10 Best & Worst Cooking Oil

By Joanna 24/05/2018 In
Nutritional Tips

I bet you’re confused when it comes to the different types of cooking oils. Which is healthy? Which should you avoid? How to use it? And what are the benefits? To make it less confusing for you, I’m going to share with you 10 most common cooking oils either to add into your diet or to avoid! 

All cooking oils are composed of three different types of fatty acids: monounsaturated polyunsaturated and saturated fats. Each oil is categorized based on which type of fatty acid is the most prominent in it.

Before we get into that, let’s understand the difference between Monounsaturated, Polyunsaturated and Saturated Oil


Monounsaturated fats

Monounsaturated fats are typically liquid at room temperature but may solidify when chilled. Monounsaturated fats can help reduce bad cholesterol levels and is high in Vitamin E. For example, Olive oil and avocado oils are considered mostly monounsaturated fat.

Polyunsaturated Fats

There are two main types of polyunsaturated fats: omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids, which are both essential to maintain a healthy body. Grapeseed oil is high in polyunsaturated fats.

Saturated Fat

Saturated fats are typically found in animal products such as meat and dairy, but are also found in some plant source such as coconut oil. These fats are typically solid at room temperature.

1) Regular Olive Oil

Colour – Pale Yellow

Flavour – Slightly Fruity, Bitter and Peppery

Smoke Point – 240°C / 465°F

Uses – All purpose: Dressing, sautéing, pan fry, grilling, deep frying, baking etc.

Nutritional Benefits – high in vitamin E and monosaturated fats


Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Colour – Richer yellow colour

Flavour –Slightly Fruity, Bitter and Peppery

Uses – Drizzle as dressing over your food. Do not use for cooking!

Smoke Point – 162°C / 325°F

Nutritional Benefits – high in vitamin E and monosaturated fats 

Fatty Acid Breakdown:

  • Saturated: 14%.
  • Monounsaturated: 75%.
  • Polyunsaturated: 11%.

Regular olive oil has an unremarkable smell, neutral palate. It has a high smoke point at 465°F, making it one of the most versatile cooking oils. It’s great for sautéing, pan fry, grilling, deep frying, baking and even as a dressing. Olive Oil is known for its heart healthy effect, it is high in Vitamin E and monounsaturated fats. 

However it’s important to note that Extra Virgin Olive Oil shouldn’t be used for cooking. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is processed via cold-pressing, with temperature no higher than 80.5°F. This makes EVOO richer in flavour, antioxidants and nutrients. It has a slightly fruity, bitter and peppery taste. It has a low smoke point, (about 325°F) means it’s not great for cooking. Always keep your olive oil in a cool, dry, dark place to prevent it from going rancid.

2) Coconut Oil

Colour – Nearly Colourless

Flavour – Light coconut flavour

Uses – Baking, Sauteing and low heat roasting

Smoke Point – 180°C / 359°F

Nutritional Benefits – High in Vitamin E, K, Iron and Saturated Fat

 Fatty Acid Breakdown:

  • Saturated: 92%.
  • Monounsaturated: 6%.
  • Polyunsaturated: 1.6%.

Coconut Oil is nearly colourless and it has a light coconut flavor and aroma, which you will taste in your cooking. Coconut oil has the highest amount of saturated fats compared to other oil, with over 90%. What this also means is that it is very resistant to heat, making it very versatile. It’s great for frying, sautéing and makes it a great butter replacement in baked recipes for vegans.

Coconut oil is high in vitamin E, K, Iron and particularly rich in a fatty acid called Lauric Acid, which can actually raise the good cholesterol and help kill harmful bacteria, viruses and fungi. The fatty acid in coconut oil is also believed to reduce your hunger.

3) Flaxseed Oil

Colour – clear golden yellow

Flavour – strong nutty bitter taste

Uses – Avoid heat. Use it as dressing.

Nutritional Benefits – High in Vitamin E, K, Iron and Saturated Fat


Flaxseed oil is also known as linseed oil. It has a clear golden yellow colour and has a strong nutty bitter flavor. It certainly isn’t everybody’s favourite. You shouldn’t be cooking with flaxseed oil. Use it in small quantity as a dressing or add into smoothie. It can have strong smell or taste if too much is added, so be frugal.

It contains high amount of omega-3 fatty acids especially alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), which is essential for proper functioning of the brain and heart. Consuming it on a daily basis can also help to treat constipation and improve your overall digestive system.

4) Avocado Oil

Colour – vibrant green

Flavour – a subtle nutty taste with the aroma of avocado.

Smoke Point: 266°C / 510°F

Uses – Frying, grilling.

