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What oil do you use to sauté with?

I'm a beginner cook (look out for lots of upcoming silly questions from me). What oil (EVOO, grapeseed, canola etc) do you use to sauté with, particularly vegetables? Which is the healthiest and best to use at high heat and/or for long periods of time?

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  1. Differences between oils are small. Health issues with the little amounts are trivial.

    I find canola to have a fishy smell at times.

    Soy and peanut are reliable performers.

    10 Replies
    1. re: sal_acid

      Lately I've noticed a fishy smell from canola oil that lingers long after cooking. I use an organic, non-GMO, etc. oil and was surprised. I wonder if the oil should be kept in the fridge... my pantry is very cool especially in winter and all the oils are kept on a bottom shelf. Perplexing.

      1. re: Gio

        I also find that canola has a fishy smell. I use saflower and find it very neutral in smell and taste.

        1. re: joaniesl

          I never noticed a fishy smell with canola oil until a seasoned a new pan with about a half of a bottle. Smelled up the kitchen for hours.

          I switched to soy.

        2. re: Gio

          Gio, I had that experience too many times and finally threw the canola oil out.

        3. re: sal_acid

          You know, I recently have been using canola oil, and always wondered why my house smelled sorta "fried fishy" the next day... now I know why!

          1. re: juliejulez

            Thank you to everyone for all your responses! You're all sooooo amazingly helpful. Chowhound is a wealth of great info for the beginning cook. Ive been cooking for a few years but very, very basically. I love to eat, but cooking hasn't been my forte . I'm trying to change that. I've been doing what I thought was sautéing for years, but now I wonder if I was doing it right. I was using EVOO and butter for sautéing veggies. How high should the heat be when sautéing? How high can it be when sautéing with EVOO?

            Hank Hanover: those charts are AMAZING!! Thank you!

            1. re: kdlalib

              Sauté literally means "jump". Your pan should be hot enough that as the veggies cook they should sizzle and liquid does not form in the bottom of the pan. Be careful not to crowd the pan or your veggies will steam instead of sauté (and there will be liquid).

              I hope this helps.

                1. re: kdlalib

                  "How high should the heat be when sautéing?"

                  It depends. This article has some suggestions:


                  There's a video from the Rouxbe Cooking School that is very specific and precise. Not for non-stick pans, I should think. I've never seen this method but think I'll try it, just for kicks.

                  For myself, I heat the pan until the oil shimmers, then start sautéing. Works for me. Others recommend heating until smoke begins to appear, but I don't have the nerve to do that, and I suppose it would ruin some oils.

                  1. re: kdlalib

                    How hot? "Quite hot" (Beard), but not smoking. If you need more heat than olive oil will take, use another oil with a higher smoke point.

              1. I've started using grapeseed oil for its neutral flavor and relatively high smoke point.

                2 Replies
                1. re: GH1618

                  Me too. I've found that it works better than olive oil (or canola oil) for searing meat.

                  1. re: GH1618

                    I've been using grapeseed oil more because it is way more neutral. I never could figure out what the smell was after using Canola oil. Fortunately I don't have a whole lot left.

                    1. Are you set on oil? Because I saute with butter. Just butter. I guess olive oil once in awhile, but butter 95% of the time.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Violatp

                        Same here. I spray the skillet with one shot of vegetable/canola oil (whichever brand I have on hand) and if I'm adding anything else it's 1/2 - 1 tsp. butter.

                      2. It depends on the recipe. Some oils have noticeable or even pronounced flavors. Others have relatively high or low smoke points.

                        - Recipes from around the Mediterranean usually call for olive oil. It is fine for sautéing and it's smoke point is okay for that but be careful not to get it too hot.

                        - Chinese recipes often call for peanut oil. It is a great choice for stir-frying because of its high smoke point. In my experience the peanut oil you can buy in a Chinese market has more of a peanut taste than the peanut oil that is sold into the regular American market.

                        - I often use canola oil when I am looking for an oil with little flavor. It has a high smoke point and is relatively inexpensive. Some people use grapeseed oil for the same applications. It is more expensive than canola.

                        Keep those questions coming...

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: PinchOfSalt

                          This pretty much sums up my answer.

                          1. re: melpy

                            +1, Those are my 3 go to oils, depending on what I am cooking, too.

                        2. Olive, regular, not extra virgin.

                          1. Olive and coconut individually and as a blend with sesame. I also use butter.

                            1. I use what is labeled vegetable oil (ie Crisco vegetable oil). It is 100% refined soybean oil. It is cheap, tasteless and has a high smoke point which is essential in a sauteing application. For deep fat frying, I use refined peanut oil. It is more expensive and has an even higher smoke point than soybean oil.

                              When I want flavored oil while sauteing, I use clarified butter. Once the water and the milk solids are removed during the clarification process, the smoke point is quite high. With the milk solids, it burns pretty readily.

                              Here are a couple of links to charts of oils and their smoke points. I suggest you copy them into Word or your favorite word processor and save them.



                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Hank Hanover

                                This is incredibly helpful. Thanks for the links.

                                1. re: Hank Hanover

                                  Just to clarify.... An oils smoke point goes up, the color gets lighter and the taste gets lower or more subtle with the level of refinement. Refinement is usually how many times it is filtered.

                                  You as a consumer have to determine the smoke point you need, how much you are willing to pay, what level of saturated vs unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats you want and how much flavor you want the oil to contribute to the dish.

