Oil Guide: Which Cooking Oil Should You Use?

November 5, 2020
by Katherine Sousa Eat

    We always say it’s best to have some oil on hand when making our HelloFresh meals. But which oil should you use? We’re breaking it down in our oil guide. 

    Oil is a must have pantry staple in most kitchens. When walking down the grocery store aisle, you’ll find a large variety of kinds of oil. From olive to avocado to canola or vegetable – there are many to choose from, but which should you use, and when? We’re here to help you answer your most pressing cooking questions with our oil guide.

    Are you cooking with the right oil?

    Not all oils are created equal. In fact, cooking oils can be very different from each other. Each having their own properties, flavours, and smoke point! So how do you know which one to use? This oil guide is here to help you.

    Neutral flavoured oils like canola, vegetable, and refined avocado oil are great for cooking with. Using neutral oils ensures that the flavour of the oil doesn’t affect the final flavour of the dish. For salad dressings and non-cooking uses, oils like olive oil are a great choice!

    Which oils should I keep in my pantry?

    There are a lot of delicious and versatile oils out there. Our culinary team recommends keeping a few different ones on hand for use in your cooking at home.

    • Olive Oil
    • Vegetable or Canola Oil
    • Coconut Oil
    • Avocado Oil

    Everything you need to know about oil:

    Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    Quite possibly the most well-known and frequently used of cooking oils.  Extra-virgin olive oil (also known as EVOO), made by crushing olives to extract the oil, is a great oil to keep in your pantry. It’s flavour makes its an ideal choice for dressings, dips, and salads, but its low smoke point makes it not ideal for cooking.

    Smoke Point: 375F

    Characteristics: Neutral taste and light in colour. A good quality unrefined olive oil should have a pleasant aroma and a fruity, bitter and peppery taste. The older your olive oil is, the less flavour it will have.

    Storage Tip: Store in a cool, dry, dark cupboard.

    Vegetable or Canola Oil

    Another pantry staple, in nearly every home. Vegetable oils tend to come from a blend of vegetables (depending on the brand could be unknown), while canola oil is derived from rapeseed plants. Its neutral flavour and higher smoke point make its an ideal choice for cooking like frying or sautéeing.

    Smoke Point: 400F

    Characteristics: Neutral taste and light in colour. It should have very little flavour, so that when cooking with them their flavour doesn’t interfere with the flavour of the dish.

    Storage Tip: Store in a cool, dry, dark cupboard.

    Coconut Oil

    Like most oils, coconut comes in two varieties: refined or unrefined. Refined coconut oil has a higher smoke point making it ideal for sautéeing or roasting. While unrefined (or virgin) coconut oil has a much lower smoke point and bolder flavour, making it ideal for dressings or sauces. Both are good substitutes for butter in baking.

    Smoke Point: 350F (unrefined) 450F (refined)

    Characteristics: When solid it’s white, when melted it’s a clear thin oil. Refined coconut oil has a fairly neutral taste, while unrefined coconut oil often has a more pronounced coconut flavour.

    Storage Tip: Store in a cool, dry, dark cupboard.

    Avocado Oil

    Slowly becoming a much more common oil in households around Canada, avocado oil is full of healthy fats like the fruit it’s made from. It’s a great choice for frying, searing, roasting, and grilling.

    Smoke Point: 480F (unrefined) 520F (refined)

    Characteristics: While it’s known to be a good oil when you want to ensure flavours don’t interfere with the dish, you want to be sure to choose a refined avocado oil for a less intrusive taste.

    Storage Tip: Store in a cool, dry, dark cupboard.

    Now it’s time to take your new knowledge and get cooking delicious recipes to spruce up dinnertime.

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