HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
What are you cooking today?

All purpose non GMO oil for sauteeing

sueatmo Nov 4, 2013 04:08 PM

I've used canola oil for a long time for sauteeing. I've used extra virgin olive oil for decades for salads. One of my adult kids has given me a hard time about using canola. So now I need to buy some fresh oil for using at the stove. What non GMO would hounds recommend that has a high smoke point, totally neutral taste or at least non objectionable taste, and doesn't cost an arm and a leg?

I need to be able to find the oil in the PNW.

Thanks in advance.

  1. s
    sueatmo Nov 6, 2013 09:23 PM

    I made a trip to WF today and came home with a large bottle of organic, non GMO canola oil. This was by far the best buy. I intend to use it for, say eggs, and the odd baking chore. (Sometimes I use a mix of butter and oil in recipes.)

    I also bought a smaller and more expensive bottle of safflower oil refined for high heat. Also non GMO. So if I fry something, I'll have the oil best suited for it.

    I don't know if I'll like the safflower oil, but I'll find out.

    These oils are much, much pricier than the grocery store canola that I have been buying. Ouch.

    Of course I also have EVOO around the house. I've been buying the California oil I am seeing here now. Not cheap, but not awful either.

    1. e
      ellabee Nov 5, 2013 07:41 PM

      I use grapeseed oil for the purposes for which I used to use canola. [Spectrum] I honestly don't know where it sits in the range of prices.

      4 Replies
      1. re: ellabee
        c oliver Nov 5, 2013 08:59 PM

        So is all grapeseed oil non-GMO?

        1. re: c oliver
          ellabee Nov 5, 2013 09:51 PM

          As far as I know, GMO plants are almost all annual crop plants, that grow from seed each season. Woody plants like fruit trees and grapevines don't present the same profit-making possibilities.

          That's my impression, anyway.

          My thought was that grapes are already a big crop for wineries, and that pressing oil from the seed is getting some value out of what would otherwise be waste. Again, an impression more than a conclusion I could cite evidence for.

          1. re: ellabee
            paulj Nov 5, 2013 10:46 PM

            The most commercially successful GMO characteristic is Roundup resistance. If the crop is not harmed by this herbicide, it makes controlling weeds easier. Another common GMO trait is insect resistance. The main GMO crops in the USA are corn, soybeans, cotton and canola - all oil sources.

            has good graphs of adoption of these GMO crops, by crop, trait, and year.

            confirms that these are the only GMO crops on the market. Others are approved but not grown commercially.

            And speaking of healthy oils, "Monsanto is genetically engineering soybeans with higher levels of heart healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, hoping to produce healthier cooking oils."

            1. re: paulj
              ellabee Nov 6, 2013 01:12 PM

              Thanks for the references, paulj. It seems that genetically modified fruit trees/vines are a real and coming thing, even if currently not close to the scale on which annual seed-grown crops are grown.

      2. trolley Nov 5, 2013 11:10 AM

        Butter, peanut oil, coconut oil. The latter tends to impart a strong taste which I don't prefer with some food like asian stir fry. i don't use peanut oil bc my child has a peanut allergy and his dr. doesn't want us to risk it however, 2 or our local farm to table restaurants only use peanut oil for deep frying bc it's the only safe non -GMO oil they can find.

        1 Reply
        1. re: trolley
          dobyblue Nov 15, 2013 11:51 AM

          Find the Omega Nutrition brand, no taste. I tried a few before I found this one, kind of gross tasting coconut on your chicken fingers.

          This one - http://bitesforbabies.com/wp-content/...

        2. firecooked Nov 5, 2013 10:16 AM

          Bottom line, none of the non-gmo oils will be as cheap as mass market canola or vegetable oil. I have been using peanut oil as the lowest cost replacement.

          3 Replies
          1. re: firecooked
            LaureltQ Nov 5, 2013 10:24 AM

            I have peanut oil at home, but rarely use it, as a friend of mine has a pretty severe nut allergy, and when I'm not sure if she'll be coming to eat at our house (or if I'll be making something in a skillet that has a little bit of peanut oil left in it), the possibility of some of the oil making it into her food is too high. :(

            1. re: LaureltQ
              dobyblue Nov 15, 2013 11:51 AM

              If it's refined peanut oil there should be no allergenic compounds left.

              1. re: dobyblue
                trolley Nov 15, 2013 04:31 PM

                well, here's the problem. our allergist says it should be no problem however, he has had patients who has reacted to high refined peanut oil. all it takes is one human error meaning the people in the plant makes a mistake etc. it should go thru some kind of test but as he says humans are in control and there's been mistakes. better to err on the side of caution if there's a choice.

