Olive oil The smoke point of olive oil is approximately 350°F (176°C), which is a common cooking temperature for many recipes, particularly those for baked goods.
Olive oil has for centuries been the gold standard for cooking oils in kitchens across the globe. It’s mentioned in the Bible it’s mentioned as a skin salve and lubricant in ancient Rome. It is good on minor wounds like skin abrasions (scrapes) and small cuts, and some rashes.
Olive Oil Has Antibacterial Properties. Olive oil contains many nutrients that can inhibit or kill harmful bacteria. Test-tube studies have shown that extra virgin olive oil fights eight strains of this bacterium, three of which are resistant to antibiotics.
It is very versatile, especially along the Mediterranean coastline. It has a subtle peppery or grassy flavor, and is used for baking, sautéing, or cold dressings over salad, and it’s excellent for stir-frying.
Olive oil is rich in vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant. This makes it good for your skin and hair. The primary fatty acid in olive oil is a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid, which studies have shown may have anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties.
Additionally, olive oil contains antioxidant compounds called oleocanthal and oleuropein. These may have anti-inflammatory effects, including helping prevent LDL (bad) cholesterol from oxidizing. Italian and Greek fashion models avoid alcohol, eat right and make olive oil part of their everyday diet. They insist it helps them remain younger, longer.
Researchers have found that olive oil contains heart-healthy compounds and may help prevent conditions like obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes.
Olive oil has a medium smoke point and works well for baking and cooking. It’s rich in antioxidants and may have anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and heart health benefits.
2. Avocado oil
Avocado oil has a smoke point of approximately 520°F (271°C), making it ideal for high heat cooking like deep frying.
It has a neutral, avocado-like taste, and you can use it as you do olive oil. It also has a nutritional composition similar to that of olive oil, with a high percentage of the heart-healthy fat oleic acid.
Some animal studies have indicated that compounds in avocado oil may help lower blood pressure, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and triglycerides, high levels of which may increase your risk of heart disease.
Avocado oil may even be beneficial for reducing painful joint inflammation, enhancing the absorption of other nutrients, and protecting cells against free radical damage.
One review concluded that it maintains its nutritional quality at low and high temperatures.
The quality and nutritional makeup of avocado oil depend on various factors, including where the avocados were grown and the extraction method used.
Avocado oil is nutritionally similar to olive oil. It may have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and heart-health benefits. It also has a higher smoke point that works well for high heat cooking methods like deep frying.
3. Coconut oil
Coconut oil is a more controversial option in the health community.
While it contains mostly saturated fats, which may be associated with a higher risk of heart disease, some studies show that it contains health-promoting compounds that fight inflammation and oxidative damage.
Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides and lauric acid, which may offer benefits for heart health and weight loss.
Overall, it’s probably best to use coconut oil in moderate amounts until the research on its health effects is clearer. It works well for baking and in high heat fry cooking.
Coconut oil has a medium smoke point of approximately 350°F (176°C).
Coconut oil has a medium smoke point and can work well for baking and sautéing. It contains potentially beneficial compounds but also a large proportion of saturated fat, so it’s best to use it shared with other oils. Sometimes coconut, sometimes olive, or palm.
4. Sesame oil
Sesame oil has a medium-high smoke point of approximately 410°F (210°C).
It contains the heart-healthy antioxidants sesamol and sesaminol, which may have various benefits, including potential nerve-protective effects against certain diseases like Parkinson’s.
One small study of people with type 2 diabetes found that using sesame oil for 90 days significantly improved fasting blood sugar and long-term biomarkers of blood sugar management.
Sesame oil works well to sauté and for general-purpose cooking. It’s good with vinegar as a salad dressing. It offers a mild nutty flavor that can work well in a number of stove-top dishes.
Remember that regular sesame oil differs from toasted sesame oil. Toasted sesame has a more amplified nutty flavor, which makes it more suitable for finishing a dish rather than cooking one.
Sesame oil offers numerous benefits and has a medium-high smoke point and versatile, nutty flavor. Just remember that toasted sesame oil is not the same thing and more suitable for finishing a dish.
5. Safflower oil
The smoke point for safflower oil is higher, sitting at approximately 510°F (265°C).
Safflower oil is made from the seeds of the safflower plant. It’s low in saturated fat, containing a higher percentage of unsaturated fatty acids.
One study found that using safflower oil daily may reduce inflammation, and help with blood sugar management, and reduced LDL cholesterol among obese postmenopausal women and patients with type-2-diabetes. We can see a lot of good value in safflower oil, and it will do well for stir-frying too.
This oil offers a neutral flavor that works well for marinades, sauces, and dips, as well as barbecuing and frying on the stove top.
Safflower oil has a high smoke point and neutral flavor, and it may have anti-inflammatory properties and promote heart health and blood sugar management.
Oils You SHOULD NOT Use For High Heat Cooking
Not all oils are stable enough or intended for use in cooking, particularly in high heat preparations. Others are beneficial in cold preparations or used as dietary supplements.
The following oils are best to avoid when it comes to high heat cooking:
- Fish or algae oil. These are intended to be omega-3-rich dietary supplements that you should take cold and in small doses. Don’t use these products for cooking purposes.
- Flax oil. While high in the heart-healthy unsaturated fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), this oil has a low smoke point at around 225°F (107°C), and you should reserve it for cold uses like salad dressings.
- Palm oil. Health-wise, palm oil is calorie-dense and fairly similar to some other oils, such as coconut oil. The main problem here is ethical, as the production of palm oil has been strongly linked to rainforest destruction and a loss of biodiversity.
- Walnut oil. This oil is high in ALA and offers some anti-inflammatory and potential anticancer benefits. However, it is also best to reserve for cold preparations like salad dressing. It has a lower smoke point, approximately 320°F (160°C).
Some oils are not recommended for high heat cooking. Flax and walnut oil have lower smoke points and are best in cold preparations. Fish and algae oil are intended as supplements, and palm oil comes with ethical considerations. It’s destroying Orangutan habitat.
There are many options when it comes to cooking oils. For high heat cooking, it’s important to choose oils that maintain their stability. Oils heated past their smoke point break down and can produce unhealthy compounds.
FIRE HAZARD CAUTION If the oil begins to smoke it signals that in a few moments it will flash and be flaming! Kitchen fires are the greatest source of house fires. Turn the heat off. DO NOT MOVE THE PAN. Cover it immediately to starve the oxygen so it won’t flash. Wait a few minutes for it to be cooler and then remove the food in it and continue cooking in fresh oil. Be extremely careful. I’ve written about kitchen fires and caution is the most important thought. Prevent a fire and prevent injury to yourself. Never leave the kitchen if cooking on a high light.
Some of the healthier cooking oils that can withstand higher cooking temperatures include olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, and safflower oil. These contain various unsaturated fatty acids, antioxidants, and other compounds that may offer health benefits.
Some oils are better to use for cold preparations or as dietary supplements, or they’re otherwise not recommended for high heat cooking. Some examples include fish oil, flax oil, palm oil, and walnut oil.