Cooking Oils, Simplified

Figuring out what kind of oil to use can be a slippery affair
How to Choose Olive Oil

We take a look at how to properly understand the oil you are purchasing


These days, the selection of cooking oils at a typical supermarket can rival the selection of products in the paint aisle at the hardware store — the endless amount of options can be overwhelming.

Click here to see the Cooking Oils, Simplified Slideshow

Refined, unrefined, extra-virgin, extra-light, and, our favorite, expeller-pressed (Ooh là là… what could that be?) — the choices are mind-boggling. And what is vegetable oil, anyway? The world of cooking oils is a vast and mysterious one.

But, as usual, The Daily Meal is here to simplify your life, at least as far as cooking is concerned. That’s why we’ve put together the low-down on cooking oils. Because sometimes, all anyone is looking for is something to keep their meat from sticking to the skillet, or an unassuming base for a flavorful marinade.

Click here to see Marinades Made Easy

And sometimes, you're looking for something with a bit more flavor and mouthfeel. So we’ve gathered together the vitals on just about every cooking oil you’re likely to encounter in the store, including a brief explanation on their popular uses and nutrition facts. And, just for fun, we also pulled some information on (estimated) smoke points of each oil from Cooking for Engineers. That reminds us — some definitions are definitely needed, and for that, you'll want to read on to the slideshow.

Who knew that cooking oils could be so exciting?

Will Budiaman is the Recipe Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @WillBudiaman.

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