February 6th, 2012

4 Best Cooking Oils

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Groovy Green Livin Cooking Oil

I’ve always found the cooking oil aisle at the market to be one of the most impressive and overwhelming aisles to walk down. The shelves are lined with every imaginable variety of oil – peanut, olive, canola, vegetable and coconut –and each type has a few different brands and sizes.

When cooking with any oil it’s important to not heat it beyond its smoke point — the temperature at which the oil begins to smoke and discolor. Using cooking oil above its smoke point can generate toxic fumes and harmful free radicals. Most labels on bottles of oil will give you the smoke point temperature for that particular oil. All oils offer different benefits. Some are better for baking and some for salad dressing.

Here are a few cooking oils that are a chef’s best friend (there are a few affiliate links below):

Coconut

Coconut Oil is a subject of much debate in the cooking community. Why? Coconut oil has a high level of saturated fat. Federal dietary guidelines recommend that consumers limit saturated fat to less than 10 percent of daily calories. But nutritionists tell us that not all saturated fats are the same. The main saturated fat in coconut oil is lauric acid, which increases levels of good HDL and bad LDL in the blood. When you buy coconut oil try to organic when you can.

Suggested use: cooking at high heat

Olive Oil

Olive oil is considered by some to be the healthiest oil because it provides a mix of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. It can also be obtained in a very pure minimally processed form, which is a healthier version than a processed olive oil. Olive oil has a fairly high cooking temperature and adds great flavor to many dishes. Olive oil would be best for cooking at medium heat.

Suggested use: light cooking or sauteing, salad dressing and other low temperature recipes

Peanut Oil

If there are no nut allergies in your family, peanut oil is the perfect choice for cooking. It has a high cooking temperature and is great for frying or any type of cooking at high heat.

Suggested use: stir frying, deep frying or cooking at high heat

Canola Oil

Canola oil sometimes gets a bad rap. It comes from canola seeds. They are a genetic variation of rapeseed that was developed in the 1960s.  It’s a good source of monounsaturated fats, the kind which can help reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol levels and lower your risk of heart disease. The problem with canola oil is most canola oil is genetically modified (93 percent in the U.S.). If you are going to use canola oil make sure it’s certified organic.

Suggested use: baking and stir frying at lower temperatures

Whatever type of oil you choose look for oils that are minimally processed and organic whenever possible. Also look for glass bottles over plastic to avoid potential leaching of toxic chemicals.

What’s your favorite cooking oil

Disclosure: This post contains a few affiliate links. If you use them a few pennies will go back into this blog. Thank you for support! All opinions are my own.

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34 Responses to “4 Best Cooking Oils”

  1. NOT canola oil. It is toxic, high in GMOs thanks to Monsanto who owns most of the crop. It suppresses thyroid & immune system causing weight gain too.

  2. I frequently use olive oil. My mother recently suggested I try coconut oil, though I have not gotten around to buying any.

  3. I use olive oil the most but keep other oils on hand too. I love to use olive and coconut oils as body oils also. Of course I always try to buy organic whenever possible, and try to look for brands that are certified non-GMO.

    Peace. ;)

  4. […] oil it's important to not heat it beyond its … … See the original post here: 4 Best Cooking Oils | Groovy Green Livin ← L.A. in Bloom: Pancake […]

  5. Hi Leah, Canola oil is a tricky oil. Much of it is touched my GMOs. My advice to anyone using it for cooking and baking is to invest in organic canola oil. Thanks so much for your comment.

  6. I’m in the process of trying coconut oil too Marsha. We’ll have to compare notes.

  7. Hi Michelle, my massage therapist uses coconut oil. I love it because it really has no scent and my skin feels wonderful. I think I’ll do a post soon on the many uses for coconut oil!

  8. I mostly use olive oil. But lately I’m trying coconut oil more often when sautéing at high heat. It’s surprisingly light tasting! Lori, what is your take on grapeseed oil? I occasionally use that as well.

  9. I love coconut oil and olive oil and use them all the time. I would love to see what you come up with for other uses for coconut oil – I recently did a piece on it. It is amazing! I only recently found out that olive oil really shouldn’t be used at higher temps – from a cooking class at Sur La Table.
    I really had no idea about peanut oil -except that I see chefs on Food Network use it all the time when frying anything. I’ll have to try it. I still always have canola in the house for various things. It’s nice to have some alternatives too because the price of organic canola is like 4 times the price of non-organic.

  10. Just started using coconut oil. Love the flavor and that you need much less than other oils to get the same coverage. What about grapeseed oil?

  11. I adore peanut oil! It gives such a yummy flavor to stir frys. My challenge is finding organic peanut oil as peanuts are such a high pesticide crop. I have not had a good bottle of peanut oil in my fridge in forever!

