7 of the Healthiest Cooking Oils for Clean Eating

Olive Oil and Olives
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While you have plenty of options when it comes to choosing the right cooking oil for sautéing, frying, baking or drizzling, some oils are healthier than others. Find some important information on the best healthy cooking oils.

Oils with lower smoking points break down more easily as soon as they reach that point, releasing harmful free-radicals that can wreak havoc inside your body.

Best Healthy Cooking Oils

If you want to find the best and healthiest cooking oils, you’ve come to the right place. We will cover the main characteristics of each of these cooking oils to give you an overview on their benefits.

1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

olive oil in a gravy boat

Olive oil is an all-around versatile staple in many kitchens. All nutrition experts agree that one of the healthiest cooking oils is olive oil as long as it is extra virgin, i.e. unrefined and non-processed.

This oil contains a high amount of monounsaturated fats along with some polyunsaturated fatty acids, making it extremely beneficial for heart health. The main health benefit is olive oils high level of antioxidants in the form of polyphenols.

Total Fat in One Tablespoon in Olive Oil

  • Saturated Fat – 2.2grams
  • Polyunsaturated Fat – 1.5grams
  • Monounstatured Fat – 10grams
  • Vitamin E Daily Value (DV) – 33%

Olive Oil is an incredibly popular oil but has it’s limit with a low smoke point, so it’s best to use it for low to medium heat cooking (not recommend for frying or roasting at temperatures higher than 350 °F). It’s ideal for drizzling and sautéing as well as perfect for most salad dressing recipes or simply to use alone on all types of fresh greens and vegetable salads.

Primary Benefits: antioxidants and high monounsatured fats

2. Avocado Oil

avocado oil is another one of the best healthy cooking oils

Avocado Oil has the “healthy-eating community” is becoming obsessed with this cooking oil because of its high monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat content as well as vitamin E. It has a neutral flavor and creamy texture, making it ideal for all types of cooking.

Another fantastic characteristic with avocado oil is that it has a high smoke point (nearly 400 °F), so you can easily use it at a higher heat such as for stir frying, sautéing and roasting.

Total Fat in One Tablespoon in Avocado Oil

  • Saturated Fat – 2.2grams
  • Polyunsaturated Fat – 2.0grams
  • Monounstatured Fat – 10grams
  • Vitamin E Daily Value (DV) – 23%

Avocado oil has a wonderfully mild taste so it is perfect in all dressings and sauteing plus works well for baking. I use avocado oil in all my cookie, cakes, muffin, coffee cake recipes. This must-try cookie recipe . I have adjusted this recipe to use avocado oil has the primary fats and they are delicious!

Seasoning Cast Iron with Avocado Oil

If you cook with cast iron pans and skillets, then make sure to take a look at how to season your cast iron with avocado oil. Due to the high smoke point of avocado oil, it works perfectly for restoring the non-stick finish in all cast iron.

Primary Benefits: very mild taste, high in monounsatured fats plus may help reduce inflammation and blood pressure

Made with Healthy Oils!

3. Coconut Oil

Coconut cracked open on a table

There’s some debate over the use of coconut oil for cooking because of it high saturated fat content. This is what makes the oil solid at room temperature. However, research says that not all saturated fats are bad for you which has been in the news boasting that coconut oil is a superfood.

Refined coconut oil has virtually no taste so works well in all types of dishes and smoothies. But, the unrefined version definitely has a coconut taste so if you love this flavor the unrefined coconut oil may work well for you.

Coconut oil does not work well in salad dressings due to the fact it is a solid at room temperatures. But, it can be used on steamed vegetables.

If using the refined coconut oil, then sauteing at higher temperatures works well. Refined coconut oil has a smoke point of 450 degrees. But, unrefined coconut oil has a smoke point of 350 degrees so it is not the ideal choice for frying or roasting because of its relatively lower smoke point.  Both types of oil will work well in baking.

This saturated fat contains some medium chain fatty (MCT) acids which have shown promise in helping reduce hunger and may assist in weight loss as this type of fat is slower to breakdown into stored fat.

With all this said, coconut oil is still considered a saturated fat and should be used in moderation as with all saturated fats. Make sure to keep up-to-date on developing research.

Dairy Product Alternative

Coconut oil is actually a very good vegan alternative to butter. You might like this butter flavored coconut oil spread.

