Smoke Point of Oils for Heathy Cooking

Date: 04/17/2012    Written by: Jennifer Good

Healthiest Cooking Oil Comparison Chart with Smoke Points and Omega 3 Fatty Acid Ratios

Cooking Oil Smoke Points ChartTrying to find the healthiest cooking oil can be a daunting task.  One one hand, you want to cook with an oil that has a high flash (smoke) point, but you also need to use a cooking oil that has a healthy balance of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids--and even better if the oil is loaded with antioxidants and vitamins!  Knowing the smoke point of oils is important because heating oil to the point where the oil begins to smoke produces toxic fumes and harmful free radicals.  Check out our healthiest cooking oil comparison chart below to help alleviate the confusion!

Considerations:  for high temperature cooking, select cooking oils with a high smoke point.  For low temperature cooking, or adding to dishes and salad dressings, chose oils with a higher Omega-3 fatty acids since they promote healthy cells and decrease stroke and heart attack risk.  They are also known for their anti-inflammatory action.  Although you need Omega-6 fatty acids to maintain cell wall integrity and provide energy for the heart, too much Omega-6 fatty acids can increase inflammation in the body.  Also, cooking oils high in Omega 9 is a good way to go. Omega-9 fatty acids are considered to be "conditionally essential," which means that although your body produces them, they aren't produced in meaningful quantities. Consuming omega-9 fatty acids such as oleic acid lowers the risk of heart attacks, arteriosclerosis, and aids in cancer prevention.

 

Cooking Oils / Fats

Smoke Point °C

Smoke Point °F

Omega-6: Omega-3 Ratio
(plus other relevant fat information)

Unrefined flaxseed oil

107°C

225°F

1:4

Unrefined safflower oil

107°C

225°F

133:1

Unrefined sunflower oil

107°C

225°F

40:1

Unrefined corn oil

160°C

320°F

83:1

Unrefined high-oleic sunflower oil

160°C

320°F

40:1, 84% monosaturated

Extra virgin olive oil

160°C

320°F

73% monounsaturated, high in Omega 9

Unrefined peanut oil

160°C

320°F

32:1

Semirefined safflower oil

160°C

320°F

133:1, (75% Omega 9)

Unrefined soy oil

160°C

320°F

8:1 (most are GMO)

Unrefined walnut oil

160°C

320°F

5:1

Hemp seed oil

165°C

330°F

3:1

Butter

177°C

350°F

9:1, Mostly saturated & monosaturated

Semirefined canola oil

177°C

350°F

2:1
[ (56% Omega 9), 80% Canola is GMO.]

Coconut oil

177°C

350°F

86% healthy saturated, lauric acid (has antibacterial, antioxidant, and antiviral properties).  Contains 66% medium chain triglycerides (MCTs).

Unrefined sesame oil

177°C

350°F

138:1

Semirefined soy oil

177°C

350°F

8:1

Vegetable shortening

182°C

360°F

mostly unhealthy saturated, Trans Fat

Lard

182°C

370°F

mostly unhealthy saturated

Macadamia nut oil

199°C

390°F

1:1, 80% monounsaturated, (83% Omega-9)

Canola oil (Expeller Pressed)

200°C

400°F

2:1, 62% monounsaturated, 32% polyunsaturated

Refined canola oil

204°C

400°F

3:1, 80% of Canola in US in GMO.

Semirefined walnut oil

204°C

400°F

5:1

High quality (low acidity) extra virgin olive oil

207°C

405°F

13:1, 74% monosaturated (71.3% Omega 9)

Sesame oil

210°C

410°F

42:1

Cottonseed oil

216°C

420°F

54:1

Grapeseed oil

216°C

420°F

676:1, (12% saturated, 17% monounsaturated)

Virgin olive oil

216°C

420°F

13:1, 74% monosaturated (71.3% Omega 9)

Almond oil

216°C

420°F

Omega-6 only

Hazelnut oil

221°C

430°F

75% monosaturated (no Omega 3, 78% Omega 9)

