Best Oils For Stir Fry

by Tiana Matson

A few years ago, I always thought that all cooking oils are the same but, to my utter surprise, they aren’t. You see, most of the recipes we follow always mention the use of vegetable oil.

They don’t bother telling you which one is best for which meal. but, worry not, today you learn the best oils for stir-frying.

Stir-frying is a Chinese favorite style of cooking and apparently, the kind of oil you use has a great influence on your meal. Unlike what we thought, oil isn’t just a medium to stop the food from sticking on the pan. Rather it flavors your meal giving it a unique flavor, texture and taste.

Understand that the oil you use is depended on whatever you wish to cook.

Best Oils For Stir Fry

General Principals

  • For the high-temperature cooking like deep frying, you need to use refined oils since they can stand high-temperature oils. The oils here have high smoking points than the mechanically pressed ones like extra virgin oil.
  • The oil’s smoke point will vary, this is because of its quality, the impurities. Remember, the smoke point level is also determined by how long you heat your oil.
  • When you keep heating the oil, eventually it must break and it then becomes rancid. It then develops a bad odor and flavor. This kind of oil is harmful to your health in the long run. It causes obesity and cancer.
  • Keep your oils in a cool dark place to prolong their lifespan. Never keep them close to your heating source.
  • When you want to cook at a high-temperature, choose oils that have high smoking points. Similarly, for low-temperature cooking, choose oils with a low smoking point.

The Wok Oil

Most cooking done in the wok is usually high-temperature cooking. This might be stir-frying or frying. In this case, you only need oil that has a high smoking point. In most cases, the Asians use soy oil, vegetable oil and peanut oil to cook since they all have high smoking points.

The peanut oil has a pleasant nutty flavor, the neutral canola oil is also used t cook in the wok. You can also use the corn, soybean and coconut oil.

Below are the Best Oils for Cooking

  1. Extra virgin oil

This is the highest quality oil known to man. It is formed when the olives are mechanically pressed then there’s an application of force to remove the excess water. This oil should be used within 12 months of processing it and only 6 weeks after you open it.

  1. Olive oil

Olive oil

This is another high-quality oil. It’s however made by blending extra virgin oil and lampante oil. This is then chemically processed to obtain a neutral flavour of the oil.

  1. Rice bran-Baja Precious

Baja Precious - Rice Bran Oil, 1 Gallon

This is one of the best oils since it has a high smoking point of 490˚F. This makes it suitable for frying and stir-frying. You can also use it for salad dressing and marination too.

The oil is mechanically refined from the brown rice shell which means it retains the vital nutrients and vitamins.

I like the fact that it’s a balance of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated fats. Its gamma oryzanol is a great antioxidizing component. In Asia, it’s the most common cooking oil that suits the cooking style.

  1. Soybean oil

Soybean oil is another healthy cooking oil that has a smoking point of up to 450˚F.

This is a healthy cooking oil that delivers farm fresh meal to your table. It contains no GMO, no chemicals and no hydrogenation process. The physical pressing method is used to process the oil and this retains the omega fatty acids, vitamins amongst other nutrients.

It contains no trans fats that are known to be harmful to your health and it has a longer shelf life.

  1. Peanut oil- Loriva Oil – Roasted Peanut 

Loriva Oil - Roasted Peanut - Expeller Pressed - 12.7 oz - (Pack of 3 )

Peanut oil like the above oils is one of the best cooking oils and it mostly has a smoke point of up to 450˚F.

The expeller pressed oil is best used for stir-fries and baking too. This is because its smoke point reaches 600˚F. It’s even kosher certified. Using it is an assured way of having a healthy meal on your table.

  1. Corn oil – Mazola Corn Oil

Mazola Corn Oil, 96 oz (Quantity of 3)

Did you know that corn oil lowers your cholesterol level more than olive oil?

Mazola corn oil has plants sterols that block cholesterol oils than other cooking oils. The plant sterols work to block the body’s absorption of bad cholesterol. They are found in nuts, vegetable and corn oil.

The oil doesn’t influence the flavour of your meal as it remains neutral while allowing the food flavour to come out. It works for all kinds of cooking which include sautéing, stir-frying, baking and grilling.

