It’s easy to throw some oil into a pan and start to cook. However, choosing the right cooking oil can be the difference between making a delicious & nutritious meal, and inedible, burnt food. While it’s not necessary to own 10 different kinds of cooking oils, having a few options to choose from is a good idea. Different cooking oils produce different results, so, whether you plan to bake, broil, sear, saute, or fry, we will break down which cooking oils are best for what!
First and foremost, it’s important to consider an oil’s smoke point. Smoke point is the point at which an oil begins to smoke and become ineffective (also potentially carcinogenic). The type of cooking oil you want to use will depend on whether you are:
Choose an oil with a neutral flavor and high smoke point. Oils that have a higher smoke point are those that are more refined, as the chemical processing, bleaching, and filtering often removes high-sensitive impurities. A high smoke point is above 375 degrees F. The best frying oils are:
It should be noted that pure olive oil is different from Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Pure olive oil is an all purpose cooking oil, whereas EVOO, has a relatively low smoke point and shouldn’t be used for frying. Additionally, if you are trying to use a healthier frying oil, then avocado oil is your pick! Avocado oil contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fats without being overly processed like canola or vegetable oil.
It’s best to choose a neutral oil for baking. The oils listed below tend to be lighter in flavor, so they will not negatively affect a baked product’s flavor or texture. Coconut oil is the most fragrant oil on this list but can work quite nicely for certain baked goods.
If you’re a health-conscious person, canola oil is the best option for baking as it only contains 7% saturated fat and is also high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Choose a more flavorful oil, with a higher smoke point, such as:
Refined oils such as safflower, peanut, and sesame oil are great options for searing or high-heat sauteing. EVOO should be used for more moderate heat sauteing only.
The more flavorful the better. The best oils for dressings are:
Olive oil and flaxseed oils are incredibly healthy, as these oils are rich in heart healthy omega 3’s. Olive oil makes for the best everyday vinaigrette, whereas sesame oil is wonderful for Asian style dressings.
Ultimately, having at least a few different cooking oils with different smoke points on hand will help you optimize your cooking goals! Plus, having options will help you avoid having to make olive oil brownies. Since, there are so many different cooking oils to choose from that offer different taste & health benefits, we encourage you to go explore and see which oils are your personal favorites!
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