Oils: Which is the best?

Joined Jun 22, 2006
Coming off from the Organic topic, I was rather worried and shocked to learn of the woes that is Canola (rapeseed) oil. I always thought that amongst the most widely used oils, being Peanut, Sunflower, Soybean, Corn, Coconut, Palm and Canola oil, it was one of the better ones in terms of health and cooking ability (smoke point, neutral flavour (well maybe not the peanut) etc).

Since that isn't the case anymore, which is your oil of choice for 'heavy' (meaning deep frying, sauting, stir-fry etc) cooking?
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Joined Feb 1, 2007
Piracer, what exactly are you looking for.

Canola is a clear, light, neutral oil with a high smoke point. As such, it is considered a very good choice for frying and other culinary purposes.

It's down side is that it's made from a genetically modified plant. If frankenfoods are objectionable to you (as they are to many of us) then you look for an alternative. If that, alone, is not a problem for you, than canola is a good choice.

I'm not familiar with any documentable health concerns assocated with canola. I just won't use it.

That said, my first choice for frying is peanut oil.
Joined Apr 3, 2010
The best??  is there such a thing? Everyone has their own preference. Many cuisines simply use the one thats native to their location. Italian people will swear and only use olive oils. Americans will use corn. Chinese families peanut and sesame where Chinese restaurants will use soybean or Cannola cause it is cheap. Its a toss-up. Use the one you like


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
The canola oil fear mongering is unsubstantiated. Other rapeseed oils have important medical benefits in some cases. See Lorenzo's Oil http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorenzo's_oil

If you don't like canola for whatever reason, don't use it. I use it occasionally as it's a high function economic oil of healthy saturation. There are other oils I like more, grapeseed, peanut, olive, toasted sesame though they all have different applications.

There is little wrong with so called vegetable oil (soy bean oil). There is as much gamesmanship in calling it vegetable oil instead of soy bean oil as most anything else in the oil world.  I tend to pick other oils with more specific properties but use it too on occasion.
Joined Aug 21, 2009
I use a few oils.  When I deep fry it's either vegetable or canola (whatever is on sale at the time) and most of the time on the stovetop I use extra virgin olive oil.  When I make an Asian dinner I use a little sesame oil for flavour and for salad dressings I use a fifty-fifty mix of extra virgin olive oil and vegetable (or canola) oil.  I do that mostly because I don't care for the heavy flavour of the extra virgin oil on my salad and I like a lighter tasting dressing. 
Joined Feb 19, 2003
Canola's ... down side is that it's made from a genetically modified plant. If frankenfoods are objectionable to you (as they are to many of us) then you look for an alternative.
What plant is canola oil made from? 

I never heard of a canola plant.

Aren't most of the vegetables grown now genetically modified to grow bigger, tastier, be hardier, etc.? 
Joined Nov 18, 2011
Which one is the best?  Lol...I use about 4 different oils on a regular basis, all dependent on what I am cooking.  The two I use the most are canola oil and olive oil, but I also use peanut oil and toasted sesame oil frequently.  For frying things I've always used canola oil, for the same reasons most people use it.
Joined Jan 4, 2011
OK. I'm feeling really off. It's just been announced the   QB, Jay Cutler has a broken thumb. Oh well. 

This definition/explanation is from, yeah, you guessed it, .

Canola refers to a cultivar of either Rapeseed (Brassica napus L.) or Field Mustard (Brassica campestris L. or Brassica Rapa var.). Its seeds are used to produce edible oil suitable for consumption by humans and livestock. The oil is also suitable for use as biodiesel.

Originally, Canola was bred naturally from rapeseed in Canada by Keith Downey and Baldur R. Stefansson in the early 1970s, but it has a very different nutritional profile in addition to much less erucic acid. The name "canola" was derived from "Canadian oil, low acid" in 1978. Genetically modified rapeseed is sometimes referred to as Rapeseed 00. A product known as LEAR (for low erucic acid rapeseed) derived from cross-breeding of multiple lines of Brassica juncea may also be referred to as canola oil and is considered safe for human consumption.