  1. Vegetable oil

This is best described as a plant-based oil that is stable and refined. It’s a little tricky to tell the ingredients used to make it though. It is usually a blend of soybean, safflower, sunflower and canola oil among others.

It works best for deep frying and all other high-temperature cooking.

Iberia 100% Pure Vegetable Oil

Iberia 100% Pure Vegetable Oil, 96 oz, Cholesterol & Sodium Free, Versatile All Purpose Cooking Oil,

The oil suits all kinds of cooking. It contains no cholesterol and only about 14g of fat per meal serving. You can use the oil for baking when you don’t want to use butter. It’s also suitable for sautéing, pan frying and stir-frying.

  1. Sunflower oil- SUNVELLA FryPure Non-GMO Original Sunflower Oil

SUNVELLA FryPure Non-GMO Original Sunflower Oil, Pressed-Refined (1.32 GAL (5.0L))

This is a non-GMO sunflower oil that will make any dish taste great. It’s made by pressing then refining the sunflowers. It acts as a substitute oil to most other cooking. From frying to baking and your salad dressing this oil will never disappoint you.

It contains no cholesterol, additives for preservation and it’s also gluten-free. What’s more, the oil is kosher certified.

  1. Grapeseed oil-Grapeseed Oil by Sky Organics

Grapeseed Oil by Sky Organics - 100% Pure, Natural & Cold-Pressed Grapeseed Oil - Ideal for Massage , Cooking and Aromatherapy- Rich in Vitamin A, E and K- Helps Reduce Wrinkles - 8oz

This product features 100% organic and natural oils made from the grape seeds of Italy. Since it has a high smoke point and neutral flavour it works best for cooking. The oil is a pack of vitamins A, E and K that will fight free radicals.

Soy Bean Oil-Is It Good for Frying?

The soybean oil is low in saturated fat but high in unsaturated fat making it a healthy kind of oil. It has a high smoke point that makes it ideal for deep frying.

Sesame Oil

 sesame oil

This is a product of one of the oldest oilseed crops. Although not so popular, it works best as the vegetable oil substitute. The sesame seeds are more popular in Africa and parts of Asia.

This oil is easy to extract and that is the reason for its popularity today. Mostly to extract the oil, you simply use the various methods of pressing. Nevertheless, there are mechanically extracted oils that are commonly from Australia.

It contains monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which makes it an ideal replacement for butter. It features a strong flavour which means you can use it as an additive to Asian stir-fry meals. Moreover, you can utilize it in your sauces and marinades.

It embodies vitamin E & K which works to enhance your bone strength.

Benefits of using the sesame oil

The oil has a pack of benefits which include:

  • Hair growth

Traditionally this oil was used to retain the hair color while regaining the lost hair and minimizing the continuous hair loss. It has the antibacterial effects that prevent foreign bodies and pathogens from attacking your scalp.

  • It helps to regulate plasma glucose level of your hypertensive diabetics. It further lowers the high blood pressure.
  • Good for skin care

It helps you to develop elasticity and smoothness while reducing the oxidative stress that ultimately causes skin aging.

  • It protects your heart health

It lowers the bad cholesterol level using its polyunsaturated fatty acids. The fatty acids keep your cardiovascular healthy.

  • The minerals in the sesame include calcium, zinc and copper and they help it=n the growth of your bones. It will help you avoid osteoporosis as you age.
  • Recommended by dentists for oral health. if you will partake in the oil pulling method, you will develop whiter teeth and lower the dental plaque. Its antibacterial effects further enhance its quality at oral health.
  • Prevents cancer

The oil contains phytate which has been linked to limiting the development of cancers.

  • Reduces inflammation

The sesame is rich in copper while copper is commonly an anti-inflammatory agent. This will help in the reduction of arthritis and gouts among other illnesses.

  • Baby growth

For those who massage their babies with sesame oil, you will notice that the oil aids in the quicker growth of the little baby.

Uses of sesame oil

  • This oil is commonly used for cooking in Asia and Middle Eastern regions of the world. Specifically, it’s used for stir-frying the Chinese meals, cooking the Japanese dishes and Indian cuisine.
  • You may use it for massaging too.
  • Some people use to produce various cosmetics.

Sesame oil substitutes

To be honest, the oil is a high-level form of oil. However, there may be people concerned about the number of calories present in the oil. Therefore, in such cases, it’s best to use the following substitutes that will equally give you the nutty flavor.

Peanut oil: peanut oil has vastly similar benefits that sesame has. It’s not only delicious in your food but it also gives you the nutty flavor which will suit most Asian cuisines.

Peanut oil

Perilla oil: this oil is commonly used in Korea and it’s said to have similar taste and aroma as does sesame oil. It contains omega 3 fatty acids and will send away the symptoms of breast cancer, obesity, blood clotting and asthma.

Walnut oil: this oil imparts the nutty flavor to your meal and its rich in omega 3 fatty acids. It’s best used for salads, sauces and grills. Never use it for high heat cooking though.

Canola oil: this is another perfect substitute for sesame oil and like sesame oil, it contains a lot of unsaturated fat. It’s the perfect choice for those who love deep frying or stir-frying because it has a high smoking point.

Grapeseed oil: although it’s not the most appropriate kind it will deliver the similar flavor to that of sesame oil. It especially works well for your stir-fries and will give you various health benefits.

Avocado oil: is rich in monounsaturated fats which will protect you against heart diseases. The oil is closely like olive oil which makes it suitable for daily cooking. It will work well for your deep and stir-fries.

Olive oil: is known as the healthiest oil available today. It works as a substitute when you don’t intend to deep fry your food. If you can use extra virgin olive oil the better.

Sesame Oil Vs Vegetable Oil

To understand this better, we will look at the smoke points, ingredients and flavors

  • The smoke point

Sesame oil has a smoke point of about 420˚F and since its pressed from a toasted seed it does maintain the high-level smoke point. This means that its ideal for stir-frying.

It’s hard to clear-cut the smoke point of the vegetable oil since it comes from a blend of vegetables among other sources. However, they generally have a high smoking point and it’s suitable for long cooking options.

  • The ingredients used

For the sesame oil, is made using a 100% pure sesame seeds. For the vegetable oil as earlier stated, its hard to clear-cut the ingredients used as it’s a blend of ingredients. The common amongst the blends though includes sunflower oil, safflower oils, corn and soybeans.

  • The flavor

Sesame is highly flavored and should always be used in small quantities because it might alter the flavor of your dish if you use it in excess. Vegetable oil, on the other hand, is mild enough for sautéing and baking. They don’t add flavor to your dish.

  • Allergies

Unfortunately, sesame oil like the sesame seeds is associated with a lot of allergies. They may even cause difficulty in breathing. Equally, since vegetable oil is a blend of various oils, you may find cases of allergens especially for those who are allergic to soy or gluten.

Sesame Oil Vs Olive Oil

They both have a similar number of calories which is 120 per tablespoon and they are a load of healthy fats.

This fat help to lower the calories level in fact both the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in the oils make them ideal for protecting you against cardiovascular diseases.

  • The vitamin E

Olive oil has more vitamin E than sesame oil. This vitamin is an antioxidant and it will get rid of free radicals. Otherwise, the free radicals may stick on your healthy cells causing terminal illnesses. Sesame oil has vitamin E but in very minimal amounts.

  • Vitamin K

Again, the vitamin K component is more in the olive oil than it is in the sesame oil. Vitamin K will help you heal your injuries quicker.

  • The minerals

Sesame oil contains minimal to no minerals while the olive oil is a house of different minerals but in limited amounts. This acts as a small nutritional balance but you won’t get much from these minerals.

  • The flavor

They might have a very close similarity in other things but the flavors are different. Sesame oil is strongly flavored with the earthy feel. It also features the nutty flavor while olive oil somehow features the buttery flavor.

Sesame Oil Vs Peanut Oil

The peanut oil is made when you press the steam cooked nuts. It’s more popular probably because of its ease of access and inexpensive nature.

  • It contains lesser saturated fats than sesame oil.
  • Peanut oil further features a mild nutty flavor that will not influence the flavor of your meals.
  • It has a slightly higher smoking point which makes it ideal for frying.
  • The sesame oil, on the other hand, is made using the pressed sesame seeds and it has a rich nutty flavor.
  • Unlike the peanut oil that is more popular in the west, the sesame oil is popularly used in Asia.
  • Sesame oil is rich in polyunsaturated fats and is rich in antioxidants.  And its safe as it will rarely turn rancid.