Nutritional Benefits – High in potassium, vitamin A, E & D


The composition of avocado oil is similar to olive oil and can be used just like olive oil. It is primarily monounsaturated, with some saturated and polyunsaturated mixed in. It’s vibrant green and has a subtle buttery flavour with the aroma of avocado. It has of one the highest smoke points of any oil at 510°F, making it the best choice for super-high-temperature cooking such as frying and grilling, but it can also be drizzled onto salads.

Almost 70% of avocado oil consists of heart-healthy oleic acid, a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid. It helps to improve heart health and reduce bad cholesterol. It is also high in lutein, an antioxidant that boosts eye healthy and may lower the risk of age-related eye diseases.

5) Grapeseed Oil

One tablespoon of grapeseed oil has about:

  • 14 grams fat (about 10 percent of which is saturated fat, 16 percent monounsaturated and 70 percent polyunsaturated)
  • 120 calories
  • 9 milligrams vitamin E (19 percent DV)


Some research categorize grapeseed as a healthy oil, whereas some who say to avoid it. Well grapeseed oil has its benefits and also the bad side. Let’s start with the good. Grapeseed oil contains a good amount of Vitamin E, in fact it has double the amount than Olive Oil.

 However grapeseed oil has one of the highest Omega-6s contain in comparison to other vegetable oils. Omega-6s aren’t bad by nature and our body needs it, however, people seemed to be consuming far too much Omega-6s. Consuming too much of Omega-6s in our diet can increase inflammation, cholesterol and cause hormone imbalance.

The bottom line is grapeseed oil is definitely a better substitute for olive oil in comparison to other vegetable oil. It is also a cheaper alternative. In terms of taste, it’s virtually flavourless and odorless, which means it won’t alter the taste of a recipe. But use in small amount. 

6) Sesame Oil

Colour – Rich Brown

Flavour – Toasted and strong nutty flavour

Uses – Dressing & Cooking

Smoke Point – 410°F

Nutritional Benefits


Fatty Acid Breakdown:

  • Saturated: 14%.
  • Monounsaturated: 40%.
  • Polyunsaturated: 46%.

Sesame oil is another favourite oil used in Asian cooking. It has a rich brown colour and has a toasted nutty flavour. Because of it’s high smoke point, it is very versatile. It’s perfect for cooking and also as a dressing. Remember to keep it in the fridge after cooking!

It has high amount of nutrients including calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium and folate. This helps to improve bone health and boosts circulation.

Now let’s look at some of the worst cooking oils we might think are healthy.

7) Canola Oil

Colour – Light golden coloured

Flavour – very mild taste

Uses – All purpose oil suitable for cooking, baking and as a dressing


Nutritional Benefits – High in Omega-3 fatty acids


Although Canola Oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids and low in saturated fat, canola oil is genetically modified from rapeseed oil and it’s cheap to manufacture. Hence a large part of them have already turned into trans fats. It is a refined oil that’s often partially hydrogenated to increase its stability, but this increases its negative health effects.

8) Peanut Oil

Colour – pale colour

Flavour – mild to strong nutty aroma

Smoke Point – 225°C / 437°F

Uses – Deep frying

Nutritional Benefits – High in Vitamin E, K, Iron and Saturated Fat


Peanut oil is also commonly referred to as groundnut oil is pale in colour and has a mild to strong nutty flavour. It has a high smoke point at 437°F and is commonly used in Asian cooking especially for deep-frying. The restaurants and fast food joints love it!

The issue is that, most of the commercial peanut oils you find in grocery stores are highly refined, bleached and deodorized. Useless you’re able to source the cold-pressed unrefined version, avoid it!

9) Sunflower Oil

Sunflower oil is the most commonly used cooking oils in the world. However, it doesn’t contain a significant amount of vitamins and minerals that are essential for our body. Industrial sunflower oil are highly processed, refined and may even contain trans fats. Regular consumption of this can lead of heart disease, high cholesterol and other serious illnesses.

You shouldn’t be cooking with it and probably should avoid it all together.


10) Vegetable Oil

If you ever come across “Vegetable Oil”, well simply avoid it. Again they are highly processed and maybe a blend of different oils.

Here are other cooking oils you should avoid all together!

  • Soybean oil
  • Corn oil
  • Cottonseed oil
  • Rapeseed oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Rice bran oil


Dos & Don’ts

  • The first rule of thumb is as much as you can always buy the raw unrefined version of oil.
  • Avoid the heavily processed cooking oils due to high level of toxic chemicals.
  • Always use cooking oils in moderation.
  • Store them in a cold and dry area away from sunlight.
  • Some oils have to be stored in the fridge, such as flaxseed, avocado and sesame oil. So check the instructions.
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