                                  In general, the darker, less refined, more flavorful oils go rancid quickest. Unrefined oils should be stored in the refrigerator and brought out onto the counter for 30 minutes before use. What would be perfect is a wine refrigerator. They keep things cooled to 55 - 60° Farenheit as opposed to 40° Farenheit of your refrigerator.

                                2. Refined olive oil (not extra virgin) most of the time, peanut oil or corn oil now and then. Mostly I sauté at medium or medium-high heat and not for what I'd call a long period of time.

                                  17 Replies
                                  1. re: John Francis

                                    What's the difference between EVOO and Olive Oil, especially in regards to cooking?

                                    1. re: kdlalib

                                      EVOO is olive oil. It seems like most olive oil these days is marked "extra virgin," probably because much of it is mislabelled.

                                      1. re: GH1618


                                        How can I tell the difference?

                                        I've been buying Kirkland brand organic EVOO, mainly because I read somewhere that it's a bargain for organic EVOO.

                                        1. re: alarash

                                          I don't know how to tell the difference. There was an article awhile back reporting results of tests for "extra virginity" ( I don't know how this test works ). There were quite a few well-known brands that failed. But I don't suppose a list like that would stay up to date for long.

                                          I don't worry about it any more. I just buy the inexpensive house brand of "extra virgin" at the international grocery, which was recommended to me by the clerk. Since I cook with it, and the price is low, I don't care.

                                          1. re: GH1618

                                            Unfortunately, fraud is rampant out there and just buying the expensive stuff won't get around it.

                                            Extra Virgin just means it hasn't been processed as much. the moniker "1st press" indicates that this oil has come from olives that have only been pressed once. if they squeeze them again, they get more oil but it is usually less colorful and has less taste.

                                            Taste is what is important in extra virgin olive oil (evoo). the taste varies tremendously by location it was grown in, climactic conditions and much more. The important thing is to taste this olive oil. Some people literally sip some... I prefer sopping it up with french bread to taste it.

                                            I actually like one of the cheaper ones. I like Bertolli. It is a blended oil. That means it is blended from olive oils all over the world. They do this to try to attain uniformity of taste.

                                            Columela, Lucini, Colavita and Bertolli extra virgin olive oils are all very good. Their price ranges will be between $17 per liter for Bertolli to $40 per liter for Lucini Italia Premium.

                                            Colavita is probably the best you can find at the grocery store.

                                            There are stores that will let you taste the oils. They even have little tastings. These stores tend to be pretty expensive though. EVOO is expensive and is one of the reasons, I do not saute with it.

                                          2. re: alarash

                                            Yes, that's the problem.

                                            Conceptually, extra virgin olive oil was supposed to indicate a level of quality, based on the way the oil was processed (e.g. no heat which can alter the taste) and a level of oleic acid content (<0.8% for evoo). The USDA has guidelines to distinguish levels of olive oil, but they are voluntary.

                                            The problem is that it isn't regulated. There is a book that came out a year ago where they claimed over half of EVOO sold in the US was not at EVOO quality.

                                            It used to be that you wouldn't use EVOO for cooking, because its flavor would be wasted. But the cheap EVOO isn't good enough for it to really matter.

                                            I'd suggest finding 1 or 2 sources for EVOO that you trust based on production quality and prepare to pay extra. Then for regular uses, you can buy bargain EVOO but think of it as just regular olive oil.

                                        2. re: kdlalib

                                          Extra Virgin tastes like olives, while refined olive oil is pretty neutral. Also, the smoke point of extra virgin, 375°, is low for some sautéing and frying; virgin's is 391°; just plain, 460°.

                                          1. re: kdlalib

                                            Virgin refers to when it is pressed so how much residue is in it. One has more to do with flavor, so for use as a dressing, the other more to do with smoke point and cooking. Whether filtered or not also affects residues. As a general rule, I reserve olive oil for dressings, and use a good one.

                                            Some oils will impart some flavor to cooking, ie some peanut oils or butter. As to clean cooking, clarified butter, corn oil etc. work fine.

                                            Canola oil is a manufactured oil from the rapeseed plant (love the folks who get "organic") and is heavily processed to remove a natural toxin from the plant. It's name is from "Canadian oil" when the manufacturers found that not many people wanted to buy "rape seed oil." It is also, genetically modified, as the plants have to be bred not to be toxic, so nonGMO canola is a joke.

                                            This link should be helpful:


                                            For health concerns, corn and sunflower probably have the best ratios of kinds of fats.

                                            Trick: small amount of butter in corn or sun will flavor the oil but avoid the health concerns of butter.

                                            1. re: law_doc89

                                              In terms of ratios, I think canola oil has a better ratio than corn or sunflower. Specifically in terms of the ratio between Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.

                                              There is a wide range in estimates but here's one post from someone who has tried to collect this information:


                                                1. re: law_doc89

                                                  If you only look at saturated / unsaturated ratio, canola oil still has the best ratio of mainstream oils.


                                                  Olive oil is particularly good as well because a high percentage of its unsaturated fat composition is monounsaturated.

                                                  1. re: calumin

                                                    You are wrong. Canola is 4.5, Corn is 4.75 Ratio, Sunflower is a whopping 6.5 ratio! It is the ratio, not the absolute amount, nor percentage that matters. Your link is to percentages, and fails to look at comparative ratios.

                                                    BTW, all oils are "purified" with hexene or other"organic" in other words "hydrocarbons."

                                                    So, we are back to cooking, and when it comes to oil, oil is oil. Taste, smoking point, and component ratios are the only factors that matter. You can make hollandaise with axle grease, but it won't taste good.

                                                    1. re: law_doc89

                                                      law_docs89: I agree with you that taste & smoking point are issues that matter, especially in cases where the differences in ratios aren't that great.

                                                      Percentages and ratios are the same thing. With a simple math calculation, you can go from one representation to the other.

                                                      Your ratios would be in the right ballpark if you only calculated ratio of polyunsaturated fat to saturated fat. If you include monounsaturated fat , then the ratios would revert to the chart above.

                                                      When people talk about ratios with oils, they usually talk about PUFA ratios, or specifically the ratio of omega-6 vs omega-3 fatty acids. A certain amount of omega-6 fatty acid is needed in our body, but when it's consumed in excess it can be harmful.

                                                      When people started switching to vegetable oils in excess decades ago, the ratios of omega 6 to omega 3 became out of whack because the ratios of omega 6 to omega 3 in some oils are over 20:1 and corn & sunflower oils (among others) have many times the amount of omega 6 fatty acids per 100g compared to most other sources (including animal fat).

                                                      A healthier ratio is somewhere around 3:1. Fish oils and flaxseed oil have lots of omega 3 fatty acids, along with canola oil as a mainstream cooking oil.

                                                      1. re: calumin

                                                        "Percentages and ratios are the same thing. With a simple math calculation, you can go from one representation to the other. "


                                              1. re: law_doc89

                                                With respect, I would like to disagree with your statement that canola oil is "... genetically modified, as the plants have to be bread not to be toxix, so nonGMO canola is a joke."

                                                Just about every plant that we eat has been bred from its wild form as found in nature. Ever since we humans took up the practice of agriculture, we have been selecting seeds from the plants that were the most productive or healthiest or tastiest or stored especially well. Later we started crossing plants of the same type - by controlling pollination - to create new strains that combined the characteristics of their parent strains. Buy a hybrid tomato and you will be eating the results of such a process.

                                                GMO means that the genome has been modified by processes not found in nature, e.g. someone in a laboratory has introduced genetic material that is not normally found in that type of organism. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetica... Originally canola oil was bred by natural means to reduce the amount of erucic acid present. (There is some question about the danger that may or may not be posed by erucic acid, with the USDA and others coming down on the side of its being okay in the small quantities found in canola.) In recent years, GMO varieties of canoloa oil have been introduced, but not all canola is GMO. Unfortunately, it is also true that there is evidence that characteristics introduced to GMO strains have indeed escaped into the general genetic pool. But this is a general problem with introducing GMO organisms, and not confined to canola (rapeseed).

                                                So, no, nonGMO canola is not a joke, and while there has been controversy, most authorities believe that food grade (made from varieties that are low in erucic acid) canola oil is perfectly safe. Since the seeds are low in erucic acid in the first place there is no "heavy processing" specifically to remove it. I would check the label, of course, but I am sure it is out there and I would not hesitate to buy it

                                                1. re: PinchOfSalt

                                                  This is correct. Canola was developed by ordinary selective breeding techniques which have been used to produce practically everything we eat. Some strains of canola have been modified to be herbicide resistant, but not all. GMO is not inherent to canola.

                                                  1. re: PinchOfSalt

                                                    Right. The GMO issue related to canola oil isn't actually about breeding to remove erucic acid - that has been done over the last 40 years through natural breeding. The GMO issue is about using genetic modification to make the plant tolerant to herbicides (Monsanto Roundup).

                                                    Europe has very strict policies on GMO crops and European farmers cannot plant genetically modified crops. Yet Europe produces more canola oil (by using non-GMO double-zero rapeseed cultivars) than Canada does.

                                            2. I use extra virgin olive oil for most things. Not high heat though.

                                              Peanut oil for stir frying and other asian dishes.

                                              Grapeseed or safflower for the few things inbetween

                                              1. I use:
                                                >EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) for general purposes.
                                                >Peanut oil for Asian recipes/stir-frys.
                                                >Non-GMO organic canola oil when the recipe calls for vegetable oil.
                                                >Other specialty oils such as walnut, grapeseed, sunflower as a recipe might require.

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: Gio

                                                  This is basically what I do, though I've more recently been avoiding canola oil. I've been subbing with coconut oil, butter or avocado oil according to the flavor profile of the recipe.

                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                    EVOO is my general olive oil--for sauteing, salads, croutons--basically everything.,
                                                    I rarely do Asian, but I have peanut oil in the frig for that.
                                                    Nut and avocado oils also in the frig for salads
                                                    Lately, I hate the smell of canola oil but keep that around for pancakes and such but may get rid of it because I use it so infrequently.
                                                    Oh, and butter for eggs and the occasional grilled cheese--and seafood which I rarely cook.

                                                    1. re: escondido123

                                                      Westminstress and Escondido: After reading what you and others have to say about canola oil I think I'll be discarding any that remains in my pantry and stop using it entirely. If it smells that bad, and mind you that only has occurred recently, I don't want it...