Can You Mix Olive Oil with Vegetable Oil for Stir Frying?

No need of mixing these oils since they have different smoking points and one may cause the other to become rancid quicker. Besides, if you need to stir-fry with olive oil why not use the light olive oil that has a high smoking point.

What Is A Good Substitute for Olive Oil?

For those of us who use olive oil frequently, you know the difference in your food when you can’t access it anymore. However, when a recipe calls for olive oil and you can’t access it, buy the following substitutes.

  • Canola oil

This is the most popular substitute for olive oil in the market. This oil is used for all-purpose cooking even baking. It further has similar benefits as olive oil. It’s neutral in flavor and can work well as a substitute for frying. When baking though it’s better than using olive oil.

  • Sesame oil

This oil is mostly used in Asian cooking. However, it can also work as a substitute for the olive oil for the general cooking purpose. However, sesame has a strong flavor that means you should use it but sparingly.

Dark sesame oil will work best for marination while light one will work for the frying.

  • Peanut oil

Since it’s an all-purpose oil, you can use it for cooking but more so, it works best for frying than does the olive oil. It further has a longer shelf life.

Canola Oil Vs Vegetable Oil

These oils appear similar in a way that most people like to use them interchangeably, but the qualities differ. However, they both will not influence the texture of your food and it’s right to use them interchangeably.

  • Canola oil

Canola oil is the kind of oil you will heat to different levels and still maintain a neutral taste. For most people, this oil is healthy since it contains monounsaturated fats and its low in saturated fat.

However, unlike most of these plant fats, canola oil isn’t from a natural plant rather a crossbreed.

This means that sometime the oil may come from GMO plant. It’s not always a major factor of concern although the GMO plants are at times sprayed using chemicals that could otherwise be harmful to your oil.

  • Vegetable oil

This oil is always a blend of different kinds of oils. This makes it a generic type of oil. It also has a neutral flavor which means you can use it in all kinds of cooking.

Since the oil is generic, its hard to know the exact plant that was used to process the oil and how the processing took place.

The fat content in the oil varies as its dependent on the amount of corn oil, safflower, soy and sunflower oil used. Therefore, this means that you have no control over the fats you consume.

How long will canola oil last?

Canola oil like all most other oils can go bad, however, if you keep it properly, it will stay safe for up to 2 years. It generally maintains a long and stable shelf life. Check the smell, appearance and taste to confirm that it’s still fine.

If you notice the development of molds, or the oil begins to have a foul smell and its darker in color, discard it.

Is It Safe to Use Sunflower Oil to Deep Fry?

Yes, it is but the sunflower oil that you should use for deep frying is oleic sunflower oil. This is a kind of oil that is high in monounsaturated fats. This means that it has less trans fats which produce toxins when subjected to high temperatures.

The oil is high in antioxidant vitamin E and mild in flavor which means it won’t influence your meal.

Grapeseed Oil for Deep frying

Whenever you need to deep fry your food, the grapeseed oil makes a great alternative to the regular vegetable oil. It has a high smoking point and its mild in flavor which suits just about any kind of dish.

It further contains omega 6 fatty acids. The only drawback is usually that it’s costly.

Peanut Oil for Stir-Frying

Peanut oil is quite common cooking oil in most parts of the world. It’s also best used for stir-frying because it has a high smoking point of about 500˚. It doesn’t change the flavor of the meal, neither does it absorb the flavor.

Peanut oil substitutes

Sunflower oil: This one also has a high smoking point of about 450˚ which makes it ideal for stir-frying and frying like peanut oil.

Safflower oil: This oil is flavorless and has a high smoking point which makes it ideal for frying just like the peanut oil. It contains omega 6 fatty acids and is ideal for use by those who are concerned about diseases like heart attack.

Grapeseed oil: It has a high smoking point and its neutral in flavor. It also delivers a neutral taste no wonder, most chefs prefer it. It’s a great substitute for peanut but also extra virgin oil.

Canola oil: The two oils both contain monounsaturated fats and they have a high smoking point which makes them ideal for frying.

Walnut oil: This being a nut oil, it’s an excellent substitute of peanut oil. Its antioxidant properties help to prevent diseases which include heart disease. However, never use it for deep frying purposes or any other high-temperature cooking.

