Home Lifestyle Shopping guide: Different types of cooking oil and when to use them

Shopping guide: Different types of cooking oil and when to use them

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These days, there are so many options for cooking oils that it can make your head spin. To help make sure your next meal is as tasty as possible, we have listed some of the most common oils available, as well as tips for cooking with them.

At room temperature, coconut oil, it is a cloudy white solid that melts into a fragrant liquid when exposed to heat. Picture: Tijana Drndarski

YOU probably use cooking oil in lots of homemade meals. But have you ever wondered what sets different oils apart?

These days, there are so many options for cooking oils that it can make your head spin. Some people shy away from adding extra fat into their cooking, but using an oil that contains healthy fats will enhance your diet, as long as you use it in moderation.

To help make sure your next meal is as tasty as possible, we are breaking down the top 10 cooking oils, what they are best for, and other important health information.

EVOO is popular for its health benefits, rich flavour, and adaptability. Picture: Pexels

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

We are kicking things off with one of the most popular types of cooking oil: Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO). EVOO is popular for its health benefits, rich flavour, and adaptability. It is perfect for creating salad dressing, sauteing, creating dipping sauces, grilling, baking, and even frying.

This oil is unrefined, meaning it is created by cold-pressing whole olives without any additional heat or chemicals.

One good thing to know about EVOO is that it has a low smoke point, meaning it is not the best cooking oil for high-heat cooking techniques such as stir frying or deep frying.

Sesame oil

Popular in Asian dishes, sesame oil is also one of the most distinctive and flavourful oils you will find. It has a sweet and nutty flavour that is enhanced when the sesame seeds are toasted.

There are two types of sesame oil: light and dark. Light is good for deep-frying and dark sesame oil is better for stir-frying and dipping sauces.

At room temperature, coconut oil, it is a cloudy white solid that melts into a fragrant liquid when exposed to heat. Picture: Tijana Drndarski

Coconut oil

Coconut oil comes from, you guessed it, coconuts. At room temperature, it is a cloudy white solid that melts into a fragrant liquid when exposed to heat. Unrefined versions have a distinct coconut flavour that can work well in recipes that feature the fruit in other forms, like curries and soups.

Corn oil

Corn oil is oil extracted from corn. Corn oil brings out a naturally rich flavour in fried foods and flavourful ethnic dishes. Used best when deep-frying chicken, French fries, or fish; cooking ethnic foods like Mexican and South-Western foods, and when baking.

Although it does contain healthy components such as vitamin E and phytosterols, it remains high in inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids, which health professionals recommend keeping to a minimum in the average diet.

Avocado oil has plenty of good monounsaturated fats. Picture: Pexels/Ready Made

Avocado oil

If your recipe calls for vegetable oil, but you would like to increase the nutritional value of your dish, give avocado oil a try. It has plenty of good monounsaturated fats. Plus, with a high smoke point, you can use it for just about anything.

Blend oil

Blend oil is a staple in commercial kitchens, and as a home cook, you will benefit from adding this to your grocery list. Blended oil is typically a mix of olive oil and canola, which gives home cooks the flavour of olive oil combined with the high smoke point of canola.

Plus, it is a grocery budget alternative to extra virgin olive oil. Use it as you would olive oil or canola.

Canola oil

Also known as rapeseed oil, canola oil is made by crushing the seeds of the canola plant. Canola oil is ideal for frying and is also a healthful choice. It also has a neutral flavour, meaning it will not colour the taste of your food.

Canola oil’s mild taste makes it an excellent candidate for dressings, marinades, and more – especially because it is one of the least pricey cooking oils.

Corn oil brings out a naturally rich flavour in fried foods and flavourful ethnic dishes. Picture: Svetographer

Peanut oil

Peanut oil is also great for frying and stir-frying because it can withstand high heat before it starts to break down.

It generally has a neutral or slightly nutty flavour. Peanut oil is also a good source of vitamin E and antioxidants as well as heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, but is best used in moderation.

Pumpkin seed oil

Pumpkin seed oil is a power-packed food rich in vitamins A, K, and E, as well as both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

It has a rich green colour and nutty flavour that can make the perfect addition to a dish. It’s best to use pumpkin seed oil for light sautéing or low-heat baking since it may lose some nutritional value when heated.

It makes for a delicious salad dressing, dip, or marinade base, and even pairs well with ice cream.

Sunflower oil

Like most vegetable oils, sunflower oil, which is extracted from sunflower seeds, is available in both refined (neutral-tasting) and cold-pressed (buttery, nutty) forms.

Refined sunflower oil can be used instead of any neutral vegetable oil, for searing, sautéeing, frying, and more. Use unrefined sunflower oil as you would extra-virgin olive oil, such as in salad dressing.

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