                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                        I do miss it occasionally when an absolutely neutral oil is truly desired. Avocado oil is the best sub for it that I've found so far. It is tasty and healthy and has a high smoke point. I've wanted to try pecan oil also but I've never seen it for sale locally. Downsides are that it is expensive. Also, it has an extremely unctuous texture, but maybe that means I just need to use a little bit less of it. I'd like to try pecan oil too, but I haven't been able to find it locally.

                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                          I just replaced my Canola so will see if it was a matter of age. I find I turn to either peanut or olive oil for baking these days, though I don't do many sweets.

                                                      2. re: Gio

                                                        Just popping to say that I did eliminate canola from our diet and now include ghee for any recipe calling for cooking with butter.

                                                      3. Mainly olive oil and occasionally butter or maybe canola.

                                                        1. Olive oil or vegetable oil

                                                          1. Regular olive oil, mostly. Sometimes grapeseed, sometimes peanut. I am not really a deep fry person but when making something fried, like latkes or falafel, I tend towards grapeseed due to the high smoke point.

                                                            1. Mostly Peanut, sometimes Olive, occasionally Corn depending on what the application is. In a few instances butter. ~~ Never ever that foul smelling, funky tasting Canola oil!!!

                                                              1. Sunflower mostly. Grapeseed for high smoke applications, bacon fat and/or butter for mushrooms. Duck fat also has its purposes.

                                                                1. Forget using 'oil'. Goggle up how to clarify butter. It's dead simple. When are are 'sautéing' you are looking for subtle flavors which clarified butter always enhances no matter what the dish. And you only need a little b/c you never sauté anything using screaming high heat.

                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Puffin3

                                                                    Some people (like me) do not like butter.

                                                                    1. re: Puffin3

                                                                      Easier still - buy ghee at an Asian/Indian market. It is essentually the same as clarified butter and does not need refrigeration. Butter burns if you are not careful. Clarified/ghee does not.

                                                                      1. re: greygarious

                                                                        Interesting point about ghee.
                                                                        I've seen it for sale in the International' section in 1 liter plastic tubs.
                                                                        What I don't understand is why it's so cheap. It cost me A LOT of money/time to buy unsalted table butter and turn it into ghee.
                                                                        Why do you think the ready made ghee is so cheap comparatively? Have you tried the ready made ghee? How does it compare?

                                                                        1. re: Puffin3

                                                                          I use ready-made ghee all the time. I buy it in 1 liter cans. It's fantastic!

                                                                      2. re: Puffin3

                                                                        How high should the heat be when sauteing? Is it hard to make clarified butter?

                                                                          1. re: kdlalib

                                                                            If you just want to get rid of enough milk solids so it doesn't burn, it's just a minute in the microwave. Put chunk of butter in small microwavable dish. Microwave until completely melted. Let sit for a minute. Skim white foam off top. Use clear oil leaving behind white milk solids in bottom. This is what I use for Sunday French Toast frying. I spoon it onto the soaked bread before putting buttered side down in hot frying pan. Spoon small amount onto top side and flip when bottom side is brown. Do the same again and serve. Great buttery goodness with no burning.

                                                                        1. i only use evoo as my olive oil, and that is my default oil for sautéing veggies. if i need a neutral flavored oil, then i quite like grapeseed oil, and the plain old crisco or wesson vegetable (soybean) or corn oils.

                                                                          i do not like canola oil, as it has a strange, off flavor to me -- a little "fishy."

                                                                          for deep frying, i adore peanut oil. it is the BEST for deep frying.

                                                                          1. EVOO for most things
                                                                            Grapeseed for high heat neutral flavour
                                                                            Butter where the flavour is more suitable for the dish than EVOO

                                                                            I don't deep fry.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: jammy

                                                                              Same here.

                                                                              EVOO when I want the taste of the oil. Grapeseed when I want clean, no taste.

                                                                              Butter also for the flavor.

                                                                              I am very sensitive to the taste of Canola oil, and by sensitive I mean I hate it. Anything made with it, especially something like banana bread or carrot cake... I can taste it and I hate it. That's just my take, ymmv.

                                                                            2. i won't touch heavily processed oils like canola, nor do i consume non-fermented soy products -- ESPECIALLY soy oil.

                                                                              i use olive oil, butter and coconut oil. do not waste money cooking with evoo. its traditional purpose is as a finishing oil, even though tv cooks will have you thinking otherwise.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                Hotoynoodle, my mother sauteed with extra virgin olive oil long before there were TV chefs...

                                                                                1. peanut for asian flavor stuff, olive oil otherwise. Too much trouble to keep more than that on hand. Add butter sometimes for flavor but personally not fond of butter flavor (i.e. add it for other people.)

                                                                                  Get other oils from time-to-time for baking cakes or dressing salads.

                                                                                  1. We use pastured butter, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, bacon grease, and, soon, pastured tallow (got a 15 lb bag of it waiting to be rendered). In the past we've also used chicken fat (skimmed off of broth and saved for this purpose).

                                                                                    All of the above are about as healthy as it gets, provided, of course, that you are using fats from animals that have been pastured and not kept in a confinement facility. The nutritional profile of the two are *very* different.

                                                                                    I would *never*, in a million years, cook with vegetable oil or peanut oil. I would also avoid basically all seed oils with the exception of a properly prepared sesame oil (and even then, sesame oil is best used sparingly). Peanut oil hardens your arteries without raising your cholesterol, canola, soy, and corn oils are basically guaranteed to be sourced from GMOs on top of being obscenely unhealthy for you. This is doubly important because a lot of the nutrients in vegetables can't be absorbed by your body without a certain amount of fat, so you want to use a decent amount when cooking your veggies.