Primary Benefits: coconut oil offers many benefits from its being a versatile oil, its anti-microbial properties and it ability to satiate hunger but due to the ongoing research, it is yet to be determined if this saturated oil is healthy.

4. Flax Seed Oil

Flax seeds in a small wooden bowl on a rough wooden table

Flax seed oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids that are proven to prevent heart diseases. So, if you don’t eat a lot of omega-3 rich foods like fish, you should consider including this oil in your diet.

For further understanding on omega-3 fatty acids take a look here.

  • Saturated Fat – 1.0grams
  • Polyunsaturated Fat – 10grams
  • Monounstatured Fat – 3.0grams

With that said, you should know that flax seed oil is extremely sensitive to oxidation and heat so it should only be used for salad dressings or perhaps for preparing hummus. Make sure to store in the refrigerator.

Flax seed oil has a strong taste so start out slowly when adding to smoothies or in salad dressings.

Important tip: Always buy cold-pressed flax seed oil in small bottle. Keep it refrigerated and be sure to use it up by the expiration date.

Primary Benefits: adds important omega-3 fatty acids into the diet which may be good in lowering cholesterol levels.

5. Sesame Seed Oil

sesame seed oil is one of the best healthy cooking oils

Sesame seed oil is a highly flavorful oil that is again a good source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

  • Saturated Fat -1.9grams
  • Polyunsaturated Fat – 6.0grams
  • Monounstatured Fat – 5.0grams

Refined sesame oil has a relatively high smoke point of 410 degrees so is suitable for frying. But, unrefined sesame oil’s smoke point is 350 degrees so should not be used at higher temperatures.

The flavor is nutty but will lend itself nicely to certain main dishes, pasta, rices or other grains. Unrefined Sesame oil can be drizzled over salads, light sautéing and low heat stir frying. You may not want to use sesame oil to prepare every dish but for those dishes that lend themselves to the sesame-like flavor this might just be the oil for you.

Also, consider using tahini which is a spread made from sesame seeds. Tahini is rich in nutrients and a very versatile kitchen staple mainly as an ingredient in hummus, sauces and dressings.

Primary Benefits: sesame seed oil is high in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. It has many science-backed documented health benefits, for an overview of the many sesame seed oil benefits look here.

6. Walnut Oil

walnut oil is one of the best healthy cooking oils

Walnut oil brings a lot of health benefits because of it high omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acid content. It keeps inflammation in check and prevents the effects of harmful free radicals inside your body.

  • Saturated Fat – 1.2grams
  • Polyunsaturated Fat – 9.0grams
  • Monounstatured Fat – 3.1grams
  • Vitamin E Daily Value (DV) – 33%

There a many benefits to Walnut oil but one main drawback. Due to its low smoke point, Walnut oil cannot be used for cooking. But you can use it a number of other ways to enjoy its nutritional benefits.

This slightly nutty tasting oil can be used to drizzle over pancakes, freshly cut fruits, salads and ice cream. You can even add a little of this oil when making smoothies or milkshakes to enhance the flavor of the drink as well as add to its nutritional value.

Primary Benefits: walnut oil is a heart healthy oil rich in phytonutrients. It is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and has many vitamins and minerals.

7. Hemp Seed Oil

hemp seeds make oil for cooking

Cold pressed hemp seed oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids as well as vitamins, making it an excellent healthy choice. However, it has a low smoking point so you cannot use it for deep frying or roasting.

  • Saturated Fat – 1.0grams
  • Polyunsaturated Fat – 11grams
  • Monounstatured Fat – 2.0grams

It’s best used when drizzled over salads or roasted vegetables. You can also use it for sautéing purposes, creamy soft butter spread and in smoothies!

Primary Benefits: hemp seed oil has the perfect ratio of 3:1 for omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids which why may help boost your immune system.

It’s a Wrap…..on the Best Healthy Cooking Oils

There you have it! This is our list of the best healthy cooking oils. Let us know which ones you are going to try the next time you cook.

As with all foods, make sure your cooking oils are fresh to insure the best and healthiest benefits for you.

Rancid cooking oils are dangerous and super unhealthy. Plus, they taste awful. Always watch the expiration dates closely and discard outdated cooking oils.

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These are simple suggestions for healthy cooking oils. Make sure to check with your healthcare provider if you have any dietary restrictions or special health needs.

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