What Is the Healthiest Cooking Oils by Smoke Point and Omega 3 to 6 Fatty Acid Ratios?
Trying to find the healthiest cooking oil can be a daunting task. One one hand, you want to cook with an oil that has a high flash (smoke) point, but you also need to use a cooking oil that has a healthy balance of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids–and even better if the oil is loaded with antioxidants and vitamins! Knowing the smoke point of oils is important because heating oil to the point where the oil begins to smoke produces toxic fumes and harmful free radicals. Check out our healthiest cooking oil comparison chart below to help alleviate the confusion!
Cooking Oil Considerations: for high-temperature cooking, select cooking oils with a high smoke point. For low-temperature cooking, or adding to dishes and salad dressings, chose oils with a higher Omega-3 fatty acids since they promote healthy cells and decrease stroke and heart attack risk. They are also known for their anti-inflammatory action. Although you need Omega-6 fatty acids to maintain cell wall integrity and provide energy for the heart, too much Omega-6 fatty acids can increase inflammation in the body. Also, cooking oils high in Omega 9 is a good way to go. Omega-9 fatty acids are considered to be “conditionally essential,” which means that although your body produces them, they aren’t produced in meaningful quantities. Consuming omega-9 fatty acids such as oleic acid lowers the risk of heart attacks, arteriosclerosis, and aids in cancer prevention.
|Cooking Oils / Fats||Smoke Point °C||Smoke Point °F||Omega-6: Omega-3 Ratio
(plus other relevant fat information)
|Unrefined flaxseed oil||107°C||225°F||1:4|
|Unrefined safflower oil||107°C||225°F||133:1|
|Unrefined sunflower oil||107°C||225°F||40:1|
|Unrefined corn oil||160°C||320°F||83:1|
|Unrefined high-oleic sunflower oil||160°C||320°F||40:1, 84% monosaturated|
|Extra virgin olive oil||160°C||320°F||73% monounsaturated, high in Omega 9|
|Unrefined peanut oil||160°C||320°F||32:1|
|Semirefined safflower oil||160°C||320°F||133:1, (75% Omega 9)|
|Unrefined soy oil||160°C||320°F||8:1 (most are GMO)|
|Unrefined walnut oil||160°C||320°F||5:1|
|Hemp seed oil||165°C||330°F||3:1|
|Butter||177°C||350°F||9:1, Mostly saturated & monosaturated|
|Semirefined canola oil||177°C||350°F||2:1
[ (56% Omega 9), 80% Canola is GMO.]
|Coconut oil||177°C||350°F||86% healthy saturated, lauric acid (has antibacterial, antioxidant, and antiviral properties). Contains 66% medium chain triglycerides (MCTs).|
|Unrefined sesame oil||177°C||350°F||138:1|
|Semirefined soy oil||177°C||350°F||8:1|
|Vegetable shortening||182°C||360°F||mostly unhealthy saturated, Trans Fat|
|Lard||182°C||370°F||11:1 high in saturated|
|Macadamia nut oil||199°C||390°F||1:1, 80% monounsaturated, (83% Omega-9)|
|Canola oil (Expeller Pressed)||200°C||400°F||2:1, 62% monounsaturated, 32% polyunsaturated|
|Refined canola oil||204°C||400°F||3:1, 80% of Canola in US in GMO.|
|Semirefined walnut oil||204°C||400°F||5:1|
|High quality (low acidity) extra virgin olive oil||207°C||405°F||13:1, 74% monosaturated (71.3% Omega 9)|
|Grapeseed oil||216°C||420°F||676:1, (12% saturated, 17% monounsaturated)|
|Virgin olive oil||216°C||420°F||13:1, 74% monosaturated (71.3% Omega 9)|
|Almond oil||216°C||420°F||Omega-6 only|
|Hazelnut oil||221°C||430°F||75% monosaturated (no Omega 3, 78% Omega 9)|
|Refined corn oil||232°C||450°F||83:1|
|Palm oil||232°C||450°F||46:1, mostly saturated and monosaturated|
|Palm kernel oil||232°C||450°F||82% saturated (No Omega 3)|
|Refined high-oleic sunflower oil||232°C||450°F||39:1, 84% monosaturated|
|Refined peanut oil||232°C||450°F||32:1|
|Semirefined sesame oil||232°C||450°F||138:1|
|Refined soy oil||232°C||450°F||8:1 (most are GMO)|
|Semirefined sunflower oil||232°C||450°F||40:1|
|Olive pomace oil||238°C||460°F||74% monosaturated, high in Omega 9|
|Extra light olive oil
Ghee (Clarified Butter)
|74% monosaturated, high in Omega 9
0:0, 62% saturated fat
|Rice Bran Oil||254°C||490°F||21:1, Good source of vitamin E & antioxidants|
|Refined Safflower oil||266°C||510°F||133:1 (74% Omega 9)|
|Avocado oil||271°C||520°F||12:1, 70% monosaturated, (68% Omega-9 fatty acids)
High in vitamin E.
Jon Barron’s Final Recommendation For Healthiest Cooking Oils:
The bottom line is that when possible, buy and use organic, unrefined, cold-processed vegetable oils. Use extra virgin olive oil in salads or to add to cooked foods, but not for high temperature cooking. Unrefined walnut oil is also good, but again only for low temperature uses.
You can use virgin coconut oil (high in beneficial saturated fats and medium chain triglycerides) for most mid-temperature cooking. However, coconut oil has a smoke point of about 350 degrees F (171 C), which means it is not suitable for high temperature cooking. Other choices include virgin olive oil and even butter in small amounts.
Use avocado oil for high temperature cooking. Avocado oil has a very high smoke point by comparison to other cooking oils. It will not burn or smoke until it reaches 520 F (271 C), which is ideal for searing meats and frying in a Wok. Another good cooking oil is rice bran oil 495 F(257 C). Again, look for organic, cold-processed oil.
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