                                                                                    20 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: wapfcat

                                                                                      The Mayo clinic disagrees with you about Canola oil.



                                                                                      1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                        In this case, I disagree with the Mayo Clinic. In fact, most of their nutrition posts on that site are still pretty old-school - whole grain, lowfat, etc.

                                                                                        Many people are finding that that is not their optimal way of eating at all, regardless of it being touted by the Mayo Clinic.

                                                                                        Mmmm, mayo. :-)

                                                                                        1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                          I wouldn't exactly call that link as speaking for "Mayo clinic" -- she is a nutritionist posting to a forum but not a scientist studying the topic.

                                                                                          I don't understand the comment of canola oil being "sourced from GMOs on top of being obscenely unhealthy for you." If the argument is that being sourced from GMO is important, then it's kind of like debating God -- you're either on one side or the other. Most of the scientific research shows that GMO (the Monsanto Roundup used on crops) poses no health risk, but if someone doesn't agree it's their right.

                                                                                          But if you take aside the GMO issue -- I don't see a separate issue of canola being obscenely unhealthy, when compared to the other oils in question. It is high in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids and is low in saturated fat.

                                                                                          It is possible to buy non-GMO canola oil, but I think it is hard to find.

                                                                                          I really don't agree with the idea that bacon grease is healthier than canola oil!

                                                                                          1. re: calumin

                                                                                            I'm with you on your scepticism of bacon grease being healthier than canola oil. There's a lot of nonsense bandied about by various "health" cranks on GMO and other subjects. Even if there is some merit in some objections to GMO, calling oils derived from GMO crops "obscenely unhealthy" is so over-the-top that no useful discussion can follow from it, in my opinion.

                                                                                            1. re: GH1618

                                                                                              Yes, but others would disagree with you after reviewing
                                                                                              available literature, information and evidence. It is very important for individuals to review literature and come to their own conclusions about nutrition and healthy dingredients in food. Cooking for yourself is so important.
                                                                                              For me, oils are really important. I would not eat canola oil and many other widely used oils if given the choice. When you eat at a resturant, you have no idea... When you prepare food for yourself, you can decide what is important.

                                                                                              1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                I think some people have an issue with GMO which is fine. I don't but if people do that's okay with me.

                                                                                                I don't see how anyone could argue that bacon grease is healthier than canola oil. Bacon grease is 40% saturated fat. The links between saturated fat and cardiovascular disease are unmistakable. It doesn't matter if the animals were kept in a containment facility or in open pasture -- bacon grease is terrible for you!

                                                                                                1. re: calumin


                                                                                                  Not unmistakable. There has been a lot of new research that is re-examining the old studies.

                                                                                                  1. re: Violatp

                                                                                                    That study does not in any way support the idea that bacon grease is healthier than canola oil!

                                                                                                    It proposes an explanation for why people see healthy benefits when moving from high-saturated fat oils to other oils. Specifically it proposes that the healthy benefits are gained from corresponding reduction in transfats and increase in omega 3 fatty acids. The study isolates diets that are very high in omega 6 linoleic acid and questions a one-for-one swap of saturated fat for omega 6 linoleic acid.

                                                                                                    Canola oil is considered a monounstaurated fat while the study focuses on polyunsaturated fats like safflower oil. It is well known that it is good to have a healthy ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids. The oils in this study have much higher levels of omega 6 fatty acids and virtually no omega 3 fatty acids. Canola oil does not fall in this category.

                                                                                                    And it has virtually no saturated fat -- which the study makes no attempt to define as healthy!

                                                                                                    1. re: calumin

                                                                                                      "That study does not in any way support ..."

                                                                                                      Not only that, but it is rare that a single study presents a complete and correct theory. Studies merely add some data to the body of knowledge, usually in a limited way. A study need not even draw correct conclusions in order to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, it need only meet professional standards and be worthy of being placed before the readers of the journal. Consensus, when one can be found, arises out of the consideration of the total body of knowledge by those working in the field. Yet it is common for someone to cite a particular study as if it proved something. Usually, the conclusions which can be drawn from a scientific study are quite limited.

                                                                                                    2. re: Violatp

                                                                                                      I am not a medical professional or nutritionist/food scientist, but I have never seen any stories or studies that claim consumption of bacon or bacon fat is good for your health. However I have seen plenty that say Canola Oil is better for you than Peanut or Corn Oil.

                                                                                                      Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but it irks me when people make outrageous claims that scare others.

                                                                                                      I have no issue with GMO's. Some GMO's have saved people from famines. I do have issue with the patented seeds. But that is neither here nor there.

                                                                                                    3. re: calumin

                                                                                                      Links between saturated fat consumption and cardiovascular disease are FAR from unmistakable. They are, in fact, very debatable.

                                                                                                      1. re: taos

                                                                                                        The American Heart Association, Mayo Clinic, World Health Organization, European Society of Cardiology, British Dietetic Association, USDA, US Dept of Health & Human Services, and World Heart Federation all have published positions stating that saturated fat consumption is linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

                                                                                                        I guess you can try to debate all of those organizations.