  12. I’m all about olive oil and peanut oil (thankfully, no allergies in my home). Those are my go-to oils. I can always find olive oil in glass bottles, but peanut oil seems to only exist in plastic?

  13. I’ll have to look at our peanut oil Andrea. I thought it was in a glass container. What do you use peanut oil for? Just curious.

  14. I agree Lisa-it’s hard to find organic peanut oil. Conventional peanuts and peanut oil contain way too many pesticides!

  15. I’m just starting to use coconut oil too. Grapeseed oil has a higher smoke point than olive oil. There has been some talk that grapeseed oil Grape seed extract may interfere with prescription and over-the-counter medication.

  16. Hi Kristina, I use canola oil for baking instead of vegetable oil. The organic version of canola oil is expensive, but worth it to avoid GMOs. Interesting that chefs on the Food Network use peanut oil. It’s definitely good for frying everything-as long as there’s no peanut allergy!

  17. We only cook with high-quality grapeseed oil and coconut oil. Both of these oils maintain their structure when exposed to heat. Olive oil is great in salad dressings, but I don’t feel it’s suitable for cooking as the structure is damaged by heat. And we don’t use canola oil at all.

  18. Thanks for your comment Chrystal. I haven’t tried cooking with grapeseed oil. I’ll have to give it a try. I do use canola oil, but only organic and for baking.

  19. Hi Laura, I’m pretty much in the same spot as you. I have used olive oil for a long time, but am making the switch to coconut oil gradually. I’m also going to give grapeseed oil a try. It has a high smoke point so it will be great for cooking.

  20. Great info! We pretty much use coconut oil for everything possible, and olive oil for everything else :-)

    Thanks for linking up at the Green & Natural Mamas Linky!

  21. I didn’t know peanut oil was OK for high heat. Good to know! I am wondering what you think of using olive oil versus extra virgin olive oil. Would you only use extra virgin? Is there a way to get regular olive oil (milder taste and higher smoke point, I believe) that hasn’t been processed in a destructive/ toxic way? I noticed that my Whole Foods sells ONLY extra virgin.

  22. Thanks for the linky Charise! I love seeing so many green resources in one spot. I’m with you-olive oil and coconut, with a little peanut once in a while.

  23. Hi Betsy, I only use extra virgin, cold pressed olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is the least processed of the olive oils. When you use other grades of olive oil they’ve been through more processing. Hope that helps!

  24. I agree with you not all saturated fat is the same and coconut oil is supposed to be fabulous for your health!
    I’m so glad you dropped by and I really welcomed this contribution last week to the Seasonal Celebration Linky- a great collection of seasonal recipes, homemaking, crafts, homeschooling and motherhood thank you so much!
    Seasonal Celebration is live once more, so feel free to pop over and join this wonderful celebration of creative talent! http://naturalmothersnetwork.com Rebecca x

  25. Coconut oil and olive oil. Would love to use grapeseed oil but it is really expensive.

  26. Cold pressed, extra virgin, organic olive oil is very good for you and a tablespoon a day is a good part of a healthy diet. I put this on toast instead of butter.

  27. Thanks for the comment Terry. Great suggestion to put it on toast instead of butter!

  28. That’s what I use too Anna-coconut and olive oil. I haven’t tried grapeseed, although I think I have some in my cabinet!

  29. THANK YOU!

  30. I use olive oil for EVERYTHING from pancakes to stir fries to popcorn. It always tastes good!

  31. […] stir fry’s instead of soy sauce or tamari (Japanese soy sauce).  Stir fry the tempeh in a little olive oil and some Braggs. The tempeh will turn slightly brown. Add tempeh to any stir fry in place of tofu, […]

  32. […] I buy it  in a very pure minimally processed form, which is a healthier version than processed. Olive oil has a fairly high cooking temperature and adds great flavor to many […]

  33. I farm soybeans in Missouri. Non-gmo soybeans are popular in my area and just out of curiosity, what are some thoughts on non-gmo soybean derived vegetable oil

  34. […] For the first 11 days we ate an unlimited amount of vegetables (used organic whenever possible). Our vegetable intake was supposed to be twice the amount of fruit intake. We also added a cup of lentils or quinoa each day for protein and we were allowed 4-7 teaspoons high-quality oils. […]

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About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney, mom of three and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. I hope you'll join me as I embark on a journey to live a healthy life. Along the way I might make a few pit stops to fight for issues that affect the health and safety of our families. Come along with me as I work hard to make the world a little safer for each of us. Together we'll discover that simple, small changes can lead to a healthier lifestyle and a greener planet.

Click HERE to contact Lori

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