Is Your Kitchen Missing These Cooking Oils?

Is Your Kitchen Missing These Cooking Oils?

Publish Date February 1, 2024 4 Minute Read
Author MyMagazine Staff

Butter, olive oil and vegetable oil are all kitchen staples, but alternative cooking fats are becoming increasingly popular. Just take a stroll past the oil selection in-store. When choosing the best cooking oil for a particular dish, take into consideration the smoke point (the point at which it burns) and the flavor. Here we explore some favorites — and how they can make food taste even better.

bowl of ghee and bowl of sunflower oil


Ghee, sometimes referred to as clarified butter, results from heating unsalted butter and removing the milk solids that separate from the butterfat. The golden liquid that remains has a silky, nutty flavor and can be used at higher temperatures without burning.

When to Use It: Ghee is most often used in indian cuisine, but you can also use it to scramble or fry eggs, drizzled over seafood, and for sautéing and stir-frying.

Sunflower Oil

Sunflower oil is extracted from the seeds of the sunflower plant and is known for its light, neutral taste. It’s rich in vitamin E and has a high smoke point, making it suitable for various cooking methods. Sunflower oil is also low in saturated fats.

When to Use It: Sunflower oil is versatile and can be used for frying, sautéing and baking. Its mild flavor also makes it a popular choice for making salad dressings and mayonnaise. Additionally, sunflower oil can be used as a base for homemade skincare products, such as body oils and creams.

bowl of avocado oil and bowl of animal fat oil

Avocado Oil

Avocado oil is pressed from the pulp that surrounds the pit of the avocado and retains a subtle avocado flavor. It’s rich in fatty acids and includes vitamin E. Both the unrefined and refined versions of this oil have high smoke points.

When to Use It: Avocado oil’s high smoke point makes it a great choice for sautéing, frying, grilling and roasting. It’s also good for making mayonnaise or as a lovely finish for salads and vegetables. Try brushing it on your favorite seafood before cooking.

Animal Fat

Animal fat products, including duck fat, lard (from pigs) and tallow (from cattle), are coming back into favor. These minimally processed fats have become more popular as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) loosens guidelines on saturated fats. Some have slightly less cholesterol and saturated fat than butter.

When to Use It: Animal fat is also extremely versatile and doesn’t smoke at high temperatures, making it a great choice for frying. You can also use animal fat, particularly lard, to create perfectly flaky pie crusts.

bowl of grapeseed oil and bowl of co-conut oil

Grapeseed Oil

Grapeseed oil is a byproduct of the winemaking process — it’s extracted from the seeds of grapes. It has a light, slightly nutty flavor and is rich in polyunsaturated fats, particularly omega-6 fatty acids. Grapeseed oil also has a high smoke point, making it suitable for high-temperature cooking.

When to Use It: Grapeseed oil is an excellent choice for frying, sautéing and stir-frying due to its high smoke point. It can also be used in salad dressings, marinades and sauces for a light, delicate flavor.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil continues to be a darling in the world of oils, with versatile applications from health and beauty to food. Extracted from the flesh of coconuts, it is a solid that quickly melts into an oil, similar to butter.

When to Use It: In baked goods, coconut oil is a dairy-free replacement for butter. It can lend subtle flavor to roasted vegetables and curries. You can even add it to drinks like smoothies, coffee or hot chocolate for richness.

What’s the difference between canola and vegetable oil?

There’s a good chance you already have these two oils right in your kitchen. But do you know what makes each unique — and when to use them?

  • Canola oil is derived from the seeds of the canola plant, and it’s known for its low saturated fat content and high levels of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. This makes it an ideal choice for dishes that require a neutral flavor and a high smoke point, such as stir-frying, sautéing and baking.
  • Vegetable oil is a blend of various plant-based oils, such as soybean, corn and sunflower. The composition can vary slightly, but it generally has a higher smoke point and a more distinct flavor than canola oil. This makes vegetable oil suitable for deep-frying and recipes that call for a richer taste.

Keeping Oil Fresh

Air, heat and light can all compromise the flavor and freshness of oils. These tips can help keep them at their best.

Watch Hot Spots

Avoid keeping oils near the stove. The high temperatures can cause them to spoil more quickly.

Clear the Counters

While it can be handy to have oil sitting out, keeping it in a cabinet will protect it from light and help it last longer.

Keep It Cool

Storing any oil in the refrigerator will help it stay fresh longer. Many will become solid when chilled. Simply remove it from the refrigerator and it will return to a liquid when it reaches room temperature. And be sure to check labels — animal fat oils and some nut-based oils need to be refrigerated after opening.

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