                                                                                                        1. re: calumin

                                                                                                          It takes several years for new research to make its way into these sorts of public health guidelines. Basically, the guidelines do not change until there is clear, conclusive evidence that they are wrong, and sometimes not even then. The current guidelines are based on very old science, and have increasingly come under criticism in the past few years:

                                                                                                          If you check recent nutrition journals, you can find plenty of studies claiming to find a link between saturated fat consumption and CVD, and plenty of studies claiming to find the opposite. The picture is quite unclear right now. If we were to throw out all the existing guidelines and come up with new ones today, it's far from clear what they should look like. It may very well turn out that saturated fat is terrible for you, but the current scientific evidence does not conclusively point to this. Ask again in ten years.

                                                                                                          1. re: Scrofula

                                                                                                            All the organizations above have an established, current position on this topic -- people can feel free to disagree, or even debate those organizations.

                                                                                                            The link you posted is from one person (a student) who is indeed challenging all of those organizations.

                                                                                                            He doesn't actually put forth the position that saturated fat intake is not correlated with cardiovascular disease. His view is that the full body of evidence does not completely support that position. He is not at all a mainstream thinker on this topic, but he is intelligent and has the ability to write in a logical manner.

                                                                                                            Note that the first two sentences of the actual paper that you link to state:

                                                                                                            "Consumption of saturated fat increases levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. LDL cholesterol has been positively associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk."

                                                                                                            Hoenselaar's primary point is that there may be other contravening factors in addition to LDL which, in total, may negate the established risk above. He doesn't say that it does - he just says the research to-date isn't sufficient. Most scientists don't agree with that view.

                                                                                                            At the end of the day there's always something you can point to in support of a view that you have. Which is fine but the thing I don't agree with is an idea that there is no current mainstream agreement on this topic or that it's not clear what current recommendations should look like. That's not true.

                                                                                                            1. re: calumin

                                                                                                              "Hoenselaar's primary point is that there may be other contravening factors in addition to LDL which, in total, may negate the established risk above."

                                                                                                              I'm going to nitpick your choice of words here. Saying that LDL is associated with CVD means that LDL is a good predictor of CVD. It makes no claims about the existence of a causal mechanism. LDL:HDL ratio is a much better predictor than LDL alone. If someone's LDL levels increased, but HDL increased proportionally, their CVD risk would not necessarily increase. Saturated fat, incidentally, has been shown to increase HDL levels.

                                                                                                              (That's not definitive evidence that saturated fat *protects* against CVD, just as the increased LDL isn't proof that saturated fat *causes* CVD. We don't know for sure what causes CVD, and LDL and HDL are just two pieces of information we can use to try and predict the risk.)

                                                                                                              "He doesn't say that it does - he just says the research to-date isn't sufficient."

                                                                                                              This is also exactly what I'm saying. I'm not claiming that saturated fat has no causal relationship with CVD. I'm saying that there isn't adequate evidence to claim that there is such a relationship.

                                                                                                              I also never claimed that there's no mainstream agreement on this topic. There certainly is. My claim is that the mainstream opinion doesn't reflect the science. There's no *scientific* consensus on this topic; the debate is ongoing, as a perusal of nutritional journals from the past 10 years will show.

                                                                                                              1. re: Scrofula

                                                                                                                Hoenselaar admits to a causal relationship between saturated fat and increased LDL - as he admits in the first sentence in his paper.

                                                                                                                If somebody did not know that, and instead relied on blanket statements like "avoid foods x" or "eat more y" -- then I think it can get complicated.

                                                                                                                But for someone who has researched the topic, you have a choice regarding what to replace saturated fat with. Even if you argue that LDL:HDL ratio is a better predictor than LDL alone, you can reduce saturated fat intake (which will reduce your LDL) and replace it with something that increases HDL & produces a healthy omega 6 / omega 3 ratio.

                                                                                                                What started this thread for me was what I thought to be an absurd idea that bacon grease was healthy for you but that canola oil was not. We have a causal link between saturated fat and increased LDL (which even Hoenselaar concedes). And studies that have shown issues with high omega-6 oils do not negatively affect canola oil at all!

                                                                                                                I respect that you're adoping Hoenselaar's point of view. But I don't think it's widely held in the scientific community -- although he makes some detailed points to which most people would agree.

                                                                                                                1. re: calumin

                                                                                                                  " bacon grease was healthy for you but that canola oil was not."

                                                                                                                  I never said that.

                                                                                                                  1. re: law_doc89

                                                                                                                    I never said you did!

                                                                                                                    If you go up this thread to wapfcat's comment you'll see the reference.

                                                                                                                  2. re: calumin

                                                                                                                    To clarify, Hoenselaar admits (and I agree) that there's a causal link between sat fat and increased LDL. There's also, IIRC, a causal link between sat fat and increased HDL. What's not yet established is the causal link between LDL and CVD (or an inverse link between HDL and CVD). There may well be one, but the evidence is not yet sufficient. There's certainly a strong predictive link, but that's not the same thing.

                                                                                                                    I picked Hoenselaar's paper because it was the most recent mainstream paper that came up when I Googled this topic, but he's far from the only one arguing that we need to re-examine the conventional recommendations. There have been several prominent papers in the past few years questioning the common understanding of the role saturated fat plays in our health; I'm sure you can dig these up if you're curious.

