Cooking Oil guide

Surely weve all be told at one point that cooking with such and such an oil is bad for you and this oil is has a better smoke thresh hold. But whos right?

Well, lets start with what all the talk is about. All oils used for cooking are a blend and combination of different types of fats. Studies and research have found that heating up oils (using them to cook things in) can see the oil turn rancid or release high levels of aldehydes, a chemical that is said to be connected with conditions such as heart disease and dementia.

The Telegraph interviewed Al Overton a buyer of gourmet oils for Planet Organic an organic supermarket chain. Overton gave a great rule of thumb statement People are always asking me what to cook with. The simple answer is, keep a range of oils. Keep coconut or a similar saturated fat for heavy frying, olive and rapeseed oils for light frying and salads, and pumpkin and avocado oils for dressings and dips.

Olive oil

Lets deconstruct a few key players, in this slippery game.


Extra virgin olive oil
Its deep olive taste is all thanks to the oil being extracted from the juice of crushed olives and its strict standards to receive the label extra-virgin. EVOO is among the only cooking oils that is made without chemicals and the industrial refining process.

Great for: dressing salads, drizzling over pasta and vegetables and baking
Not so great for: frying and deep frying at high temperatures (due to its low smoke point)

Olive Oil

Unlike the Extra Virgin olive oil, straight olive oil is extracted from whole pressed olives. This is more of an all-around oil, that is lighter in colour, has a less rich olivey taste and is lower quality than EVOO. Extracting this type of oil is generally heat and/or a chemically based process.

Great for: light frying, salad dressing, baking and drizzling over things
Not so great for: frying and deep frying at high temperatures (due to its low smoke point)

Rapeseed oil
Extracted from rapeseed, this oil does not go rancid when used at high heat. It has a much higher smoke point than both types of olive oil meaning its more suited for frying.

Great for: roasting and frying
Not so great for: Its flavour is not like by everyone making it not the first choice for drizzling and dressing

Coconut oil
Coconut oils are generally made from smoke drying, sun drying, or kiln drying the flesh or Copra from the coconut

Great for: high-temperature frying and baking
Not so great for: drizzling and dressing due to its unique taste and when cool the texture is hard but can be easily warmed up to make a liquid

Canola oil
Canola oil is commonly used. Its quite versatile and the fact it has no real aftertaste makes it great for using raw or for low-heat cooking.

Great for: light frying, salad dressing, baking and drizzling over things
Not so great for: High heat cooking

Sunflower and Vegetable oil
According to the Telegraph, both Sunflower and Vegetable oils should be avoided them all together in line with recent research.

Lard, Ghee and Goose/Duck fat
Lard is made from the fatty deposits of pigs, while Ghee is boiled butter that is then churned with cream while the liquid residue is removed. Goose and Duck Fat, is fat drained from a cooked goose or duck.

All are great for: high-temperature frying
Not great at all for: things that don't need high cooking temperatures

It's one of the reasons why it's so good to cook at home where you can control the oils you are using.

There is a great article on the benefits of eating at home here.

I encourage you to have a read and tell us what you think.