So what’s really the difference between cooking oils?

12 September, 2023 / words by IALH Editorial Team

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The range of oils to cook with can be overwhelming, how do you pick what you fry or saute your food with? Is it purely price, or taste / flavour the oil adds to the food you’re making or just whatever your local supermarket stocks will do! There’s so many oils out there with different flavours, properties and health benefits. We’re breaking down some of the most commonly used ones so you’re clued up next time you need to stock up…

Extra virgin olive oil

You can use it to cook food, it tends to be the more expensive oil so you might want to decide when and where you use it and actually save for a dressing or dip. It has a lower smoke point than most other cooking oils and high heat can ruin it’s flavour even if it’s not burning your food just yet!

Coconut oil

Great for roasting and baking on a relatively low heat. Again a lower smoke point than other oils so not one for any deep frying! But is perfect in solid form for a butter substitute in baking recipes. Especially if you’re looking for a non-dairy option.

Peanut oil

Perfect for stir fry and no fear of burning due to its high smoke point. It does taste pretty strongly of, yep you guessed it, peanut – so you might not want to cook more neutral dishes with it. But any Chinese or Thai inspired recipes you’ve got in the works, this will work wonders for.

Vegetable / corn oil

A staple in most households and probably the easiest, most affordable option. It has a high smoke point and virtually no taste of its own so is extremely versatile. However it’s not the healthiest and many people are beginning to opt for sunflower or Grapeseed oil alternatives.

Avocado oil

Newer to the scene than others we’ve mentioned, but a really great option due to its high smoke point and subtle but buttery flavour. It’s not the most common so your local shop might not stock it yet , but most supermarkets will. It also doubles well as a dressing or mixer due to its flavour.


IALH Editorial Team


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