                                                                                                                    I'm not aware of any evidence that bacon grease is healthier than canola oil; that's a strong claim. But the group of people making these claims is growing, and includes some mainstream scientists, as well as some hacks. (The intersection between mainstream scientists and hacks is sadly non-zero.) Their arguments are quite speculative, and not really supported by the evidence -- but that's also true to some extent of the arguments that canola oil is better for you than bacon grease.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Scrofula

                                                                                                                      I don't agree with that. The causal link between LDL and CVD is well-established. Hoenselaar is not arguing otherwise. There is overwhelming evidence that increased LDL has a causal effect on CVD.

                                                                                                                      What is not established is any causal link between HDL and CVD. Hoenselaar is proposing that when looking at multiple factors (and not just LDL), the overall effect of saturated fat on CVD may not be what mainstream science says.

                                                                                                                      The jury is still out on HDL:


                                                                                                                      As for the idea that arguments are speculative on whether canola oil is better for you than bacon grease, you know my views on that. The idea that it's all speculative -- "it could be better, it could be worse, it's all not supported by evidence one way or another" -- is what I disagree with.

                                                                                            2. Mostly butter, clarified butter, refined olive, bacon grease, and/or goose fat.

                                                                                              [Note to Dr. Ferguson: Almost always olive. Umm, the rare meal I don't steam and use Butter Buds]


                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                I use essentially the same:

                                                                                                1. clarified butter (aka: ghee) or butter
                                                                                                2. avocado oil
                                                                                                3. bacon grease (only occasionally)

                                                                                                I recently bought avocado oil for the first time, mainly out of curiosity. It looks similar to olive oil, so when I ran out out EVOO and went to buy more, I bought this stuff instead.

                                                                                                So far it seems fine for sauteeing and on salad.

                                                                                                Any other reviews of avocado oil?

                                                                                              2. Peanut oil - takes high heat well.

                                                                                                1. I do most of my sauteing (and general cooking) with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I also use butter, but I don't usually clarify it. Both of these have relatively low smoke points, so I almost never use them at high heat, and if I do, it is always for a brief amount of time.

                                                                                                  For high heat sauteing, like stir-fry or wok cooking, I'll use Peanut Oil. I also like Peanut Oil for deep frying.

                                                                                                  If I need a more neutral flavor with a high smoke point, I'll use Vegetable Oil. I use it, too, for deep frying if I am out of a more flavorful oil.

                                                                                                  I also often have rendered duck fat on hand, but it is particularly treasured, and I only use it for a few things, but it is pretty versatile and super flavorful.

                                                                                                  Finally, there's some lard in my fridge. The smoke point isn't too high, and I don't use it for much, but I do like it with several dishes.

                                                                                                  The one thing I don't keep, but am starting to think I should, is rendered bacon fat. I eat enough bacon that I could keep a decent supply of bacon grease on hand, but I usually just toss it. Based on many posts I see on these boards, I really need to start keeping it.

                                                                                                  1. I saute with olive oil, coconut oil, bacon fat, or butter

                                                                                                    1. Depends on what style of meal I'm cooking but it'd be olive, sunflower or rapeseed.

                                                                                                      1. For sauteing at high heat I recommend Avocado, Grapeseed, Safflower, and Sunflower Oils. The avocado, and grapeseed oils cost more - depending on the brand you purchase but they are tasty and full of good fats - especially the avocado.

                                                                                                        Anyway, just to give you some background about me I am Indian American and between my grandma, my mom, my sister and myself we pretty much tried out all the oils. The only ones I have to try are - hazelnut, macadamia, and walnut oils which we don't use much in traditional indian cooking. I am sure that is because the spiciness of the indian curry will overtake the subtle, clean flavor of those oils. so it's better to cook with a simple oil for indian curries. My mom uses vegetable or canola for india, evoo for healthy cooking, butter, clarified ghee for my little niece, etc.

                                                                                                        Me - i am mix of east meets west i.e. don't cook traditional Indian for myself but use the spices. I cook a lot of simple stir-fry's - tofu and veggies, tofu and shitake mushroom, shrimp w/veggies, brown rice, egg, and shitake mushroom stir fry, etc etc and so used almost all the oils - flavored olive oils, grassy olive oils, dark and light sesame oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil, etc. I love cooking, buying different things - veggies, jams, butters, oils, spices, etc and experimenting with flavors. It's fun and you learn a lot. Think of it like a mixologist. :)

                                                                                                        So, I suggest you try out the oils that interest you and become a connoisseur.

                                                                                                        Good luck and welcome to the fun and adventurous world of Cooking!

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: epicureanforlife

                                                                                                          Thanks! That's a great start. I've started using sunflower and I've really enjoyed that. I think I'll purchase grapeseed oil next.

                                                                                                        2. Has anyone tried the Olio Santo olive oil that Ina Garten recommends? What are your thoughts on its taste?

                                                                                                          Also, is canola or vegetable oil healthier? Can they be substituted for each other?

                                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: kdlalib

                                                                                                            To me, the biggest health question about oils used in cooking is calories. If you are using only moderate amounts of oil, really, the health difference, if any, between a tablespoon of canola or "vegetable oil" is tiny.

                                                                                                            This thread is a very nice discussion of the trade-offs between several commonly available oil varieties used in cooking. If you choose your oil depending on how you are going to be using it and don't use too much oil in your diet overall, you can't go wrong.

                                                                                                            By the way, for what it's worth, "vegetable oil" is actually a blend of different kinds of oils. No doubt the mixture varies by brand. I dimly remember hearing that at least at some point, vegetable oil might contain cottonseed oil. I would not be surprised if it contained a good dose of soy oil.

