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Oils…which ones to use??

So many oils, so many temperatures, so many recipes…

There are so many oils and so many beliefs on which should be used, so I just wanted to offer my two cents on what we typically use and why.

Many years ago I used to use canola and olive oil exclusively. Then, I learned about the harmful inflammatory effects of canola and corn oil, and margarine (yuck!), and ran to the cupboard to toss those out immediately.  Since then, I have learned about what is good for our bodies, but also, what can tolerate high heats (since I cook everything quick and on high; I’m not one for patience).  I think coconut oil is a given here. If you’ve read my post on the benefits of coconut oil, you know why I’m so crazy about it. Plus, it can be used on high heat. Perfect! And, out of all the coconut oils I’ve used, I’ve learned that Spectrum has the least “coconutty” flavor/smell.

I’m always happy to cook with yummy butter again. This was definitely a no-no back in the low-fat, no-fat days (yeah, and that really worked). Anyway, this, along with ghee (clarified butter) are both great with high heat. Ghee, which is lactose and casin free, is a great substitute for butter that I use often. If you’ve used it before you know the heavenly smell this stuff puts out when melted in the pan.

And, the last oil I’ll use for cooking is still extra virgin olive oil.  I won’t use it when I’m cooking on high heat but think it’s okay for medium heat, and then of course I used it without heat too on all sorts of things.

I’ll also use some flax or walnut oil since those are the highest in omega-3s. And I’ll use some sesame for Chinese chicken salad or lettuce wraps or other recipes, but this about the extent of my oils repertoire. I know I have only included a handful so here’s a breakout I found that includes a few others:

High Heat/Frying/Browning

  • Coconut oil
  • Palm Oil
  • Ghee (clarified butter)
  • Lard (love bacon fat)

Medium Heat/Light Sauteing

  • Olive Oil
  • Sesame Seed Oil
  • Hazelnut Nut Oil
  • Avocado Oil

Low Heat/Baking

  • Pumpkin Oil
  • Sunflower Oil

No Heat

  • Fish Oil
  • Flax Seed Oil
  • Hemp Seed Oil
  • Walnut Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Oils Mentioned Above

Here are two good posts that summarize the oils as well. The first here is by Diane Sanfilippo and the second one here is by Mark Sisson.  I hope this helps some. What is your favorite oil?

Oh, and with summer posts being a little sporadic, please don’t forget to sign up for my email subscriptions here so you’ll be notified when there’s a new post! And don’t forget to hit the email confirmation button so you can be activated.  Thanks!


  • Jen - Really enjoying learning from your blog and want to do this with our family. I have a two year old who has completely quit eating vegetables! I was wondering do your kids drink the almond milk or regular organic milk?


    • landriav - Hey Jen!
      Thanks! Keep trying with your two year old. Their taste buds are changing constantly so what he or she dislikes now, may like in a couple of weeks. Our rule is, you have to at least try it. If you don’t like it, then that is fine, but try it with an open mind, or it doesn’t count. 🙂 You don’t want to force it and make it an issue either, just keep it casual. As for milk, my son LOVES his almond milk. We get the original 60 calorie with 7 grams of sugar. They have unsweetened which I love, and them some others with lots of sugar. I think the one with 7 grams of sugar is great and actually tastes sweeter than cow’s milk, with less sugar, and more calcium! Good luck!ReplyCancel

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