When it comes to cooking and baking, the oil you use matters! As well as adding unique flavors to your food, different oils add different nutrient and fat contents. Of course, plant-based cooking oils are invariably lower in saturated fats and cholesterol than animal-based fats, but which are the best for which purposes?
It’s important to consider the smoke point of your cooking oil (the temperature it stops glistening and begins to smoke and burn instead) when choosing which oil to use.
For example, with a low smoke point and rich flavor, extra virgin olive oil is ideal for drizzling and finishing dishes off. On the other hand, mild and versatile avocado oil has a high smoke point, making it ideal for grilling, stir-frying and other high heat forms of cooking.
Plus, vegan cooking oils can deliver all sorts of beneficial nutrients, including heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, omega fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamin E. Let’s take a look at our top 5 plant-based cooking oils and when best to whip them out for your culinary adventures!
Smoke Point: 374–405°F
Use for: Pan-frying, roasting, baking, salad dressings, marinades & drizzling.
Let’s start with a vegan cooking oil we all know and love: olive oil. This ancient plant-based cooking oil, native to the Mediterranean has a rich, fruity and subtly peppery flavor and rich green-gold color.
Extra virgin (unrefined) olive oil is packed with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, antioxidants and other anti-inflammatory compounds. Experts have linked replacing other saturated fats with olive oil to better heart health and other wellness benefits.
Olive oil can be used for sauteing, roasting and baking. However, its lower smoke point makes this vegan cooking oil less suitable for deep-frying or high-heat cooking. Rich and flavorful olive oil really shines when used for salad dressings, vinaigrettes and simply drizzling straight onto your food.
Smoke Point: 520°F
Use for: Searing, frying, grilling, roasting, baking & salad dressings.
Our favorite thing about avocado oil is its amazing versatility. This mellow and buttery vegan cooking oil has a very mild flavor, making it ideal for… well… just about anything! Plus, it has a very high smoke point, making it ideal for stir-frys, grilling and other high-heat forms of cooking.
Plus, studies show that avocado oil is nutritionally very similar to olive oil. It’s bursting with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, as well as vitamin E.
Smoke Point: 350°F
Use for: Sauteing & baking.
While higher in saturated fat than other plant-based cooking oils, coconut oil is another great option for cooking and baking. It has a clean, nutty flavor and deliciously buttery texture. This rich, nutty and versatile vegan cooking oil is a rich source of fatty acids, vitamin E and beneficial polyphenols.
Another great feature of coconut oil is that its use is not limited to cooking. Deeply nourishing for skin and hair, organic virgin coconut oil can be used as part of your beauty regime.
Smoke Point: 350-410°F
Use for: Drizzling, salad dressings, stir-frys & marinades.
One of our favorite and most flavorful oils, sesame oil is ideal for making your favorite Asian dishes at home. Cold-pressed sesame oil has a mild, nutty and delicate flavor, while toasted sesame oil is much richer and more aromatic.
This tasty vegan cooking oil is a rich source of beneficial fatty acids and antioxidants, including vitamin E, lignans and phytosterols. Studies show that it may have anti-inflammatory effects that can reduce your risk of heart disease and other conditions.
Sesame oil is ideal for sauteing, marinating tofu and other protein alternatives, as well as whisking up nutty dressings and sauces.
Smoke Point: 430°F
Use for: Sauteing, roasting, baking, salad dressings & grilling.
Almond oil is another great choice for plant-based cooking and baking. With a smooth buttery flavor, this nutty plant-based cooking oil can add a delicious toastiness to cakes, cookies and muffins. It can also be used for salad dressings, sautes and more!
Favored by those who follow a keto diet, almond oil is a nourishing source of plant-based fat. Studies show that this vegan cooking oil is rich in vitamins K and E, Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Like coconut oil, almond oil can also work wonders for your hair and skin.
Health Benefits of Plant-Based Cooking Oils
As vegans, it’s a joy to explore the world of plant-based cooking oils. Not only are plant-based cooking oils a deliciously healthy choice, there is also so much variety to choose from. From baking, sauteing and roasting to flash frying and grilling to salad dressings and beyond, there is a vegan cooking oil for every occasion.
Replacing trans fats and saturated fats with healthier plant-based cooking oils can offer many health benefits. Studies show that this change in your diet can…
- Lower your risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular issues.
- Aid with healthy weight loss.
- Help to lower cholesterol.
- Aid digestive health.
Plus, many of our favorite plant-based cooking oils are rich sources of omega fatty acids, antioxidants and other essential nutrients. These may help to reduce inflammation, boost brain health, support your hair, nails and skin and many other wellness benefits.
Now that we’re all oil aficionados, we hope you’ll feel more confident when choosing which oil to use for your dish. Here at PlantX, we have an amazing range of extra-virgin, cold-pressed and unrefined plant-based cooking oils to choose from.
Whether you’re whipping up a batch of perfectly chewy and crisp cookies with some nutty almond oil, flame grilling some tofu steaks with high heat avocado oil or drizzling a soft, pillowy focaccia with some extra virgin Greek olive oil, we’ve got a perfect-for-purpose vegan cooking oil for you!
Think of oils like spices. You wouldn’t swap out chili powder for cinnamon, and you shouldn’t replace toasted sesame oil with olive oil or vice versa! Build up your collection of plant-based cooking oils and start to make informed and appropriate choices. You will be amazed at how your cooking transforms!