Best Operating Temperatures Of Cooking Oils and Their Uses
Grocery shopping is not the five-minute job that it used to be back in the days. Years back customers were not exposed to so many different types of oil or flour.
There was a standard type of product available across stores and everybody consumed it with no questions asked.
Nowadays, times have changed; trying to find the healthiest products from the myriad of brands and product varieties is a daunting process.
This daunt is amplified when you walk down the cooking oil or the edible oil section.
So many questions tend to flash a customer’s mind, for instance, “is this oil healthy?”
or “does it have a high smoke point or will the nutrients be stripped even on low heat?”
These are all very serious and important questions and customers are often left confused while standing in front of the edible oil shelf.
With the rapid increase in the varieties offered for a single type of product, the number of concerns raised by customers is also increasing.
The fact of the matter is that depending upon to use of the cooking oil, you will have to choose an oil that has either low or high smoke point.
It is very important to know the smoke point of the oil you are using, “why?” you may be wondering.
When the oil is heated beyond its smoke point, it breaks and starts producing toxic fumes and thus becomes rancid.
Consuming smoked oil is dangerous and so before you go to the grocery store to buy a bottle of cooking oil, you will need to find out the smoke point of the oil.
Therefore, the aim of this article is to help you overcome the confusion with regards to your choice of cooking oil and the related smoke points.
- Types of Fats
- Saturated Fats
- Unsaturated Fats
- Smoke point and uses of different types of Cooking Oils
Types of Fats
Before we get into the details of the oils with a high smoke point temperature, as a prerequisite, it is important to cover the basics.
There two categories of fats that we consume, mainly because fats are rich in specific vitamins and minerals and also enhance energy levels.
Not all fats are the same and beyond the smoking point, some fats are extremely dangerous for consumption.
So, what are the two types of fats?
1. Saturated Fats
These fats are composed of single bonds between molecules and are saturated with hydrogen molecules.
They are often solidified at room temperature and are often considered as a less healthy option between the two types of fats.
The main reason for such an allegation against saturated fat is the fact that it raises blood cholesterol levels in the body.
However, some food products that are rich in saturated fats are cheese, butter, ice cream, coconut oil, palm oil and so on.
All these products are to be consumed in moderation, as the impact on your health is minimal.
2. Unsaturated Fats
These fats, unlike saturated fats, have more than single bonds between molecules.
These fats are most commonly found in oils and are of liquid form at room temperature.
Sources of unsaturated fats (apart from oils) include avocado, olives, peanut butter, fatty fish, nuts and so on.
Unsaturated fats are further broken down into the following categories:
2.1. Monounsaturated Fats
These facts are liquid at room temperature and are most commonly found in nuts such as olive, peanut, and in canola oil.
2.2. Polyunsaturated Fats
This is usually found in vegetables, seeds, and nuts such as sunflower, cottonseed, corn, sesame seeds, safflower and so on.
These fats are also liquid at room temperature.
2.3. Trans Fatty Acids
This is the fat produced when liquid oil is transferred into a solid fat (examples include shortening and margarine).
Trans fats are similar to saturated fats, rendering them unhealthy for repeated consumption.
It is commonly recommended by health enthusiasts that your choice of cooking oil should contain higher levels of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Another vital information you need to keep in mind is that the more refined your oil is, the higher the smoke point temperature of the edible oil will be.
When the cooking oil is refined, the impurities present in the oil are stripped and thus increase the cooking oil’s smoke point.
This brings us to our main section of the article.
Smoke point and uses of different types of Cooking Oils
Ultimately the cooking oil you choose at the store depends upon what you are cooking or how you plan on using it.
Certain types of cooking oils are used for cooking or baking of a specific type of dish, which could require high heat or low heat temperatures.
The following is a list of the smoke point temperatures of a few different types of oils along with the use of the respective cooking oil in the kitchen.
This edible oil is slowly becoming one of the highly consumed oils in the market.
It is a tasty green oil that is very similar to olive oil with respect to its fat profile.
This cooking oil contains high levels of monounsaturated fats with a blend of polyunsaturated fats along with a limited level of saturated fats.
Unrefined extra virgin avocado oil has a high smoke point, up to250 degrees, thereby making it ideal for high-temperature grilling, baking, and cooking.
