Is Olive Oil the best choice for cooking?

Recent Cook By Color survey uncovered that most people consider Olive oil as a safe choice to cook and fry their food. Shockingly it is the most popular misconception. 

While Olive oil is one of the healthiest oils to consume, it is not the best choice to cook with. In fact, the higher quality of olive oil you choose, the more unhealthy it is for cooking. For example, Extra virgin olive oil has a smoke point around 375° Fahrenheit, which is low compared to many other common cooking oils like canola oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil. A refined or light olive oil will have a little higher smoke point than an extra virgin oil but still is are better to be used in a salad dressing vs your pan.

Cooking oils are not created equal. It's important to remember that each oil has a unique set of properties, from nutrient status to smoke point, that makes choosing the right one a critical decision for your health.

 What is Smoke Point?

No matter its type, every kind of cooking oil — nut oils, vegetable oils, refined oils, virgin oils, organic oils, and processed oils — has a smoke point. Representing an oil’s resistance to heat, a specific oil’s smoke point is the temperature at which it will stop glistening and start to burn and smoke instead, imparting an acrid, burnt flavor to the foods you are using it to cook. This happens when the compounds in the oil break down as a result of heat exposure.

When oil hits its smoke point and begins burning, it destroys phytochemicals and beneficial nutrients in both the oil and the food. Under those highly flammable conditions oil releases free radicals that can be harmful to your health if consumed.

Different conditions contribute to the smoke point and properties of particular oils. Oils are typically extracted from seeds, nuts, and certain vegetables through processes including roasting, crushing, and pressing. Depending on whether they are refined or not after being pressed and extracted, oils contain varying amounts of minerals and nutrients.

Organic, unrefined oils that go straight from the press to the bottle tend to be packed with enzymes, minerals, compounds, and the full-bodied, aromatic flavors of whatever source they come from. While these all-natural oils are intensely flavorful and heart-healthy, their higher nutrient content makes them more susceptible to easy burning because they have lower smoke points. 

Refined oils, however, have a higher smoke point because they undergo physical processes to remove the color, flavor, smell, and remnants of the nut. Refinement techniques like high-temperature heating, filtering, bleaching and deodorizing work to extract all the compounds — full of minerals and flavors — that do not interact well with heat and eliminate them to produce industrial-level, neutral-flavored cooking oils with higher smoke points.

Smoking Points of Cooking Fats & Oils


Smoke Point (F)

Smoke Point (C)

Avocado oil

570 F

271 C


200 to 250 F

120 to 150 C

Canola oil (refined)

400 F

204 C

Coconut oil (extra virgin)

350 F

177 C

Coconut oil (refined)

450 F

232 C

Corn oil

440 F

227 C

Flaxseed oil

225 F

107 C

Ghee (clarified butter)

485 F

252 C


370 F

188 C

Olive oil (extra virgin)

375 F

191 C

Olive oil (virgin)

391 F

199 C

Olive oil (extra light)

468 F

242 C

Peanut oil

450 F

232 C

Sesame oil (unrefined)

350 F

177 C

Soybean oil (refined)

460 F

238 C

Vegetable oil 400 F 205 C

Vegetable shortening

360 F

182 C

So Which Oil Should You Use?

For many cooks, the taste and flavor of an oil is the primary factor in their selection. After all, good tasting food is generally the goal. But in addition to flavor and nutritional value, you must always consider the preparation of the food, which requires attention to the smoke point of the oil. For instance, the delicate flavor of unrefined almond oil can be ruined by heat, making that a better choice for cold dishes (refined almond oil's smoke point is 420 F and okay for cooking). The high smoke point of coconut oil, on the other hand, makes it a favorite for stir-frying.

As a general rule, when frying food, it is important to choose an oil with a very high smoking point. Most foods are fried between the temperatures of 350 F and 450 F so it is best to choose an oil with a smoking point above 400 F. Fats and oils with lower smoking points, like butter and olive oil, are best suited for lower temperature cooking methods such as sautéing.

Why Avocado Oil Is The Best For Cooking?

Avocado oil is rich in monounsaturated fat (70 percent of the fats in the oil are monounsaturated), and it has one of the highest levels of monounsaturated fat among cooking oils, second only to olive oil. Like olive oil, avocado oil is also low in polyunsaturated fats (10 percent of the fats in the oil are polyunsaturated).

Compared with other vegetable oils, avocado oil has a higher saturated fat content (20 percent), but this percentage is much smaller than the percentage of saturated fat in butter, lard, or tropical oils, such as coconut or palm oils.

Avocado oil is a fine oil to use, although it tends to be more expensive than other oils and may be harder to find. It has a mild flavor similar to avocado, and the oil can withstand high cooking temperatures, making it suitable for sautéing, grilling, roasting, or using in salad dressings.

This is why Cook By Color developed the purest Avocado Oil you can get on the market at the moment.

Shop here.

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