          2. Monica Nov 5, 2013 10:13 AM

            So out of all these wonderful non GMO oils, which is the healthiest?

            4 Replies
            1. re: Monica
              LaureltQ Nov 5, 2013 10:25 AM

              Depends on what you're looking for in an oil. I personally love coconut oil, but the flavor disgusts my husband, so we rarely use it around our house. Makes a fabulous sugar scrub though!

              1. re: LaureltQ
                dobyblue Nov 15, 2013 11:50 AM

                Try the Omega Nutrition brand, it's 100% organic coconut oil and imparts ZERO flavour to what you're cooking. Fantastic stuff.

              2. re: Monica
                Ruth Lafler Nov 15, 2013 04:39 PM

                I personally don't think there's much difference. People go back and forth arguing the merits of various oils, but I've never seen anything that demonstrates definitively that the type of oil you consume (as opposed to the amount) affects your health in real-world usage. Use the oils you like in moderation and don't worry about it!

                1. re: Monica
                  CocoTO Nov 18, 2013 04:41 PM

                  Fascinating article (very technical) written by two experts on lipids (aka fats) http://www.westonaprice.org/know-your.... If you skip to the end there is a synopsis of the various oils/fats available for consumption.

                  One oil that Dr Enig says can be used at higher heat if you don't want the coconut essence is non toasted sesame oil. According to Dr Enig "Sesame Oil contains 42% oleic acid, 15% saturated fat, and 43% omega-6 linoleic acid. Sesame oil is similar in composition to peanut oil. It can be used for frying because it contains unique antioxidants that are not destroyed by heat. However, the high percentage of omega-6 militates against exclusive use."

                2. r
                  rasputina Nov 5, 2013 09:14 AM

                  I use peanut and coconut oils the most. Ok and lard.

                  1. LaureltQ Nov 5, 2013 09:11 AM

                    Oils that I use in my house (non gmo, and non-chemically extracted afaik:
                    Sunflower Seed Oil
                    Avocado Oil
                    EV Olive Oil
                    Hazelnut Oil
                    Grapeseed Oil

                    I live in Seattle and get Sunflower oil at Trader Joes, Avocado and hazelnut oil on amazon, olive oil at costco or the grocery store, and grapeseed at Big John's PFI in South Seattle.

                    I still prefer cooking with grass-fed butter or schmaltz though.

                    1. j
                      JudiAU Nov 5, 2013 09:02 AM

                      light olive oil
                      grape seed oil
                      non-gmo canola is available

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: JudiAU
                        rmarisco Nov 5, 2013 09:13 AM

                        i read that by it's very nature canola is GMO: canola is a canadian version of GMO rapeseed oil. it's a name they made up - thus the "can" part of the name.

                        1. re: rmarisco
                          GH1618 Nov 5, 2013 09:16 AM

                          Not true. Canola was developed from rape (a type of mustard plant) using conventional plant breeding techniques.

                          1. re: GH1618
                            JudiAU Nov 5, 2013 08:30 PM

                            Canola was developed using traditional plant breeding techniques (see Spectrum's good discussion) but most versions being sold now are now GMO. So yes, GMO-free canola is available.

                      2. v
                        vonshu Nov 4, 2013 11:51 PM

                        safflower seed oil

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: vonshu
                          fldhkybnva Nov 5, 2013 02:14 PM

                          I use either safflower or grapeseed oil for general purpose.

                        2. h
                          hankstramm Nov 4, 2013 09:20 PM

                          Rice Bran Oil is probably the best that I've found. Trader Joes sells it now. It has a 490 degree smoke point. Very neutral tasty, even smells nice.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: hankstramm
                            c oliver Nov 4, 2013 09:27 PM


                            According to this, all TJs labeled products - not meat products - are non-GMO.

                            1. re: hankstramm
                              firecooked Nov 5, 2013 10:14 AM

                              Has anyone tested rice bran oil for arsenic?

                            2. herby Nov 4, 2013 07:10 PM

                              What does everyone think of coconut oil? Is it good for you even if it is solid at room temperature? Refined one is very neutral and it has high smoking point. My concern is with the solid state of it.

