

Surprisingly though, while grapeseed oil is made from grape seeds, many people find that it doesn’t taste like grapes at all. It generally gives off a fairly neutral flavor.

Along with a high smoke point of 420˚F, it offers a wide range of uses as oil and a great seasoning oil for your pan.

You can also use grapeseed oil for pretty much everything, from cooking to baking.

One caveat of grapeseed oil is that it is not as stable as other cooking oils. So you should keep it away from heat and light. Keeping your grapeseed oil in a dark glass bottle in the fridge would be best.

2. Canola Oil for seasoning stainless steel

Recommended brand: Happy Belly Canola Oil

Canola oil is made from canola seed, a subspecies of rapeseed.

Since canola oil falls under the category of vegetable oil, it undergoes a refinement process.

Nevertheless, it is considered the healthiest vegetable cooking oil as it is high in monounsaturated fats (good fats) and low in saturated fats (bad fats). It also boasts various health benefits similar to olive oil.

Because canola oil is relatively stable, has a high smoking point (400˚F), and is almost tasteless, it’s great for seasoning your stainless steel pan.

Moreover, canola oil is versatile and can be used for any cooking purposes, including frying, marinade, dressings, and baking.

Keeping such a versatile oil in your pantry at all times would be worth it.

Canola oil will become rancid in around a year. You should store it in a cool, dark area, away from the oven and stovetop.  

3. Peanut Oil for seasoning stainless steel

Recommended brand: Happy Belly Peanut Oil

Peanut oil, also known as Arachis oil, is made from the peanut plant.

You’ll find various types of peanut oil on the market that goes through different levels of refinement. So each peanut oil will have a unique taste different from the other.

You’ll find peanut oil that is almost tasteless, has a mild taste, sweet taste, or very nutty taste. The most versatile peanut oil you’ll see most often in the grocery store would be the ultra-refined peanut oil.

Peanut oil is best used for stir-frying and deep-frying. Its nutty flavor goes well with Asian cuisine.

Peanut oil that has a high smoke point of 450ºF is a decent oil for seasoning your pan and can sink into your pans’ micro-crevices quite well. 

However, since peanut oil contains peanuts, you need to be very careful when using it on people with peanut allergies. 

Although you’ll be using quite a small amount to season your pan, there’s no guarantee that it will not transfer into your food and trigger an allergic reaction.

So if you have a peanut allergy or are cooking for someone with this allergy, you should avoid using it as a seasoning oil or for cooking.

If you opt for peanut oil, be sure to use it promptly within a few months and store it in a cool, dry place since it can go rancid pretty fast.

4. Avocado Oil as stainless steel’s seasoning oil

Recommended brand: BetterBody Non-GMO Avocado Oil

Avocado oil comes from the avocado pulp. Similar to coconut oil, you can use avocado oil for almost anything, from treating to eating.

It is rich in good monounsaturated fat and has an incredibly high smoking point of 520ºF, making it an efficient seasoning oil and cooking oil.

You can use avocado oil for searing, roasting, sauteing, and vinaigrettes.

Avocado oil also boasts many health benefits and has a neutral flavor. However, it can be quite costly compared to other options in this list.

You don’t have to store it in the fridge after it’s opened. Still, you should store it in a cool, dark place.

5. Sunflower seed oil to season a stainless steel pan

Recommended brand: Spectrum Naturals Sunflower Oil

Sunflower oil is created from sunflower seeds. It has a smoke point of around 440ºF to 450ºF, making it a good option for seasoning your pan.

Its high smoking point also makes it perfect for all things sauteing and searing.

Recently, sunflower oil has become quite popular as one of the healthier frying oils for commercially prepared potato chips.

It is also rich in good fats, including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

However, since it is squeezed from seeds, it’s especially prone to oxidation and rancidity and can go rancid much quicker than other oils. So you should use it quickly within one year or so and store it in a cool place.

6. Sesame oil to season a stainless steel pan

Recommended brand: Kadoya Sesame Oil

Sesame oil comes from sesame seeds. It has a high smoke point at 410ºF and a relatively neutral taste, making it a great seasoning oil for your pan.

You can also use it for general cooking, including roasting, sauteing, and more. 

Compare to peanut and canola oil, sesame oil is far more flavorful. It is widely used in Southeast Asian, Indian, African, and Middle Eastern cuisine.

Moreover, its low saturated fat content makes it good for your blood pressure, cholesterol, and heart health.

One thing to note when using sesame oil is that it burns easily. Burned sesame oil will give off a bitter flavor. So be careful not to overheat it.

