A Primer on Cooking Oils
With seemingly endless choices, selecting the right oil for your meal can feel overwhelming. Whether you’re frying, sautéing, searing, baking, or drizzling, we’re here to help you make the right choice.
From avocado to peanut, here’s the skinny on our favorite kitchen fats:
This healthy oil has a high smoke point of 500°F, perfect for searing and sautéing. Avocado oil’s light flavor is also ideal for dressings like vinaigrettes, dipping sauces, or just for drizzling. As a bonus, avocado oil is loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and powerful antioxidants.
Peanut Oil can also take the (high) heat with a smoke point of 450°F. It’s our go-to for crispy fried chicken and its nutty flavor also pairs well with citrus and fish. Just remember, it’s a lightly-colored oil, which makes it sensitive to oxidation. You’ll want to store your bottle in a cool, dark place and use it within a few months of opening.
When pure and untoasted, sesame oil is a simple neutral oil that’s great for sautéing, roasting, and searing. The smoke point can vary based on refinement and ranges from 350-410°F. For a stronger sesame flavor, use toasted sesame oil and pair it with complementary flavors. With just a few drops, sesame oil will punch up your ramen, soup, Asian-style vinaigrette, or stir fry.
Coconut oil has a smoke point of 350°F, which suits mild/medium-heat cooking. Its strong flavor makes for especially tasty curries and fish dishes. Plus, coconut oil can be used as a dairy-free butter substitute. One thing to keep in mind – you’ll want to avoid using coconut oil in dressings since it’s solid at room temperature.
This is considered to be one of the best oils for frying. Like peanut oil, it has a high smoke point (420°F), but it is so neutral that it is nearly flavorless. Grapeseed oil happily takes a backseat to the bolder flavors in your dish, which means it’s also great for dressings and post-fry coating with hot sauce or seasonings.
This oil varies a bit based on the producer and the veggies used in the blend. The smoke point tends to range from 400°F to 450°F with little in the way of flavor. Use vegetable oil for high heat cooking, frying, searing, or as a dairy-free butter alternative for baking.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
EVOO is a pure, unrefined oil that packs a serious flavor punch. Ranging from mildly peppery to strongly grassy, EVOO is perfect for dressings and drizzles. While you can cook with EVOO, the unique flavor truly shines when left raw.
Pro tip: Upgrade your dessert by drizzling EVOO on a scoop (or two) of vanilla ice cream with a bit of flaky salt. Trust us, it’s pure magic.