Avocado Oil for Frying and the Smoke Point of Cooking Oils
Avocado oil is a very heat stable cooking oil and ideal for high-temperature frying in your kitchen.
It also tastes great and is full of beneficial monounsaturated fats and other nutrition.
Here’s why it’s worth changing from unhealthy processed oils, like soy and corn, and even the healthier ones like olive oil, to cooking with avocado oil.
The Dangers of Low Smoke Point Cooking Oils
It’s important to consider the smoke point of the cooking oil you are frying with. This is the temperature at which it starts visibly smoking in the pan.
At this point the structure of the oil begins to break down. Not only are nutrients lost and the flavor changed, but damaging compounds like toxic aldehydes can be created.
Even healthy cooking oils, like extra virgin olive oil, changes structurally and becomes unhealthy when it reaches its smoke point.
The Smoke Point of Olive Oils
Many people use olive oil for cooking and it is much healthier nutritionally than regular vegetable oils (though not as healthy as avocado oil).
Unfortunately, olive oil’s smoke point varies greatly, depending on its grade and level of processing.
Extra virgin olive oil, the type considered the healthiest and best tasting, has a smoke point cited as low as 350 Fahrenheit (176 Celsius). This makes it unsuitable for high temperature frying.
Despite this, many people do use unrefined olive oils to fry with, thinking they are being healthy. Once these oils start smoking in the pan though, toxic compounds can be formed that are quite unhealthy.
Other lower grades of ‘light’ olive oil have a higher smoke point of 430 F (221 Celsius). These are suitable for cooking with, though lower in nutrition and have a bland taste compared to EVOO.
Avocado Oil Smoke Points
Refined avocado oil has a smoke point of 520 F (271 C), making it the most heat-stable option for high-temperature frying.
Cold pressed avocado oil has a smoke point of 480 F (248 C). This is still much higher than any of the more popular processed vegetable oils on the market.
It’s recommended to keep the cold pressed oil under 400 Fahrenheit when frying with it to be safe. You shouldn’t need to go that high on your hotplate very often anyway.
Burnt foods have their own unhealthy compounds, like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, so avoid frying at too higher temperatures, even if avocado oil does have a very high smoke point.
A List of Cooking Oil Smoke Points
Here’s a list of popular cooking oils and their smoking points. As you can see, avocado oils have the highest heat stability, making them the most suitable for frying with.
By comparison, coconut and extra virgin olive oil have the lowest smoke points and should not be used for high temperature cooking or frying.
- Refined avocado oil — 520 F (271 C)
- Cold pressed avocado oil — 480 F (248 C)
- Corn oil — 450 F (232 C)
- Soy oil — 450 F (232 C)
- Peanut oil — 450 F (232 C)
- Refined olive oil — 430 F (221 C)
- Cottonseed oil — 420 F (215 C)
- Canola oil — 400 F (204 C)
- Coconut oil — 350 F (176 C)
- Extra virgin olive oil — 350 F (176 C)
Certain culinary oils, like flaxseed or pumpkin seed oil, should never be heated as they have very low smoke points.
Others, like processed soy or corn oil, do have acceptable burning points. However, they are extracted with high temperatures and chemicals, and are considered unhealthy by many nutritionists.
Their bland flavor is also no match for a good avocado oil, like this rich tasting, cold pressed and organic one I use in my kitchen almost every day.
Better Tasting Food and Healthier Frying
Using avocado oil as your primary cooking makes a lot of sense if you value your health.
Not only is it great for high temperature frying, it has many other benefits, such as a superior fatty acid profile and good levels of phytosterols and antioxidant vitamin E.
To top it all off, cold pressed avocado oil tastes far better than anything you’ve ever fried with before. Better than olive oil and certainly much better than bland and unhealthy processed vegetable oils.