Crisco Smoke Point – Is It Ideal For Achieving The Perfect Cast Iron Seasoning?

When seasoning a cast iron skillet, everyone has an opinion about which oil is best. But today, we’re diving deep into this topic to find out the best oils for cast iron seasoning, focusing on the Crisco. Smoke point is why it may be the best oil for seasoning cast iron. The smoke point is how hot the oil can get before it starts to smoke and break down or deteriorate. 

Crisco Smoke Point

As we discuss later, several other reasons support this belief about Crisco. But before we do, let’s look at a few common oils used.

Lard and Bacon Grease

Let’s start with lard. Lard is an animal fat, often made from pork. Many old-timers swear by it for seasoning. But then there’s also Bacon Grease, the tasty residue you get after frying bacon. The primary difference? Lard is unflavored, while bacon grease can be smoked or cured. Both are great for seasoning, but there’s a catch. Animal fats can turn rancid if you don’t use your skillet frequently. But don’t worry if it does because it is easily fixable, and I love using bacon grease.

Coconut Oil

You might have heard of Coconut Oil as an option. It’s good, but it gives a distinct coconut flavor. Its smoke point is around 350 degrees.

Olive Oil: Not for Seasoning

While Extra Virgin Olive Oil is excellent for cooking, it’s not the best choice for seasoning due to its strong flavor and lower smoke point of 375 degrees.

Vegetable Oil

Companies like Lodge, a prominent cast iron skillet manufacturer, recommend vegetable oil. It comes with a smoke point of around 400 degrees, perfect for seasoning.

Other Notable Oils

Grapeseed Oil: Extracted from wine grape seeds, its smoke point is around 400 to 420 degrees.

Canola Oil

Another good choice with a smoke point of around 425 degrees.


It is delicious for cooking but not ideal for seasoning unless you turn it into ghee. Its low smoke point makes it less durable for seasoning purposes.

Avocado Oil

High smoke point of 520 degrees but has a slight flavor.

The Flaxseed Oil Controversy

Lastly, there’s Flaxseed Oil. Some love it, but there are better options. A few reasons why it’s not an option for me are it’s pricey, and its low smoke point of 225 degrees can cause the seasoning to flake off if overheated. While it can make a skillet look good in the short term, it lacks durability, and the cost is not worth it. 

Crisco and Vegetable Shortening

Now, let’s talk about Crisco. It’s a vegetable shortening, different from animal fats like lard. Many people praise it for seasoning. The smoke point of Crisco vegetable oil is said to be around 490 degrees, making it an excellent choice.

Crisco and Vegetable Shortening: The Perfect Match for Seasoning Cast Iron

Seasoning a cast iron skillet is both an art and a science. When it comes to the choice of seasoning agent, Crisco has garnered considerable acclaim. Let’s explore the benefits of using Crisco, a vegetable shortening, for this essential kitchen task.

Understanding Crisco

Crisco is a household name, synonymous with vegetable shortening. Unlike lard or butter, derived from animal sources, Crisco consists of vegetable oils such as soybean, palm, and cottonseed. This plant-based makeup provides a vegetarian alternative for seasoning cast iron cookware.

Why Choose Crisco for Seasoning?

In my opinion, and the opinion of many cast iron users and collectors will say from experience that it is one of the better cast iron seasoning options.

Crisco Smoke Point: 

  • A high smoke point refers to the temperature at which an oil or fat starts to smoke and break down. With a robust smoke point of 490 degrees Fahrenheit, Crisco can endure the high temperatures necessary for seasoning without deteriorating too quickly.
  • Uniform Layer Formation: 
  • Crisco’s consistency ensures it spreads smoothly across the cast iron’s surface. This even spread is crucial for that desired non-stick finish on skillets and pans.
  • Durability: 
  • When applied correctly, a cast iron seasoned with Crisco can serve faithfully for years, potentially even generations. It offers a formidable barrier against rust and wear, showcasing its protective qualities.
  • Neutral Flavor: 
  • Some oils or fats can leave a distinct taste on the skillet, affecting the flavor of dishes. Crisco’s vegetable-based composition ensures a neutral flavor, allowing the genuine taste of your culinary creations to shine.

In Conclusion:

When seasoning your cast iron skillet, the oil you use matters. Crisco is a better pick. It has a high tolerance for heat and doesn’t change the taste of your food. Using Crisco is wise if you want your skillet to last a long time and work well. So next time, remember to choose wisely for the best cooking experience.

FAQ on Crisco for Cast Iron Seasoning

Does Crisco have a high smoke point?

Yes, Crisco has a high smoke point. The smoke point of Crisco is around 490 degrees, making it suitable for various cooking and seasoning purposes.

Is Crisco good for seasoning cast iron?

Absolutely! Crisco is frequently recommended for seasoning cast iron due to its high smoke point and ability to create a durable, non-stick layer on the skillet.

At What temperature does Crisco polymerize?

When heated, oils undergo polymerization to form a protective, non-stick layer on cast iron. Given its high smoke point of 490 degrees, Crisco polymerizes at a slightly lower temperature, usually around 450 to 475 degrees. It’s essential to keep the cast iron within this range during seasoning to ensure optimal polymerization without excessive oil smoking.

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