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Cooking Oil Smoke Points: The Ultimate Guide

How many times has this happened to you? You’re about to cook up something tasty for dinner, you put your oil in the pan, wait for it to get nice and hot, and before you know it the kitchen is engrossed in a smoky, gross smelling mess. Ugh! What if we told you that it could be the oil that you’re using that’s causing the kitchen smoke out? To prevent this problem, it’s important to understand cooking oil smoke points. Here’s what you need to know.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the most popular cooking oils, determine their smoke points, and offer some notes on recipe use. No more smoky kitchens or gross tasting burnt food!

What Is A Smoke Point?

The smoke point is the temperature at which an oil begins to burn. More specifically, it’s when the molecules and larger compounds break down, causing the oil to smoke. The result of pushing an oil past its smoke point is terribly bitter, scorched, and burnt tasting food—yuk.

How Is Oil Made?

Each oil has a different smoke point, which is determined by how the oil was produced. Depending on the type of oil, it all starts with a seed, plant or fruit that is rich in fat. These items are mashed and then pressed to extract the oil. That oil is then refined, filtered and processed to produce the final product.

Generally, the less filtered the oil, the lower the smoke point. This is due to larger compounds being present in the oil that can burn faster. The more filtered the oil, the higher the smoke point—because smaller compounds can take the heat.

Smoke Points For Popular Oils

Oil Type Smoke Point
Avocado Oil 525 F
Extra Virgin Olive Oil 325 F
Peanut Oil 450F
Coconut Oil 350 F
Grapeseed Oil 425 F
Sesame Oil 350 F
Soybean Oil 450 F
Sunflower Oil 440 F
Corn Oil 450 F

Now that you have some background on what smoke points are, let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular cooking oils:

Avocado Oil

smoke point: 525°F

Avocado oil is made by pressing the pulp of the avocado, not the seed or skin. This oil is usually naturally refined (little to no chemicals used) and contains some of the greatest health benefits of most of the oils on this list. Avocado oil is perfect for all high heat cooking applications, and it makes wonderful salad dressings as well!

Shop Avocado Oil

 

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

smoke point: 325°F

Extra Virgin is the classification given to olive oils (or any other oils) made without the use of chemicals, solvents or high heat extraction. It may also be referred to as “cold pressed” oil. EVOO, since it still has many of its original compounds, should not be used for high heat cooking methods. It will burn quickly. Light heat applications, like poaching, are ideal. Or, use it as a finishing element to a dish or salad dressing.

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Peanut Oil

smoke point: 450°F

Peanut oil is made from crushed shelled peanuts, produced much in the same manner as light olive oil. With a very high smoke point, it is ideal for deep frying and wok frying. It is very popular in Asian cuisines.

Coconut Oil

smoke point: 350°F

Coconut oil is made by extracting the meat of the coconut and expelling the oil either through pressing dried coconut or emulsifying wet coconut and separating out the oil. It’s best used in place of butter or margarine in certain cooking applications (baking, especially) due to its lower smoke point.

Grapeseed Oil

smoke point: 425°F

Grapeseed oil is made by mashing and pressing grape seeds, often the by-product seeds of wine or grape juice production. This oil has a number of health plugs championing it’s benefits A good choice for either salad dressing or cooking applications (sautéing, especially).

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Sesame Oil

smoke point: 350°F

There are two different types of sesame oil: toasted sesame oil (great for finishing a dish or marinating) and refined sesame oil (lighter in color, smell and flavor). Refined sesame oil is best used for low heat cooking like poaching or a light sauté. Both can be used for marinating meats or vegetables before grilling or stir frying.

Soybean Oil

smoke point: 450°F

Soybean oil is made in a similar method to peanut oil. The beans are pressed and filtered with the result being a light-colored oil with little imparting flavor. Soybean oil is very versatile and great for all cooking applications, especially deep frying, baking or sautéing.

Sunflower Oil

smoke point: 440°F

Sunflower oil is made by crushing, mashing and filtering sunflower seeds into a fine oil. This is another great all-purpose oil that’s perfect for just about any and cooking method.

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Corn Oil

smoke point: 450°F

Corn oil is made from the corn kernel, the endosperm (maize). The kernel is mashed and pressed expelling the oil and then is further refined to produce an oil practically removed of flavor and impurities. This makes corn oil a very high heat, stable cooking oil that’s great for deep frying and pan searing.

Shop Tantillo Cooking Oils

Now that you’re well versed on the finer points of cooking oil smoke points, it’s time to stock up on your favorite oils.

Tantillo Foods offers a robust selection of cooking oils at affordable prices. From avocado oil to extra virgin olive oil and just about everything in between, shop Tantillo cooking oils today!

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