ALL THINGS OIL The lowdown on which oil is best for your cook­ing

Food - - Contents -

THERE ARE MANY va­ri­eties of oil, all with unique flavours and prop­er­ties – so choos­ing the right one for the job mat­ters. All oils have a smoke-point rang­ing from high to no-heat. The no-heat oils, such as flaxseed and wheat germ oil, should be used for dips and dress­ings. If you want one oil that will do ev­ery­thing, rice bran is a good choice – suit­able for driz­zling and dress­ings, roast­ing and fry­ing. Get the lowdown on other oils with our guide.


Re­fined sesame oil has a higher smoke point than un­re­fined, so can be used when fry­ing to add a dis­tinc­tive nutty flavour, or sim­ply as a dress­ing or a driz­zle.


Pressed from ground peanuts, peanut oil is most com­monly used in Asian cook­ing be­cause of its high smoke point – the ca­pac­ity to han­dle high heat with­out burn­ing.


This neu­tral flavoured oil is de­rived from rape­seed, and is one of the most pop­u­lar all-pur­pose oils. With a high-heat clas­si­fi­ca­tion, it’s our choice for fry­ing and deep-fry­ing, but it’s also suit­able for roast­ing, bak­ing and grilling.


Co­conut oil, also known as co­pra, is ex­tracted from ma­ture co­conut flesh. With a sweet flavour and mid-range smoke point, it can be used for ev­ery­day cook­ing, in­clud­ing sautéing, roast­ing and bak­ing, and can be sub­sti­tuted 1:1 with other fats. When sub­sti­tut­ing but­ter with co­conut oil, use solid room tem­per­a­ture co­conut oil.


Ex­tra vir­gin refers to the first oil that comes from cold pressed olives, whereas other olive oils are blends of both cold pressed and pro­cessed oils. Use ex­tra vir­gin oil for driz­zling and dress­ings; gen­eral olive oils are suit­able for pan fry­ing. ‘Light’ refers to the oil’s colour, flavour and aroma, not fat con­tent.


This oil has a mild, grassy, av­o­cado flavour, and is rich in ben­e­fi­cial mo­noun­sat­u­rated fats. Its high smoke point means it is suit­able for fry­ing, grilling and roast­ing, but is also great in dress­ings.


All have a nutty flavour and mid-range smoke point, so are great for bak­ing, dress­ings and sauces.


When mild, this is a pleas­antly flavoured but not hot oil, suit­able for bak­ing or fry­ing fish, chicken or veg­eta­bles for a sub­tle flavour ad­di­tion. It can also be a ‘pi­quant’ oil, used in dress­ings or for fry­ing, where its mus­tard bite will be ap­pre­ci­ated.

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