There are a lot of cooking oils to choose from, with different flavors and characteristics that make them better for certain types of cooking. Extra virgin olive oil is great for salads and marinades, while avocado oil works well for high-heat cooking or as a finishing touch on grilled meats or vegetables.
But you may have noticed that some oils are advertised as “best for frying,” with a lower smoke point — the temperature at which an oil begins to smoke and break down. These oils are ones that have been refined, either through chemical or heat processes, removing impurities and increasing the smoke point.
Refined oils have higher smoke points than unrefined oils, but they also lose a lot of their natural flavor and nutrients in the process. Because of this, many people prefer to use unrefined oils in most cases and save the refined stuff for the occasional high-heat cooking session. So how do you know what’s best? Here’s a quick guide:
What Are Cooking Oils?
Cooking oils are plant, animal, or synthetic fats. They are used in frying, baking, and as ingredients in prepared foods. Cooking oils are usually liquid at room temperature (such as vegetable oil or olive oil), although some oils that contain saturated fat (such as coconut oil or palm oil) are solid.
Oils that contain saturated fats have melting points higher than room temperature and are typically solid at room temperature.
Types Of Cooking Oils
Oils are the way to achieve great flavor and texture in many foods. And while you may not have thought about it, cooking oils can greatly affect the outcome of your dish. A bad choice of cooking oil can ruin a dish, but a good one will make it more enjoyable.
Here is a list of common cooking oils:
1. Avocado Oil
Made from pressed avocados, this mild oil is good for salad dressings because it resists heat-induced flavors; it’s also great for baking.
2. Canola Oil
Extracted from rapeseed plants using a chemical process; this neutral oil is affordable and has a high smoke point (400°F), making it ideal for high-heat cooking.
3. Coconut Oil
High in saturated fat, this oil is best for low-heat cooking like roasting vegetables or preparing baby food.
4. Flaxseed Oil
This oil is actually derived from the seeds of the flax plant and has been used for thousands of years to make textiles and paper; it’s high in omega-3 fatty acids. It’s also a stable source of omega-6 fatty acids, which helps reduce inflammation.
5. Grapeseed Oil
Made from pressed grapes, this oil is primarily used as a finishing oil for salads.
6. Hazelnut Oil
Also called “nut oil,” this is a particularly rich oil that’s good for frying and sautéing (and its name comes from the hazel tree from which it’s made). It also has a high smoke point (400°F) and contains anti-inflammatory compounds.
7. Hemp Oil
Like flaxseed, this oil is pressed from hemp seeds and has an almost identical nutritional profile; it’s typically used as a finishing oil.
8. Olive Oil
A staple in the Mediterranean diet, olive oil is the most commonly used cooking oil in the world; it’s high in polyphenols, vitamin E and antioxidants, which all play a role in fighting inflammation.
9. Peanut Oil
Made from pressed peanuts, this oil contains a high amount of monounsaturated fats and can be used for both high-heat and low-heat cooking.
10. Pistachio Oil
This oil is extracted from pressed pistachios, which can be used for both high- and low-heat cooking. It’s very delicate, so it doesn’t tolerate heat as well as other oils.
11. Safflower Oil
This oil is derived from the dried seeds of the safflower plant and has a high smoke point (400°F). It’s typically used as a finishing oil.
12. Sesame Oil
Also called “tahini oil,” this is not to be confused with sesame seed oil; it’s made from pressed sesame seeds and is high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.
13. Sunflower Oil
Made from pressed sunflower seeds, this oil is high in polyunsaturated fats and a good source of linolenic acid, which helps reduce inflammation.
14. Walnut Oil
This oil is low in saturated fat and contains monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Like other nut oils, it has a higher smoke point (350°F) than other cooking oils and can withstand heat better. It’s a common drizzle for salad dressings.
Health Benefits Of Using Cooking Oil
There are many different types of cooking oils. They are vegetable oil, olive oil Canola oil, etc. Some cooking oils have health benefits and some have extra advantages. There are some important benefits of using cooking oil.
1. It has antioxidants
Cooking oils have antioxidants, they help the body to fight disease-causing free radicals, which is the cause of cancer, aging, and many other types of diseases. Antioxidants prevent cancer-causing free radicals in our bodies.
2. Build your immune system strong
Cooking oils can also build your immune system strong because they contain vitamins A, D and E. Vitamins A and D help the immune system to work properly and vitamin E helps cells to work properly. It also has beta carotene which improves our eyesight and keeps skin healthy.
3. Protect your heart
Some cooking oils contain antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids which help our heart to be healthy and strong. Omega-3 fatty acids contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). If we add ALA in our diet it becomes EPA and DHA which are very good for heart health.
