As you walk down the grocery aisles these days your eyes are probably drawn to all the different kinds of cooking oils that are available.
And if you’re like me, you probably stare at them and think.. “OK, now which one works best with stir fry and which one is going to taste better in salad dressings?”
With so many choices out there it’s easy to get confused or even frustrated as to which one should get. There are lots of good, healthy oils to choose from, but there are also some that you should stay away from. Using oil in any type of baking or cooking should be done sparingly, but if you are going to use it, it’s nice to know which type to get.
Give me a few moments of your time and I’ll share with you my Top Favorite healthy oils and how you can use them to their fullest potential in the kitchen.
What Are The Healthiest Oils To Cook With?
Here Are My Favorites
Coconut Oil and Avocado Oil are pretty much in a tie for first place in my line up.
Yes, I will admit that the first thing I think about when I open up a container of coconut oil is toes in the sand, a cool breeze blowing and sounds of waves crashing. Yet, I quickly come out of that day dream and get cooking with one of my all time favorite oils.
Just A Few Benefits of Coconut Oil:
- High in natural saturated fats – increases the healthy cholesterol (HDL) in your body and can also help convert the bad cholesterol (LDL) into good cholesterol. This can also help lower your risk of heart disease
- Has been proved to help in reducing inflammation and helps with arthritis
- Is a great immune system booster – the lauric acid in coconut oil has been show to help reduce candida and fight of bacteria.
- Your brain and memory functions will be better – studies have shown that when people add coconut oil to their diet, their overall brain and memory functions improved.
There are lots more benefits to adding coconut oil to your diet, but I’m going to stop there and tell you how I like to use it
In The Kitchen
Coconut oil is pretty stable and can be used when cooking with high temperatures. So feel free to use it while you are sauteing, roasting, baking, and frying.
It can also be used as a thermometer. Well, not really. Coconut oil is usually a solid, but it will melt at about 76’F. So, when you open up your coconut oil and see liquid.. it’s time to put the air conditioning on. LoL.
Using coconut oil for cooking is very easy because of the the high smoking point, which is 350’F. I don’t suggest using it dressings though. For as soon as you put it in the refrigerator, it will become a solid. And that’s not fun.
Unrefined or Refined
There are two kinds of Coconut Oil. Unrefined and Refined.
Unrefined – has a much more ‘coconutty’ flavor and smell. If you like and want the flavor of coconut, this is the one you want to use.
Refined – want the health benefits of coconut oil, but not the taste, then look for refined. It has a neutral taste and smell.
My favorite kind of Coconut Oil is Barlean’s.
I’ve tried a few different brands, but Barlean’s always seems work the best for me.
They also have an amazing Butter Flavored Coconut Oil that is AMAZING on popcorn and in recipes in place of butter. I’ll be posting a recipe in a few days for some delicious Blondies using the oil.
The next oil that runs a really close second to Coconut Oil is an oil that really surprised me, but now has me hooked.
I had no idea that you can get oil out of an avocado. And to this day, I’m not sure how they do it, but I’m glad they do.
Just a Few Benefits of Avocado Oil
- Cancer protection – studies have shown that avocados can inhibit the growth of prostrate cancer. Also, more studies have shown that the oleic acid found in avocados helps to protect against breast cancer
- Good for the eyes – Avocados have Lutein which is an antioxidant that benefits our eyes
- Reduce symptoms of arthritis – some have said that using coconut oil helps reduce the pain and inflammation of arthritis.
In The Kitchen
Avocado oil is an all around awesome cooking oil. With a mild flavor and a high smoke temperature, you can use it in just about anything.
As a butter substitute, you can use it in baking and never know the difference. I’ve used it in a few recipes and they actually tasted better then when I make them with butter.
Salad dressing is a perfect match for avocado oil. Use it with your favorite homemade dressing recipe and you’ll be very happy with the results.
Now this one is an oldie but a goodie. Just about everyone has it in their pantry and the more virgin the better.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Quite a few years back, when the Mediterranean Diet came out, olive oil became really popular. Studies have show over and over again, the health benefits of this delicious oil. People living in Blue Zones tend to live longer and have olive oil as a staple in their diets.
Just a Few Benefits of Olive Oil
- Rich in Monosaturated Fats – olive oil is 73% oleic acid, which is extremely healthy and also has about 24% of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids too.
- Reduces Inflammation – the oleic acid found in olive oil is said to contribute to reducing inflammation.
- Has a Large Amount of Antioxidants – with high amounts of Vitamin E and K, olive oil is loaded with disease fighting antioxidants.
- Can Help Lower Cholesterol – with this high amount of antioxidants, olive oil can help keep that bad cholesterol down.
In The Kitchen
Over the past year, I have stopped using olive oil in my cooking. What I mean is that I try not to use it when I’m sauteing anything or doing any kind of heat related cooking.
For one, olive oil has a very low smoking point, 200′ F. When olive oil is heated beyond that, if can become oxidized and rancid. Basically toxic. So it’s a good idea to stay away from heating it in any way.
Shopping for olive oil can be a little confusing. Extra virgin, virgin, light, which one are you supposed to choose.
Virgin Olive Oil – the olives are pressed for a second time, unlike only once with the EVOO. This is also a good choice if EVOO is not available.
Light Olive Oil – are usually a blend of olive oil and some other kind of oil. They are also usually chemically processed and heat, so it may be better just to stay away.
It may be a little more money to buy cold pressed and extra virgin, but remember.. you get what you pay for. I have personally found that EVOO has a much better tastes and it makes just about anything I put it on taste delicious.
So Many More, But These Are A Start
As I said in the beginning, there are so many more oil choices to choose from. Flaxseed oil, Grapeseed oil, Sesame oil, and tons of others. Each with it’s own distinctive taste and purpose.
My suggestion, when it comes to trying out different oils, is to do a little research and always read labels. Try to find the oil in it’s simplest form and without being processed too much.
Make sure to stay away from oils that are hydrogenated and or partially hydrogenated. These are not healthy for you and should stay on the shelf in the store.
What About You?
Do you have a favorite oil that is your go to in the kitchen? Leave me a comment and let me know!
Thanks for stopping by and Happy Cooking!
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What Are The Healthiest Oils To Cook With? Here Are My Favorites
Where To Find Good Oils Online
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