For no real reason, I don't use it. Almost all the big-name TV people like it though. I use peanut oil for most things unless someone claims an allergy or illness, then I go with olive, because that's what I've got for lots of stuff anyway. My absolute best "deep fried" stuff is done in lard. I don't know anyone, Chinese chefs included, that really "fry" stuff in sesame oil. It's got a very low burn-point, and has a very big overpowering flavor. It is though, great as a flavoring. 
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Joined Sep 27, 2011
for asian dishes that use sesame oil for deep frying i believe it is usually a 9/1 or so mix of a neutral oil to sesame
Joined Jun 11, 2011
As other chefs here have said, there really is no ''best'' oil. It all comes down to what you are cooking. Different foods will adapt with some oils better than others due to taste, cooking heat, time, etc. As far as your worries go, I wouldn't be concerned. Canola oil is one of the more healthy oils on the market today. The only problem with oils are the amounts of calories in them. Anything you read regarding how dangerous Canola oil is, is more than likely a rumor without scientific evidence supporting its theory. 
Joined Apr 3, 2010
Funny! You are worried about cannola(rapeseed) yet as you say" My best deep fried stuff is when I  FRY IN LARD.''

This may taste good but is extremely high in saturated fats and cholesterole which long term affect could be worse the geneticaly made oils. Only time will tell.

PS  I had the pleasure of working with 3 chinese chefs for many years  sessame oil is used more for flavoring  then for actual frying. When they do cook in the wok(extreme hi heat) they mix cooking oil or peanut with sesamme. The fellows I worked with used corn .cannola, or soy oil.
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Joined Jan 30, 2012
If you are deep frying in a restaurant setting , use canola unless you are known for something specific (e.g. Duck fat fries). Frying volume will break your oil down fast and most of the time you do not want to add the flavor from oil to food when frying and make it coat effective as well
Joined Jan 30, 2012
From a restaurant perspective (high volume, economics and guests preference) I would definitely go with Canola Oil.

It's trans-fat free, cholesterol free, relatively cheap and doesn't impart any flavor to the food you are frying.

The whole GMO thing is being blown out of proportion (likely by another oil producer).  For instance two different tomato plants that are crossed and bear a new trait in the fruit isn't scary is it?  

That is all they have done with rapeseed and then renamed the oil for obvious marketing reasons.

Now if they were splicing pig genes/dna into the plants in order to develop pork flavored oils seeds - then I would worry.
Joined Jan 4, 2011
Hey EdB  ... did you misread this? I don't really have any problem w/ canola oil.: 

For no real reason, I don't use [canola oil].
How much different is what I said about Chinese chefs than what You said?
I don't know anyone, Chinese chefs included, that really "fry"  stuff in sesame oil. ... It is though, great as a flavoring.
As for frying in lard ... so what? When done properly at a nice high temp, chicken doesn't come out all soaked-up from the lard. On top of that, eating in moderation is the key. Hydrogenated lard sold to consumers typically contains fewer than 0.5g of transfats per 13g serving. Many chefs and bakers deem lard a superior cooking fat over shortening because of lard's range of applications and taste. Lard is actually healthier (saturated fat - wise)  than butter.

Lard ~ 100g total fat / 39g sat fat (39%) ... Butter ~ 81g total fat / 51g sat fat (63%)

I'm not sayin' to fry in butter. I'm just sayin' that people like to eat butter. 
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Joined Apr 3, 2010

You stated LARD not processed shortning or processed lard. in your original post True lard is usually rendered at home not commercially.
Joined Sep 12, 2011
Here's a nice list


which lets you rank by smoke points.   

We use refined safflower oil when we want a relatively tasteless oil, because of the high smoke point.  It is pricier, though.  Olive and sesame for the flavors. 

The other key for home use, though probably less a problem in restaurants, is being sure oil is stored well and used before it turns.

Pig plants would be way cool!  Time to get down to the lab.
Joined Jan 4, 2011
LOL ... Crack Me Up!!!

Hey EdB ... I'm the guy that loves, uses and promotes both "Jiffy Mix" and "Bisquick".    Do have any belief that I'm gonna render my own lard?!?   I do appreciate however, the credit you give me for doing it. 
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Joined Dec 16, 2011
I use olive oil for just about everything, however deep frying isn't one of the techniques I use often.

For deep-frying and baking, I prefer extra-light flavor olive oil. For other uses, I prefer extra-virgin.

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