10 Different Types of Cooking Oils Every Home Cook Should Know
These days, there are so many options for cooking oils that it can make your head spin. To help make sure your next meal is as tasty as possible, we’re breaking down the top 15 cooking oils, what they’re best for, their smoke points, and other important health information.
You’re ready to cook tonight’s dish. You’ve read the recipe, prepared your ingredients, and gotten all of your cookware ready to go. The recipe calls for cooking oil, but you’re not sure which kind to use. Should you go with extra-virgin olive oil or vegetable oil? Or is avocado oil a better choice?
1. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
We’re kicking things off with one of the most popular types of cooking oil: extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO). EVOO is popular for its health benefits, rich flavor, and adaptability. It’s perfect for creating salad dressing, sauteing, creating dipping sauces, grilling, baking, and even frying. This oil is unrefined, meaning it’s created by cold-pressing whole olives without any additional heat or chemicals.
One good thing to know about EVOO is that it has a low smoke point of 350℉, meaning it’s not the best cooking oil for high-heat cooking techniques such as stir frying or deep frying.
2. Light Olive Oil
EVOO isn’t the only olive oil out there. In fact, you might find light olive oil to be a better choice for some of your culinary adventures. With its higher smoke point (470ºF), light olive oil is an excellent choice for roasting, grilling, and frying. It’s a refined oil with a neutral flavor.
3. Canola and Other Vegetable Oils
Canola and vegetable oils are refined oils that have a neutral flavor and a medium smoke point of 400ºF. They’re a pantry staple due to their versatile nature and can be used for grilling, frying, baking, and sauteing. These oils have decreased in popularity in recent years due to a lack of nutrients. We’ll take a look at one of their popular substitutes below.
4. Almond Oil
Almond oil can be either refined or cold-pressed. Cold-pressed almond oil is best for dressings and dips. Refined almond oil has a smoke point of 430°F. It can be used for frying, sauteing, and grilling.
5. Coconut Oil
You can find coconut oil in refined and unrefined versions. Much like olive oil, unrefined or virgin coconut oil has a lower smoke point of 350ºF and a stronger flavor. Refined coconut oil is better for high temperatures (with a smoke point of 450ºF) and has a lighter flavor. This oil is a popular butter substitute for baking as well as for Thai and Indian dishes.
When cooking with high temperatures and oils, make sure to use a range hood to remove toxic fumes, which can have a negative impact on your health.
6. Avocado Oil
If your recipe calls for vegetable oil, but you’d like to increase the nutritional value of your dish, give avocado oil a try. It has plenty of good monounsaturated fats. Plus, with a high smoke point ( 520ºF when refined and up to 480ºF when unrefined), you can use it for just about anything. Just know that the unrefined version will be more flavorful.
7. Sesame Oil
Sesame oil is a common choice for Asian, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern dishes. However, it’s versatile enough to use for just about anything due to its neutral taste and smoke point of 410°F. It’s often a common substitute for olive oil with its health benefits, such as monounsaturated fats and antioxidants.
8. Grapeseed Oil
Mix up your next sauteed or fried dish with grapeseed oil, or add some to your marinade. Grapeseed oil is a neutral oil that comes from winemaking. It has a smoke point of (390°F), so it’s best for medium cooking temperatures.
9. Peanut Oil
Love to create Asian dishes? Want to fry up some chicken? Grab the peanut oil! This refined oil has a high smoke point of 450ºF and works great for large-batch frying. The unrefined version has a much lower smoke point (320ºF) and is more commonly used in dressings and marinades. The overall flavor is neutral to nutty.
To prevent last night’s fried chicken from ruining today’s breakfast, follow these simple yet effective tips for getting rid of cooking odors.
This next one isn’t exactly an oil, but it’s still worth adding to your list to try. Ghee is a clarified butter from India. The process of making ghee works by melting butter to separate the liquid fats from the milk solids. The milk solids are then removed. Ghee is a good choice for baking, roasting, and sauteing. It has a slightly nutty flavor.