9 Healthy Cooking Oils (and How to Use Them)
OK, so you know that oil isn't good for you in large quantities. But everything in moderation, right? Do your heart a favor and reach for one of these healthier cooking oils (instead of vegetable oil) the next time you’re grocery shopping. We’ve also included recipes to help get things, um, cookin’.
Linked to a reduced risk for heart disease, stroke and certain cancers, this one is the Superman of oils (if Superman were a Greek god). Its mild flavor makes it a healthy substitute for butter when baking, and its inherent skin-improving qualities can work their magic whether you ingest it or apply it topically. Store it in a dark place away from heat (and not next to your stove!).
Heart-healthy fats, vitamin E and antioxidants aside, peanut oil has a light nutty flavor that makes it the oil of choice for frying. No need to refrigerate this guy: He's happy to stay on the bottom shelf of your pantry, just use him up within a few months to avoid spoilage.
Try it: Mozzarella Bites
Although it's similar to olive oil in fat and caloric content, sesame oil has a bolder flavor that's often used in Asian cooking. But use sparingly; this one packs a punch, and is best as a finishing touch. Because it goes rancid so fast, it's best to store sesame oil away from high heat or bright light. Your cupboard is the perfect place.
Try it: Cold Sesame Cucumber Noodles
Great for high-heat cooking as well as in salad dressings and cold soups, this oil contains monounsaturated fats like oleic acid (read: the really good kind) that help lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Basically, it's a cooking oil powerhouse. You can keep your avo oil in the cupboard or refrigerate to make it last longer.
Try it: Avocado Oil Gazpacho
This tropical oil smells great and is rich in healthy fats. It also contains lauric acid, a compound known for its helpful ability to kill bacteria that can cause infections. If you're not into its slightly sweet flavor, try it in your beauty routine: It's incredibly versatile. Coconut oil is best kept in a cool, dark place like your pantry (if you want it to remain solid at room temperature).
Walnut oil has a (surprise) nutty, rich taste but without the familiar bitterness of actual walnuts. Packed with omega-3s, it's best used in cold to medium-heat cooking, so try this one on a salad or as the finishing touch to a dish. Store walnut oil in a cool, dark place for up to six months or in your fridge to extend the shelf life.
Try it: Green Lentil Salad
Made by slowly simmering butter and straining out the milk solids, ghee is lactose-free, contains no milk proteins and has a super-high smoke point. When made from grass-fed butter, it retains those good-for-you vitamins and minerals. Ghee can last for a few months without refrigeration, or you can store it in the fridge for up to a year.
Try it: South Indian Wedding-Style Rice
This oil is highly flavored (some might say funky), so it’s best used sparingly: try mixing with a more neutral oil in a salad dressing, or using just a drizzle as a finishing touch to any dish. Flaxseed oil is sensitive to heat, so avoid hot applications and store it in the fridge.
A neutral flavor and high smoke point make this oil a perfect substitute for vegetable oil. It's packed with vitamin E and omegas 3, 6 and 9, as well as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. It's versatile enough for savory and sweet applications, so try swapping it for butter in your next recipe. Psst: Grapeseed oil can even become the star of your beauty routine. Store it in a cool, dark place (like your fridge) for up to six months.
Try it: Grapeseed Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies