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I've start cooking large batches of food on Sunday in preparation for the week. One item is cooking chicken at a high temperature on my cast iron skillet until it is cooked through. Last night as I removed the first batch to put on the next I added some oil as it was needed. It'll probably come as no surprise that the skillet became alight with a grease fire.

How can I avoid this in the future? Would it be best to let the skillet completely cool, add oil then, and cook the next batch? Any advice would be helpful. Thanks in advance.

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    Did the oil splatter or spill and catch fire from the stove, or was the pan hot enough that it just ignited in the pan? – Cascabel Jul 5 '16 at 7:09
  • There didn't seem to be any spill, it's a large cast iron skillet and it was on full heat. – denizen Jul 6 '16 at 0:27
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Not likely that pan itself was hot enough to ignite. The auto-ignition point for cooking oils is 400 to 435°C (750 to 815°F).

You must have splashed some oil and it contacted an ignition source (e.g. flame).

One option would be to kill all flames before adding any oil. Note that on an electric stove, it'll take some time for it to cool down, so you'd have to kill it and wait.

Have a proper lid on hand to smother a fire.

A deeper pan will help.

Pour only what you need from a measuring cup.

Most important - stop cooking so hot. The oil will splatter more, the oil will be more volatile/flammable, and you have a bigger ignition source.

How Hot Does Cooking Oil Need to Be Before It Catches Fire?

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What @paparazzi said.

Also, 390 F (191 C) should give you the cooking result you want, at lower safer temperature. I recommend using a thermometer and not exceeding that temp.

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