It is a cooking oil mostly used for frying vegetables such as Brussel sprouts that require high heat temperatures, and also for drizzling over homemade food.
This cooking oil helps in improving eye health, as it contains the necessary antioxidants. By simply drizzling this edible oil on your food, it helps the body absorb fat-soluble antioxidants.
2. Macadamia Oil
This cooking oil is particularly famous for its nutty and buttery flavors and is perfect for sweet as well as savory dishes.
Yet again, this cooking oil is highly rich in monounsaturated fats and has a smoke point temperature between 210 and 234 degrees.
Because of its nutty flavor and high smoke point, this cooking oil is best used for pan-frying fish and is also perfect for adding flavor to cakes and salads.
This cooking oil is excellent for enhancing heart health and also lowers lower blood cholesterol, commonly referred to as the “bad cholesterol”.
3. Sunflower Oil
One of the most commonly used oil, this cooking oil is extracted directly from sunflower seeds.
Being a type of refined oil, it is considered to be one of the most stable oil under high cooking temperatures.
However, it does lose a few nutrients during the refining process. It has a smoke point around and not restricted to 225 degrees.
Being stable during high temperatures, sunflower oil for cooking is used to make deep-fried tempuras and chips. This is because this edible oil does not break when deep-fried under high temperatures.
High in polyunsaturated fats, this oil also helps to reduce bad cholesterol and is also considered to be an optimum replacement for butter by the Heart Foundation.
4. Sesame Oil
This is the type of cooking oil made with the oldest oilseed crop. Sesame oils are high in monounsaturated fats as well as polyunsaturated fats, resulting in high smoke point temperatures (232 degrees).
Just like sunflower oil, sesame-cooking oil is also a recommended replacement for butter but the Heart Foundation.
Since it has a strong flavor, this edible oil is used as an additive in Asian dishes. It is also a strong component in marinades as well as sauces.
This cooking oil is high in Vitamin K and is a great source of blood coagulation and bone strength.
5. Canola Oil
This cooking oil is a variant of rapeseed oil. Canola oil is most commonly used in households and restaurants, as it is a light oil and has a neutral taste.
It is high in monounsaturated fats and is also rich in Omega 3. This cooking oil has a smoke point temperature of 204 degrees.
Best used to make oven-baked chips, frozen fish fillets and other similar kinds of dishes.
However, since this oil is refined, it is not recommended for reuse, as the cooking oil breaks and becomes unstable.
6. Coconut Oil
This cooking oil is extracted from the meat of matured coconuts and is quite high on saturated fats.
Virgin coconut oil is growing to become a replacement for butter in cooking as well as baking.
This oil has a low smoke point temperature of around 175 degrees and is not ideal for high-temperature cooking.
It has a natural sweetness and therefore can be easily incorporated in baking (for instance pastries, biscuits and so on) and can also be used to sauté dishes on low heat temperature.
It is a good source of lauric acid, which aids in increasing the levels of good cholesterol, but this cooking oil needs to be consumed in moderation.
7. Vegetable Oil
This is another commonly used refined and stable cooking oil that is available in the markets. The difficulty with regards to this oil is that you never know what it is made of.
It could simply be a mixture of oils or overpowered with one type of oil such as canola or sunflower cooking oils.
Therefore you will have to check the label to find out if it is rich in monounsaturated, polyunsaturated or saturated fats.
For the same reason, it is a difficult task to determine a standardized smoke point temperature.
This edible oil is used for deep-frying as well as high-temperature cooking. However, it is recommended to avoid reuse of this cooking oil.
These are just some of the types of cooking oils available in the markets with their smoke point temperatures.
High smoke point temperature oils also include Walnut oil used for sautéing, grilling as well as broiling, Soybean oil with a smoke point temperature of 232 degrees used as a margarine and salad dressing, and Rice Bran oil that is used of baking, deep-frying and as a dipping oil with a smoke point temperature of 254 degrees are some additions to the list.
There may be a variety of cooking oils available to you, but it all boils down to what are you going to use the oil for.
Using highly refined oils do indicate a high smoke point temperature, however, in the refining process, these oils lose their natural nutrient levels.
Therefore, the choice is yours and the research you do will help you purchase the right type of cooking oil.