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: herby
                                Ttrockwood Nov 4, 2013 09:28 PM

                                I actually use coconut oil for nearly everything now- i love the stuff! Not sure why the solid product weirds you out, it liquifies once warmed up in the pan very quickly.
                                The medium chain fatty acids (aka the good for you stuff) is not altered by the solid vs liquid state of the oil

                                1. re: Ttrockwood
                                  c oliver Nov 4, 2013 09:32 PM

                                  It seems that the jury is still out on that:


                                  1. re: c oliver
                                    hotoynoodle Nov 5, 2013 09:50 AM

                                    if i was feeling more ambitious, i'd linkity-link about a billion studies refuting the info in that article. beginning with their concern with "cholesterol" in fats and insisting that oils like corn and soy are safer. ugh.

                                    that info is badly outdated.

                                    1. re: c oliver
                                      dobyblue Nov 15, 2013 11:45 AM

                                      I would put a huge asterisk by the word "jury" - I personally don't put much stock into what MDs or dieticians say, they're both usually heavily influenced by the pharmaceutical industry and the industrial junk food industry.

                                    2. re: Ttrockwood
                                      Scrofula Nov 4, 2013 11:34 PM

                                      Fat sources high in saturated fats tend to be solid at room temperature, so for a long time the recommendation was to avoid solid fats. The case against saturated fats is not as one-sided as it was once made out to be, though, so it's debatable whether this is still a good rule of thumb.

                                      1. re: Ttrockwood
                                        firecooked Nov 5, 2013 10:18 AM

                                        I hate the smell of hot coconut oil! I think that there are some more refined versions that are less smelly, but then there are questions about the residue and changes from refining....

                                        1. re: Ttrockwood
                                          biondanonima Nov 6, 2013 01:37 PM

                                          I love coconut oil too, although I find that its flavor is a little too noticeable in certain things (eggs or other items which are mild in and of themselves). I use peanut oil for deep-frying and either peanut or olive for any sauteing that I don't want to use coconut oil for. I also use bacon grease and butter extensively for sauteing, roasting, etc. I'm not sure whether peanut oil is non-GMO or not, but it tastes a LOT better than veg or canola oil.

                                          1. re: biondanonima
                                            dobyblue Nov 15, 2013 11:49 AM

                                            For eggs just try a little bit of pastured or organic butter. I got a great deal on pastured butter at Wegmans over the river, 100% grass fed cows that are 100% pastured, only $3.49 for a 1/2lb. Their regular butter is only $3.79/lb, much cheaper than the $7.99/lb you'll pay for the cheapest butter like Organic Meadow and that's when it's on sale.

                                            I use coconut oil for all my frying and never noticed a flavor but the one I use is not supposed to leave a flavor, it's the Omega Nutrition variety. The Zehrs carries the 1/2 size for around $15 or so, but a local health store carries the larger double size for $19 and it was on sale last month for $16 so I bought three of them. WIth the exception of eggs, everything else I use coconut oil for.

                                            We also use the same coconut oil for our skin moisturizer, works great and of course you already know there are no harmful parabens, phthalates, and all the other crud in the vast majority of skin care/bath care products that Health Canada doesn't regulate.

                                      2. Monica Nov 4, 2013 06:57 PM

                                        What is vegetable oil made with? I too stopped using canola oil and have been looking for a good substitute.

                                        9 Replies
                                        1. re: Monica
                                          hotoynoodle Nov 4, 2013 07:04 PM

                                          veg oil is most often gmo corn or gmo soy or a combo of both. awful stuff.

                                          1. re: hotoynoodle
                                            Monica Nov 4, 2013 07:24 PM

                                            You mean it's not made with oils from vegetable s like squash and lettuce??? Shoot...sounds so healthy but not. I guess I will start using something else.

                                            1. re: hotoynoodle
                                              c oliver Nov 4, 2013 07:44 PM

                                              Isn't there organic vegetable oil, which is always non-GMO?

                                              1. re: c oliver
                                                hotoynoodle Nov 5, 2013 09:52 AM

                                                i honestly don't know. i never look for it. i don't consume soy and eat very little corn, so don't want to cook my food in it.

                                                for me it's not "just" about the gmo, but the pesticide levels and processing methods. these oils are highly inflammatory so i avoid them.

                                                1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                  c oliver Nov 5, 2013 03:46 PM

                                                  Don't organic foods have to be pesticide-free?

                                                  1. re: c oliver
                                                    Chowrin Nov 5, 2013 07:46 PM

                                                    yeah, kinda. they can still put mud on things, and half a dozen other things you wouldn't think.

                                                    1. re: Chowrin
                                                      c oliver Nov 5, 2013 08:57 PM

                                                      I don't see a problem with mud. What are the other "half a dozen" things please?

