Finishing Oils vs. Cooking Oils: What You Need to Know

Edible oils are gaining more traction in the food industry as consumers begin to recognize the health benefits of plant-based fats. As new and exciting edible oils are introduced to consumers, however, it’s important to make note of the differences between oil types. Different oils serve different purposes and keeping their unique characteristics in mind will step up your cooking and your health game!

Each oil has its own unique smoke point, ranging from about 320F to 520F. Unrefined oils such as extra virgin avocado oil and extra virgin olive oil generally work best for cooking at lower temperatures, adding to dressings, or as finishing drizzles. While they possess incredible flavors, minerals, nutrients, and enzymes, unrefined oils contain compounds that break down when exposed to heats beyond their smoke points and can become unsafe for consumption by releasing carcinogenic compounds.

Refined oils such as refined avocado oil, canola oil, peanut oil, etc. go through an additional process that removes the compounds that break down when exposed to high heat. Their high smoke points make them ideal for frying, baking, and grilling. Refined oils also tend to have little to no taste and will not alter the flavor of your recipes.

Image credit:

click image to enlarge