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An Easy Guide to Choosing Cooking Oils

When it comes to choosing a cooking oil most people just use “whatever’s around the house.” But this visual guide can put an end to that, making it a cinch to remember which is best for the culinary project at hand.

While some oils are interchangeable in food preparation, each has its own place in the culinary world. The smoke point, the temperature to which an oil can be heated without breaking down its flavor and nutrient profiles, is typically what determines oil choice. Extra light olive oil, for example has a smoke point of 468 °F, making it excellent for sauteing vegetables. Extra virgin olive oil, on the other hand, only has a smoke point of 374 °F, making it a better choice for homemade salad dressings or cooking on lower heat.

Coconut oil has been receiving accolades lately for its ease of use and its brain health benefits. While coconut oil may have received a bad rep in the past, it is now being regarded as a must use health food to use in moderation. It can also be used as an excellent substitute for shortening in baking.

Another shining star that you may have noticed in grocery stores more recently is avocado oil. In terms of taste and use, avocado oil in comparable to olive oil but much more diverse. With a smoke point of 520 °F, avocado oil is a very stable oil that can easily carry other flavors throughout foods without becoming degraded. It can be used in everything from baking to salad preparation and sauteing.

Do you have a favorite oil that you enjoy cooking with?

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