Best Oil for Searing Steak : Top 7 High Smoke Point Oils

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Have you ever searched “what the best oil for searing steak is”? Does asking this question make your head spin, hoping for an answer to give you a juicy and tender result every time? Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered! Let’s explore the different types of oils out there to find the one that works best for your mouth-watering masterpiece.

From health benefits to flavor — this post has everything a budding chef needs to start perfecting their technique with confidence. So let’s roll our sleeves and discover which oil is right for making delicious seared steaks!

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What Is Searing?

Searing is a popular cooking method that involves cooking food quickly at high temperatures. This process involves heating a pan or grill to a high temperature and adding oil to the surface. Adding oil to the pan helps create a barrier between the food and the surface, preventing it from sticking.

The high heat of the pan or grill helps caramelize the food’s surface, creating a delicious crust and sealing in the natural juices. Searing is especially useful when cooking meats like steak or chicken, as it helps to create a crispy outside layer while keeping the inside moist and tender.

The ideal temperature for searing may differ based on the cooking technique employed and the food being cooked. Generally, temperatures between 350°F to 500°F are ideal for searing meat.

Is Butter Good for Searing Steak?

Although butter is not typically used for searing steak, it can add flavor and richness to the dish. However, butter has a low smoke point, which can easily burn if cooked at high temperatures, resulting in an unpleasant taste.

Why Do You Need Special Oil for Searing Steak?

If you are a steak lover, you surely are aware that one of the best ways to cook the steak is by searing it. However, did you know that using the right oil for searing is crucial?

A special oil with a high smoke point, such as grapeseed or avocado oil, is recommended for cooking steak because traditional vegetable oil or olive oil can break down and smoke at high temperatures. When oil starts to burn and smoke, it produces an unpleasant flavor in your dish, and this temperature is called a smoke point.

In addition, using an oil with a low smoke point for high-heat cooking can release harmful chemicals into the air, which is unpleasant and dangerous to your health.

Factors to Consider for Selecting the Best Oil for Searing Steak

Here’s a list of factors to consider when choosing the best oil for searing, along with a brief description of each:

Smoke Point

It is the level of temperature at which an oil begins to smoke. To avoid burning your oil and ending up with a ruined steak, choose an oil with a high smoke point, such as 350°F to 500°F.


While a neutral-tasting oil like canola oil might not add much flavor to your steak, flavored oils such as herb-infused or garlic-infused oils can add a unique taste to your dish. Choose an oil that complements your steak or enhances its flavor.


Some oils can be expensive, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that expensive oils are always better. Choose an oil that suits your budget without compromising quality.


If you’re in a time crunch, you might not have access to certain oils. Choose an oil readily available at your grocery store or online retailer.

Nutritional Value

When choosing an oil, consider its nutritional value. Some oils, like extra avocado oil, are high in healthy fats, while others, like vegetable oils, have different nutritional compositions. Choose an oil that aligns with your health goals and overall diet.

The Best Oil for Searing Steak

OilSmoke PointBest Searing Method for SteakBrands
Refined Avocado Oil520°FHigh heat searing, broilingChosen Foods, Primal Kitchen, BetterBody Foods
Safflower Oil510°FHigh heat searing, roastingSpectrum Organics, Hollywood, LifeOiL
Extra Light Olive Oil468°FMedium heat searing, grillingPompeian, Bertolli
Peanut Oil450°FHigh heat searing, deep fryingSpectrum Naturals, Snappy Popcorn
Sunflower Oil450°FHigh heat searing, roasting, broilingLa Tourangelle, Spectrum Naturals, Baja Precious
Grapeseed Oil420°FHigh heat searingLa Tourangelle, Spectrum Naturals, Pompeian
Canola Oil400°FLow to medium heat searing, sautéing, stir-fryingSpectrum Naturals, Wesson

Oils with lower smoke points, like olive oil or butter, can lead to a burnt and bitter taste in your steak. Therefore, the best oil for searing steak is one which has a high smoke point, meaning it can withstand high temperatures without burning. Oils with high smoke points include:

Refined Avocado Oil

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With the highest smoke point among cooking oils, avocado oil ensures your steak gets that perfect sear every time.

