A few years ago, we blamed all modern diseases and maladies on fat. Heart disease, obesity, you name it. Fat was the one to blame. Now we know there are different types of fat. And most of them are healthier than we thought.
It turns out that saturated fats, present in red meat and dairy, are not bad as long as you don’t overdo them. Plant-based fats, like the ones in olive oil, nuts and avocados, are super healthy too, these are the monounsaturated fats.
The problem is trans-fats, present in processed foods. These are the real enemies here. So, what’s the best fat to cook with?
Best Cooking Oils For Low Heat
If you’re cooking an omelet, pancakes or other delicate foods at low heat, you’ll want to use cooking oil with a low smoking point.
The smoking point is the temperature at which an oil or a fat starts to burn. You don’t want that, since burned oils release harmful chemicals.
If you’re cooking food at lower temperatures, go for butter, it’s the quintessential saturated fat that’s not only good for you but super delicious.
Butter will burn quickly, and you’ll know it instantly as it releases lots of smoke and it browns. If you see this, you cooked with too much heat.
Best Cooling Oil For Medium Heat
If you’re sautéing veggies, frying fish, or just cooking anything at medium heat, you might want to upgrade to olive oil.
Olive oil is loaded with monounsaturated fats that lower your cholesterol levels. Olive oil is also a good source of antioxidants, so you want to cook often with it.
Make sure you buy cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, and not the regular kind. It’s the healthiest of them all.
You can also add olive oil to your food as a finishing oil. Everything tastes better with an olive oil drizzle.
Best Cooking Oil For High Heat
If you’re searing steaks, putting together an Asian stir-fry or any other dish that requires high heat, you’ll need something sturdier than olive oil.
In this case, we recommend using canola oil. This beauty is tasteless and has a very high smoke point. This means it won’t release harmful chemicals. You can bake, roast, or fry food with canola oil and will be reasonably safe.
Even if you use canola oil, avoid eating lots of fried foods since too much fat is not very healthy. Say no to fried foods.
Best Cooking Oil For Baking
Interestingly, the best cooking oil for baking treats, cookies and cakes is coconut oil. Coconut oil has lots of saturated fats, as much as butter, so you don’t want to fry stuff with it. Instead, use it for your baking projects.
Coconut oil’s creaminess and unctuousness do wonders in baked goods, and it’s a vegan alternative, so there are plenty of reasons to use it.
Coconut oil is neither healthy nor unhealthy; it’s right in the middle. Now, if you don’t want to cook with it, at least use it as a skin and hair moisturizer; it’s just gorgeous.
Best Cooking Oil For Salads
Olive oil is hands down the most refined oil to eat raw. Especially if it’s a high-quality extra virgin olive oil. Alternatively, roasted sesame oil is a delight, mainly if you want to add some syrupy, nutty flavors to your salad.
Talking about sesame oil, you’re better off not cooking with it, at least with the brown roasted sesame kind; it goes bitter. Try pure sesame oil instead as a canola oil substitute.
When preparing a salad dressing, make sure you balance oil with an acidic element, whether balsamic vinegar or citrus juice.
Start building your cooking oil collection
As you see, there’s no single right answer for cooking oils. Some are good for specific preparations, and others are useful in other departments.
The best thing you can do is have a few oils for different occasions, mainly butter, olive oil, canola oil, coconut oil and sesame oil. That way, you’ll be able to cook anything with the healthiest oil.
Once you get used to switching oils depending on what you cook, you’ll get a better understanding of why some oils are healthier than others. You learn something new every day, and it just makes cooking so much more fun!