Everything you need to know, including smoke points and best uses.
The landscape of oils at the grocery store has really expanded over the past several years, bringing to light new types of unique oils that may seem intimidating at first. But different oils have different characteristics and specific purposes when it comes to cooking. Some oils are best for frying, whereas some are ideal for simply drizzling or using as garnish. Before we get into the different types of cooking oils, there are a few basic tips you'll want to know regarding oil properties and storage practices.
When it comes to storage, you never want to store oil near or over the stove. Certain oils, particularly olive oil, can become rancid if exposed to light, heat, and oxygen. Instead, store oil in a cool, dark place. For best quality and flavor from your oil, aim to use it within one year of purchase (some oils may need to be used even sooner). While wine gets better with age, oil does not and the quality and flavor will weaken as the oil ages.
Another important thing to note is the oil's smoke point, which is listed out for each oil mentioned below. An oil smoke point, also known as the burning point of oil, is the temperature at which the oil begins to smoke up and lose its integrity. If an oil starts to smoke, it can release chemicals that give your food a bitter flavor and also produce free radicals that can be harmful to your health. When dealing with high heat oils, Good Housekeeping’s Senior Testing Editor Nicole Papantoniou recommends to heat your pan first, then add your oil, and then the ingredients to help prevent the oil from getting hot too quickly and potentially burning. Ensuring that you are using the right oil for whatever cooking method you choose is crucial to staying within the smoke point limit and enhancing the quality of your dish.
Below, you'll find our list for the healthiest cooking oils: