can you season a pan with olive oil

You have just purchased a new pan and you are wondering, “Can you season a pan with olive oil?”

Most pans that require this treatment are sold pre-seasoned.  So, what do you do after you have used your pan the first time?

Many cookware manufacturers feel that olive oil is a good choice for seasoning a pan because just about everyone already has a bottle or two in their home.

The problem is there are many oils that make much better choices when taking care of your pans (see the list below).

Does Every Pan Have to Be Seasoned?

Most pots and pans do not need to be seasoned in order to use them. There are only four types that require it:

Cast Iron Pans are the most popular, Hard-Coat Aluminum Pans, Tin Plate Pans, and Carbon Steel Frying Pans.

If you find that the pan that you purchased has not been pre-seasoned you must season it before you use it the first time.

Each type of pan has its own way of being seasoned.

What is the Purpose of Seasoning a Pan?

purpose of seasoning a pan

Seasoning a pan has two purposes. After a pan is seasoned it is heated to high temperatures while its interior is coated in lard or oil.

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This gives the pan a nice smooth surface that is conducive to cooking a wide variety of foods and baked goods.

The other reason seasoning a pan is beneficial is to keep the properties that the pan is made from intact. Seasoning a pan prevents it from becoming rusty.

When you season a pan it will last for many years, sometimes getting passed from one generation to the next.

Tip: When you first get a new pan you should check to see if it has already been seasoned.

How Do You Season a Pan?

If your pan has not been pre-seasoned you have to follow the following steps:

  1. Wash your pan completely in hot water that has a little dish soap in it.
  2. Make sure you rinse the pan and use a fresh dish towel to dry it thoroughly.
  3. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees; when it reaches that temperature put your pan in the oven so that every part of the pan is dry.
  4. At this point, your pan is ready to be seasoned.

How So You Season Each Type of Pan

1. Cast Iron Pans

seasoning cast iron

Turn your oven to 400 degrees. Spread a light coating of lard or vegetable oil over the entire pan but not the handle.

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Put the seasoned cast iron pan on a rack right in the middle of the oven and put a baking sheet at the bottom in case of any drips.

Let the pan stay in the oven for about 45 minutes. Take the pan out, dry it completely and let it cool off.

2. Hard-Coat Aluminum Pans

Because these pans are a little more durable, you can do the same steps as for the cast iron pans except just keep them in the oven for about 15 minutes.

You can repeat this process to get it to the point that you want it.

It is better to do it a couple of times for short periods than one long period of time that could be too much.

3. Tin Plate Pans

When seasoning tin plate pans, follow the same procedure as above for the hard coat aluminum pans making sure to cover the outside of the pans with oil as well as the inside.

When the tin plate pans are properly seasoned they will be black or at least dark brown.

Tip: Each pan has to be seasoned differently so make sure you are following the right instructions for your pan.

4. Carbon Steel Frying Pans

seasoning carbon steel frying pan

These pans can be seasoned on top of the stove so there is no need to preheat your oven.

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Put your carbon steel frying pan on your stovetop medium-high so that it gets hot.

As soon as the pan starts to smoke a little wait until it turns dark brown inside.

Here’s where you are going to add lard or solid shortening instead of oil. Take the pan off the burner and spread the lard around the inside of the pan until it is coated all the way around.

Now you can put the pan back on the burner and turn the heat up to high. Let the lard turn to liquid then take the pan off the burner and wipe off any extra fat and let the pan cool off.

Once it comes to room temperature, use some paper towels and dry them off completely. You can repeat this process a couple of more times.

What is the Difference Between Greasing a Pan and Seasoning it?

the difference

Seasoning a pan is a procedure you need to do to extend the life of your cookware.

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The pans that need to be seasoned are made of materials that could cause them to rust. This would make the pan unsafe to cook with.

Greasing a pan is when you take butter, oil, or a cooking spray and apply it to the entire pan or sometimes just to the bottom so that the food that you are cooking in it will not stick.

Enough lubrication is spread on the pan so that the cake, casserole, or other food item is able to be lifted right out without a mess.

Tip: You can grease a pan using the butter wrapper that has a little butter left on it before throwing it away.

What Are the Best Oils to Use When Seasoning a Pan?

different oils

When you are considering which products to use when seasoning a pan there are a number of things that come into consideration.

While availability is important, one of the major points that should come into play is the amount of heat the oil in question can take.

This is one of the reasons why many people ask can you season a pan with olive oil?

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The oil you choose has to be able to endure temperatures that range from 400 to 500 degrees for about an hour without smoking.

People in the restaurant industry, as well as professional cooks, find the following products the best way to season pans:

  • Vegetable oil
  • Canola oil
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Lard
  • Avocado oil
Tip: If you use an oil that can’t take the high heat, you may have to keep an eye out for your smoke alarm to go off.

So, Can You Grease a Pan with Olive Oil?

Yes, you can grease a pan with olive oil lightly.

Sometimes when a pan is greased when making baked goods, a thin layer of flour is also added on top of the oil or spray to keep the foods from sticking.

Using Olive Oil for Seasoning – The Pros and Cons

pros and cons

While you may be able to use olive oil to season your pans there are some pros and cons you should consider before you do so.


1.  You probably already have olive oil in your home so you don’t have to make a trip to the store to get a bottle.

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2.  You can use it if you don’t have access to any other better types of oil that can handle higher temperatures.

It would make it better to season your pan with olive oil than not at all and risk having your pan start to rust.


1.   Olive oil doesn’t have a high heat index and it has to be able to withstand temperatures between 400 to 500 degrees in order to season your skillet properly.

2. If you do decide to go ahead and use olive oil be prepared for your kitchen to become very smoky after the temperature reaches 325 degrees.

Tip: While you may be torn over whether to use olive oil to season your pan, you can use vegetable oil to season it but olive oil to keep your pan properly greased in between use.

Tips on Taking the Best Care of Your Seasoned Pans

tips for

All of the pans that need to be seasoned need to have a little extra care and attention paid to them to keep them at their optimum performance level.

Make sure you wash out your pan immediately after using it. You can wash it in hot soapy water.

Make sure you dry it completely. You would be surprised how quickly your pan could develop a rusty patch if not taken care of directly after use.

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You can re-season your pan if you feel it needs a touch-up. It should always have the lightest sheen on the interior so don’t think that your pan is greasy.

With all of the tips on what products to use and how exactly to season your pans, you will find just a little bit of attention will go a long way.

Your pans will stay in the same condition they were on the day that you bought them.

Tip: Keep the oil on hand that can stand temperatures of 400 degrees and above in case you have to re-season your pan again.


Just remember that even though you may see the answer to the question, can you season a pan with olive oil as yes, it is not the best product for the job.

You would be better off using the vegetable oil you have on hand at your home – it’s still convenient, affordable, and has the right heat level for the job.