Oil is an essential part of flat top cooking. Cooking oil keeps food from sticking to the surface and can also add additional flavors to your food. But there are so many types of oil to choose from and picking one can be confusing.
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In this guide we’ll cover:
- Why your griddle needs oil
- Things to consider when choosing which oil to use
- Understanding smoke points of various oils
- An overview of the best oils to use on a griddle
Let’s get started!
The best oils to use on a Blackstone griddle are canola and avocado oil. Canola oil is inexpensive, has a neutral flavor, and a relatively high smoke point and is perfect for everyday cooking. Avocado oil is somewhat pricier, has a richer flavor, and has a very high smoke point which makes it great for cooking over high heat.
Why Your Griddle Needs Oil
One of the first things you learn when you start cooking on a Blackstone griddle is that you go through a lot of oil. It’s such an essential ingredient I’m surprised they don’t put a small bottle of oil in the box to get you started.
You’ll use oil to season your new Blackstone before you start cooking on it. Seasoning creates a protective barrier that inhibits rust and also forms a non-stick coating on the surface.
You’ll also nee plenty of oil while cooking, whether you’re shallow frying chicken cutlets or sauteing veggies to go with your fried rice.
When you’re done cooking and you’ve cleaned your griddle, you’ll use oil again to re-season it for next time.
I won’t go into detail on the seasoning process here because that’s an article for another day.
Things To Consider When Choosing Which Oil To Use
There are many different cooking oils to choose from, each with its own characteristics and flavor profile. We’ll cover details on commonly used oils below, but first lets look at a few factors you should consider when choosing which to use.
Health: Cooking oil is high in fat, but not all fats are created equal. As the Harvard School of Public Health points out, unsaturated fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) are the good fats that can improve cholesterol, ease inflammation, and promote heart health. On the other hand, the unhealthy saturated fats can raise your cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease.
Examples of cooking oil high in the healthy unsaturated fats include olive, avocado, canola, peanut, and grapeseed. Coconut oil, palm oil, and butter are high in the unhealthy saturated fat.
Price: Canola and vegetable oil are inexpensive and great for everyday cooking. Other oils such as extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and sesame oil are pricier and better suited as a finishing touch where you use only a small amount. You definitely don’t want to be deep-frying in these oils.
Smoke Point: If you’re cooking on high heat you need to use an oil with a high smoke point. A low smoke point oil will lead to a burnt and bitter flavor that will ruin your meal.
Flavor: Some oils, such as olive or sesame, have a definite flavor that will affect your finished meal. Others have a more neutral flavor that won’t really affect the flavor at all. Canola and grapeseed oil are examples of neutral-flavored oils.
Side Note – it may seem obvious but it’s worth pointing out that different oils are made from different sources. Olive oil is made from olives and sesame oil comes from sesame seeds.
Understanding Smoke Points (And Why They Matter)
Simply put, an oil’s smoke point (sometimes called flash point) is the temperature where it begins to smoke and breakdown. When the oil starts breaking down it releases harmful substances like acrolein and free radicals that not only give your food a burnt and bitter taste, but also damage your cells and cause illness.
Since a Blackstone griddle can get incredibly hot, it’s important to know the smoke point of whatever oil you’re using so you don’t reach the point where it starts burning and smoking.
For example, let’s say you’re cooking a steak on your flat top. You’ll need a very high temperature to get a good sear on your steak so you want to use an oil with a high smoke point.
If you try using extra virgin olive oil it will certainly smoke and ruin your steak. You’d be much better off using avocado oil which has a smoking point almost 200 F higher than EVOO.
The table below lists a number of common cooking oils and the smoke point for each. Keep in mind this is just guide and the smoke points are an estimate. In the real world, smoke points can actually vary from one manufacturer to another. Also, the more refined the oil is the higher the smoke point tends to be, so the manufacturing process can also affect smoke point.
Cooking Oil Smoke Points Chart
Type of Oil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
325 F to 375 F
Light or Regular Olive Oil
350 F to 410 F
400 F to 450 F
Clarified Butter (Ghee)
The Best Oils To Use On A Blackstone
Here’s a list of the most commonly used oils when cooking on a Blackstone.
Avocado oil is my personal favorite to use on the Blackstone. It has an absurdly high smoke point of 520 F which makes it perfect for high heat cooking, sauteing, and searing. You can use it to cook everything from fish tacos to hash browns.
Avocado oil has a mild flavor that won’t overwhelm your main dish. Some brands have a greener tint and you can sometimes pick up a very faint taste of avocado.
Avocado oil is loaded with nutrients and the healthy unsaturated fats that can lower cholesterol and blood pressure and improve heart health.
For all these reasons, avocado oil is my pick for the best oil to use on a Blackstone griddle.
Canola oil is one of the most popular oil used by flat top users. It has a fairly high smoke point (400 F), a neutral flavor, is easy to find in stores, and inexpensive. If you don’t want to splurge on the more expensive avocado oil, canola is a great option.
Olive oil is one of the healthiest types of oil and it has a rich flavor that compliments many meals. Olive oil is great for stir fries and as a finishing touch, but not a good option for high heat cooking due to its low smoke point.
Grapeseed oil is used in many restaurants because it has a high smoke point (420 F) and a neutral flavor, but you’ll find it’s more pricey than the budget-friendly canola oil.
Popular in Asian cuisine, sesame oil has a distinct flavor you can’t miss. Use caution when adding to a dish because a little goes a long way and it can overpower your meal if you’re not careful. Sesame oil is a key ingredient in my honey soy marinade.
Peanut oil is popular in many Asian dishes and is perfect for deep frying. It’s the oil of choice when deep frying turkey for Thanksgiving dinner.
Often used for baking or sauteing, coconut oil has a distinct flavor that will definitely come across in your meal. Because of its high saturated fat content coconut oil is one of the less healthy oils and should be used in moderation.
Corn oil is inexpensive, has a high smoke point, and a neutral flavor. It’s popular for deep frying and can be used when cooking on a flat top. Corn oil is ultra-processed and has little nutritional value. You’d be better off cooking with avocado or canola oils.
While not actually an oil, it’s worth mentioning because so many people wonder if you can use butter on a Blackstone. The short answer is yes, you can.
But keep in mind butter has a very low smoke point and can burn easily. Butter is best saved for low heat griddle cooking. Butter is good for cooking pancakes and omelets. It’s also great for toasting hamburger buns.
More Info On Cooking Oil
In my research for this article I came across a neat PBS video that has some great information if you want to learn more about cooking oils: