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21 Cooking Oils and How to Use Them

Not all cooking oils are created equal. From flaxseed to avocado, it’s easy to get confused about which to choose for a sauté or stir-fry. That’s why we’ve put together a cooking oils guide, so you’ll know exactly which trusty oil to grab the next time you’re whipping up magic in the kitchen.

Cooking Oils

When thinking about the best cooking oil for the job, consider the oil’s smoke point, or the maximum temperature it can reach before it starts to smoke. If the oil heats past its smoke point, it starts to lose valuable nutrients, flavor, and release toxic fumes and free radicals which are harmful to your body. For high-temperature cooking, choose an oil with a high smoke point.

Equally as important as the oil’s smoke point is the quality of the oil. Oils can be a great source of healthy fats, but picking the right variety is key. Cooking oil that has a healthy balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is a safe bet and even better if it’s loaded with antioxidants and vitamins. Keep in mind that a high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio can contribute to excess inflammation in the body, which could potentially raise the risk of various diseases.

While some oils will boost your heart health, others should be used in moderation. Below is a visual breakdown of 21 cooking oils from high to no heat. We’ve gathered all of the information you need to pick the best oil including smoke point, cooking uses, benefits, and storage.

cooking oil cheatsheet infographic

Keep in mind that cooking oils expire just like any other ingredient, so look for a best-by date when you purchase. Buy oil in a small glass bottle that you will use within a few months of opening and throw it out if it turns discolored or starts to smell. Lastly, don’t be afraid to use liberally since quality oil can enhance the flavor and taste of your recipe.

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