Cooking Oils

Types of Cooking Oil

Below is a chart containing most commonly used oils and their qualities and characteristics. It also contains their “smoke point”, the temperature at which the oil begins to break down and change its chemical structure, making it unfit for consumption.

Cooking Oil TypeSmoke PointQualities/Characteristics
AvocadoBelow 520°FMono and polyunsaturated fats make up 70%+ of fat content. Has highest smoke point of all cooking oils
CanolaSemi-refined – Below 350°F

Refined – Below 400°F

Also called Rapeseed oil. High in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Ideal for frying and baking due to high smoke point and mild taste.
CoconutBelow 350°FRich in lauric acid, which has antiviral and antibacterial properties. High in medium chain triglycerides. Virgin Coconut Oil is made from the milk of fresh coconuts and unrefined. Has more flavor and richer in nutrients than refined coconut oil
CottonseedBelow 420°FOften used in margarine and salad dressings. Naturally saturated oil – often used by manufacturers as an alternative to hydrogenating a less saturated oil and avoid trans-fat production.
CornBelow 450°FObtained from the germ of corn kernels. Has a light flavor.
 

 

FlaxseedShould never be heated or used in cookingRichest plant source of EFAs (particularly Omega-3). Used in salads, added to smoothies, drizzled on vegetables or added to cereals. Light sensitive and must be refrigerated.
GheeBelow 375°FAlso called Clarified Butter. Produced by cooking butter, allowing milk solids to be removed leaving a sweet tasting oil.
Grapeseed420° to 485°FHas one of the highest cooking temperatures of all oils. High levels of Omega-6 (linoleic acid).
 

 

OliveBelow 320°FExtracted by pressing tree-ripened olives. Extra Virgin, virgin, superfine, and fine are most common grades. Virgin oils have low smoke points so are best used for flavoring. “Pure” or “Olive oil” products are best used for cooking.
PeanutUnrefined – 320°F

Refined – 450°F

Very subtle scent and flavor. Less refined types are darker in color with a more pronounced peanut flavor. Most often used in Asian cooking.
SafflowerUnrefined – 225°F

Refined – 450°F

Common for frying, sautéing, stir-frying and baking. Light texture and flavor.
SesameUnrefined 350°FLow smoke point makes this oil more suitable for flavoring than cooking. Mild flavor.
SoybeanUnrefined – 320°

Refined – 450°F

Pronounced flavor and aroma. Often used in blended oils and margarine.
SunflowerUnrefined – 225°F

Refined – 440°F

Mild taste and high smoke point, ideal for frying. Good source of polyunsaturated fats.
WalnutUnrefined – 320°FNutty flavor and aroma. More perishable than other oils. Used primarily for flavoring.

 

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