A great piece of steak is best enjoyed when properly seared. Be it rare, medium, or well done, a good quality fat is essential to making it all happen.
The most common oils for searing steak include butter, animal fat, plant, nut, and vegetable oils. Each of these has its distinct properties that can directly affect the food you are trying to cook.
What temperature do you pan sear steak?
When searing steak, the practical cooking of the meat takes place when the oil reaches a temperature between 300°F to 500°F.
Considering that, you would likely need an oil with a high level of smoke point. It allows the fat to cook and impart a flavor to the meat without overheating.
Why To Choose Your Oil Carefully When Searing Steak
Unfortunately, not all kinds of oils can make it to the cut. For some, their burning point is too low that it starts to smoke up even before it achieves the proper cooking temperature of the meat.
Heating the oil beyond its smoke point gives your meat an awful burnt taste. It can even leave behind harmful toxic fumes and possible carcinogens.
This article will teach you how to avoid making such a bad mistake. We will discuss 5 of the best cooking oils most suited for searing just the perfect steak. With the right choices of cooking oil, you can definitely achieve a glorious feast!
5 Best Oil For Searing Steak Product Review
Price starts at $10.05
- 100% pure canola oil
- No preservatives
- Excellent source of Omega-3
- 0 grams trans fat
- Rich in unsaturated fatty acids
- It contains the least amount of saturated fatty acids
- Smoke point up to 400°F
- Available in 24oz, 48oz, 64oz, 1gal, and 5qt sizing
Canola oil is well-known as one of the healthiest types of cooking oil. It contains high levels of unsaturated fatty acids, which can help lower the risk of developing coronary heart disease. Canola oil comes with a very light flavor. Thus it will least likely alter the taste of the food you are cooking.
Most people find this a healthier but still affordable alternative to cooking oil. The high smoke point makes it ideal for frying or searing. It is also great for those who are practicing a ketogenic diet.
Price starts at $12.60
- 100% grapeseed oil imported from France
- Rich in Vitamin E
- It contains essential fatty acids and Omega-6
- Naturally gluten-free
- Verified non-GMO
- Smoke point from 470°F up to 510°F
- BPA-free bottle
- Available in 24oz and 68oz sizing
Grapeseed oil is most valued for its high Vitamin E content. This fat-soluble antioxidant protects the body cells from harmful free radicals.
Furthermore, grapeseed oil is famous for its high smoke point and subtle flavour. Thus, making it an ideal fat for frying and even baking.
The versatility of grapeseed oil goes beyond the kitchen. Some people love to use this same product as a hair tonic to stimulate growth, strength, and moisture. You can also use it as a carrier base for different essential oil concoctions.
Price starts at $15
- Made from a combination of refined and virgin olive oils
- Rich in monosaturated fats
- Certified non-GMO
- Smoke point up to 410°F
- Ideal for high-heat cooking
- Excellent alternative for butter, shortening, and vegetable oil
The extra light olive oil offers similar benefits to pure virgin olive oil without a strong flavor. It is usually combined with refined olive oils to help neutralize the taste while still allowing it to achieve a high smoke point. Thus, making it a feasible choice for high-heat cooking, including searing, sauteeing, and baking.
Most consumers prefer the extra light version compared to extra virgin olive oils. The reason is primarily attributed to its better tolerance to high temperatures. It gives the user more versatility in cooking without compromising the health benefits they can reap from olive oil.
Price starts at $9.25
- Made with 100% peanut oil
- Non-GMO derived
- 0 grams trans fat per serving
- It contains unsaturated fatty acids
- Ideal for high-heat cooking
- Smoke point up to 450°F
- Available in 24oz, 64oz, 128oz, and 3gal size
Peanuts oil has a high burning point making it suitable for deep, pan, and stir-frying. It naturally imparts a slightly nutty taste. Hence, giving every dish a little bit of extra flavor.
Aside from searing steaks, most people love to use peanut oil for frying turkeys, chickens, and veggies. The nuttiness of the oil is just light enough to enhance the flavor of fried foods without leaving a heavy, greasy texture.
