Have you ever had to do the famous Google search “What oil should I use for cooking…?” If you just answered yes, don’t feel bad. At one time or another, we all have searched for the best oils to cook our favorite foods. Sometimes, with one eye twitching over the complete madness of it all.

There are so many oils in your local market alone; you can get dizzy and completely frazzled trying to figure out the proper oils for sautéing, cooking, baking, roasting, or frying your favorite chicken.



Oils to use when cooking

After having a detailed discussion the other night with a friend over oil uses, as well as the smoke points of various oils; I decided to make life a little easier for you by doing this handy little guide of “What oils should I use for cooking…” from the most often used oils such as peanut oil, canola, vegetable oils and olive oil there are an extraordinary amount of fats out there to use for different purposes– So let’s help you find the correct one for your next meal.


What oil should I use for cooking?


For baking:

  • Coconut oil
  • Palm oil
  • canola oil
  • High oleic safflower oil
  • Sunflower oil 



For frying:

  • Avocado oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Palm oil
  • Sesame oil 



For sautéing:

  • Butter oil
  •  Avocado oil
  • Canola oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Olive oil
  • Sesame oil
  • High oleic safflower oil
  • Sunflower oils





For dipping, dressings, and marinades:  

  • flax
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Peanut
  • Sesame oil
  • Walnut oil



Oils to use when cooking





What are the most often used oils in home culinary cooking?


  • Avocado Oil: Pressed from avocados, this smooth, nutty oil is more than 50% monounsaturated, making it a heart-nourishing choice. Used it in salad dressings or to sauté fish chicken.
  • Canola Oil: Canola is a cousin of cabbage and Brussels sprouts. A variety of rapeseed is part of the mustard family, including those veggies mentioned above. It’s beneficial for heart health thanks to its fatty acid profile and omega-3 and low saturated fat contents, and perfect for light cooking, sauces, and desserts like homemade mayo or tender cakes.
  • Coconut Oil: Pressed from the fruit of the coconut palm tree, coconut oil is ideal for light, fair, and subtly flavored dishes.
  • Corn Oil: Most corn oil is extracted only from the germ of the corn kernel and is golden-yellow; unrefined oil will have a darker color and richer corn taste.
  • Grapeseed Oil: Grapeseed oil is extracted from the seeds of grapes, a byproduct of the wine-making industry. Use it on salads and raw veggies or in dips, sauces, and salsa.
  • Olive Oil:  One of the oldest known culinary oils, olive oil has heart-friendly monounsaturated fat. Extra virgin olive oil results from olives’ first cold pressing, while mild “pure” olive oil is a refined and extra virgin olive oil blend.
  • Peanut Oil: Peanut oil comes from peanuts; its high monounsaturated content makes it heart-healthy. Peanut oil is best for frying, light sautéing, and stir-fries.
  • Sesame Oil: The seed of the sesame plant provides sesame oil.  Unrefined sesame oil is a critical flavor part of sauces or dressings. Refined sesame oil for high-heat applications like frying and toasted sesame oil for stir-fries and Asian sauces and dips. Sesame also has a high antioxidant content.




Some notable oils I should mention

  • Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening: is used by some for baking and frying.
  • Lard was commonly used as a cooking fat or shortening and as a spread like butter (Can you believe that?) till the early 80s when its popularity rapidly declined with the new “Fat-Free” fads.



Smoke Point: In cooking, the smoke point of an oil or fat is the temperature at which, under defined conditions, enough volatile compounds emerge from the fuel that a bluish smoke becomes visible. Below is a chart of the smoke points to commonly used household culinary oils.





Safflower Oil 510°F/265°C Yes
Rice Bran Oil 490°F/260°C Yes
Light 0r Refined Olive Oil 465°F/240°C Yes
Soybean Oil 450°F/230°C Yes
Peanut Oil 450°F/230°C Yes
Clarified Butter 450°F/230°C No
Corn Oil 450°F/230°C Yes
Sunflower Oil 440°F/225°C Yes
Vegetable Oil 400°-450°F/205-230°C Yes
Beef Tallow 400°F/250°C No
Canola Oil 400°F/205°C Yes
Grapeseed Oil 390°F/195°C Yes
Lard 370°F/185°C No
Virgin Avocado Oil 375°-400°F/190-205°C No
Chicken Fat 375°F/190°C No
Duck Fat 375°F/190°C No
Vegetable Shortening 360°F/180°C Yes
Sesame Oil 350°-410°F/175-210°C No
Butter 350°F/175°C No
Coconut Oil 350°F/175°C No
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil 325°-375°F/165-190°C No

How should I store my cooking oils?


General Guidelines

  • Air, heat, light, and age affect the quality and the shelf life of many edible oils, which deteriorate through oxidation. The oxidation process is greatly enhanced when edible oils are stored in an airtight container and in areas where the oil is exposed to heat and light. If improperly stored, some oils can easily take on other flavors.
  • An unpleasant smell or taste indicates that the oil is no longer desirable for consumption. A wine smell or taste may show that the oil was not stored properly. A metallic flavor demonstrates that the oil was stored in a container made of reactive metal.
  • Most unrefined oils will be kept for 3 to 6 months if stored correctly in a cool, dark place. The refrigerator is the best place to store unrefined oils. Although most will solidify in the colder temperatures, they will return to a liquid state removed from the refrigerator one or two hours before use.
  • Refined oils keep twice as long as unrefined oils – at least 6 to 12 months if stored properly.
  • An oil high in polyunsaturated fat has a much shorter shelf life than oils high in monounsaturated or saturated fat. It should be stored in the refrigerator to extend the shelf life.





What oils do I use for cooking






© Heidy L. McCallum and The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch, 2023- 2013. Unauthorized use and duplication of this material or photos without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Heidy L. McCallum and The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. You may not copy and paste recipes to share on Social Platforms. Photo Credit is given to Kaboompics.com

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  1. This is such a helpful post. It answers a fundamental question that every cook should know. Thank you so much for sharing your insights!

  2. Thank you so much for attending week 16 of #PureBlogLove and linking your fantastic blog post, I can’t wait to see what you have in store for our next party, Thursday 8 PM EST- Sundays at midnight. Your post has been added to the #PureBlogLove Pinterest board for all to see 🙂 Have a great day!

  3. Love this article Heidy! Coconut oil is my go-to for baking, olive for dressings. We have a shop in our town called Drizzle that does awesome flavored oils! Your information is very helpful!

  4. This is a great article Heidy. There are so many different oils out there to cook with. I’m partial to olive, coconut, and sesame oils. I have used lard too for frying, but I don’t fry very often.

  5. Great info. I have friends ask me this question ALL the time! I actually have started to use cottonseed oil which I am loving. A company gave me some samples of some flavor infused oils, along w/ some info and it has a high smoke point which is great for frying but it’s light enough for dipping too. Pretty versatile, which is great for me, it means I don’t have to have 10 bottles of oil laying around anymore.

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