Have you ever wondered what is the best oil to cook with? I thought it would be fun to take a minute to talk about oils. No two oils are created equally.
What is the best oil to cook with?
When choosing just the right oil to cook with you want to consider both the health aspects of the oil, and the cooking properties.
Some oils obviously work better than others in both aspects, while others leave something to be desired in one or the other. Learn a little more about the different oils as you make your choice about which one (or more) to cook with.
There are two things about oil that make it healthy, and make it good to cook with.
You want to consume and cook with oils that have resistance to oxidation. Oxidation is definitely not something you want as that process means the oils have gone rancid and reacted with oxygen. This forms free radicals and other harmful compounds that you don’t want to put into your body.
The saturated fats factor for the oil affects the oxidation. The degree of saturation of the fatty acids within that particular oil will determine the oxidation resistance of the oil. Oils with a higher concentration of saturated fats (as opposed to higher concentrations of monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats) have higher resistance to oxidation.
Have I lost you yet? Don’t panic. I can explain more.
Below are the most popular oils listed including how to cook with them and the health benefits that they provide!
Coconut oil is perhaps the best choice for cooking. Not only does coconut oil score high in saturated fats (over 90 percent is saturated fats) and low in both mono- and polyunsaturated fats, this is a very versatile oil to have on hand.
This oil has wonderful properties for skin, nails, and hair and adds great flavor to your food. Coconut oil can also boost your metabolism and contains Lauric Acid which can help reduce cholesterol.
Coconut oil also has antibacterial properties. This particular oil is semi-solid at room temperatures and can last for months without oxidizing.
Also, coconut oil has a high smoke point so it’s great to use for all types of cooking including deep frying and cooking at a high temperature.
Olive oil has been shown to raise good cholesterol and improve heart health, making it a good choice for keeping your heart healthy.
Extra virgin olive oil has the greatest health benefits with a high concentration of nutrients and antioxidants. Olive oil should be kept in a cool dark place and is one of my favorite healthy cooking oils.
I love using olive oil to make salad dressings and it has a low smoke point so it’s best to use when cooking items on low or medium high heat.
Avocado oil is also a great choice to cook with. It is unrefined just like extra virgin olive oil but also has a high smoke point like coconut oil so it can be used in most cooking as well.
Plus it has a neutral flavor so it’s great for cooking all of your favorite recipes.
The only down fall to this oil over the others is that it’s generally more expensive.
Peanut oil has one of the highest monounsaturated fat contents in all the cooking oils. Plus it adds a great nutty flavor to some of my favorite recipes.
It also has a high smoke point so it’s great to use at a high temperature. I love using this oil to make stir fry as the peanut flavor is delicious with these recipes!
This oil is similar to peanut oil as it does have a nutty flavor. However, walnut oil has a low smoke point so it’s not great for cooking with it.
However, many people add it to their coffee in the morning as it has a good ration of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids which is great to reduce inflammation in the body.
Flaxseed oil also has a low smoke point so it should not be used for cooking. However, it is also high in omega-3 fatty acids. Many use this oil to make their own salad dressing.
Also, this oil needs to be stored in the refrigerator.
This oil has a high smoke point so it’s great for all types of cooking in the kitchen. Also, it has a decent amount of monounsaturated fats which is great for blood pressure and polyunsaturated fats. Plus it has the lowest amount of saturated fats.
However, in the United States, canola oil tends to be heavily processed which can reduce the amount of nutrients in the oil.
Any oil that is called Vegetable in the United States is a blend of any plant based oil. Generally, a vegetable oil is a combination of canola, corn, soybean, palm and sunflower oils.
Generally vegetables oils are highly processed so there is little nutrients in them. It’s best to substitute vegetable oils with another oil that is not processed oil so that you can get the nutritional value from them.
Plus if any of the oils in the vegetable oil has been hydrogenated than the oil can be high in trans fat which can cause an increase your cholesterol and have a negative impact on your heart health.
Also, the smoke point can vary based on the blend so I generally do not use for high heat cooking as the oil can become rancid if heated too high.
Sunflower oil has a high smoke point so it works for all types of cooking. Plus it has a mild flavor so can be used in any type of dish.
Sunflower oil is high in vitamin E but should still be used in moderation as its’ high in omega-6s fatty acids which can cause inflammation in the body if it’s not balanced out with Omega-3s.
What about Real Butter?
Butter — the real stuff (not margarine)– has been maligned for many years, but it is actually a healthy choice for cooking.
Real butter contains Vitamins A, E, and K2 and is also very rich in healthy fatty acids. Butter is very good for cooking with, but it can burn easily at high heats so watch is closely!
Which oil is best for high heat cooking?
Sunflower oil, canola oil, peanut oil, avocado oil and coconut oil are my favorite oils to use when I’m cooking at a high heat.
Other great choices of oils that are great to cook with include palm oil and animal fats such as tallow, lard, or bacon drippings.
Knowing the best oils for cooking can help you make healthy choices for your family. These choices are stable when heated and offer great flavor and health properties for consumers. Personally I love to cook with coconut oil.