Price starts at $34.31
- 100% pure avocado oil
- USDA certified organic
- Steam-refined process
- Smoke point up to 500°F
- Glyphosate residue-free
- No chemical or hexane
- Good source of monounsaturated fats
- Available in 16oz, 24oz, and 1gal size
Avocado oil is another fat with a high smoke point and a neutral taste. Thus, it is excellent for searing, sauteeing, grilling, and roasting. This cooking oil is also a good source of monounsaturated fats or a.k.a healthy fats.
Most consumers also love to use avocado oil as a base for their salad dressings because of the lightness of its flavor.
Like grapeseed, avocado also has beauty benefits. Some people use them topically on skin and hair to replenish moisture and protect it against UV damage.
Best oil for searing steak in cast iron
Cast iron skillet is often the go-to choice for searing steaks. It helps to add flavor and gives the surface of the meat a nice layer of crispiness. On top of that, you can also use the skillet directly in the oven with no hassle at all. This additional step helps intensify the flavor and remove excess moisture from the steak.
Actually, you can use any edible cooking oil as long as it has a high smoking point. Nonetheless, the higher the capacity, the better it is for searing your steak. In that case, avocado oil is the most favorable choice.
Refined avocado oil has a burning point as high as 520°F. Plus, it has a neutral taste that will least likely alter or affect the flavor of the steak itself. So, you can enjoy all the goodness of your seasonings while cooking it to perfection in the cast iron.
What happens if you are using these oils for searing steak?
Be aware that there are different types of olive oils. When searing steaks, you need one that can better withstand high cooking temperatures. In that sense, it is best to spare your expensive EVOO for this purpose.
Why is extra virgin olive oil isn’t good for searing steak?
Extra virgin olive oils are usually extracted through cold pressing. Exposures to higher temperatures can cause alteration in their composition. Thus, it tends to have a lower burning point, which is unsuitable for searing steaks.
On the other hand, refined or light olive oil is a mixture of virgin and processed oils from olives. It allows it to acquire a higher smoke point of up to 470°F. Refined olive oils also tend to have a lighter flavor which can unlikely disrupt the taste of the steak itself.
Canola oil is a type of vegetable oil derived from rapeseeds. Their smoke point is pretty high, up to 450°F for the expeller-pressed variety. They also have a neutral taste which makes them great to use for cooking just about any dish.
Most people love to pair canola oil with butter when searing steaks. Butter naturally adds a nice flavor to the meat, but the problem is, they have a low smoke point. Nonetheless, you are less likely to burn the butter quickly by heating the canola oil first. In the end, you have optimized the flavor without burning it in the process.
As mentioned, avocado oil is one of the top choices for searing steaks. They are those fats with the highest smoke point of up to as much as 520°F. Hence, they can best cook at high temperatures without losing much nutrient value on both the meat and the oil.
Because of its superior burning point, avocado oil makes an excellent choice for cooking indoors. You can least likely expect your kitchen to be clouded up with smoke just from cooking steak.
Grapeseed oil has a high smoke point, up to 420°F usually. It is rich in vitamin E, omega-7, and unsaturated fatty acids. Thus, making them another healthy option for searing steaks.
This oil also has a light and clean taste, making it an ultra-versatile cooking fat. Aside from searing meats, you can also take advantage of its neutral flavor to make dishes like homemade mayonnaise, salad dressings, and even baking.
What oil is best for searing steak?
The five products we reviewed herein are given with higher smoke points. On that merit alone, hands down, the crown goes to the avocado oil. Nevertheless, a good-quality refined avocado oil like Nutiva Avocado Oil can be pretty expensive.
To give you more value for your money, we’ve chosen the one that can sear steak wonderfully while being versatile and budget-friendly. The Pompeian 100% Grapeseed Oil seems to fit the bill perfectly.
It may not be as cheap as canola oil, but it is reasonably priced. The grapeseed oil can be used for practically any dish you wish to prepare other than searing a good steak. Also, it can be more than just a staple in your kitchen pantry.
Grapeseed oil can be a fantastic part of your artisanal beauty regimen too. So without a doubt, this multi-purpose grapeseed oil is truly awesome for your steak, your health, and your budget!