Different Types of Cooking Oils and their Uses

by Sanjeev Kapoor

An important ingredient that is used in almost every dish is oil, not only is this ingredient one that is versatile in terms of its uses but also with respect to the flavor that they provide. Now we’re sure you’re wondering that the only factor that should affect the type of oil you use are its health benefits and that it is better to use one type of oil for everything, however that’s where you’re wrong. First off it is important to know that each oil has its own health benefits and sets of uses which mean that you should be mindful of what oil you use and how you use it. Therefore through this article we will be helping you get a better understanding of the different types of oils and their uses.

Rice Bran Oil

As you may have figured out already rice bran oil is derived from the outer shell of brown rice and is actually quite popular in South Asian countries.Since rice bran oil has a high smoke point it can be used for several things such as sautéing, stir fries and deep frying. In terms of the health benefits of rice bran oil, data suggests that since rice bran oil has a good balance of fatty acids it can help in regulating cholesterol levels and as a result is good for your heart. However rice bran oil has 33 % polyunsaturated fats and this is bad as when heated they can form harmful compounds. Therefore it could be suggested that while rice bran oil does have some benefits and is not very bad for your health either it is fine if you continue using it however it would be better to switch to other healthier oils.

Coconut Oil

Over the past few years coconut oil has become increasingly popular and soon you too should begin using this oil in your daily life. Coconut oil is oil that is rich in fats and is known to give a tropical and coconutty flavor to the dish its being used in. Since it has a high smoke point coconut oil can be used in high heat cooking and is used especially in non dairy baked goods and in vegan dishes. However it is important to know not to use coconut oil in vinaigrettes and marinades as it becomes a solid at room temperature. Furthermore in terms of the health benefits it could be said that coconut oil can help boost brain health, weight loss and metabolism.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Often dubbed as the healthiest oil in the world there is no doubt about the nutritional value that extra virgin olive oil has. In fact extra virgin olive oil is known to boost ones cardiovascular health and contains high levels of antioxidants and vitamins. Furthermore when it comes to cooking it would be best to not use extra virgin olive oil as due to its low smoke point it can burn at high temperatures and lose most of its nutrients.  Therefore typically used in dressings, dips and to drizzle over almost every Italian dish. Although unlike extra virgin olive oil you can use regular olive oil for cooking and baking.

Canola Oil

Looking for oil that is multipurpose in use, well in that case canola oil is just the thing that you need. Not only is this oil cheap and available everywhere but it also has numerous health benefits. Firstly canola oil is known to have an almost even ratio of omega -6 to omega -3 fats. This is beneficial as this ratio can help battle asthma, cancer, arthritis and can aid in weight maintenance. Not just that but it can also help reduce cholesterol and reduce skin problems. As mentioned before if you’re looking for an everyday cooking oil this oil is perfect for you as it can withstand high temperatures and since it has a neutral flavor, the taste of the dish won’t be affected. Lastly it is important to realize that the oil will go rancid in approximately one year so it’s best not to buy too much at once.

Sunflower Oil

Derived from sunflower seeds this oil shares several qualities with canola oil .Firstly it has a mild flavor and high smoke point which makes it ideal for everyday cooking and especially for roasting, frying, baking and sautéing. In addition to that since the oil has a slight flavor to it, it can also be used in dressings. With respect to its health benefits, sunflower oil is rich in vitamin E, low in saturated fat, can boost heart health and energy and is known to fight cancer and bad cholesterol. However like canola oil, sunflower oil also will turn rancid quickly and hence it is best to consume it within a year at the most.

Corn Oil

Although thought to be unhealthy in reality corn oil could actually prove to be quite a beneficial tool in your kitchen. For starters it was found that corn oil can reduce bad cholesterol by about 11% which could imply that the oil is in fact heart healthy. However you should be careful of how much corn oil you use and should not use it for daily use as while it has a high smoke point it is also very rich in omega – 6 which although can be beneficial it can also be harmful if a balance is not maintained. Despite that in terms of frying, corn oil is the go to oil as not only can it withstand high temperatures but it also doesn’t have a very strong and prominent flavor.







website of the year 2013
website of the year 2014
website of the year 2016
MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.