Olive oil protects your heart as well as reduces blood pressure because it contains monounsaturated fat, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory agents.
Cooking oils are also very healthy because they protect against strokes and cardiovascular disease. They help keep you heart-healthy as well as your body. They can lower the risk of getting cancer and they improve digestion as well as protect teeth from cavities etc.
10 Best Oils For Cooking
#1 Pompeian 100% Grapeseed Oil Cooking
Pompeian 100% Grapeseed Oil Cooking is all-natural cooking oil, perfect for stir-frying, baking, sautéing, and frying. Also, it’s great for salad dressings.
Pompeian sources grapeseed oil from grapes grown in France and Italy. The grapes are pressed for the juice and winemaking process, leaving the oil from the seeds to be extracted. Pompeian imports 100% of its Grapeseed Oil from Europe. The oil is expeller-pressed using a chemical-free process that does not involve the use of solvents.
The Grapeseed Oil has a light flavor and high smoke point of making it ideal for sautéing at temperatures up to 510° F. Also, it’s naturally gluten-free and Non-Allergenic.
What we liked:
- It’s low in saturated fat
- Light taste, so it’s great for salads, pancakes, and fish
- A light oil that is completely vegetable-based.
- It’s great for grilling, baking, frozen treats, and stir-fry
- Pompeian is a family-owned company that has been around for over 100 years
#2 Betterbody Foods Avocado Cooking Oil For High Heat
BetterBody Foods Avocado Oil is a premium cooking oil that’s made from real avocados sourced from South American orchards. It features a subtle, smooth flavor that enhances the taste of your meals without overpowering them. This naturally cholesterol- and trans-fat-free oil has a high smoke point (500°F) and can be used for sautéing, baking, frying, and as a healthy substitute for butter — you can even use it in your homemade whipped cream!
It’s also non-GMO and gluten-free, so it’s perfect for those on keto or paleo diets. It comes in 16.9 fl oz bottles and is best stored in a cool, dark place to preserve freshness.
What we liked:
- Uses real avocados for a high-quality, authentic taste
- Excellent source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats
- Can be used for a variety of cooking/baking needs
- The avocado oil substitute has a wonderful taste and texture.
#3 Healthy Harvest Sunflower Oil For Cooking – Best Cooking Oil For Weight Loss
Healthy Harvest Sunflower Oil is a non-GMO product that’s naturally processed, which means it is produced without the use of chemicals. This Healthy Harvest oil has a neutral taste and smell and can be used for high-heat cooking, like stir-frying or deep frying. It is also suitable for baking.
It’s produced from sunflower seeds that are grown in the United States, and the company provides information about the farm where the seeds are cultivated. The company also has a commitment to community health and supports various charities and causes.
The oil is made using physical refining methods, which is a chemical-free process that retains most of the nutrients in the oil. Physical refining involves heating and filtering the oil, which requires less energy than traditional refining methods.
The product has a long shelf life of two years when kept in its original container away from light and heat sources. When opened, it should be refrigerated and used within six months or so, according to Healthy Harvest’s website.
What we liked:
- No added ingredients or chemicals
- The can is easy to open and close
- The oil is chemical-free so it is safe for cooking
- Vegan options are available
- No sharp edges or chemical taste
#4 Pompeian Usda Virgin Olive Oil For Frying
Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil is an all-natural, 100% pure product that delivers a robust and complex flavor. It is an excellent choice for chefs and home cooks who like the robust flavor of olive oil, but want to keep their calorie intake low and maintain healthy blood cholesterol levels.
It’s made from only the first pressing of olives, with no heat treatment or chemicals. This results in more healthy fats and fewer free radicals than other olive oils. Pompeian’s virgin olive oil is then stored at cool temperatures to preserve its rich, fruity flavor.
What we liked:
- The olive oil was packaged well with a quality seal and looked very professional
- The olive oil is organic, 100% natural and cold-pressed
- The price for one liter is affordable and affordable for those wanting to start using high-quality olive oil.
- The bottle had a nice handle that makes it easy to pour
#5 Carrington Farms Coconut Cooking Oil
When it comes to cooking oils, there’s a lot of confusion about what’s healthy and what’s not. The oil you choose can depend on the type of cooking you plan to do, your personal preferences, and your budget.
We like Carrington Farms Coconut Cooking Oil because it’s natural coconut oil. It offers a great alternative to other cooking oils that are high in saturated fat. It’s also high in monounsaturated fats, which are liquid at room temperature but solidify when chilled.
