Have you ever walked down the baking aisle at the grocery store and wondered to yourself, “Why are there so many types of cooking oils?”
It all comes down to using the right tool for the right job. Here are some of the most common cooking oils and what specific sorts of cooking they’re used for.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil is one of the more common cooking oils, but interestingly enough, it’s actually not considered to be one of the better cooking oils. Extra virgin olive oil burns relatively easily, so it makes cooking at higher temperatures a little more difficult.
What extra virgin olive oil is best used as, however, is as a flavor enhancer — like for dipping slices of artisan bread into or for whipping up a flavorful salad dressing.
Not to be confused with extra virgin olive, olive oil is used in the cooking part of the meal, as opposed to the dipping and drizzling part. Its neutral aroma and high smoke point make this a go-to oil for anyone wanting to sear, sauté or pan-fry.
If you’re looking for a reliable oil that won’t burn while you’re cooking and doesn’t have an overbearing flavor, then canola oil is exactly what you’re after.
Not matter what you’re looking to cook — fish, chicken, beef or eggs — make sure you’ve always got a bottle of canola oil on hand, and you’ll be all set.
Coming in at number one for most common cooking oil is vegetable oil. It’s got a neutral flavor profile, a high smoke point and the lowest price of the cooking oils. You’re bound to find this cooking oil in most home and restaurant kitchens.
Need a cooking oil for the grill? Avocado oil is calling! Of all the oils, avocado oil has the highest smoke point, so the super high temperatures of a grill — or even those of an open flame — will be no match for this oil. As a bonus, you’ll be adding the smooth, buttery flavor of avocados to whatever you’re cooking up.
Sunflower Seed Oil
In all reality, sunflower seed oil is very similar to vegetable oil in flavor, price and smoke point. The primary difference, however, is its shelf life, which is extremely short.
Sesame oil is most often used in Asian cuisine because its nutty aroma and flavor complement that sort of food quite well. This oil has a moderate smoke point, so it can be used both as a non-stick agent as well as the means for giving your dish a fried-food element.
Coconut oil is easily the most versatile oil out there. Not only can it be used in cooking and baking, but it’s also used in hair and skin treatments as well!
Coconut oil is considered to be a “healthy” alternative to heavy cooking fats. It’s a great alternative because you can use it to sauté and pan-fry without burning the oil. On top of all that, coconut has a great flavor that will enhance any food it’s added to.
Peanut oil is a cooking oil you’ll either love or hate. As its name implies, it carries quite a nutty taste, so if that’s not your thing, this is likely not the oil for you. Most refined peanut oils remove the allergens, but cold-pressed peanut oils can be highly dangerous to those who are allergic. So if you have a peanut allergy, use caution.
If you’re all out of cooking oils and are looking for someone else to do the cooking, we’d be more than happy to do the meal prep! We make all of our dishes using scratch ingredients, and are constantly whipping up delicious dishes hot to order. We keep our kitchen humming like a well-oiled machine!
Come visit us at your local Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen.