Sometimes it can be very confusing to know which oil to cook with. Most people base it off of the flavor of the oil, but mainly stick to olive or canola oil. Well, there actually times when you should, and shouldn’t be cooking with certain oils.
Sauteing. When you are sauteing a food, go with olive oil. It is a pretty flexible oil that does well with medium heat on a stove top. Try to use a lighter olive oil(ie not extra virgin), that is lighter in color and works for any type of saute. If you are looking for a more pronounced olive oil flavoring, turn to the extra virgin section. With this type of method, you definitely shouldn’t be cooking with wheat germ or flaxseed oil that burns down too easily.
Baking. Be sure to use coconut, canola, or safflower oil for the best results, as they all do well in medium temperatures used for baking. Be mindful however of coconut’s nutty flavoring. Keep flaxseed and wheat germ oils away. Though healthy they are fragile and will break down in heat.
Frying. Frying can be tricky. You need an oil with a high smoke point that makes food crisp, not soggy, which means the food has taken in too much fat. Try peanut, safflower, or soybean oil, and avoid olive oil, which due to its low smoke point leads to soggy food.
Grilling. Try canola or safflower oil for your best results. Both of these oils can withstand temperatures close to 500 degrees, making them unlikely to oxidize in the presence of flames. Avoid olive oil, even though lots of recipes call for it. It just can’t take the heat.
Roasting. This depends a lot on cooking temperature. If you are roasting at high-heat, over 325 degrees, try canola which is heat stable. If you are cooking at low-heat for a long period of time, olive oil is a good choice. Either way avoid flax seed or wheat germ oil.
By Aisling Williams