Carrington Farms Coconut Cooking Oil is great for medium- to high-heat cooking because it has a higher smoke point than many other cooking oils. It’s gluten-free and free of hydrogenated and trans fats. The bottle is BPA free and easy to use thanks to the pour spout.
What we liked:
- Natural coconut oil.
- BPA-free and easy to use.
- High smoke point.
- Gluten-free and free of hydrogenated and trans fats.
#6 Nutiva Red Palm Healthy Oil for Cooking
Nutiva’s Red Palm Oil is a unique, whole food oil that is naturally rich in carotenoids and tocotrienols (forms of vitamin E). This delicious, organic, refined oil can be used for cooking and baking or added to smoothies. It has a high smoke point (450°F) and can be used in place of olive or coconut oil.
With 10X more vitamin A than carrots and 3X more vitamin E than avocado, Nutiva Red Palm Oil supplies a powerful nutrient punch.
We loved the color of the Red Palm Oil. It was a vibrant red-orange that made any recipe look beautiful! This oil is perfect for sautéing, making salad dressings or an alternative to butter on toast. It doesn’t have an overpowering taste so it can be used with many different recipes.
What we liked:
- Red Palm Oil is a good source of antioxidants.
- It provides healthy fats, which promote heart health and immune function.
- It is a rich source of Vitamin E, an important antioxidant that plays a protective role in the body.
#7 Mantova Garlic Oil For Cooking – Best Cooking Oil For Heart
Garlic Oil Cooking Spray is the perfect companion in the kitchen for any cook. Whether you are a seasoned chef or a novice home cook, Mantova Garlic Oil Cooking Spray will blow your taste buds away with its delicious flavors and versatility.
Mantova Garlic Oil cooking spray is made up of 100% natural and heart-healthy extra virgin olive oil combined with the fresh taste of garlic to create an aromatic flavoring that will add a little something extra to any dish.
The powerful antioxidants and monounsaturated fatty acids found in extra virgin olive oil make it ideal for anyone with a healthy lifestyle or anyone looking to incorporate a healthy lifestyle into their everyday routine. The addition of garlic makes the spray even better for your health, as it has been shown to help lower blood pressure and fight off numerous diseases such as cancer.
What we liked:
- The garlic flavor is very pronounced.
- Has the perfect consistency for a cooking spray.
- The bottle is long and skinny, making it very easy to store despite its size.
- Comes in a glass bottle which is better for the environment compared to plastic.
- Easy to use a nozzle.
#8 Fresh Vintage Farms Almond Oil Cooking
Fresh Vintage Farms Almond Oil is made from 100% California-grown almonds. Their almonds are grown with care and harvested at the peak of flavor.
This oil is made from cold press extraction which maximizes the flavor and health benefits that can be found in the almond itself. Cold press extraction is a process that retains numerous nutritional properties that are often lost in conventional oils. Fresh Vintage Farms Almond Oil goes one step further by adding its special oil blend. This proprietary blend is made from ingredients that help promote healthy hair, skin, and nails.
Fresh Vintage Farms Almond Oil is packaged in a convenient pump-top bottle for ease of use and dispensing. It has a shelf life of 12–18 months when stored in a cool, dark, dry place.
What we liked:
- The fact is that it’s made from actual almonds and not the typical bitter almond extract that is often used in cosmetics.
- The pump-top container makes it more hygienic and economical in the long run.
- The added almond oil is quite moisturizing.
- The “chocolate” smell is not overpowering at all. It’s actually quite nice, as it smells like a homemade marzipan dessert or something to that effect.
#9 La Tourangelle Sesame Oil Cooking
La Tourangelle Sesame Oil is a traditional Asian cooking companion. Traditional Asian food often uses sesame oil for cooking. La Tourangelle makes all-natural artisan oils in the spirit of the French traditional way of pressing oils. Our oils are made from premium ingredients and are handcrafted in small batches in California.
Sesame Oil adds a wonderful flavor to Asian dishes, but also to other foods such as vinaigrettes and sautées.
La Tourangelle is passionate about making superior, artisan oils that inspire and enable you to bring out the best in your own creations. We want you to enjoy our natural oils in all their glory and live the good life!
What we liked:
- This oil is fragrant and flavorful.
- The unique shape of the bottle allows for easy pouring and less mess when cooking.
- The oil can be used in stir fry, sauces, and even drinks.
#10 La TourangellePeanut Oil Cooking
La TourangellePeanut Oil is a naturally refined peanut oil that is expeller-pressed from select virgin peanuts and has a deep, nutty flavor. It will enhance all your savory dishes, including sautéing, stir-frying and marinades.
