When it comes to cooking, one ingredient you most likely use at just about every meal is Oil. But which is best for high heat? What’s the healthiest option? What kind of flavor does each add to your dish?
The world of cooking oils is vast and you could probably spend an entire day learning about all the different types of oils. Today we’ll focus on the top 5 you should know about and probably keep on hand.
For most people, Olive Oil is a go-to, one-size-fits-all, kitchen staple. But you should know that while Olive Oil is a great go-to for vinaigrettes, dips, dressings and other cold dishes, it should only be used for sauteing and roasting when doing so at a medium heat since it’s smoke point is only 320°F.
There’s been a buzz around Coconut Oil for many years now, and for good reason. It has loads of health benefits. But what about cooking with it? It’s not practical for cold dishes like vinaigrettes or dressings since it’s solid at room temperature but, if you’re cooking at a slightly higher temperature, it’s perfect for sauteing or roasting since it’s smoke point is slightly higher than Olive Oil, at 350° F.
Avocado oil is the all-around, healthy oil you probably didn’t know you needed. It’s high in monounsaturated fats (the good kind of fat), and has a high smoke point of 520° F! It’s great for cold dishes (dressing, dips and vinaigrettes) as well as sauteing, roasting and frying! It’s a little pricey compared to Olive or Coconut Oil so be sure to use it sparingly.
Sesame Seed Oil
Technically a vegetable oil - but a much healthier alternative to refined vegetable oils like canola, safflower, and sunflower oil. Sesame oil is known to lower blood pressure, blood sugar and improve skin. The taste is very distinct and will add a nutty flavor to any dish. It also provides 17 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin K which provides bone support and prevents blood clotting! Sesame seed oil is another great general purpose oil to keep on hand. It’s smoke point is higher, at about 410° F.
Ghee is actually a form of clarified butter. The milk protein has been removed from the butter so folks who are dairy-intolerant can (typically) consume it. It’s a great source of fat-soluble vitamins with a more intense nutty flavor than butter. Since it is composed almost entirely of fat, ghee should still be used in moderation. It has a high smoke point of about 465° F. If you’re looking for a butter-like ingredient to help you achieve the crispiest of crusts, and the juiciest of sears, check out Ghee. Just remember to use it sparingly - just one teaspoon of ghee contains 45 calories, 5 grams of fat, and 3 grams of saturated fat.