Peanut oil

227°C

440°F

32:1

Sunflower oil

227°C

440°F

40:1

Refined corn oil

232°C

450°F

83:1

Palm oil

232°C

450°F

46:1, mostly saturated and monosaturated

Palm kernel oil

232°C

450°F

82% saturated (No Omega 3)

Refined high-oleic sunflower oil

232°C

450°F

39:1, 84% monosaturated

Refined peanut oil

232°C

450°F

32:1

Semirefined sesame oil

232°C

450°F

138:1

Refined soy oil

232°C

450°F

8:1 (most are GMO)

Semirefined sunflower oil

232°C

450°F

40:1

Olive pomace oil

238°C

460°F

74% monosaturated, high in Omega 9

Extra light olive oil

Ghee (Clarified Butter)

242°C

252°C 

468°F

485°F 

74% monosaturated, high in Omega 9

0:0, 62% saturated fat  

Rice Bran Oil

254°C

490°F

21:1, Good source of vitamin E & antioxidants

Refined Safflower oil

266°C

510°F

133:1 (74% Omega 9)

Avocado oil

271°C

520°F

12:1, 70% monosaturated, (68% Omega-9 fatty acids)
High in vitamin E.

 

 

Jon Barron's Final Recommendation For Healthiest Cooking Oils:

The bottom line is that when possible, buy and use organic, unrefined, cold-processed vegetable oils. Use extra virgin olive oil in salads or to add to cooked foods, but not for high temperature cooking. Unrefined walnut oil is also good, but again only for low temperature uses.

You can use virgin coconut oil (high in beneficial saturated fats and medium chain triglycerides) for most mid-temperature cooking. However, coconut oil has a smoke point of about 350 degrees F (171 C), which means it is not suitable for high temperature cooking. Other choices include virgin olive oil and even butter in small amounts.

Use avocado oil for high temperature cooking. Avocado oil has a very high smoke point by comparison to other cooking oils. It will not burn or smoke until it reaches 520 F (271 C), which is ideal for searing meats and frying in a Wok. Another good cooking oil is rice bran oil 495 F(257 C).  Again, look for organic, cold-processed oil.

Additional Articles on Cooking Oils:

Click for Related Articles

Comments

  •  
    Submitted by Jassica Nia on
    March 11, 2016 - 3:10am

    Thank you so much for your informative article- it really helps!!!

  •  
    Submitted by Verity on
    March 28, 2016 - 6:46pm
    Sydney ,

    Thanks for a very useful, quick-reference table! And the links to other more detailed articles.

  •  
    Submitted by Lucinda on
    April 16, 2016 - 11:15am
    Calabasas , California

    Very useful. Thank you !

  •  
    Submitted by Craig H on
    May 13, 2016 - 7:30am
    Virginia

    I see that you have 3 levels of SOY oil: unrefined, semi-refined, & refined all with different smoke points which makes sense.

    Then at the bottom of the table you have SOYBEAN oil with an even higher smoke point.

    Can you clarify the difference? This seems quite confusing as I would think SOY oil is the same as SOYBEAN oil but maybe I am wrong here. I look forward to hearing back from someone!

  •  
    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    May 16, 2016 - 3:30pm

    This was fixed, thanks for asking!

  •  
    Submitted by Alistair on
    July 18, 2016 - 10:39pm
    Emeryville , California

    Hello & thanks for really useful info.

    You have butter listed but not clarified butter (also known as ghee). I believe ot has a higher smoke point than butter. I wondered whether it's omegas are somilar to butter's - or whether the removal of milk fats in the clarification process alters this?

    Regards.

  •  
    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    July 20, 2016 - 11:09am

    Yes, you are correct. Clarified butter has a higher smoke point (485 °F or 252 °C) than regular butter (325-375 °F or 163-190 °C). Omega-6 to omega-3 ratio: 1.6:1. Saturated fatty acids: 62.2%

  •  
    Submitted by David Geliebter on
    July 21, 2016 - 4:58pm
    Brooklyn , New York

    Hi,
    I read that "In order to be legally labeled "extra virgin", the free fatty acid content of an olive oil must be 0.8% or less." The table on this page lists smoke points for 1) Extra virgin olive oil and 2) High quality (low acidity) extra virgin olive oil. If all EVOO is low acid, what is the difference between these two types of oil and how can I tell from the bottle which type it is?

