The Complete Cooking Oils Guide: Best Uses and Benefits of Cooking Oils

With increased awareness in topics like healthy eating and nutrition, everyone is doing their best to find the best and most conscious food choices. Cooking oils and cooking fat sources are no exception! They can be used for frying, baking, sauteing and also other food preparation methods that don’t necessarily involve heat. Most cooking techniques and recipes rely on different oils with different qualities that suit certain uses. Here’s a complete guide to help you understand the properties and best uses of each cooking oil to choose from.

Organic Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Extra-virgin olive oil is known as one of the most used healthy oils for cooking, salad dressings, sauces and other uses. It is very versatile and contains monounsaturated fats and some polyunsaturated fatty acids which can boost heart health.¹ It has a lower smoke point (325 to 375 degrees F) than most other oils which makes it best for medium-heat and low-heat food preparation to maintain its rich flavour and nutritious benefits. Best ways to use extra-virgin olive oil are Sauteing, drizzling and adding final touches to a dish.

Canola Oil

Canola oil is similar to vegetable oils in its qualities like flavour, smoke point and colour. It’s pressed from the flowering plant rapeseed and contains 29 mg of polyunsaturated fats and 58 mg of monounsaturated fats.² Canola oil can be used in medium-high cooking temperatures due to its smoke point of 400ºF. It’s suitable for use when sautéing, stir-frying, grilling, baking and frying.

Sunflower Oil

This oil is very rich in nutrients, omega-6 fatty acids and vitamin E, which promotes healthy skin. Sunflower oil is pressed from the seeds of sunflower and is commonly used for frying and for formulating cosmetics. Substituting sunflower oil for saturated fats can produce lower LDL cholesterol levels.³ It has a high smoke point (450°F) and a slightly nutty but not very prominent flavour. Sunflower oil can be used for sautéing, stir-frying, deep-frying and baking.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil consists of a unique combination of fatty acids, antioxidants and medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) that have many health-boosting benefits.⁴ Refined coconut oil has a smoke point of 450ºF with a neutral and light coconut taste. While virgin coconut oil has more flavour and lower smoke point of 350ºF, it is solid at room temperature and melts when heated, giving coconut aroma and taste. It is especially good for vegans since it provides some saturated fatty acids that are not found in other vegan foods. Virgin coconut oil is a perfect substitute for butter when baking non-dairy recipes.

Corn Oil

Corn oil is a very popular multi-purpose cooking oil and is derived from the germ of the corn plant. It has a high smoke point of 450ºF and a neutral flavour. Also, corn oil is rich in vitamin E that acts as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant in your body.⁵ Corn oil is best used for deep-frying, stir-frying and sauteing.