What you need to know about cooking with different oils


Many people keep a trusty oil or two in their cupboards for their cooking needs, and use the same ones no matter what it is that they’re cooking. However, it’s a good idea to keep multiple bulk olive oils on hand, as each one has different flavors and smoke points. For example, you wouldn’t fry your food in an oil with a low smoke point, and you wouldn’t want to use an oil with a strong flavor in a dish with clashing tastes.

Here’s some information on some of the most popular oils for cooking you should keep around at all times:

Olive oil is good for sauteeing.

Wholesale Extra virgin olive oil
Extra-virgin olive oil is one of the most heart-healthy oils available. Not only is it incredibly flavorful when eaten alongside a fluffy baguette or drizzled on a salad, but you can even opt for different varieties of olive oil depending on what you’re preparing. No two olive oils are the same, with some having more of a fruity flavor, and others tasting more peppery. According to Bon Appetit, extra virgin olive oil has a relatively low smoke point, at 325 degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s not the best for frying. If you need to saute some veggies in a skillet, though, EVOO should be your go-to.

Coconut oil
It seems that you can’t open a health magazine without seeing at least one mention of the wonders of coconut oil. While it’s certainly great for a variety of cosmetic uses, it’s solid at room temperature. This means that coconut oil isn’t ideal to use in any dish that isn’t served hot. Bon Appetit does suggest, though, that coconut oil makes a good alternative to butter if you’d like to try making dairy-free baked goods. If you opt for an unrefined variety of coconut oil, however, your may find that your recipe takes on a bit of a coconut flavor. If that adds to your recipe, embrace it. Otherwise, try refined coconut oil – it can withstand higher heat, too.

“Canola oil has a large concentration of monounsaturated fats.”

Canola oil
Many people use canola oil, also known as rapeseed oil, as an alternative to extra-virgin olive oil, because it’s a cheaper alternative. Though it has a higher smoke point, canola oil doesn’t have as much flavor as olive oil. It also only has a shelf-life of about a year, so don’t purchase more than you intend to use in that time. Canola oil has a large concentration of monounsaturated fats as well, so it’s one of the other few heart-healthy oils.

Vegetable oil
While one might assume that vegetable oil is one of the healthiest of oil options due to its name, the reality is a bit more complicated. While not completely unhealthy, these oils are made up of a variety of other refined oils, and has a high smoke point and mild flavor. If you’re looking to deep fry your dish, vegetable oil is a good one to use. The higher the heat needs to be, the more effective vegetable oil will be in your cooking.

Peanut oil
While peanut oil is loaded with monounsaturated fats and is very versatile, many restaurants stray from using it too much, since peanuts are such a common allergen. However, if nobody in your household is allergic, peanut oil is a great option for both dressings and cooking. It’s one of the most popular oils used in Asian cooking, so if you want to mimic the savory flavor of your favorite sushi’s tempura, peanut oil is the way to go.