                                                      1. re: c oliver
                                                        Chowrin Nov 7, 2013 06:41 AM

                                                        Copper Compounds, Sulphur compounds. etc

                                                        1. re: Chowrin
                                                          c oliver Nov 7, 2013 07:41 AM

                                                          VERY interesting piece. Thanks for sharing. And, of course, anything from NPR always has high cred with me :)

                                          2. jezebeljones Nov 4, 2013 05:48 PM

                                            Avocado oil--smoke point 500 degrees, non-gmo, light with a neutral taste, not too pricy. the brand I use is called Chosen Foods.

                                            1. c oliver Nov 4, 2013 04:50 PM

                                              Just an fyi. If a product is organic, then it is non-GMO. There are non-GMO canola oils. I'd check WF.

                                              11 Replies
                                              1. re: c oliver
                                                SteveRB Nov 4, 2013 04:59 PM

                                                Extra light olive oil has a smoke point of 468 degrees. Neutral taste, not expensive.

                                                1. re: c oliver
                                                  magiesmom Nov 4, 2013 05:35 PM

                                                  They still taste bad imo

                                                  1. re: magiesmom
                                                    c oliver Nov 4, 2013 06:29 PM

                                                    Funny, I used to think the same. Fishy. Threw it out. But then I attended an Asian dumpling class of Andrea Nguyen's and she used it. But suggested refrigerating cause it can become rancid. That solved the problem for me.

                                                  2. re: c oliver
                                                    sueatmo Nov 4, 2013 08:34 PM

                                                    OK, I am under the impression that canola is genetically modified. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canola

                                                    I gather from this article that some of the canola oil has been genetically engineered. That is why one of my children objected to my using it. I have never encountered organic canola oil.

                                                    And, to be clear, I find canola oil to be totally tasteless. I don't detect any odor from it. For the purpose of this query and discussion, lets discuss what is generally available to those of us who want to know what an acceptable cooking oil is.

                                                    1. re: sueatmo
                                                      c oliver Nov 4, 2013 08:44 PM

                                                      Here's one:


                                                      If there's one I'm betting there's more. Do you have a local co-op or again WF?

                                                      PS: You're kids might not know as much as they think they do :) I've found that with ours anyway!

                                                      1. re: c oliver
                                                        sueatmo Nov 6, 2013 09:53 AM

                                                        I don't participate in a co-op, don't know of one to participate in. I will look for non GMO canola at WF. But I certainly don't need a large jug of it.

                                                        I used to use sunflower oil. if I can find a non GMO version, and apparently sunflower oil is not a GMO product, then I might buy that.

                                                        I'm not opposed to grapeseed oil, but I am price sensitive, and I have to consider cost.

                                                        I believe that someone posted that light olive oil has a higher smoke point than EVOO, so I might try that.

                                                        I appreciate all the posts. Thanks for the good info.

                                                        1. re: sueatmo
                                                          c oliver Nov 6, 2013 10:34 AM

                                                          It funny about the EVOO. Except for real frying I use it for most of my cooking and don't find the smoke point an issue.

                                                          1. re: c oliver
                                                            fldhkybnva Nov 6, 2013 10:44 AM

                                                            I've always wondered if this was actually an issue. Do you sear steak with it or use it in a high temp oven without issues?

                                                            1. re: fldhkybnva
                                                              c oliver Nov 6, 2013 10:55 AM

                                                              I don't use oil when I sear steak but rather a CI skillet seasoned with EVOO. I roast vegetable at 425 in it. It's my go-to oil though I know plenty of people disagree. I've had no problem so see no reason to change based on smoke point.

                                                              1. re: fldhkybnva
                                                                sherrib Nov 7, 2013 05:42 AM

                                                                I wouldn't use evoo for searing. I either use a refined coconut oil or the extra light olive oil. Even those, however, smoke at the temperature I like to sear steak with so I prefer to just throw the thing on the grill with no oil.

                                                            2. re: sueatmo
                                                              Becca Porter Nov 7, 2013 04:54 AM

                                                              See if Azure Standard has a truck route stop in your area. I'm addicted to that monthly drop.

                                                      2. g
                                                        GH1618 Nov 4, 2013 04:24 PM

                                                        Grape seed oil.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: GH1618
                                                          Becca Porter Nov 7, 2013 04:56 AM

                                                          Yep, I use grapeseed. It even works well in baking.

                                                        Show Hidden Posts