Has anyone else noticed a recent surge in cooking oil varieties? From organic, fair-trade coconut to sweet almond and everything in between, the choices are expanding. Now, you can even access different types of the very same oil: cold-pressed, extra virgin, refined, unrefined and more. In fact, there are so many types and varieties of cooking oil available, one would think each is custom designed for a different cooking method or palate. Well, one wouldn’t be wrong there. In fact, each oil out there is better suited, in some way or another, to certain types of cooking or certain taste preferences. Exciting, right? Well, the downside is that all this choice tends to leave us consumers unsure what, really, we should be using. This guide takes the guesswork out of oils altogether. Read below to learn which oils best compliment your meals:
1. Coconut Oil
This oil is so versatile; it should be a pantry staple. It is either found in its solid state in cooler temperatures or in its liquid state when heated. You can use it in baking, cooking, frying and even raw food experiments. However, this oil truly shines when it comes to high-heat cooking: it has a higher smoke-point than many other oils. Thus, it is a healthier alternative when using high-heat temperatures for cooking meals like fried rice.
2. Avocado Oil
This, like coconut, is one of the more expensive oils on this list, but for good reason. Avocado oil is another great high-heat oil. Thus, it is the natural choice for frying. However, with its slightly creamy texture and mild taste, it can also be used as a healthy and hearty oil for dipping breads and tossing onto salads, too.
3. Sesame Seed Oil
Sesame seed oil was one of the first oils ever made; it has also been used in traditional medicines for centuries. It has a high calcium and magnesium content. With a history like that, it definitely deserves a spot in your kitchen. This should be in your next stir-fry or Asian noodle salad.
4. Grapeseed Oil
If you’re looking for an oil that won’t leave a lingering taste, try grapeseed. It is known for its neutrality. Thus, it makes for a great marinade on tofu, mushrooms or other porous plants because it won’t overtake their natural taste.
5. Peanut Oil
Now, this is an oil that leaves an impression. It creates the perfect fry. Therefore, reserve this for your homemade tempura or fondue night. Just remember, many people are allergic to peanuts, so be sure to check with your guest list first.
6. Sunflower Oil
This is another oil with a great flavor profile. Don’t compromise its high vitamin E content by heating it, though. Instead, use this oil in salads or as a side for dipping breads into.
7. Cottonseed Oil
Want to make your own chips at home? Cottonseed oil can help! This is another great high-heat oil that is used commercially in making some of our most beloved fried snacks, like potato or corn chips.
8. Corn Oil
This oil, like grapeseed, doesn’t leave behind a lingering taste. That makes it an excellent choice for a host of meal options like marinating, baking, and frying. However, do keep in mind its nutrient quality is less than other oils on this list; moreover, many people find corn hard to digest.
9. Hemp Seed Oil
This high-quality and nutrient dense oil is the best choice when making raw meals and treats like salads, dressings, macaroons, smoothies and more. It is known for its slightly nutty flavor. Stock up on your omegas 3 and 6 with this oil today.
10. Almond Oil
This oil is best saved for baking, especially gluten-free varieties. It is a heavier oil that works well in heavy, dense breads, cakes and muffins, leaving no almond taste behind, but a richness that cannot be matched.
Cooking itself can be a complicated endeavor, but now at least you don’t have to wonder which oils work best with which meals. Please keep in mind that each oil is created differently and has its own attributes. The oil you pick will depend on a lot on what you’re cooking, what your taste preferences are and if you are trying to stay away from heavily processed and/or potentially genetically modified ingredients.
Image source: Beyond Flax: Other Amazing Seed Oils to Try