Back to Basics: Oil

Oils, are the foundation flavor base and play a major part in various cooking methods. It can range from using it for stir-fry, filling a large pot to deep dry certain foods, or even a slight grizzle to give it a light, silky taste. Some types of oils are better than others in certain scenarios. Here is a list of the common cooking oils that you can use in your kitchen arsenal. 

  • Extra virgin olive oil- starting it off with something everyone knows. Extra virgin olive oil (or EVOO in short form) is frequently used in colder dishes like dips, salads, dressings, or as a topping for some foods like bread and pizzas. It is also well known as a healthy, versatile fat. The only downside of EVOO is that it has a low smoking point. This means that it is more easily to degrade and release free radicals. It is not the best oil to use in cooking or at least cooking at a temperature of 375F (or 191C) unless it is light olive oil.
  • Grapeseed oil- One of my personal favorite kinds of oil that I use in almost any kind of cooking. Its neutral taste can be used in roasting, sauteeing, and so much more. One of my favorite thing to use grapeseed oil on is dressings and vinaigrette. It shines, emulsifies, and builds structure unlike any other.
  • Canola oil- this staple oil has a neutral taste and its medium-high smoking point makes it very useful for stir-frying, grilling, frying, squirting, and baking. One thing to keep in mind that canola oil is that it doesn’t come from a natural plant. It contains GMOs that some people may have conflicting feelings about it. 
  • Coconut oil- there are two kinds of coconut oil: refined and unrefined. Refined coconut oil has a higher smoking point than unrefined and has a light coconut taste. Unrefined coconut oil has a stronger taste than coconut and it’s an excellent alternative if you want to sub out butter.
  • Avocado oil- this one my family loves to use. In the kitchen, we call it the carrier oil because it lets all the other flavors shine. Another super versatile oil that is perfect for frying, roasting, grilling, and sauteing. Oh did I also mention that it has the highest smoking point than any other plant oil? What’s not to love? 
  • Peanut oil- this bad boy is most often used in Asian cuisines. Its high smoking point works brilliantly in high-temp stir-frying and deep-frying. The only downside is that if you have a peanut allergy. Luckily I don’t.
  • Sesame oil- rounding it off with something that holds a dear place in my heart. This thing shines amazingly on fish, sauteed veggies, noodles, salads and so much more.

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