Cooking oil

Peanut Oil

  • Inexpensive and relatively low in saturated fat.
  • Refined peanut oil performs also brilliantly at high temperatures.
  • Favorite for deep-frying or stir-fry
  • Unlike olive oil, though, peanut oil isn’t often cut with cheaper oils, so even lower-end peanut oil should be a safe bet.
  • Overall grade: B (good price, light flavor, decent health benefits), Serving size: 1 tablespoon (14 grams), Calories: 120, Smoke point: 450°F (232°C), Saturated fat: 1.5 grams, Unsaturated fat: 10.5 grams, Cost: Peanut oil can cost anywhere from $11 to $33/gallon.

Canola Oil (Vegetable Oil, Safflower Oil)

  • Canola oil has one of the lowest saturated fat levels of any commercially available cooking oil.
  • It’s light, flavorless, and generally inoffensive to the taste buds.
  • It is frequently used for baking, making popcorn, and general cooking.
  • Overall grade: B (good price, no flavor, OK health benefits)
  • Serving size: 1 tablespoon (14 grams), Calories: 124, Smoke point: 375-450°F (190-232°C), Saturated fat: 1 gram, Unsaturated fat: 10.3 grams, Cost: Cheaper brands of canola oil run about $0.06/ounce.

Sesame Oil

  • Sesame Oil has such a toasty flavor, sesame oil can overwhelm more delicate dishes, so go easy on it.
  • Sesame oil is rich in antioxidants & reduce blood pressure in men with hypertension.
  • Adding a teaspoon to your bottle of salad dressing can add flavor and nutrition without overwhelming your palate.
  • Overall grade: A (higher price, great taste, good health benefits)
  • Serving size: 1 tablespoon (14 grams), Calories: 120, Smoke point: 450°F (232°C), Saturated Fat: 1.9 grams, Unsaturated Fat: 11 grams, Cost: $0.16/ounce

Flaxseed Oil

  • Is flaxseed oil good for cooking? In a word, no. Think of flaxseed oil as a very healthy garnish.
  • Flaxseed oil contains all kinds of omega-3 and omega-6 goodness, and is best consumed in the raw.
  • It’s a delicate oil that should be kept in the refrigerator.
  • Its low smoke point means that it isn’t particularly useful for cooking or baking.
  • Flaxseed oil does have a slightly bitter taste, but that flavor can be masked by whatever food it is served with.
  • Try using a couple of tablespoons as a part of your salad dressing, or drizzle over roasted vegetables before serving.
  • Overall grade: B (expensive, weird taste, fantastic health benefits, not that useful for cooking)
  • Serving size: 1 tablespoon (14 grams), Calories: 120, Smoke point: 225°F (107°C), Saturated fat: 1.3 grams, Unsaturated fat: 11.2 grams, Cost: As low as $0.73/ounce

Walnut Oil

  • Walnut oil rivals olive oil in terms of anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Walnut oil’s smoke point means that it is appropriate for cooking at medium heat, but less useful for high-heat sautéing. It can be used for baking as well.
  • Overall grade: A- (expensive, great taste, amazing health benefits)
  • Serving size: 1 tablespoon (14 grams), Calories: 120, Smoke point: 320°F (160°C), Saturated fat: 2 grams, Unsaturated fat: 12 grams, Cost: From $0.62 – $1.25/ounce

Avocado Oil

  • High in vitamin E, avocado oil is often used in cosmetics like make-up and skincare remedies.
  • The oil doesn’t taste like avocado, so if you’re not a fan of the fruit, you can rest assured that the oil is closer in taste to olive oil (but without the acrid or pepper notes).
  • Overall grade: A- (pricey, mild taste, good for your health)
  • Serving size: 1 tablespoon (14 grams), Calories: 120, Smoke point: 520°F (271°C), Saturated fat: 2 grams, Unsaturated fat: 12 grams, Cost: $0.61/ounce

Coconut Oil

  • Extracted from the meat of mature coconuts.
  • Its high level of saturated fat makes it less appealing to those who care about such things.
  • Overall grade: B- (good for the skin, pricey)
  • Serving size: 1 tablespoon (14 grams), Calories: 117, Smoke point: 350°F (177°C), Saturated fat: 11.8 grams, Unsaturated fat: 1.8 grams, Cost: $0.50 – $0.80 per ounce


  • Butter consumption actually resulted in lower levels of fat in the blood than canola oil or olive oil.
  • This is thought to have to do with the structure of the acid chains in butter, which are shorter than those in vegetable oil, and perhaps preferred by the human digestive system.
  • Overall grade: A++++
  • Serving size: 1 tablespoon (14 grams), Calories: 102, Smoke point: 250–300°F (121–149°C), Saturated fat: 7.3 grams, Unsaturated fat: 4.2 grams, Cost: $500 per pound…in Norway

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

We’ve been told for years that extra virgin olive oil is bursting with healthful goodness, and that we should pour it all over everything. It’s full of the good kind of fat! It has antioxidants! It reduces heart disease! It has natural anti-inflammatory compounds! The good news is that all of that is true. The bad news? Your brand of olive oil might not be extra virgin olive oil. Olive oil is among the most adulterated food products sold on the world market.

The amount of unsaturated fat in olive oil, however, means that olive oil protects against heart disease and even help control blood sugars in diabetics. An anti-oxidant known as DHPEA-EDA, which can help protect red blood cells and reduce the amount of low density lipoproteins (LDLs — the bad cholesterol) in the human body, is readily found in olive oil. That is…assuming that you actually are consuming extra virgin olive oil.

If you are using real extra virgin olive oil, and not the adulterated grocery store version, then olive oil isn’t actually very good for high-heat cooking. Olive oil can be used for sautéing, of course, but to really enjoy the flavor of true extra-virgin olive oil, it’s best used as a dressing for salads, soups, cheeses, and pastas. Highly refined olive oil is stable at higher temperatures, but it lacks the flavor of cold pressed EVOO.

  • Overall grade: A- (expensive for the real stuff, great taste, amazing health benefits)
  • Serving size: 1 tablespoon (14 grams), Calories: 120, Smoke point: 375-450°F (190-232°C), Saturated fat: 2 grams, Unsaturated fat: 12.7 grams, Cost: On average, olive oil runs at about $0.50 per ounce (often less; quite often great deal more).

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