It’s essential to consider the smoke point of your oil when using a cast iron skillet for cooking. Avocado oil’s smoke point is 520°F, which makes it the best oil for searing steak. It is excellent for high-heat cooking and has a smooth and subtle flavor that won’t overpower the taste of your steak.

But the benefits don’t stop there. Refined avocado oil has many health benefits as well. It’s high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, has low saturated fats, and contains vitamin E. This powerful antioxidant controls blood pressure and improves overall heart health.

And while refined avocado oil may have a slightly higher price point than other cooking oils, its quality and benefits are well worth it.


Safflower Oil

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With a smoking point of 510°F, safflower oil contains a higher smoke point than most oils, including extra light olive oil and grapeseed oil. This makes it ideal for cooking at high temperatures, which is perfect for searing steak to perfection. Not only will you get that delicious sear, but you’ll also reduce smoke and avoid a scorched oil taste in your food. But wait, there’s more!

Safflower oil is extracted from safflower seeds and has numerous health benefits, like aiding in weight loss and improving blood sugar levels. But what’s even better is that it’s one of the pure oils and expeller-pressed oils – making it a great addition to your healthy diet.

Wondering about the price? You’ll be pleased to know that safflower oil is affordable compared to other oils with high smoke point levels, such as avocado oil.

So, consider using safflower oil next time you want to cook steak in your cast iron.


Extra Light Olive Oil

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One of the best things about extra light olive oil is its high smoke point of 468°F because it is ultra-refined olive oil. This makes it perfect for cooking steak on cast iron skillets or other high-heat cooking methods.

Unlike other seed oils, this searing oil won’t break down or burn, leaving your delicious steak with a crispy crust. But it’s not just about the cooking process. Extra light olive oil also has many health benefits. Unlike extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), it has a lighter taste and a higher smoke point, which makes it the best oil for searing steak.

Additionally, it contains natural antioxidants that can help lower blood pressure and promote heart health. This makes it an excellent choice for your steak and all your cooking needs.

While extra virgin olive oil and EVOO can get pricey, extra light olive oil is often more affordable. Plus, unlike some other oils, it doesn’t leave any leftover hexane residue, which can harm your health.

So fire up that cast iron skillet, grab your extra light olive oil, and get ready to cook steak that will have all your friends begging for your secret.


Peanut Oil

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Peanut oil is not only a fantastic searing oil, but it also boasts a smoke point of 450°F. With its high enough smoke point, peanut oil is the best oil for searing steak on a stovetop or grill.

Peanut oil has some impressive health benefits too. It’s loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, promoting healthy cholesterol levels and reducing heart disease risk. Additionally, it contains vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant, protecting your cells against damage.

Now, when it comes to price, peanut oil is relatively affordable compared to other high smoke points oils like avocado or grapeseed. You can find it easily at the local grocery stores or online.


Sunflower Oil

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One of the key advantages of sunflower oil is that it burns over 450°F, which is considered a high smoke point, the same as that of peanut oil. This means it can withstand high heat while maintaining its nutritional properties and quality, making it ideal for searing steak at high temperatures without burning or smoking.

Sunflower oil is rich in unsaturated fats and antioxidants, which benefit your heart and overall health. It can help to lower cholesterol levels, improve brain function and reduce the risk of heart disease. Additionally, its mild flavor profile won’t overpower the natural taste of your steak, allowing you to truly enjoy the meat’s unique flavors.

Sunflower oil is also an affordable option, with prices generally lower than those of other searing oils like avocado oil.


Grapeseed Oil

grape oil

If you’re a steak lover, you know that searing steaks is an art form. Achieving that crusty, caramelized exterior while keeping the inside juicy and tender is no easy feat. That’s where grapeseed oil comes in. This high smoke point oil is perfect for searing steaks to perfection.

Let’s dive into why grapeseed oil is the best choice for searing steaks. With a smoke point of 420°F, grapeseed oil can handle high heat without burning. No one wants to end up with a charred piece of steak because their oil couldn’t handle the heat.

Not only is grapeseed oil a high smoke point oil, but it also has a neutral flavor. This means it won’t overwhelm the steak’s natural flavor like some other oils might. And unlike olive oils, grapeseed oil doesn’t have a low smoke point, making it a much safer choice for high-temperature cooking methods like searing.

In terms of health benefits, grapeseed oil is a good choice. It contains high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are good for your blood vessels. It also doesn’t contain any trans fats, which are known to be bad for your health.

When it comes to price, grapeseed oil is typically less expensive than other high smoke point oils like avocado oil or coconut oil. And since you only need a small amount for searing steaks, a bottle of grapeseed oil will go a long way.


Canola Oil

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Canola oil has a moderately high smoke point of 400°F, making it a fabulous option for low to medium heat searing. And while it may not be as high as other oils, it’s still more than enough to get that crispy sear on your steak.

But that’s not all – canola oil is also a healthier alternative to other cooking oils. Because this oil is low in saturated fats and high in unsaturated fats, it may help to lower the risk of heart disease. Plus, it’s rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps keep your skin healthy and glowing.

Another advantage of canola oil is that it’s comparatively cheaper than other cooking oils like avocado or walnut oil. That means you can enjoy delicious, restaurant-quality steak at home without shelling out a fortune.

So, canola oil is a fantastic option for creating restaurant-style steaks. With a decent smoke point, health benefits, and budget-friendly price tag, it’s a clear choice for your searing needs.


What Are Some Good Tips for Searing Meat?

Here are some tips for searing meat:

  1. Use a heavy-bottomed pan: A cast-iron skillet or a stainless steel pan is ideal as they retain heat well and distribute it evenly for even cooking.
  2. Make sure the meat is dry: Pat the meat dry with paper towels before placing it on the hot pan. This helps to get a good sear without steaming the meat.
  3. Preheat the pan: Heat the pan over high heat before adding oil. Before adding the meat, the oil should be shimmering but not smoking.
  4. Do not overcrowd the pan: Give the meat enough space to sear on all sides. Overcrowding the pan will lower the temperature, causing the meat to steam instead of sear.
  5. Avoid moving the meat too much: Allow it to sear on one side for a few minutes before flipping it. Moving the meat around too much will prevent it from developing a good crust.
  6. Add flavor with aromatics: Add garlic, thyme, and rosemary to the pan towards the end of cooking for extra flavor.
  7. Let the meat rest: Once the searing is done, take the meat out of the pan and allow it to rest for some minutes. Allowing the meat to rest for a few minutes enables the juices to spread evenly, resulting in a more tender and succulent steak.

Are There Any Oils I Should Avoid to Sear Steak?

Oils having low smoke points should be avoided when searing steak. Some examples include olive and flaxseed oil, which have smoke points of around 320°F and 225°F, respectively. Using these oils for high-heat cooking can result in burnt meat and a foul taste.

It’s best to stick with oils like avocado, safflower, sunflower, canola, peanut, grapeseed, or extra light olive oil, which have much higher smoke points and are more suitable for searing.

So Which Best Oil for Searing Steak Will You Choose?

To sum up, finding the best oil for searing steak comes down to selecting an oil with a high smoke point. Grapeseed, canola, avocado, safflower, sunflower, peanut, and extra light olive oil all stand out as excellent choices for getting that perfectly golden and crispy sear.

When cooking, make sure to use a heavy-bottomed pan, preheat before adding oil, give the meat enough space, and let it rest after cooking. By selecting the right oil and following these steps, you’ll be able to achieve restaurant-quality steak at home. So, grab your favorite oil and start searing!

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