Which Oils are Safe to Cook With?

Because oils are susceptible to rancidity when exposed to heat, it is important not to cook with an oil with a low smoke point and not to cook over an oil’s smoke point – the temperature at which the oil starts to break down. At this point, the heat will cause oxidation in the oil, destroying the protective properties of the oil. Imagine the process of iron turning to rust and that playing out in your food and eventually damaging your cells. This would be counter-productive to eating good quality oils.

Below is a list of oils and their smoke points. We’ve only listed those of unrefined oils; ‘light’ oils, ‘refined’ oils and oils from ‘toasted seeds and nuts are heated which compromises the stability of the oil. We suggest eating mostly raw oils for maximum benefit.

  • Safflower oil – 225°F / 107°C
  • Flax seed oil – 225°F / 107°C
  • Sunflower oil – 225°F / 107°C
  • Soybean oil – 320°F / 160°C
  • Walnut oil – 320°F / 160°C
  • Hemp oil – 330°F / 165°C
  • Coconut oil – 350°F / 177°C
  • Sesame oil – 350°F / 177°C
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 375°F / 191°C
  • Macadamia oil – 413°F / 210°C
  • Almond oil – 420°F / 216°C
  • Grapeseed oil – 420°F / 216°C
  • Hazelnut oil – 430°F /221°C
  • Avocado oil – 520°F / 271°C

Note the smoke points of both safflower and sunflower oils, which are commonly what chips are fried/baked with. They are both low at 225 degrees F, the same as that of flaxseed oil, which is sold in solid (not transparent) black bottles in the refrigerated section.

You can find a more compete list of them here.

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