Basic Guide to Cooking Oils

October 10, 2014

While I love cooking, I once struggled to figure out which type of oil to use for my savory dishes. Whether it was frying, sautéing, or roasting, I always stuck to my trusted bottle of olive oil and rarely strayed away from its golden goodness. Most of my hesitance stemmed from the fact that I really didn’t have a clue on how to use most other oils. Once I was able to actually gather information on which oils were best for certain dishes, I was less apprehensive to try out new ones in my cooking adventures!

 A Guide to Popular Cooking Oils

Olive Oil:  A staple in most vegan kitchens and one of the oldest culinary oils recorded (even before the written language!), olive oil is not only versatile but can be used in almost every savory dish imaginable. Extra virgin olive oil is made from the first pressed olives, giving it a delicate flavor. It is perfect for low heat recipes or enhancing flavor in dishes. Olive oil that is not labeled “extra virgin” or even “virgin” is great for higher heat cooking including sautéing and roasting. Olive oil is also a great source of monounsaturated fats– good fats that are good for your heart and lower bad cholesterol.

Olive Oil

Canola Oil: Canola oil is produce from the seed of a rape plant, which is in the same family as mustard and cruciferous veggies! Like olive oil, it provides a source of heart healthy fat and also a fair dose of omega-3s. Canola is perfect for baking and sautéing, as well as the base for dressings.


Grapeseed oil: Grapeseed oil is extracted from the seeds of wine-making grapes. It has a very neutral, clean taste, making it perfect for sautéing, baking, and stir-frying. Grapeseed oil also is a great source of Vitamin E, C, and beta-carotene- which helps with vision and immunity!


Avocado Oil: This smooth oil is pressed from avocados. Like canola and olive oil, it is a great source of monounsaturated fat, but also cell protecting Vitamin E. It is awesome for roasting, grilling, and other high-heat cooking.


Coconut Oil: This oil has gained extreme popularity over the last few years, and for good reason! This mild oil is great for everything from baking to grilling. It provides a good source of healthy fats, lauric acid (which kills bacteria), and other health benefits.


Peanut Oil: Peanut oil is made from…..drum roll…..peanuts! While peanut oil has gotten a bad rap over the years, it’s great for frying, contains reservatrol which protects against cancer, and a healthy dose of linoleum acid.

Basic Guide to Cooking Oils | Peaceful Dumpling

Some other popular oils to try out in your cooking adventures are walnut, safflower, sesame, and corn. What’s your favorite oil to cook with?

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Photo: Peaceful Dumpling

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