Your Guide to Cooking Oils

When it comes to cooking oil I generally reach for the olive oil. But I do have most other cooking oils in my pantry as well. Every cooking oil can be used for something a little different. The best oils for frying have high smoke points which include avocado oil, peanut oil, palm oil and sesame oil. Oils that work well for baking include coconut oil, palm oil, canola oil and safflower and sunflower oil. Most oils are great for sauteing and light oils like olive oil, grapeseed oil and sesame oil are good for dressings.

Your Guide to Cooking Oils

  • Olive oil – Made from pressed olives and a mainstay in the Mediterranean diet. It is high in monounsaturated fats which make it heart healthy. Regular olive oil has a high smoke point of 470 degrees F while extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) has a low smoke point of 325 degrees F. Use olive oil for high heat cooking and vinaigrette’s and EVOO is great as a finishing oil.
  • Coconut oil – Made from pressed fruit of the coconut palm tree. It is high in saturated fats. Use it for light flavored dishes as it has a distinct taste.
  • Grapeseed oil – Made from the seeds of grapes this oil is high in polyunsaturated fats. This oil has a high smoke point at 420 degrees F. It is great on salad or with herbs for dipping.
  • Canola oil – Made from pressed rapeseed plants. It has omega-3 fatty acids and it is low in saturated fat. The smoke point is about 400 degrees F. Use it for sauces and desserts such as soft cakes or brownies.
  • Avocado oil – Made from pressed avocados this oil is high in monounsaturated fats. This oil has a high smoke point at 520 degrees F. It is great for sauteing, roasting and making a vinaigrette.
  • Sesame oil – Made from sesame seeds so this oil is high in antioxidants. The smoke point is 410 degrees F. Use it for sauteing, roasting and frying. Toasted sesame oil has a more distinct flavor.


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