The Top 10 Best Cooking Oils
Searching for and selecting a cooking oil may be overwhelming, as the grocer aisle is overflowing with countless brands and assortments. So if wondering, "What is the best cooking oil?" we have 10 to choose from, along with their associated uses and benefits!
Top 10 Healthiest Cooking Oils
1. Olive Oil
Olive oil may be one of the most popularized and healthiest cooking oils to use. Not only is its flavor versatile, but shows to exhibit renowned benefits to heart health and diabetes management related to its monounsaturated fat and antioxidant properties it offers. Relative to its higher cost, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is mostly recommended when wanting to naturally highlight raw flavors, as it is unrefined and boasts higher aromas. In cooking, virgin or pure olive oil is commonly recommended to withstand the heat without compromising its integrity.
2. Canola Oil
Canola oil is valuable for its neutral flavor and high smoke point at approximately 425°F, making it suitable for sautéing, baking, and stir-frying. Though canola oil does contain lesser amounts of antioxidants compared to olive oil, it does contain alpha-linolenic acid (a kind of omega-3 fatty acid), which may reduce inflammation associated to arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and cardiovascular disorders.
3. Avocado Oil
Avocadoes are unique due to the fact they supply monounsaturated fats, which is considerably rare amongst fruit population. The edible oil pressed from avocadoes boasts with nutrients, including the healthy fat, potassium, vitamin E and powerful antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin. Avocado oil bares a high smoke point, making it ideal for sautéing and frying, and enhances the flavor of chicken, beef, pork, or fish.
4. Flaxseed Oil
Flaxseed oil contains polyunsaturated and alpha-linolenic acid and suggested to treat a wide variety of conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, high cholesterol, and constipation. Flaxseed oil does have a low smoke point of about 225°F, so stray away from cooking with it over direct heat. Instead, incorporate the oil into meals after heating or added to salad dressings.
5. Tea Seed Oil
Also known as camellia oil, tea seed oil is extracted from the seeds of tea plants. Like the ever so popular green tea, tea seed oil is powerful antioxidant that may protect against aging and reduce LDL (or "bad") cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The high smoke point also makes it incredibly versatile for deep frying or even as a nutritious salad dressing.
6. Sesame Oil
Sesame oil offers an intense aroma and flavor and should be used lightly. Its lower smoking point makes it valuable in lower heat stir-fries, soups, and veggies. Sesame oil can also flavor sauces and dressings, including this five-minute sesame salad dressing. Polyunsaturated fat mostly comprises the oil, though it also supplies moderate amounts of monounsaturated, and have shown to be cardio-protective and offer anti-inflammatory effects.
7. Almond Oil
Almond oil has an extremely high smoke point of 495°F, while showing use in the preparation of both bitter and sweet products, including sautéing or used as a healthier substitute in dessert recipes such as whipped cream. Aside from its use in the kitchen, almond oil is rich in vitamin E, monounsaturated fatty acids, potassium and zinc, which may contribute benefits to the heart, skin, and hair.
8. Grape Seed Oil
Grape seed oil (or simply grape oil) is produced from the seeds of grapes, offers a very mild and nutty flavor to dishes, and withstands a moderately high smoke point. In the kitchen, it may be used to create salad dressings and mayonnaise or used in baked goods. Nutritionally, grape seed oil is rich in polyunsaturated fat, mostly linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid) with smaller amounts of oleic acid (an omega-9 fatty acid) and supplies lesser amounts of saturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids.
9. Walnut Oil
Being pressed from the heart-healthy nut itself, walnut oil is rich in polyunsaturated fats and a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Its high smoke point of about 400°F makes it a great oil to use for baking, though can also be sautéed at low-medium heat and simply enrich the flavor of salads and sauces.
10. Coconut Oil
Unlike the oils listed above, coconut oil is considered a saturated fat, ultimately sparking the debate of its true benefit to health. But with the practice of moderation and while consuming a nutrient-dense diet, research suggests coconut oil may protect against heart disease by lowering total cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure levels. It can also be used interchangeably with butter; is suitable for baking, roasting, frying, and sautéing; and offers a "coconutty" flavor and aroma.