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Oct 24, 2007 07:20 AM

Your favorite vegetable oils for frying/sauteing

I love olive oil, but I realize it burns too easily when frying or sauteing.

Which types of veg oils do you prefer and for what uses? I'm totally clueless. I'm not sure what's tastier or healthier and I'm overwhelmed with mono or poly, saturated or unsaturated classifications.

Right now I have some corn oil at home and it smells good, but I'm not sure if it's the best alternative.

Thanks! :)

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  1. Peanut oil. Neutral flavour (unlike canola oil), good texture (unlike many grapeseed oils) and high smoke point.

    2 Replies
    1. re: carswell

      I tend to use peanut oil or just plain vegetable oil, and do on occasion use grapeseed oil.

      1. re: MMRuth

        peanut oil!

      1. re: OysterHo

        I have seen recipes though that call for frying in olive oil - so you may just have heated it too high.

        1. re: MMRuth

          Though they don't always specify it, recipes that call for olive oil as a frying medium often mean the lower grade or even refined oils, which have a much higher smoking point than unrefined EVOO.

          1. re: carswell

            Good point - and I assume that is cheaper too? I should try it.

            1. re: MMRuth

              Yes, and you can get a good sized container of Bertolli regular olive oil at Costco for a good price.

            2. re: carswell

              When you say unrefined, is that the same as unfiltered? Your regular grocer extra virgin olive oil should be ok to use on higher heats?

              1. re: OysterHo

                There are various grades of olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil and virgin olive oil are unrefined. Pure olive oil and olive oil are refined (chemically treated) though they may also contain virgin oil. Light and extra light olive oil are refined, too. Note that these grades are used for oils from countries that belong to the International Olive Oil Council; since the US doesn't belong, US oils are graded differently.

                Here are some approximate smoke points (for illustration purposes only; varies according to source and brand):
                320ºF/160ºC -- Unfiltered "raw" EVOO
                405ºF/207ºC -- EVOO
                420ºF/216ºC -- Virgin
                438ºF/226ºC -- Pure
                468ºF/242ºC -- Extra light

        2. I like corn oil and peanut oil. I hate the flavor of canola oil. I've never seen sunflower oil on the supermarket shelves or cooked with it, but I check the ingredients list of potato chips for it and like it.

          1. A lot of vegetable oils are terrible for you, while a lot of oils contain fats that are actually good for you (lots of omega 3s, etc). Some of these also don't burn so easily. I've recently been introduced to red palm oil, which gives a nice, nutty flavor to the things you cook in it. I mostly use olive oil, butter, or ghee - ghee doesn't burn as fast as butter or olive oil. Just learned that hazelnut oil is also supposed to be pretty good. In general, try to avoid refined oils.

            Here's a website with good information on oils (as well as other nutrition/health/cooking info):
   and scroll down to "oils" lower on the page.

            7 Replies
            1. re: seattledebs

              Thanks for that article. Some of those oils are SCARY! :O

              1. re: OysterHo

                Seriously. I'm glad it helped.

                By the way, I often use olive oil and don't burn things. I even saute things in butter (which burns quickly, unlike ghee), and still don't burn what I saute, in general, though I do get some browning, which I like. How thick is your pan? What is it made of? These are factors too.

                1. re: seattledebs

                  I have stainless steel wolfgang puck pans. I'm still learning how to use them because I'm not used to using lower heats.

                  That said, I can say that I haven't burned anything outright. I just heard that these oils can't take the high heat and they aren't good. Honestly, I've never noticed that anything is bad. If I burn anything it seems to be garlic (too high heat) or brown bits that I failed to deglaze soon enough.

                  Also, I've noticed that in a Bolognese sauce I made from Marcella Hazan she calls for veg oil instead of olive oil - and that surprised me.

                  I just assumed that all italian cooking required olive oil but I see tha't's not really true.

                  1. re: OysterHo

                    I assume the veg oil is used to raise the burning point of the butter, but using olive oil instead doesn't seem to induce any difficulties.

              2. re: seattledebs

                About palm oil -- I often see it for sale at stores catering to West Africans, and it tends to come in containers that are leaking oil and often buckled and abused looking, with very strange labels. (I am not trying to be funny; this is an accurate description.) Can it be found in other forms (i.e. a clean bottle)? Does it have to be red? Is that a flavoring, or the real color? Because I'm inclined to believe I've seen it overseas, not red.

                1. re: willownt

                  The one I buy at Whole Foods, which is pricey, is very clean and red. I didn't know the answer to the rest of your questions, so checked with my boyfriend (the author of that health website and the one who introduced me to red palm oil). He wrote:

                  "Palm oil is red because it's one of the richest sources of carotenoids on earth (including beta-carotene, a vitamin A precursor). Same reason carrots are orange. It's also very rich in vitamin E, and monounsaturated fat (like olive oil). It requires no refining and I consider it healthy. Refined palm oil is colorless, flavorless and unhealthy. Palm kernel oil is also colorless and is almost pure saturated fat.
                  You can get good quality red palm oil in upscale grocery stores like Whole Foods or local co-ops. This stuff is probably better quality than the leaky jugs in West African grocery stores. It's also more expensive."

                  Hope that helps!


                  1. re: seattledebs

                    on iron chef, battle chocolate and coconut, alton brown said the coconut palm is the most thoroughly utilized vegetation in the world. from the top to the bottom, fruits, leaves, wood...

              3. Peanut oil is great for frying, but I dont think of it as neutral tasting. I usually use corn, I like the flavor, or canola