Different smoking points of cooking oils and why they matter

Not all cooking oils are the same, with some reaching their smoking point at a much lower temperature than others. Discover why this happens, and how it can affect the flavours of your food. 

Different oils have different properties, and as such affect food in different ways. It is important to know which type of cooking oil you should be using and why.

One of the main aspects of cooking oil is its smoking point or flash point. Any budding cook will need to know the different smoking points of oils and which ones to use for certain foods.

As a general rule, the higher an oil’s smoking point, the more refined and processed it is. A higher smoking point means there are more cooking options available through that oil. Low smoking points are fine for lightly sautéing, but if you intend on deep frying, then you’ll need the right tools for the job.

Cooking oils

What is a smoking point?

As the name would suggest, the smoking point is the moment when a cooking oil begins to give off smoke. It hasn’t reached the point of combustion yet, but it’s getting there. When an oil does catch on fire, this is known as the flash point.

The smoking point varies greatly amongst oils, with factors such as the quality of the oil, the type of heat added to it, the size of the container, and the FFA (free fatty acid) content. This last one is particularly important, with oil containing a higher FFA content beginning to break down and smoke sooner.

Why do they matter?

When you cook in an oil that’s gone past its smoke point, you’re not just giving your food a “burnt” flavour. When heated past its smoke point, those natural fats begin to break down, releasing dangerous free radicals. Beneficial nutrients and phytochemicals found in many unrefined oils are also destroyed when the oil reaches its smoking point.

Oils are extracted from nuts and seeds through crushing. When this oil is bottled immediately, it is known as a cold-pressed raw, or “virgin” oil. Virgin oils tend to retain their natural flavour and colour and have a lower smoking point.

To create an oil with a higher smoking point, manufacturers use industrial-level refinement processes like bleaching, filtering, and high-temperature heating. This gets rid of the compounds that don’t do well with heat, allowing for a higher smoking point.

And of course, a lower smoke point usually means a lower flash point. A pan should never be left unattended, but this is especially important for oils with a low cooking temperature. It’s not ok to turn a stove on high, add some oil to the pan and then turn your back and peel some potatoes.

Chef using cooking oil

The Olivado cooking oil range

Our range of products cover every type of cooking oil you will ever need. From raw, virgin oils to specially refined oil specifically for high-heat cooking, you can find what ever you need in our range.

Extra Virgin Avocado oil

Olivado’s extra virgin avocado oil is perfect for gentle heating in a frying pan as well as high heat of up to 255°C. Perfect for pan-frying and wok cooking, it can be drizzled over salads and vegetables for added flavour and goodness.

Coconut oil

Our Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is produced using an advanced cold extraction process which preserves the natural goodness of the coconut flesh without heat or chemicals. The raw white flesh of the coconut is cold pressed and the oil is centrifugally separated and filtered, producing a silky-smooth oil with a smoking point of around 175°C. Great for frying, baking, and sautéing, our Coconut Oil solidifies at temperatures below 25°C, resulting in a smooth pure white wax.

Extra Virgin Olive oil

This premium all-purpose Extra Virgin Oil is perfect for salads, vegetables, and Mediterranean dishes, and has a low smoking point of 160°C. Barnea olives produce a fruity oil with a fresh buttery taste and peppery finish. The peppery flavours in our extra virgin olive oil come from a high content of polyphenols.

Peanut oil

Our Extra Virgin Peanut Oil has a smoking point of around 160°C and is great for Asian and Middle Eastern cooking, salads and sautéing. A light golden oil with a mild peanut flavour. Excellent as a neutral cooking oil.

Sesame oil

Sesame oil has been used for over 4,000 years and contains sesamin and sesaminol. A good source of Vitamin E, this queen of oils has remarkable properties that are only now beginning to be scientifically understood. Recent studies show that sesame oil can assist in the management of cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as in weight reduction. Our extra virgin sesame oil has a mild, nutty flavour and is excellent as a neutral cooking oil, suitable for high heats.

Macadamia nut oil

With a smoking point of 210°C our Extra Virgin Macadamia Nut Oil is perfect for panfrying or using as a butter substitute when baking. This oil contains one of the highest levels of monounsaturated fats (84%) amongst all food oils, contributing to a nutritious and balanced diet. It is also very high in natural antioxidants and contains Omega 3 and Omega 6.

Almond oil

A good source of Vitamin E and Vitamin D, our Cold Pressed Sweet Almond Oil offers versatility for cooking with a high smoking point of 220°C. Originally from South West Asia, Sweet Almond Oil has become an essential ingredient in French and Italian baking and desserts.

High Heat cooking oil

Olivado has developed a High-Heat Cooking oil for everyday use that combines taste and goodness. This blend of Extra Virgin Avocado and Olive Oils together with Sunflower Oil makes for a very mild flavour that provides a blank canvas for your cooking.  A versatile and economic option for stir frying, wok cooking, and roasting, with a smoke point of 220°C.

The Olivado cooking oil Range

Taste the goodness

Our range of Cold Pressed, Extra Virgin oils retain all of their natural goodness and taste with minimal processing.  Grown in NZ or sourced form the best international ingredients the Extra Virgin range provides oils of exceptional quality & nutritional value.

Check out our full range of products by clicking here, or contact us today if you have any questions about our delicious cooking oils.

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Olivado are leading the way in the avocado industry with our approach to regeneration, sustainability and utilising all waste to energy. We work hard to leave our communities and environment in a better state than when we started. We are carbon neutral now and we have made a commitment to be carbon positive by 2022. Shop with us and do your part for the planet.