COOKING OIL SMOKE POINTS
Written by: Allyson Boan, recipe curator
Edited by: Allison Walker, registered dietitian
Cooking oils and fats are a hot topic these days (pun intended)! The good ole “vegetable oils” we’re used to (canola, soybean, corn, etc.) have been exposed to be highly processed, highly refined, and highly inflammatory. The number of processes they go through – including bleaching – make them harsh on our guts by causing inflammation.
The oils are pervasive in packaged and shelf stable foods due to their low cost. Food manufacturers capitalize on these savings and do not choose to invest in high quality oils like olive, avocado, and coconut oils. We also fall prey to cheaper prices at the stores. The important question to ask ourselves is: What are we putting into our bodies and feeding our families? We need to be wise consumers, carefully reading food labels, and wise cooks, using high quality cooking oils in our kitchens.
One thing to keep in mind is the smoke point of each cooking oil or fat. The smoke point is the temperature at which the fat burns and may release toxins. You want to make sure to use the right oil or fat for the right cooking temperature. For example, virgin coconut oil can be used in baked goods up to 350°F. If you use the oil past its smoke point, it could release toxic compounds.
To help you stock these high quality ingredients and use them appropriately, refer to this list of smoke points and applications.
- Olive oil (sauté; bake) 400°F
- Extra virgin olive oil (sauté, bake, salad dressing) 350°F
- Avocado oil (roast; fry) 520°F
- Refined coconut oil (sauté; roast) 400°F
- Virgin coconut oil (bake; has coconut flavor) 350°F
- Butter, lard (bake; sauté) 350°F
- Ghee (Sauté; roast) 450°F
- Pecan oil (sauté; deep fry) 470°F