                                                                                                            1. re: PinchOfSalt

                                                                                                              Just checked the labels on my cooking oils to be sure. Crisco vegetable oil and my grocery stores generic brand of vegetable oil is 100% soybean oil.

                                                                                                            2. re: kdlalib

                                                                                                              I think the main difference between canola and vegetable oil is the PUFA ratio, or ratio of omega-6 vs omega-3 fatty acids. If the ratio is extremely high in your diet, it may be detrimental to your health.

                                                                                                              Here's an article that talks about this issue:


                                                                                                              To PinchOfSalt's comment about calories -- the link above references a 2007 USDA report saying Americans typically now get almost 20% of their calories from one food source (soybean oil), with 9% of all calories coming from omega-6 linoleic acid. If your diet resembles a typical American's, then this is probably more of an issue than if you adopt a healthier diet.

                                                                                                              1. re: calumin

                                                                                                                Your "article" is a self published, advocacy by CHRIS KRESSER L.AC L. AC is licensed acupuncturist.


                                                                                                                It relies on false correlations such as how people in the paleolithic didn't have tyoe II diabetes (They also dies at 28 so they had no diseases of longevity that we have now


                                                                                                                Do you have any real sources from recognized scientists from recognized peer review journals? If not you should post a disclaimer.

                                                                                                                  1. re: calumin

                                                                                                                    Hmm! Certainly nice to see such old stuff that bypasses that this is far from settled, and that there are on-going research because these are unsettled. This is a topic for a separate thread, so I wont continue it here, but we are constantly barraged by the latest kook fad diet with a simple answer because of epidemiological evidence that first suggests something, and then the nuance of "suggests" gets lost in definitive claims not verified. Then there is over claiming and exposition of what is not deemed panacea. No question that various components of oils in ratios has different effects, it's just not so simple as you declaim so vociferously. Tha becomes misleading. But keep looking for more up to date real studies, it will be a good learning exercise.

                                                                                                                    I do think that advocates for a particular fad diet give a disclaimer

                                                                                                                    1. re: law_doc89

                                                                                                                      law_doc89: you didn't like my last post and asked for research links. I gave you three links, and now you're unhappy because the Simopoulos article is 10 years old? He's published other research more recently -- would that fit in your timeline?

                                                                                                                      I'm not advocating any kind of kook fad diet. The OP asked a follow up question about the relative health effects of canola vs. vegetable oil. If you look at the body of research that addresses this question, the PUFA ratio is one point that has been heavily studied.

                                                                                                                      The only thing on this thread that I have declaimed vociferously is the idea that bacon grease (or similar heavily saturated fat) is better for you than canola oil. I think that's irresponsible -- the link between saturated fat and increased LDL (among other things) as a predictor of heart disease is well documented.

                                                                                                                      The historical research documents how, from a health perspective, it's important not just to reduce saturated fat but be smart about what you replace it with. Going from bacon grease to margarine is a terrible idea, for example. It's good that we have macro studies that show the effect of a whole society moving from saturated fat to margarine to other fat sources.

                                                                                                                      My point all along has been that most of the criticisms of fat types don't hold water when you talk about canola oil. It has virtually zero transfat and has a moderate PUFA ratio.

                                                                                                                      People can decide for themselves whether vegetable oil is worse or better for you than canola oil. My personal view is that in moderation it's probably a wash. But if you care about your health, don't use bacon grease as your everyday fat source.

                                                                                                            3. Extra virgin coconut oil. Makes your kitchen simultaneously smell like popcorn and suntan oil! Also delicious. Also healthy. Also stands up to heat. Nothing better, in my opinion. Though I am a fan of lard, too.

                                                                                                              1. Depends on what I'm cooking.

                                                                                                                If it's a Sri Lankan or Indian curry, virgin coconut oil. Or, for some Indian curries, butter or ghee. For European dishes, usually olive oil and/or butter.

                                                                                                                If I need a flavourless oil, then olive oil (regular unscented, not extra virgin) or sometimes grapeseed oil.

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: LMAshton

                                                                                                                  When I cook a duck I keep the fat and use it sparingly for 'special dishes'.
                                                                                                                  Given all the endless debate over what fats/oils are best/worst I think stating the obvious may be appropriate: 'All things in moderation'.
                                                                                                                  Humans evolved and thrived by 'grazing'. A little of this, a little of that'.

                                                                                                                2. For vegetables I use half a t of coconut oil and half a t of ghee......not table butter.
                                                                                                                  Basically it's a stir fry but for the first 30 seconds or so depending on the veg I put a lid on to draw out the water from the veg. Then lid off>water evaporates leaving oils.
                                                                                                                  Been reading not so good things about grapeseed oil lately.

                                                                                                                  1. I keep an old wine bottle with a speed pourer on top on the counter next to my stove. I use a blend of about 30% pure (not extra virgin) olive oil and the rest a neutral vegetable oil like soybean, corn, peanut or grape seed, whatever is on sale. I also like to sauté in clarified butter but I rarely have it on hand. I like to do vegetables in lard that I get @ the Mexican market.

                                                                                                                    1. very little oil. Mainly duck fat, chicken fat, bacon fat.

                                                                                                                      Much better taste.

                                                                                                                      1. I pretty much switched to using only leftover animals fats to saute with. Yummy and healthy.