Why Different Types of Cooking Oil - Why Chef | Ginsberg's Foods

Why So Many Different Types Of Cooking Oil

Different Types of Cooking Oils

Why are there so many cooking oil options? 

There are many types of cooking oils on the market, and it is often controversial which are healthiest and when and where they should be applied. The main reason we need different oils is because we cook with different levels of heat.  Some oils are intended for high heat and others for no heat. Oils have a smoke point. This smoke point is the temperature at which it will start to smoke and break down. The temperature of this burning point can range from low at 325°F to very high at 520°F. When oil starts to smoke, it can lose some of its nutritional value and gives food an unpleasant bitter taste.  

Too often frying oils are viewed as a cooking medium and a “disposable” expense versus being an important part of the menu. Oil quality has a direct correlation to both finished food quality and appearance. Oils are not interchangeable, so step into my world as I break down the appropriate oil based on cooking methods (Deep fryer, Pan frying- Stir frying, Sauteing, Salad dressings and Finishing oils).

Different Cooking Oils For Cooking Methods

Deep Frying

Deep frying requires cooking oils with the highest smoke point 

The oil you select should have a smoke point of 400°F.  The reality is smoke points do not remain constant for the life of a cooking oil. Another factor is the refinement of the cooking oil. Refined oils are light in color … the more refined the oil, the higher the smoke point. Keeping your fryer clean is important because food particles accelerate the breakdown of the oils, lowering the smoke point even more.

There are many to choose from and some may have a higher cost but in turn, give you a longer fry life which means less cleaning! 

Pan Frying and Stir-Frying 

Oils with a high smoke point are good for pan-frying and stir-frying are meant for cooking for a long time over high heat. 

  • Peanut oil 
  • Sesame 
  • Soybean oil  


Oils meant for a shorter cook time like when sauteing are meant to be used over medium-high heat. 

  • Avocado 
  • Corn 
  • Canola 
  • Olive  

Dressings and Finishing Oils 

These oils have low smoke points and are meant for dressings, dips and topping off a prepared dish for flavor 

  • Extra virgin olive oil 
  • Flaxseed oil 
  • Pumpkin seed oil 
  • Walnut oil 

Cooking Oils Versatile Enough To Use For Frying and Salad Dressings  

  • Avocado
  • Grapeseed
  • Sesame

As far as health benefits go that debate is for another day… I prefer cooking with olive oil from its lowest grade of Pomace for high heat cooking to a first cold press to top my Caprese.  

Learn Versa Oil Options and Extending Oil Life Tips!

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