Almond oil: Another peanut oil substitute is almond oil. Although it’s expensive, the health benefits are massive. When you want to use almond oil for stir-frying and any other high-temperature cooking, buy the refined almond oil.

Vegetable oil: it’s for all-purpose cooking yet its cheap. It will work well as a peanut oil substitute.

How long will peanut oil last?

This oil, unlike canola oil, has a shorter shelf life. The unopened peanut oil can last up to a year. Once you open the oil then use it for not more than 6 months. Although its best used within 4 months. After the 6 months, the oil begins to turn rancid and toxic to your health.

What is the healthiest oil for stir-frying?

Most of the oils discussed above have high smoking points yet they are healthy. Therefore, I would say canola oil is best used because its neutral in flavor. You can also use rice bran oil, peanut oil, coconut oil or sesame oil.

Coconut Oil for Stir-Frying

As you had earlier seen, coconut oil has a high smoking point which makes it ideal for use in stir-frying and most other high-temperature methods of cooking. I essentially love the sweet coconut flavor in my meal.

You can use this oil in place of canola oil and vegetable oil especially when you are making different meals that you love to panfry.

The Best Oil For Fried Rice

The secret to the perfect Asian meal is the use of the correct oil for cooking it. While we love olive oil it doesn’t have a high smoking point, therefore, if you aren’t using it for seasoning don’t use it to stir-fry.

The best oil to use for the process is peanut oil, vegetable oil or palm oil mainly because they don’t influence the flavor of your meal. They are further neutral tasting.

Sesame oil is also vital in Asian cooking. However, this is only suitable if you use it as a seasoning oil to impart its flavor on the rice.

Best Oil for Pan Frying

Pan frying requires high smoking point oils. Therefore, if you have coconut oil, vegetable oil, rice bran, peanut oil and almond oil you can use them.

Best Oil for Deep Frying

Of course, deep frying isn’t the healthiest method of cooking. Nonetheless, if you must use this method of cooking, then at least make the oil a healthy one.

Your oils should have a smoking point of about 400˚F.

Rice bran oil: this comes in with a lot of health benefits and since it has a high smoking point its best used for deep frying. It’s further free from GMOs and it will lower the cholesterol level.

Peanut oil: this oil has a neutral taste and a high smoking point. Nevertheless, don’t use the unrefined peanut oil since it doesn’t have a high smoking point. It’s also full of flavor which makes it suitable for other different cooking methods than frying.

Soybean oil: this oil is extracted from soybean and its rich in antioxidants. It further contains portions of omega 3 fatty acid and polyunsaturated fats. Nevertheless, if you want to use it for deep frying, only choose the high oleic type.

Canola oil: this one is extracted from rapeseed and is one of the healthiest cooking oils that won’t influence your food. It has a neutral flavor and high smoking point which makes it ideal for frying. Safflower oil: this oil is literary flavorless but with a high smoking point of about 520˚F. In fact, it’s the best option for salad dressing because it never solidifies in cold temperatures.

Avocado oil: this oil has massive health benefits with a high smoke point of 520˚F.

Vegetable oil: it’s meant for all-purpose cooking and will, therefore, work for deep frying because it’s neutral and has a high smoking point.

Coconut oil: this appears to be the healthiest option for deep frying. This is because it never loses its quality even after deep frying your food with it for many hours.

Best Oil for Frying Potatoes

Basically, most of the oils above used in deep frying may also be used to fry potatoes. Moreover, consider using the ones below in addition to the above.

Cottonseed oil: This oil isn’t as healthy as other oils mentioned above yet it’s the most used to fry potatoes here. This is attributed to the fact that it has a high smoke point of 450˚F.

Other best oils to use include: sunflower oil, flaxseed oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, canola oil and in some instances olive oil.

Best oil to fry chicken

Whenever you want to fry chicken, you should consider the following.

  • Use oil that prevents flavor transfer.
  • Ensure your oil has a high smoking point.
  • Avoid oils with strong flavors that will change the flavor of your chicken.

Use canola oil, coconut oil and peanut oil. If you can get vegetable oil use that too for its effectiveness.

Conclusion

The texture, flavor and taste of any meal are determined by the oil you use to cook. The health factor being the most important factor for most people means you should use healthy oils as listed above.

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