How to Choose the Right Kind of Cooking Oil

When it comes to choosing the right kind of cooking oil, it can be a baffling experience. Not every kind of oil handles high temperatures well, and each oil has its own smoke point, or the point where blueish smoke begins to separate from the oil itself.

Choosing the right kind of oil is especially pertinent when it comes to deep frying. You need an oil that can handle the high heat necessary to create a crisp, golden outside and a succulent inside. If you choose an oil that has a low smoke point, your final dish will have a burnt taste and that’s never a good thing.

Here are the kind of cooking oils available and how to choose the right kind.

1. Olive Oil

Olive oil is made from pressing whole olives and straining the result. It is the only oil not made from heat, therefore it has the richest flavor. Olive oil is best used in salads or for sautéing.

Olive oil should not be used for frying of any kind. The smoke point varies depending on the type of oil. The smoke points are as follows: Extra Virgin is 320°F, Virgin is 420°F, Pomace is 460°F, and Extra Light is 468°F. 

Canola Oil

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Made from the seeds of the canola plant, it can be used for just about anything in the kitchen. It actually has less saturated fat than olive oil at 7 percent.

Surprisingly, it’s also pretty high in omega – 3 oils. It has a high smoke point of 400°F.

Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil is a blend of several refined oils that can include canola, corn, sunflower, and more. The smoke point is high, but it mostly depends on the refined oils involved.

Vegetable oil can be used for anything, however, so don’t fret. Most notably, it works wonders in fried foods and baked goods.

Peanut Oil

Made from steam-pressed peanuts that deliver a mild taste, peanut oil is absolutely great for frying! The smoke point is off the charts, making it deep-fry friendly.

Use this oil when frying a turkey! It is also very popular in Asian cuisine.

Grapeseed Oil

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If you are a wine lover, then you’ll probably love this oil. It’s one of the by-products of wine making. It’s a good choice for sautéing or salad dressings.

However, do not use grapeseed oil for deep frying as the smoke point is only 392°F. Grapeseed oil is thought to be a healthy oil alternative like olive oil, but only in the right amounts and uses.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil now has a cult following of its own in recent years. It has uses for skin, hair, and food. It even has fat in all the right places to help you stay healthy.

With a smoke point of 350°F, I would not use this to deep fry, but light sautéing and baking are great uses for it.

Sesame Oil

If you ever had some delicious Asian cuisine, then you have tasted sesame oil made from sesame seeds. Yes, those white things on hamburger buns and on everything bagels.

Sesame oil has a very distinctive taste and adds great depth of flavor to dishes. It comes in a light and dark variety. Choose the light variety for frying and dark to add depth to sauces and marinades.

Read More: Baking 101: The Differences Between Shortening, Butter, and Oils