Choosing A Cooking Oil? Here’s What You Should Consider Before You Make Your Purchase

Years ago, there were far less options when it came to oils. Now — there’s avocado oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil, canola oil, vegetable oil ++ so many more! It can be hard to know where to start when selecting the right oil for you with so many options, so we’ve got some tips + tricks to share with you to maximize your oil repertoire + minimize your headache!


Oils are fats that add flavor to a meal, but they can have different compositions + tastes. Some are better for topping off a salad, while others are essential for sauteing chicken in a frying pan. The composition typically ranges from some oils that have a higher concentration of monounsaturated fat or polyunsaturated fat [the *good* fats] to others having more saturated fat [the *not-so-good* fat]. There is debate right now about whether or not saturated fat is as bad as we previously thought, but it still stands that it should make up only a small percentage of your daily intake.



This has always been my go-to oil. It’s high in monounsaturated fats [MUFA] + great for sauteing in a pan or finishing a salad. But there are different types + your extra-virgin olive oil will be best for use in a salad. If you don’t mind doing so, it might be best to get two different kinds — a cheaper olive oil for frying//sauteing + a more expensive oil for salads or dishes that won’t require heat.


With a high polyunsaturated fat [PUFA] content, this is another oil choice. However, this oil is not a great choice for high heat, so it’s best to have an alternative for your frying pan. We think this oil would be best for finishing salads.


Canola oil is pretty functional — it can be used for frying, finishing a salad, or baking. When baking, it can substitute for butter [+ not a lot of other oils can do that because they often change the taste too much]. Canola oil contains alpha-linoleic acid as well, which has been linked to heart health benefits!


This fat has been in the media a lot recently, but it does have a considerably higher content of saturated fat than a lot of other oils. If using, I would do so minimally + mostly for baking. Still, it has a lot of other uses besides cooking!


This oil has a high smoke point, so it can be used for frying//sauteing as well as finishing a salad. There aren’t any red flags with this oil, but it really depends on whether or not you love its nutty taste that may shine through.


This oil has a decent amount of the *good* fats. It’s often used in Asian or Indian cuisines to enhance the flavor. WIth it’s high smoke point, it can be used for frying//sauteing as well as for topping a salad. Choosing this oil will depend on your preference for its distinct taste + aroma.


Recent research indicates that fats with a higher content of polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats are more beneficial than those with a high concentration of saturated fat. However, it’s important to consider your own preferences as well. We recommend having 1-2 *go-to* oils for all your cooking needs, [sauteing, baking + topping salads] so you always have something on hand. Based on the health benefits + versatility, a mix of olive, canola + avocado oil could be your best bet for expanding your oil repertoire!

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    Did we miss an oil you love? Let us know in the comments!

      +Alyssa[@thebusybee_] //VirtCHAARG Pittsburgh

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