The Best Oils for Cooking

There was a great comment about my last blog on coconut oil so I thought I would respond to it in this week’s blog.  The question was what oils should not be used for what? Isn’t olive oil always the healthiest choice?

Everyone has jumped on the olive oil bandwagon because we’ve been told it’s healthier than butter.  Olive oil is a great alternative, but only when used at the right temperatures and cooking method. Different fats and oils have different smoking points or temperatures that they can withstand without changing in composition.  Use the wrong oil for a certain type of cooking method and you risk degrading the fat/oil and changing the molecular structure.

Here’s a list of what oils to use for different cooking methods and temperatures. Always use unrefined organic oils.

No Heat (Up to 120?F / 49?C)

  • Flax Seed Oil
  • Borage Oil
  • Hemp Seed Oil
  • Cod Liver Oil

Low Heat (Up to 212?F / 100?C) – Baking

  • Safflower Oil
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Pumpkin Oil

* When baking breads and muffins at temperatures around 325? F / 163?C, the moisture keeps the inside temperature under 212?F / 100?C.

Medium Heat (325?F / 163?C) – Light Sautéing

  • Sesame Oil
  • Pistachio Oil
  • Hazelnut Oil
  • Olive Oil

High Heat (375?F / 190?C) – Frying, Browning

  • Coconut Oil
  • Ghee (clarified butter)
  • Palm Oil
  • Lard

* When Frying, always put oil into a cold pan and turn heat up gradually.

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Image courtesy of fdecomite on Flickr.

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3 thoughts on “The Best Oils for Cooking

  1. I know this is not directly related but what are your thoughts on how much salt we consume. Maybe you could comment in a future column.

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