From extra virgin olive oil to coconut oil, and more, there are hundreds of cooking oils to choose from! Here are some uses and health benefits of your favorite oils, and some to use more sparingly.
Whether you want a healthy salad or deep-fried doughnuts, there’s an oil for everything! Here are some great oils to use for every occasion.
Which fat to fry?
Various solid and liquid fats are perfect for frying. Look for oils with a low water content so that the fat does not splash. Don’t use reduced-fat butter or margarine for frying! But you can use conventional butter and margarine, heat-resistant oils, and solid fats such as coconut fat, lard or tallow.
Vegetable oils are lighter from a health point of view. They contain no cholesterol and in most cases have a more favorable fatty acid composition than animal fats. Different vegetable oils work well for different dishes. Olive oils, for example, are great for Mediterranean dishes. Refined oils such as canola oil or coconut oil, which have a neutral taste, are more suitable for sweet dishes such as pancakes.
Not all fats and oils survive the high temperatures that occur during grilling or deep-frying without being damaged. And that can be 180 – 260 degrees or even more. Suitable fats must have a so-called high smoke point, i.e. they only decompose at very high temperatures. The more saturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acids a fat contains the higher its smoke point. Fats with a high proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as healthy flaxseed oil, are completely unsuitable for high temperatures due to their composition. Olive oil consists of about 75% oil acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid. It is therefore relatively heat-stable and suitable for grilling. Canola oil and peanut oil also work well. Solid fats such as clarified butter (ghee), palm oil, coconut oil, hardened canola oil, sunflower oil or soybean oil also work well for high-temperature cooking.
Which oil for the salad?
Cold pressed native oils, like extra virgin olive oil, are a good dressing choice for cold dishes such as salads. They have been carefully produced and contain important vitamins. Cold pressed refined vegetable oils retain their typical taste. Depending on the salad, you can mix it up and give the salad dressing a special taste with an oil.
Try one of several cold-pressed nut oils available like walnut oil, pistachio oil hazelnut oil, various olive oils, pumpkin seed oil, grape seed oil, flaxseed oil, corn oil, and more. Be creative with these oils to bring unique flavors to your salads!
What’s the right oil for grilling?
There are so many great options for grilling! A little fat can add an extra oomph to your seafood, meat, or vegetable dishes. One of my favorite recipes to grill is “The Best Chicken You Will Ever Eat. Ever.” from Mel Joulwan. Most of the flavor comes from brining your chicken in advance, but you finish it off with some coconut-oil based seasonings. Olive oil could work well here, too.
Brush your grilled shrimp with a little olive oil and garlic for a simple and delicious meal that you can grill really quickly. You can add a flavor punch to grilled peaches with a bit of canola oil or butter. Or perhaps you’d prefer a robust kick red meats with a little butter, even though they’re rich and delicious without any oils at all.
There’s no limit to the options, so have fun exploring different oils.
Butter or margarine on bread?
The dispute as to which spreadable fat is the healthier product flared up from time to time. Butter and margarine differ in their composition, and in their taste. Both spreadable fats offer positive and less favorable properties. Butter naturally contains a low proportion of trans fatty acids and cholesterol. On the other hand, margarine is often made from vegetable oils and contains more unsaturated fatty acids, but it is not a natural fat.
Those who cannot decide can also use mixed fats (e.g. butter and canola oil) as an alternative. They offer the full butter taste and the benefits of vegetable oils. But if you’re relatively healthy and only consume a few spreadable fats, just eat whichever fat tastes better! Which oils for grilling?
What’s the best oil for baking?
When baking, each dough might need a different type of fat. For marble cake or muffins, for example, you can use refined canola oil instead of margarine. With other doughs such as shortcrust pastry, however, the fat needs a firmer consistency so that butter or margarine would be better.
Pizza oils are still up for debate! Many think if you should only add good olive oil, because of the taste, if you’re adding any oil at all.
A simple yeast dough just needs water, flour, yeast, and salt. With these ingredients, you can bake pizza very well. However, some people find the dough a bit hard. With a small dash of high-quality oil, you can roll out the dough better and thinner. The bottom does not crack and gets a soft crust. But whether or not you add olive oil to the pizza dough or not remains a matter of taste.
Is coconut fat as good as his reputation?
There are some amazing claims about coconut oil! Some say it has positive effects on the cardiovascular system, metabolism, and cholesterol levels. Other advocates claim it can even help you lose weight when cooking. So, does it live up to the hype?
At this point, the proponents promise too much, because coconut oil contains about 90 percent saturated fatty acids. The main advantage is that you can heat this oil at higher temperatures than other oils with unsaturated fatty acids. So it’s well-suited for frying, as it does not develop any dangerous trans fats.
Which oil is your all-rounder in the kitchen and should not be missing? Or do you have many oils to bring variety into your dishes? Bon Appetit!