TASTE

What Type Of Cooking Oil You Should Use For Every Occasion

02/02/2015 07:00 am ET | Updated Feb 02, 2015

So many cooking oils, so much confusion. Are you supposed to use olive oil or canola oil when you stir fry something -- or neither? Is it okay to use coconut oil?

Like we said, it's perplexing. And then, if you're worried about how healthy each of these oils is and which one is really the best for your specific health and cooking needs, that's a whole different story.

Thankfully, the editors over at Fix.com have helped sort all of this out for you in one very handy chart. They've listed the smoking points of almost every kind of oil you could imagine. They've also nicely laid out how much fat (and which kind) is in each one, its color, flavor, where the oil is obtained from, its nutritional benefits, and most importantly, exactly when to use the oil when cooking.

Check out (and print out) the infographic below -- you'll want to keep this one handy:

Source: Fix.com

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Clarification: Canola oil comes from canola seeds which are genetically modified rapeseeds.

Also on HuffPost:

  • Olive Oil
    TS Photography via Getty Images
    What it is: Olive oil comes from pressing whole olives. While it's used all over the world, it is the primary cooking oil used in the Mediterranean. It is high in monounsaturated fatty acids.
    Smoke point: Smoke points vary depending on the type of olive oil: Extra Virgin is 320°F, Virgin is 420°F, Pomace is 460°F, Extra Light is 468°F
    What it's good for: Extra virgin olive oil has the richest flavor because it is made without any heat or chemicals, which makes it good for salad dressings and drizzling. Refined olive oil is good for sautéing.
    What it's bad for: Frying and deep-frying
  • Canola Oil
    Amazon
    What it is: Canola oil is made from the seeds of the canola plant. It is low in saturated fat, with only seven percent saturated fat -- compared to sunflower oil, which has 12 percent, and olive oil, which 15 percent saturated fat. It has a neutral flavor, high smoke point and is also relatively inexpensive.
    Smoke point: 400°F
    What it's good for: All-purpose, good for cooking and dressings
    What it's bad for: Drizzling where flavor is required
  • Vegetable Oil
    Amazon
    What it is: Vegetable oil refers to any plant-based oil, which may include any or a combination of the following: soybean, sunflower or safflower oil. Most vegetable oils have a high smoke point and neutral flavor, which make them great for baking.
    Smoke point: Depends on the type (See Canola, Soybean, Sunflower, Safflower...)
    What it's good for: All-purpose, good for cooking and dressings
    What it's bad for: Drizzling where flavor is required
  • Peanut Oil
    Steven Morris Photography via Getty Images
    What it is: Peanut oil has a mild flavor and high smoke point, which makes it great for deep-frying and a range of other cooking. It's made from pressed steam-cooked peanuts and is popular in Asian cooking.
    Smoke point: 450°F
    What it's good for: Deep-frying, pan-frying, roasting and grilling
    What it's bad for: Baking or anything that requires a neutral flavor
  • Grapeseed oil
    Amazon
    What it is: Grapeseed oil is versatile -- it has a fairly neutral flavor and medium-high smoke point. It can be used in salad dressings, but also works for sautéing and baking. And it's a by-product of wine-making!
    Smoke point: 392°F
    What it's good for: Sautéing, frying and salad dressings
    What it's bad for: Deep frying
  • Sunflower Oil
    Amazon
    What it is: Sunflower oil's high smoke point and light flavor make it a favorite for frying, but it is also a good oil for baking. It is made from pressed sunflower seeds, is high in vitamin E and low in saturated fat.
    Smoke point: 450°F
    What it's good for: Frying, margarine, salad dressings, baking
    What it's bad for: Drizzling or low-heat cooking
  • Safflower Oil
    Amazon
    What it is: Safflower oil has a neutral flavor and the refined kind has a very high smoke point, which makes it great for searing and deep frying. It comes from the seeds of a safflower plant, which is related to the sunflower.
    Smoke point: 450°F
    What it's good for: Deep-frying, searing, stir-frying, margarine, mayonnaise
    What it's bad for: Drizzling or low-heat cooking
  • Coconut Oil
    Amazon
    What it is: Coconut oil is having a moment right now -- it's the darling of vegan cooks, who often use it as a replacement for butter in baking. It's turning up in vegan recipes and products all over the place. Extracted from the meat or kernel of a coconut, the oil has a distinct, sweet flavor -- the natural sweetness makes it good for baking sweet treats and also for certain sautéed dishes. It is is high in saturated fat -- specifically a kind called lauric acid, which some consider a healthier fat source.
    Smoke point: 350°F
    What it's good for: Baking, frostings, sautéing
    What it's bad for: Deep-frying, dressings
  • Sesame Oil
    Amazon
    What it is: Sesame oil has a very distinct flavor and is popular in Asian cooking. Light sesame oil has different uses than dark sesame oil.
    Smoke point: 410°F
    What it's good for: Light is good for deep-frying and dark sesame oil is better for stir-frying and dipping sauces
    What it's bad fort: Baking
  • Corn Oil
    Amazon
    What it is: Corn oil is made from corn kernels and its high smoke point makes it good for frying. It's a favorite of fast food chains -- almost 70 percent of fast food restaurants make French fries with corn oil. It's also used to make margarine. The oil is high in saturated fats and low in so-called good fats, which is why it's often considered one of the unhealthiest oils.
    Smoke point: 450°F
    What it's good for: Deep-frying and also margarine
    What it's bad for: Drizzling and low heat cooking
  • Soybean Oil
    Amazon
    What it is: Soybean oil has a stronger flavor and aroma and is commonly used in processed foods. In 2007, NPR reported that almost 80 percent of oil used for cooking and baking in the U.S. came from soybeans. Because it has a short shelf-life, soybean oil often gets treated with hydrogen gas, which creates trans fats. In 2005 we were consuming 15.5 billion pounds in 2005 and about half of that was partly hydrogenated, the New York Times reports. With the government's ban on trans fat, that statistic should soon change. In 2012, the use of edible soybean fell to 12.3 billion pounds.
    Smoke point: 450°F
    What it's good for: Processed foods, margarine, salad dressings
    What it's bad for: Drizzling
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