Cast Iron Seasoning: Flaxseed Oil is Fragile but Slick, Crisco is Tough, Why Not Mix Oils?

I am always surprised that no one in these threads seems to mention Pam or other equivalent cooking sprays. A million years ago, before these sprays existed, I worked in a little bakery where we brushed a homemade oil-and-lecithin mixture onto our tinned-steel loaf pans and it worked beautifully to eject the baked loaf spotlessly with a tap and a twist. The pans weren’t usually washed because the lecithin built up and became impressively non-stick. These sprays are basically the same thing.

I just counted that I have 9 cast iron pans and use the spray to maintain the seasoning on all of them. In regular use, they get a good spray to start, then oil added if I’m frying. After cooking, if I’ve had to scrub off something I’ve burned or if I’ve cooked liquid and the seasoning is dull not shiny, the pan gets another good spray and wiped down before storage. Otherwise just a rinse. With a new pan or an old pan that’s being rescued, you can get the seasoning started with the spray and some warm-ovening, for as many cycles as you want to build up the finish.

Overall this has been as low-maintenance and effective as I think you can get and keeps all my cast iron in frequent rotation. I had tried many of the oil techniques before and they never worked as well.


Interesting, I have been thinking about trying the lecithin oil mixture myself. If you remember still, could you please share how much of lecithin to what amount of oil should be added? I dont want to use the ready sprays myself.

It was literally over 40 years ago, so the best I can remember, it was a couple of tablespoons or so of liquid lecithin in a quart mason jar of safflower oil. I’d start your experiments there. I’d probably use peanut oil these days. It definitely was a thicker coat than you’d end up with using a spray.

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Allright thanks for digging that deep into your brains! Lets see if I’ll find some liquid lecithin, I know there is that granule stuff in the shops nearby. Sadly I havent seen peanut oil in anywhere here, could order that too online though.

I use this method and it keeps a seasoned pan in better shape btwn uses.

I’m basically done seasonig my pans, I dont see it worth the hassle and smoking the house. So I just use them, wash with mild detergent when necessary and perhaps oil a bit after, or no. They are doing ok this way, but I’ve been interested about the leicthin oil mix thing indeed. Wonder if its near regular butters performance?

Our method includes using grape seed oil and turning the pans face down against a low gas flame for 20 mins when the pans need some attention. We use the avocado oil spray btwn deeper cleans. Never touches water. Salt to clean and vinegar to strip and reseason reconditioning iron finds at flea markets.

Ok, sounds good. In case I’d season still I would likely use the gas grill outside in similar manner. The lecithin oil mixture I just thought to try as a cooking fat, to see if its more nonstick than regular oil, or if it could rival the performance of butter.

Grill or fire pit works equally well. We use grape seed because we cook w it rather than buy yet another high point oil. We have never used butter or Crisco for seasoning iron.

My best seasoned cast iron is the Dutch oven I use for baking bread. I spray it before each use, using a pump spray rather than aerosol. It has a lovely glossy black finish. But the major lesson here is to just USE the cookware for everyday cooking, using substantial oil. Wipe clean/dry after use. I find warm water okay but not detergent water. I dry on stovetop, using another light film of oil or spray.

I had the same problem with my DeBuyer mineral pan. Seasoned it with the potato and salt method. It looked like hell and everything stuck. Then I tried several layers of sunflower oil in the oven. It looked immaculate and shiny. But the first time I cooked in it, the seasoning came off. So I just said to hell with it and kept cooking in it. It still looks like hell but it has become more and more nonstick.

Yes, carbon steel and cast iron benefit from different seasoning methods and oils. Both pans are composed primarily of iron. And Ironically, carbon steel pans actually have slightly more iron. Cast iron pans are more porous, and so benefit from a more saturated/viscous oil like Crisco, lard, avocado oil, etc. The fat/oil sinks in to the pan’s pores more and it is easier to build up coats of seasoning. Carbon steel pans are more polished and smooth, and thus much less porous. Any seasoning tends to sit on the surface where it is more vulnerable to being stripped off. That’s why it’s better to just season carbon steel pans with unsaturated oils and just cook in them. It takes longer to build up any seasoning.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold