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Does Vegetable Oil Have A High Smoke Point

Vegetable oil in the pan

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Perusing the cooking oil aisle at any grocery store has gotten pretty overwhelming. There is safflower, sunflower and sesame. Refined and unrefined. Prices range from just $2 all the way up to $25. And then there are labels that mention something called a smoke point. This primer makes sense of everything so you know which oils to use when sauteing and frying, and which options are best for simmering or just seasoning finished dishes.


What is a smoke point?

Also known as a flash point, a smoke point is simply the temperature at which an oil begins to smoke and oxidize. In general, the lighter the color of the oil, the higher its smoke point. But multiple factors, like age, quality, and level of sophistication, also have an impact (more on that later).


Why are smoke points important?

Once an oil starts to smoke, it begins to decompose, altering its flavor and releasing free radicals. A substance called acrolein gives the oil a burnt, bitter taste, which can quickly ruin a dish. But more importantly, once an oil passes its flash point, harmful compounds are released that have been linked to a myriad of health problems.

That’s why finding the right oil is the most important step for healthy and delicious cooking. Choose expensive extra virgin oil for high-heat frying and you’ll likely end up with a burnt mess, not to mention wasted money. But use safflower or avocado oil for frying, and you’re setting yourself up for success.


Other factors that determine smoke points

Exposure to heat, light and air rapidly degrades the quality of oils, decreasing their smoke points. So as helpful as it might be to keep your bottle of general-purpose olive oil next to the stove in a pretty glass container with an open spout, it’s the worst thing you can do. Ideally all oils should be kept away from heat in a cool, dark, dry place such as a cupboard, in opaque, closed containers that keep out the sun and air.

The other thing to consider is how they were processed. Refined oils such as inexpensive vegetable and corn oils have been refined using industrial-grade processes such as filtering, heating, and bleaching to remove foreign compounds and create a totally uniform product. Unrefined oils, on the other hand, retain their color and flavor more and may contain some sediment. (Think cloudy extra-virgin olive oil, which is cold-pressed and immediately bottled, or a dark nut or seed oil that is minimally processed to preserve its flavor and color.)

These unrefined oils boast fantastic flavor and nutritional benefits, but are much more delicate and expensive than refined oils. Their smoke points are lower and they go rancid more quickly, meaning they’re best when used in small quantities in low- or no-temperature applications where their flavors can shine through (such as quick sautés, in vinaigrettes, or dressed with greens). , fish or meat) and in large quantities for high temperature cooking such as frying.


Choosing the right oil for the right use

  • Avocado Oil: 520°F, great for searing, roasting and sautéing, but also in vinaigrettes and as a finishing oil. Green color and sweet, buttery flavour.
  • canola: Approximately 400°F, works for frying and other medium-high heat cooking. Neutral flavour.
  • Coconut: 350°F, ideal for baking and sautéing. Strong coconut flavor.
  • Corn: 450°F, perfect for frying or other high temperature cooking. Neutral taste.
  • Extra virgin olive oil: 325°F, great for stir-fries, vinaigrettes, and used as a finishing oil. The flavor can be herbaceous, fruity or bitter, depending on the variety of olive.
  • Grape seeds: Approximately 420°F, ideal for frying and sautéing. Neutral flavour.
  • Light/refined olive: 465°F, better for simmering than the extra virgin variety. Neutral taste. (Sometimes also labeled “pure” or “regular” olive oil.)
  • Peanuts: 450°F, a popular choice for frying and cooking many Asian dishes. Nut flavor ranging from mild to strong.
  • Safflower: 450-510°F, great for any high-temperature cooking method.
  • Sesame (unroasted): 350-410°F, great for searing or other moderate heat cooking.
  • Sunflower: 450°F, ideal for frying, grilling and stir-frying.
  • Toasted sesame, walnuts and other nuts: Smoke points vary by nut type and refinement level; best when left unheated and used in vinaigrettes or as a finishing oil.
  • Vegetables: Approximately 400°F, great for frying and sautéing. Neutral flavour.

3 reasons why you should try cooking with coconut oil


Perusing the cooking oil aisle at any grocery store has gotten pretty overwhelming. There is safflower, sunflower and sesame. Refined and unrefined. Prices range from just $2 all the way up to $25. And then there are labels that mention something called a smoke point. This primer makes sense of everything so you know which oils to use when sauteing and frying, and which options are best for simmering or just seasoning finished dishes.


What is a smoke point?

Also known as a flash point, a smoke point is simply the temperature at which an oil begins to smoke and oxidize. In general, the lighter the color of the oil, the higher its smoke point. But multiple factors, like age, quality, and level of sophistication, also have an impact (more on that later).


Why are smoke points important?

Once an oil starts to smoke, it begins to decompose, altering its flavor and releasing free radicals. A substance called acrolein gives the oil a burnt, bitter taste, which can quickly ruin a dish. But more importantly, once an oil passes its flash point, harmful compounds are released that have been linked to a myriad of health problems.

That’s why finding the right oil is the most important step for healthy and delicious cooking. Choose expensive extra virgin oil for high-heat frying and you’ll likely end up with a burnt mess, not to mention wasted money. But use safflower or avocado oil for frying, and you’re setting yourself up for success.


Other factors that determine smoke points

Exposure to heat, light and air rapidly degrades the quality of oils, decreasing their smoke points. So as helpful as it might be to keep your bottle of general-purpose olive oil next to the stove in a pretty glass container with an open spout, it’s the worst thing you can do. Ideally all oils should be kept away from heat in a cool, dark, dry place such as a cupboard, in opaque, closed containers that keep out the sun and air.

The other thing to consider is how they were processed. Refined oils such as inexpensive vegetable and corn oils have been refined using industrial-grade processes such as filtering, heating, and bleaching to remove foreign compounds and create a totally uniform product. Unrefined oils, on the other hand, retain their color and flavor more and may contain some sediment. (Think cloudy extra-virgin olive oil, which is cold-pressed and immediately bottled, or a dark nut or seed oil that is minimally processed to preserve its flavor and color.)

These unrefined oils boast fantastic flavor and nutritional benefits, but are much more delicate and expensive than refined oils. Their smoke points are lower and they go rancid more quickly, meaning they’re best when used in small quantities in low- or no-temperature applications where their flavors can shine through (such as quick sautés, in vinaigrettes, or dressed with greens). , fish or meat) and in large quantities for high temperature cooking such as frying.


Choosing the right oil for the right use

  • Avocado Oil: 520°F, great for searing, roasting and sautéing, but also in vinaigrettes and as a finishing oil. Green color and sweet, buttery flavour.
  • canola: Approximately 400°F, works for frying and other medium-high heat cooking. Neutral flavour.
  • Coconut: 350°F, ideal for baking and sautéing. Strong coconut flavor.
  • Corn: 450°F, perfect for frying or other high temperature cooking. Neutral taste.
  • Extra virgin olive oil: 325°F, great for stir-fries, vinaigrettes, and used as a finishing oil. The flavor can be herbaceous, fruity or bitter, depending on the variety of olive.
  • Grape seeds: Approximately 420°F, ideal for frying and sautéing. Neutral flavour.
  • Light/refined olive: 465°F, better for simmering than the extra virgin variety. Neutral taste. (Sometimes also labeled “pure” or “regular” olive oil.)
  • Peanuts: 450°F, a popular choice for frying and cooking many Asian dishes. Nut flavor ranging from mild to strong.
  • Safflower: 450-510°F, great for any high-temperature cooking method.
  • Sesame (unroasted): 350-410°F, great for searing or other moderate heat cooking.
  • Sunflower: 450°F, ideal for frying, grilling and stir-frying.
  • Toasted sesame, walnuts and other nuts: Smoke points vary by nut type and refinement level; best when left unheated and used in vinaigrettes or as a finishing oil.
  • Vegetables: Approximately 400°F, great for frying and sautéing. Neutral flavour.

3 reasons why you should try cooking with coconut oil


Video about Does Vegetable Oil Have A High Smoke Point

6 healthy cooking oils with various smoke points

Nutritionist, Andrea Donsky shows us six of her favorite healthy cooking oils, from avocado oil to coconut oil.

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