    All the best,
    David.

  •  
    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    July 27, 2016 - 11:21am

    Low acidity is important in extra virgin olive oil because the lower the percentage of oleic acid, the higher the quality of the olive oil. The term oleic means related to, or derived from, oil or olive. Oleic acid is a naturally-occurring mono-unsaturated omega-9 fatty acid found in various animal and vegetable sources. The degree of acidity referred to in extra virgin olive oil refers to the proportion of free fatty acids, not to the taste. Virgin olive oil has about 3.0% acid. Extra virgin olive oil has about 0.8% acid. But to be truly great extra virgin olive oil, it must be virtually free of acidity, running less than 0.25%. The higher the content of acidity the more unpleasant is the flavor of the oil. Different factors are responsible for the level of acidity in the production of olive oil, but quality of the soil is of utmost importance. Good harvesting and pressing practices are also important. Olives should not be harvested from the trees and not picked off the ground. Pressing equipment should be kept clean and olives should be processed shortly after picking in order assure low acidity and better overall quality. Incidentally, purchasing your olive oil from a trusted merchant is the best way to ensure that you get high quality extra virgin olive oil!

  •  
    Submitted by Patrick Booth on
    February 2, 2017 - 12:20pm
    Yacht cruising ,

    I make and use a lot of ghee.
    What is the smoke point, and what, if any, are the benefits?
    I fine the flavour difference between oil and ghee remarkable.

  •  
    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    February 6, 2017 - 3:13pm

    We added ghee to the list, thanks for the note.  I would google ghee to see some of the health benefits since there are some studies about it.  

  •  
    Submitted by Feral on
    February 11, 2017 - 4:24pm
    Bristol ,

    Thank you for this compilation.

    can anyone enlighten me on any of these ponderings?..

    1) is it not relevant to give information on the quantity of fatty acids contained in the oils as well as the ratios?

    2) where do the other fatty acids come in to it? (3, 7 ect)

    3) Is the fatty acid ratio of coconut oil irrelevant due to the small amount it contains?

    4) how come you haven't added camelina or mustard oil to the list?

    5) if it has a ratio of 0:0, which is better than any other high flash point oil, why isn't ghee a suggested cooking / frying product?

  •  
    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    February 12, 2017 - 10:25am

    Some of your questions can be answered by looking at the links at the bottom or the article for further reading.  Don't miss the first link!

  •  
    Submitted by Henry on
    February 15, 2017 - 10:58pm
    Taiwan ,

    There are three types of peanut oils ("unrefined peanut oil", "peanut oil" and "refined peanut oil"). What are the differences between the first two types in terms of processing methods?

  •  
    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    February 16, 2017 - 11:50am

    This is actually really important to understand.  Read this:  https://jonbarron.org/article/refined-death

  •  
    Submitted by Sandra on
    March 6, 2017 - 4:49pm

    What?!
    I just need to know the smoke point of regular Canola!
    All the bottle says is "Canola from Canada." And that is the only ingredient it lists. But what kind of Canola is it? It's Publix brand, BTW. Just need to know smoke point!
    Thx.

  •  
    Submitted by James taylor on
    April 18, 2017 - 2:27am

    This could be a hugely useful article. But without referencing the sources of the information, it is rendered worthless. Please can you provide references?!

    Thank you :)

  •  
    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    April 18, 2017 - 3:45pm

    Most of this information is readily available online by simply doing a search on the oil you are interested in.  What we did was condense a lot of research into a single graph for usability for our readers. What specific question do you have? 

  •  
    Submitted by Fuentes on
    June 14, 2017 - 12:18am

    Cooking oil is not an easy task, especially when you want to make the healthy oil. But, your post truly gets our wonders removed. Thanks for sharing!

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