As a follow-up to my previous post which outlines the criteria for selecting healthy oils for cooking and baking, I put together a list of my 5 favorite oils for cooking that I use and explain why those are the only ones I ever have in my fridge or pantry. These are the 5 best oils for cooking and baking that I use:
1. Avocado Oil
As far as I’m concerned, avocado oil is the king of all cooking oils. It has a high smoke point so I don’t have to worry about free radicals being released while I’m cooking. Even in it’s purest (i.e. least processed) form, it has a very mild taste which makes it incredibly versatile. I use it in almost every recipe that calls for some type of oil. I use it for roasting vegetables, searing steak in my cast iron pan, making homemade dressings and mayonnaise from scratch.
We use avocado oil so much in my house that I buy it by a gallon-sized jug from Amazon for about $40 and then transfer it into a pourer bottle and a mister bottle to make it easier to use. We cook breakfast and dinner almost every day so a gallon of this brand will usually last us about 3 months.
2. Coconut Oil
We don’t use coconut oil as often as avocado oil but there are some recipes where it just works better. Since it’s solid at room temperature, I love using it to make chocolate covered strawberries (kept in the fridge so that the chocolate shell stays solid). The healthiest version is the one that’s unrefined which means it’s unprocessed. That also means that it has a delicious coconut taste so it’s an excellent addition to desserts and pancakes. Coconut oil can also be used outside of the kitchen to moisturize skin and is perfectly safe for pets’ skin too. We often use it on our dog’s jowls when they get dry and itchy.
I’ve often used Trader Joe’s brand, but I’m not too thrilled about the plastic container it comes in. I’m currently making my way through this product which comes in a glass container.
3. Grass-fed butter
Another fat that we go through a lot of is butter. We use it as our primary fat to bake with and since I’m currently on the ketogenic diet so I use it almost every morning to butter my keto toast and keto waffles. We buy Kerry Gold Unsalted butter in bulk from Costco which will usually last us about a month.
4. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
EVOO is one of the least used oils in our house. I will sometimes drizzle it onto salads or roasted vegetables before I eat them, but this is one oil that I will never cook or bake with. It has a low smoke point which means that it burns easily and thus exposes me to potential free radicals. It also has a heavy olive taste which I love, but don’t want my baked goods tasting like olives.
Since I don’t use EVOO often and I’m using it to drizzle some flavour on my food, I will often splurge for an organic one made in Italy. In my opinion, there’s no country in the world that makes better olive oil than Italy. Once in a while, I’ll get crazy and choose one that is infused with some flavor such as rosemary, lemon garlic or chilli. If you want to experiment with different flavors of EVOO, consider purchasing a sampler pack like this one which includes 4 different flavors.
5. MCT Oil
MCT, or medium-chain triglyceride, oil is actually never used in my house for cooking or baking but I consume it on a daily basis so I thought it deserved to be on the list of my favourite oils. I add MCT oil to my keto lattes every morning. It has no taste and gives me a serious energy boost to start my day. Sometimes I’ll have another latte after lunch just to get the extra calories and healthy fats. It can be used similarly to EVOO to add moisture and boost calories, but since it has little to no taste, I rarely add it to my food.
This is another fat that I stock up on at my local Costco. They usually have 32 oz bottles of Sports Research Organic MCT Oil for $17.99 which is cheaper than what I can buy it for on Amazon ($26.55).
When I’m travelling, I like to have MCT oil capsules with me since I wouldn’t be able to take my 32 oz bottle on the plane with me.
Whether or not you’re following a ketogenic diet, MCT oil is an excellent source of healthy fats. If you’re interested in trying MCT oil, be cautious not to drink too much too soon because it can cause some stomach discomfort if you’re not used to it. Start small and work your way up to a tablespoon or 2.