7. Soybean oil as stainless steel pan’s seasoning oil

Recommended brand: Healthy Harvest Soybean Cooking Oil

Soybean oil is made from soybean plant seeds. It is highly versatile and can be used for various cooking purposes, from frying to baking.

It is generally flavorless and has a relatively high smoking point of around 450ºF, making it a great seasoning oil.

Soybean oil is also loaded with polyunsaturated fats, which are associated with a lower risk of heart disease and cholesterol level, and vitamin K, which supports bone health.

Normally, soybean oil can lasts for about 1 year. You should store it in a dark, dry place away from heat.

Coconut oil for seasoning stainless steel – Does it work?

Just like olive oil, coconut oil has various health benefits and usage. 

You can use it for sauteing, stir-frying, baking, and more. It adds a subtle flavor to your dish, which is a great bonus.

You can even use it as part of your beauty routine.

But can you use coconut oil to season your stainless steel pan?

While it is okay to use coconut oil to season a cast iron pan, you should not use it to season your stainless steel pan as it has a low smoking point of around 350ºF. Instead, use oils with a high smoking point, such as avocado or canola oil.

How to season your stainless steel pans the right way? 5 Easy Steps

Now that you know which oil is the best for seasoning your stainless steel pan, it’s now time to season it.

Whether you have an all-clad stainless steel pan or stainless steel griddle, you can follow these 5 simple steps to season it.

Step 1: Wash your pan

Wash your pan thoroughly with warm, soapy water. Use a mild detergent and scrub the inner and outer parts of your pan gently.

If you just bought a new stainless steel pan, you can try using a one-quarter cup of vinegar to remove any manufacturing oil residue on it.

Rinse it thoroughly and let it air dry or wipe it dry with a soft towel.

Step 2: Heat your pan

Heat the pan on medium to medium-high heat for around 1 to 2 minutes.

Step 3: Coat your pan with oil

Once the pan is hot enough, coat it with a layer of oil. Spread the oil evenly on all sides either by swirling the pan or using a rubber spatula.

If you’re not sure whether your pan is hot enough, you can test the temperature with the water bead or mercury ball method. I explained this method in detail in my post here.

Step 4: Cool your pan

Remove your pan from the heat and let it cool. Remove excess oil by wiping it out with a paper towel.

Note: Some cooks skip this step and directly add new cooking oil to cook their foods after coating the pan.

Step 5: Clean your seasoned pan

If you don’t want to season your pan every time, then you should not wash it. Instead, wipe it clean with a paper towel each time after use.

Place a paper towel on your inner pan to protect it from scratches when storing.

Repeat the seasoning process every 2 to 3 months to maintain the nonstick layer.

If you prefer to wash your pan, use Step 1 to clean it properly and reseason your pan before next use.

Note: Some cooks prefer coating the pan with oil before heating it on the stove. If you prefer doing it this way, then, after coating your cold pan with oil and place it over medium heat, let the oil smoke before removing the pan from the heat.

How to Season Stainless Steel Pan With Green Onions

To season a stainless steel pan with green onions, you’ll need to chop and put green onions into an oil-coated heated pan and cook them until they almost burn. Then, discard them. Wipe off the remaining oil and add new oil to cook your food.

Read a more detailed explanation of this process and its concept in my other post here.

Key Takeaways

When choosing a seasoning oil for your stainless steel pan, there are 3 things you need to consider:

  • The oil’s smoke point; pick one with a high smoke point.
  • The oil’s flavor; choose those that only produce a mild or neutral taste.
  • The oil’s health benefits and other features, such as being organic, non-GMO, etc.

Depending on your preference and priorities, you may rank each high smoking point oil differently.

I do hope this article has helped you pick the right seasoning oil for your stainless steel pan.

Should stainless steel pans be seasoned?

Seasoning your stainless steel pan simply means cleaning, preheating, and coating your pan with oil before cooking to prevent food from sticking, as opposed to seasoning other cookware like cast iron, where your goal is to prevent rust and make it last longer. So if you want a nonstick stainless steel pan, then you should go through with it anyway.  

Can you use olive oil to season a stainless steel pan?

You need to use oils with a high smoking point to season your stainless steel pan. Since extra virgin olive oil has a relatively low smoking point of around 325ºF to 375ºF, they are not suitable for seasoning your steel pan. Instead, use canola oil that boasts the same health benefits as olive oil.

How often should you season your stainless steel pan?

Some cooks season their stainless steel pan every time before cooking since they wash their pans with soap and water after use. Other cooks, however, prefer to just wipe their pans between uses so they don’t have to season their pan over and over again. They will wash their pans only when they become gross.

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