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ChilliWorld Recipe Center - Cooking Oils

Cooking oil is purified fat of plant or animal origin, which is liquid at room temperature. Common plant-derived cooking oils (vegetable oils) are derived from nuts, seeds, grains and beans. Most animal fats are solid at room temperature (and thus not considered oils), but fish, whales and some other cold-climate animals have oils. Cooking oil is most often used to fry or deep-fry food, or to preserve it. Oil can be flavoured by immersing aromatic food stuffs such as fresh herbs, peppers and so forth in the oil for an extended period of time. However, care must be taken when using garlic and onions to prevent the growth of botulism in this medium.

The smoke point refers to the temperature at which an oil begins to smoke, become discolored, and decompose. Cooking oil should never be allowed to heat to the smoking point because this will cause food to burn and will produce an unpleasant taste in the food.

A number of factors may contribute to a decrease in the smoke point of an oil. The length of time the oil has been heated, the number of times the oil has been used, the presence of salt or any other impurities, improper storage, and if the oil is a generic blend of various oils may all contribute to lowering the smoke point.

Unrefined oils (oils obtained from cold extraction methods only) usually have lower smoke points than refined oils (oils obtained through high heat extraction). Generally, an oil that has very little color, aroma, or taste is probably a refined oil. Although it may not be necessary to know the actual temperature of the smoke points of various oils, it is important to know which oils and fats may be safely used for different cooking methods.

Smoke Point of Popular Oils and Fats

Type of Oil or Fat - Refined Smoke Point Suited to these Cooking Methods
Avocado Oil 520ºF Sauté, Pan-fry, Sear, Deep-fry, Stir-fry, Grill, Broil
Safflower Oil 510ºF Sauté, Pan-fry, Sear, Deep-fry, Stir-fry, Grill, Broil, Baking
Almond Oil 495ºF Sauté, Pan-fry, Sear, Deep-fry, Stir-fry, Grill, Broil, Baking
Soybean Oil 450ºF Sauté, Pan-fry, Sear, Deep-fry, Stir-fry, Grill, Broil, Baking
Corn Oil 450ºF Sauté, Pan-fry, Sear, Deep-fry, Stir-fry, Grill, Broil, Baking
Sunflower Oil 450ºF Sauté, Pan-fry, Sear, Stir-fry, Grill, Broil, Baking
Peanut Oil 450ºF Sauté, Pan-fry, Sear, Deep-fry, Stir-fry, Grill, Broil, Baking
Cottonseed Oil 420ºF Sauté, Pan-fry, Sear, Deep-fry, Stir-fry, Grill, Broil
Sesame Seed Oil (Light) 410ºF Sauté, Pan-fry, Sear, Deep-fry, Stir-fry, Grill, Broil, Baking
Olive Oil 410ºF Sauté, Pan-fry, Sear, Deep-fry, Stir-fry, Grill, Broil, Baking
Grape Seed Oil 400ºF Sauté, Pan-fry, Sear, Deep-fry, Stir-fry, Grill, Broil, Baking
Canola Oil 400ºF Sauté, Pan-fry, Sear, Deep-fry, Stir-fry, Grill, Broil, Baking
Walnut Oil 400ºF Sauté, Pan-fry, Sear, Stir-fry, Grill, Broil
Lard 375ºF Sauté, Pan-fry, Sear, Baking
Vegetable Shortening 325ºF Sauté, Pan-fry, Sear, Baking
Butter 300ºF Sauté, Pan-fry, Sear, Grill, Broil, Baking
     
Type of Oil or Fat - Unrefined Smoke Point Suited to these Cooking Methods
Sesame Seed Oil 350ºF Sauté, Pan-fry, Sear, Stir-fry, Grill, Broil, Baking
Olive Oil (Extra Virgin or Virgin) 320ºF Sauté, Pan-fry, Sear, Stir-fry, Grill, Broil, Baking
Peanut Oil 320ºF Light sauté, Low-heat grilling, Low-heat baking
Soybean Oil 320ºF Light sauté, Low-heat grilling, Low-heat baking
Corn Oil 320ºF Light sauté, Low-heat grilling, Low-heat baking
Walnut Oil 320ºF Light sauté, Low-heat grilling, Low-heat baking
Sunflower Oil 225ºF Blend it with oils with higher smoke points for low heat cooking
Canola Oil 225ºF Blend it with oils with higher smoke points for low heat cooking
Safflower Oil 225ºF Blend it with oils with higher smoke points for low heat cooking
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