7 Fats You Need in Your Kitchen

Are you confused about which fats and oils to cook with?

We learned about the need for this part of our diet in The Truth About Fats & Oils. But, it’s crucial that we choose the right oils to cook with.

Below I have listed the five fats and oils I use in my kitchen after 35 years of research and hands on experimentation.

Each has amazing health benefits that don’t degrade during the cooking process.

Olive oil, a healthy staple in my kitchen.

1.  Extra-virgin olive oil

  • The best fat to use as a salad dressing.
  • Also good to pour a little on top of cooked grains or vegetables once they are on your plate.
  • Do not use for high-heat oven cooking. It has a low smoke point of 320°F and heat makes it susceptible to oxidative damage.
  • Extra light olive oil (highly processed oil) has a high smoke point of 468°F.

Olive oil has so many health benefits I include a little every day when I eat my salad. Learn more about the Health Benefits of Olive Oil

The more unrefined the almond oil, the greater the almond taste.

2. Almond oil (refined)

  • High smoke point of about 420°F .
  • Great for sautéing, stir fries, baking and also good in desserts because of its natural almond flavor.
  • For gourmet cooking, look for the more flavorful cold-pressed almond oil where it can be appreciated for its delicate, nutty flavor. It is best not to cook at high temperatures with it.
  • Almonds themselves have many health benefits. They are one of the few alkaline protein sources.

Almond oil has a light, clean flavor that does not alter the taste of the foods I am using it to cook with. Learn more about the Benefits and Use Of Almond Oil

Ghee has been used in cooking and medicines for thousands of years.

3.  Ghee

Ghee is a purified form of clarified butter used as cooking oil throughout India. It has been purified of all moisture and solids so it can be used at higher temperatures and is much more resistant to becoming rancid than clarified butter.

  • “Highish” smoke point between 410 – 485°F depending on the purity of the ghee.
  • Great in soups, stews, curries, very light heat stir fries.

I use this when making curry dinners and my favorite popcorn treat Curried Popcorn.  Read all about the Health Benefits of Ghee.

4.  Coconut Oil Extra Virgin:

  • Unrefined coconut oil (which you definitely want for health benefits) melts at 76°F and smokes at 350°F.  It is is not good for very high temperature frying but good for lower temperature sautéing.
  • Great in soups, stews, curries, and very light heat stir fries.
  • Wonderful for baking cookies, cakes and pies and chocolate making.
  • Simply add a spoonful on top of your porridge instead of butter, or on your potatoes or vegetables.

It is slow to oxidize so is resistant to rancidity.  It will last up to two years due to its high saturated fat content. It is best stored in solid form below 76°F.

Make sure you buy organic unrefined coconut oil as many commercial coconut oils are refined, bleached, and deodorized containing chemicals. This is my favorite: Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil

Sesame oil is very high in antioxidants.

5.  Sesame Oil

  • Sesame oil may be the oldest condiment on earth. It has a strong taste, so I often use it in oriental dishes.
  • The smoke point ranges from 350 – 450°F
  • Light sesame oil has a high smoke point and is suitable for deep-frying, while dark sesame oil often used in Asian cuisine (from roasted sesame seeds) has a lower smoke point and is unsuitable for deep-frying but good for light stir frying, or for making an omelet.

It is revered in the Ayurvedic tradition as having potent medicinal powers. Learn more:  17 Benefits of Sesame Oil.

The Highest Smoke Point Oil That I Do Not Use

Avocado oil has many benefits -- but for cost reasons -- I don't keep it in my kitchen at this time.

6. Avocado Oil

  • Very high smoke point of 500°F!  It can withstand the heat, and is full of healthy fats.
  • Great for sautéing, stir fries, frying, baking — and great in dressings too.
  • It’s expensive.

The Lowest Smoke Point Oil to Never Cook With

Due to its stronger taste and tendency to spoil, I mostly use flax oil as a supplement.

7. Flax seed Oil

  • Never cook with flax seed oil. It has a very low smoke point of 225°F.
  • You can use a little in salad dressing.

How Much Oil To Use? Warning!

Oil is essential in our diet. I even use in in my specialized diets and detoxes.

That being said, oil is a fat and too much can make you fat. One tablespoon contains 120 fat calories. Therefore:

  • I include just enough to get the health benefits or the necessary cooking effect.
  • I use the minimum I can in my healthy baking and even in my healthy chocolate.
  • I lighten many of my salad dressings simply by adding water to the recipe.

Enjoy!

 

Related
Why Olive Oil is the Healthiest Fat on Earth
Top 5 Fat-Burning Fruits
5 Healthy Replacements for 5 Unhealthy Foods

136 comments

Elisabeth H.
Elisabeth H.22 days ago

Informative, Thank you, I love some of them

Mary F.
Mary F.27 days ago

Depending on what meal I was planning to prepare most of these oils would go rancid before getting used up! I stick with olive oil in all its varieties and coconut oil because it has so many other uses besides cooking!

Rhonda B.
Rhonda B.about a month ago

TYFS:)

Iskrica Knežzevic
Iskrica Knežzevicabout a month ago

thank you

Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne Rogers1 months ago

TYFS

Helga Ganguly
Helga Ganguly1 months ago

For those that say ghee is oily- it's an oil. What do you expect? Grits? Of course it's oily. We eat it with the simplest of foods- kitchris. In rainy weather, we have sloppy kitchri with papad and egg omelet and beguni.And at Loki Puja we have a dry kitchri with Labra and shingara and Luchhi and ghee poured lightly over the Labra, a mix of 5 vegetables. The smoky flavor of the ghee makes the flavor even better somehow. It is vegetarian puja dedicated to the Goddess Lakshmi so no onions,garlic or ginger. But butter or Ghee is always allowed.

Helga Ganguly
Helga Ganguly1 months ago

I use ghee and olive oil. Ghee is good enough for a billion Hindus.It's good enough for me. Must everything be vegan? What would Krishna say?

Veronica Danie
Veronica Danie1 months ago

Thank You!

Jan L.
Jan L.1 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

Carole R.
Carole R.1 months ago

Good to know.