The Best Oils. There’s a big chance you have at least one oil in your house that you cook with, or use in dressings. Sometimes even baking! (Have you tried olive oil cake? YUM!)
Oils are a consistent staple in so many people’s diets- mine included! So it’s important to know which oils are the best for baking. A lot of names of oils out there can be misleading as they sound healthy, but really they are not.
It’s my goal to help you make your kitchen healthier and thus your habits healthier. Small changes add up and I hope you find this list useful!
Best Cooking Oils To Have In Your Kitchen
1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
There are many experts out there who believe that the Mediterranien diet is one of the healthiest diets in the world. One thing that they use constantly is extra virgin olive oil. Olive oil is very high in healthy monounsaturated fatty acids and it’s also high in antioxidants! Antioxidants are so important for keeping the body healthy and for scavenging free radicals.
One of the best things about olive oil is how great it is for the heart.
Extra virgin olive oil is the best of its kind because it’s the least processed. For it to be considered extra virgin, it must be cold-pressed which means the olives will never go over a specific temperature during pressing. This ensures you are going to have a really high-quality olive oil!
Extra Virgin Olive oil smoke point: 325-375
2. Avocado Oil
This one has gained so much popularity over the last few years! I consider it the new cool kid on the block. 😉 It comes from the flesh of pressed avocados. Of all the cooking oils, it has one of the highest levels of monounsaturated fats (very healthy) and what’s great it is that is low in polyunsaturated fats.
It is a bit more expensive, but it is super versatile. It is also super high in Oleic acid which is also great for the heart.
There was even a study done in rats in which this oil was proven that it may lower blood pressure, reduce blood triglycerides as well as lower LDL cholesterol levels.
Avocado Oil smoke point: 375 if virgin, 520 if more refined
3. Flaxseed Oil
Did you know that flaxseed can be made into oil? It makes sense, as when you ground up flaxseed, there is almost a slight moistness to it.
This oil is so nutrient-dense. It is rich in Omega-3 ALA (great for hair, skin, and nails!) and is a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids in general. Great for the brain AND heart.
The use of flaxseed oil has been linked to lower blood pressure as well as lower lipid levels, especially for those with Cholesterol levels.
Like avocado oil, flaxseed oil is also high in monounsaturated fats.
A pro tip is to keep flaxseed oil in the fridge as it is extremely sensitive to heat and can go rancid quickly. The two downsides to flaxseed are of course having to store it in a fridge and also it’s low smoke point. For that reason, I will often use it in dressings and less in cooking over the stove.
Flaxseed oil smoke point: 225
4. Walnut Oil
I think this one has such a soft and beautiful taste to it. I love walnuts in general as they are so great for the brain. As a plant based eater, I look to things like walnuts to get Omega 3s (ALA) and using oil ensures you can get a lot of that!
Some walnut oils out there are semi-refined, which makes for a slightly higher smoke point but not as nutrient dense. I like to get unrefined walnut oil.
One thing studies always talk about is how Omega 3s are so great for the skin- I would say this is the best attraction of walnut oils as it has been shown to help both the inner and outer layers of our skin. Due to its complexity of Omegas.
There are even studies around walnut oil and its anti-inflammatory properties.
Like flaxseed, to really keep up the nutrient content, I would recommend this as more of a drizzling oil than a cooking oil.
Walnut Oil smoke point: ~320
5. Sesame Oil
This one is so yummy in all kinds of dishes. Sesame oil is rich in monounsaturated fat and low in saturated fat. It is also loaded with antioxidants due to the sesamin and sesamol in it.
Like many oils on this list, sesame oil is great for the heart. In fact, a one month study with rats showed that sesame oil could help reduce heart cell damage.
Nitric oxide is an inflammatory marker, and Sesame has shown to protect against that. What’s nice is that with such a high smoke point- you can use it in all kinds of cooking!
Also like many other oils on this list, sesame oil can help lower blood pressure. It helped significantly in rats with diabetes and long term has shown to play a role in regulating blood sugar overall.
Sesame Oil smoke point: 450
6. Coconut Oil
There is a joke out there that coconut oil fixes everything! It can be great for hair, skin, squeaky edges in the home… and of course, cooking! I absolutely love cooking with coconut oil in my savory and sweet dishes.
Coconut oil is special because of its unique combination of fatty acids.
Dietary fats have different categories, and coconut oil is considered to have medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). These are shorter chain fatty acids and can act as a great energy and endurance boost.
MCTs are also considered a great fat for burning calories as your body uses it more quickly than LCTs (longer chain triglycerides)
Half of coconut oil’s fatty acids are made up of something called lauric acid. Once consumed, lauric acid makes something called monolaurin. Both of these can fight off harmful bacteria and pathogens! Yet another reason to love coconut oil. Antimicrobial properties in our bodies is something everyone could use.
Coconut Oil smoke point: 350 for unrefined, 450 for refined
What oils are you using these days? What are your favorites for baking and cooking? Drizzling too! Would love to hear your thoughts.