ALL THINGS OIL The lowdown on which oil is best for your cooking
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.
WALNUT, HAZELNUT & MACADAMIA
All have a nutty flavour and mid-range smoke point, so are great for baking, dressings and sauces.
MUSTARD SEED OIL
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.