The debate on what the best cooking oil is has been going on for years. Which oil has the highest smoke point? Which one tastes better? Which one has the most health benefits? All of these questions have been filling people’s minds for years, and while it is now widely acknowledged that heavily processes oils are not as healthy the debate still remains among the big three. That is avocado oil, olive oil, and coconut oil. These three are extremely popular oils to cook with and depending on the part of the planet that you are in you may find that some cuisines tend to use one or the other. But, when having the option, which one is the best one?
Olives are traditionally associated with the Mediterranean and for good reason. They have been cultivated in the area for more than 6,000 years and many Mediterranean countries still export their high-quality oil to other countries. Extra virgin oil is believed to be one of the healthiest oils in the world when consumed uncooked. The debate concerning this oil is an old one as many people believe that you should not cook with olive oil.
Olive oil is a definitely better option for cooking than most processed oils will be. This is because it is more stable than other polyunsaturated vegetable seed oils. Extra virgin oil also has quite a high smoke point which is important if you want to reduce the chances of the oil-degrading during cooking and releasing free radicals. Generally, olive oil is best for cooking at low to medium heat as its smoke point is around
375 to 400 degrees F.
However, do be careful when choosing your olive oil as the quality of the oil can have an effect on the smoking point and how good it is for cooking. Good quality extra virgin oil will have a thicker consistency and rich color. You will always want to purchase oil that has “extra virgin” on the label as that is an indication of the certification process that the oil has gone through. All good oil should not have a vinegary, mustiness, or more sour taste. All of these can be an indication of lower quality oil.
Avocados are a fruit native to Central America. This fruit is famous for containing about 60% oil which in many countries is extracted and used for the creation of avocado oil. In general, when compared to olive oil you will notice that avocado oil has a much milder flavor and its consistency is slightly different. Some people have even described it as more buttery because of the smoothness.
Avocado oil is commonly considered to be the oil that has the highest smoking point. This means that if you are looking to heat things up at very high temperatures you may want to use Avocado oil as its smoke point is at around 480 degrees F. In general, this is considered the perfect oil for frying or grilling foods.
Avocado oil does not have a certifying body that ensures quality which is something that other oils do have. To get high-quality avocado oil you will need to make sure that the avocado is cold-pressed. If the oil you are looking to purchase is either chemically extracted or through the use of heat you should avoid buying it.
Coconut oil is very popular in Asian cuisines and can make for a great ingredient when frying food. Coconut oil can be extracted from the coconut in two ways.
The Wet method is similar to the way that olive oil and avocado oil are extracted. This is the better method if you want to get high-quality coconut oil. The dry method is less popular and is not usually used in high-quality coconut oil.
The main difference between coconut oil and the other two oils mentioned above is that where they contain mostly monounsaturated fat, coconut oil has around 90 percent saturated fat. This is what makes coconut oil such a reliable option for cooking. It is also the reason that it can turn solid at room temperature.
Coconut oil has a smoke point of 350 degrees, which is lower than what both avocado and olive oil have. This means that it is not an option you should choose for cooking in high temperatures but it can be a dining option for baking. Coconut oil should not be used by those with nut allergies as it may lead to an allergic reaction.
All three of these oils have benefits and reasons that you might want to consider cooking with them. For the most part, you might also find that depending on the oil you choose the flavor of your food may change slightly. This could be a reason to choose one or the other. In general, all three are great options and they all have certain areas of cooking that they work best in, so where possible you can try using all three for more diversity in your cooking options.