Oils Ain't Oils

A common question from my crew is this, "what oil do you recommend for "X""? Sometimes oils ain't oils when it comes to where we use them in our foods.

I have decided to make it nice and easy to help YOU decide which oil you should use in salad dressings, frying and baking. I've designed a table which outlines the common food oils and fats, what sort of fats they contain (hint: you want more unsaturated fats in your life, and fats that contain high levels of Omega-3's!) and the best uses for each one.

When deciding what oil or fat to use in your cooking, be sure to review things like smoke points (when frying or baking) and how the product is commonly manufactured. You will see clearly which oils and fats I recommend you avoid. A note regarding coconut oil, whilst it is high in saturated fats, it contains lauric acids and is high in Medium-Chain-Fatty-Acids (MCFA), and is a great fat for you.

Fire some questions my way in the comments and let's make sure we choose wisely when it comes to oils and fats in our diet.

Type of oil or fat

Saturated

Monounsaturated

Polyunsaturated

Omega-3

Omega-6

Smoke point

Uses

Manufacturing Process & Comments

Almond

8%

66%

26%

0

17%

221 °C (430 °F)

Baking, sauces, flavouring

Made from whole almonds – pressed. A very thick oil, hard to use in cooking, but great for your skin!

Avocado oil

12%

74%

14%

0.95%

12%

271 °C (520 °F)

Salad oil

Made from avocado fruit – centrifugal. I use this for salad dressings, it’s too good for heating up!!!

Butter

66%

30%

4%

0.3%

2.7%

150 °C (302 °F)

Cooking, baking, condiment, sauces, flavouring

Whipped from dairy cream. Generally pasteurised. I use this sparingly, but sometimes you can’t substitute.

Ghee, clarified butter

65%

32%

3%

0

0

190–250 °C (374–482 °F)

Deep frying, cooking, sautéing, condiment, flavouring

Made by simmering butter to separate solids from butter. I use this when I am preparing traditional curries, a very warming fat.

Canola oil

6%

62%

32%

9.1%

18%

204 °C (399 °F)

Frying, baking, salad dressings

Pressed canola seeds, using solvents during extraction. I recommend avoiding ALL canola, due to genetic modification.

Chia Oil

3.3%

2.3%

23.7%

17.8%

5.8%

N/A

Salad dressings

Pressed without heat, sensitive to temperature.

Coconut oil, (virgin)

92%

6%

2%

0

1.8%

177 °C (351 °F)

Cooking, beauty products

Generally pressed from coconut flesh, non-organic options can use solvents. Choose carefully.

Rice bran oil

20%

47%

33%

1.6%

33%

254 °C (489 °F)

Cooking, frying, deep frying, salads, dressings. Very clean flavoured & palatable.

Made in a complex manufacturing process, using solvents. This is the “best of the worst” for cooking oils, I would use this as a last resort for flavourless oil in cooking.

Flaxseed oil (Linseed oil)

11%

21%

68%

53%

13%

107 °C (225 °F)

Salad dressings, nutritional supplement

Cold pressed, must be kept cold to stop rancidity. I love my flax oil, great to mix into smoothies to get the Omega’s into the body.

Grapeseed oil

12%

17%

71%

0.1%

69%

204 °C (399 °F)

Cooking, salad dressings

Can be cold pressed or solvent extracted. Look for cold pressed options, this is another best of the worst option.

Hemp oil

9%

12%

79%

18%

55%

165 °C (329 °F)

Cooking, salad dressings

Cold pressed, sensitive to temperature. In Australia and New Zealand this oil is only allowed for external application. In the rest of the world it is deemed suitable for human consumption.

Lard (animal fat)

41%

47%

2%

1%

10%

138–201 °C (280–394 °F)

Baking, frying

Rendered via heat. I avoid this fat at all costs, there are healthier options available.

Margarine, soft

20%

47%

33%

2.4%

23%

150–160 °C (302–320 °F)

Cooking, baking, condiment

Hydrogenated vegetables oils, complex manufacturing process. DO NOT USE.

Macadamia oil

12.5%

84%

3.5%

0

2.8%

210 °C (410 °F)

Cooking, frying, deep frying, salads, dressings. A slightly nutty odour.

Cold pressed, I love this oil, it adds a nice nutty flavour to salads, and it is made locally!

Olive oil (extra virgin)

14%

73%

11%

0.7%

9.8%

190 °C (374 °F)

Cooking, salad oils

First press of oil, generally cold pressed.

Olive oil (virgin)

14%

73%

11%

0.7%

9.8%

215 °C (419 °F)

Cooking, salad oils

First press of oil, lower quality.

Olive oil (refined)

14%

73%

11%

0

0

225 °C (437 °F)

Sautee, stir frying, deep frying, cooking, salad oils

Refined with charcoal or chemicals.

Palm oil

52%

38%

10%

0.2%

9.1%

230 °C (446 °F)

Cooking, flavouring, vegetable oil, shortening

Complex manufacturing process involving fractionation (unless organic). NTS Health (based in Yandina) sell a quality, sustainably sourced palm oil.

Peanut oil

18%

49%

33%

0%

31%

231 °C (448 °F)

Frying, cooking, salad oils, margarine

Manufactured from peanuts, high heat used to extract. Great for stir-fries.

Pumpkin seed oil

8%

36%

57%

0%

64%

121 °C (250 °F)

salad oils

Cold pressed from oil pumpkin seeds. Heat sensitive.

Sesame oil (Unrefined)

14%

43%

43%

0.3

41%

177 °C (351 °F)

Cooking

Generally cold pressed. I add this for flavour to some Asian dishes.

Soybean oil

15%

24%

61%

6.7%

50%

241 °C (466 °F)

Cooking, salad dressings, vegetable oil, margarine, shortening

Manufactured using complex process and solvents. AVOID THIS.

Sunflower oil (high oleic,cold-pressed)

9%

82%

9%

0.2%

3.6%

107 °C (225 °F)

Salad dressing, Mayonnaise

Either cold pressed or heat & solvent refined. The refined oil is technically safer at high heat while the unrefined is much more nutritious and solvent-free.

Walnut Oil

9%

23%

63%

9.3%

48%

N/A

Salad dressings

Either cold-pressed or heat refined.