Peanut oil is an excellent finishing oil to use on salads, meats and pasta. This healthy oil contains Vitamin E and omega-6 fatty acids, which can help lower blood pressure and fight against heart risks.
La Tourangelle oils are artisanally crafted with the best quality ingredients available. They have received numerous awards from the Specialty Food Association for their outstanding gourmet oils.
It’s expeller-pressed in a state-of-the-art processing facility to ensure the highest quality without the use of harmful chemicals or solvents. We are committed to upholding our standards to give you a pure, healthy cooking oil that enhances any dish!
What we liked:
- High-quality product from an exceptional company.
- It tastes great! I use it in stir-fry and sautéing (on low heat only though)
- No petroleum byproducts.
- It doesn’t smoke at all. It is completely odorless once it’s heated.
- High heat tolerance, no burning or smoking at all.
Things To Consider When Buying Oil for Cooking
Here are the various qualities to consider when buying oil for cooking:
1. The smoke point
It’s the temperature at which oil starts smoking. The lower the smoke point, the more unstable the oil is. When cooking with oil, it’s always important to use one with a high enough smoke point. In general, oils with a high smoke point are good for frying and high-heat cooking, while those with a low smoke point are best for dressing and finishing dishes.
Some oils with high smoke points include avocado oil (520°F), grape seed oil (420°F), peanut oil (450°F), safflower oil (510°F) and sesame oil (410°F).
It’s another factor to consider when buying cooking oil. Saturated fat has no double bonds between carbon molecules and is usually solid at room temperature (like butter and lard). Unsaturated fats have one or more double bonds and are usually liquid at room temperature (think olive oil). Saturated fats have been vilified by health experts as harmful to heart health; however, some recent studies have shown that saturated fats have a neutral effect on heart disease
This one is quite simple — you want to choose an oil that tastes good! While it might seem like all oils taste relatively similar, there are some notable differences.
4. Fatty Acid Profile
All fats are composed of a combination of saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, and polyunsaturated fat. Some types of oils have a higher proportion of one than another. The fatty acid profile of your oil is extremely important in determining how healthy it is for you.
Store all oils in a cool dark place away from heat sources such as stove tops and direct sunlight.
Choose an oil with a good fatty acid profile. You want to avoid trans-fats, saturated fats, and omega-6 fats while increasing your intake of omega-3 fats.
1. Is it OK to re-use frying oil?
Frying oils can be re-used several times if they are strained between uses and stored in a cool, dark place. However, the flavor of the frying oil will change with each use, so it is best to discard used frying oils after a few uses or when they become cloudy or have visible debris floating in them.
2. Is vegetable shortening different from vegetable oil?
Vegetable shortening consists primarily of hydrogenated vegetable oils and is solid at room temperature, while vegetable oil remains liquid at room temperature.
3. Why is oil important in cooking?
Cooking oils are used to transfer heat and add flavor and texture to food. In some cases, they also have nutritional benefits, such as vitamin E and anti-inflammatory components.
4. Which oil is best for deep frying?
Expeller-pressed, high-heat oils like canola, cottonseed, safflower, and sunflower are good choices for deep-frying. They have a high smoke point (400 degrees F) and don’t break down the way olive oil does when heated.
5. Why do we use oil in cooking?
We use oil in cooking to add flavor and moisture to food and also to prevent sticking.
6. Why should I use coconut oil?
Coconut oil is a natural source of medium-chain triglycerides and lauric acid, which have been shown to offer a variety of health benefits. MCTs are easier for your body to digest than other types of fat and can be used by your body for energy rather than stored as fat. Lauric acid is known for its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.
7. How much oil should I use when cooking?
The amount of oil you use is not necessarily important, but how much food you cook in the oil is. If you are deep-frying a turkey, you need enough oil to completely submerge the turkey. For sautéing or frying, use about 2 tablespoons per pound of meat, fish or poultry.
8. What is the difference between “light” and “dark” oils?
A: Lighter oils have milder flavors and are good for high-heat cooking such as stir-frying and frying because they have higher smoke points. Darker oils have stronger flavors and are best for low to medium heat cooking such as sautéing, marinating or dressing salads.
9. Does olive oil go bad?
Yes. Olive oil has a maximum shelf life of two years from the harvest date (which will be stamped on the bottle). Keep it away from light, heat, and air in a tightly sealed container in a cool place to ensure maximum freshness and flavor. Once opened, use within two months.
To sum up, the best oil for cooking is avocado oil. It is a healthier alternative to olive oil and coconut oil and can be used in a myriad of ways, whether it is for baking, frying or dressing salads. It also provides the body with healthy fats that are known to reduce cholesterol and improve heart health. So what are you waiting for? Start using it in your kitchen today!