Cooking Oils Buying Guide

Vegetable oils are used for both their heating properties and flavour, but some oils work better with different foods. This cooking oil buying guide outlines the most common types.

Cooking Oils 101

Cooking oils are fats used in frying or baking foods, and sometimes as a raw ingredient in foods such as dips and dressings. Cooking oil that comes from plants is known as vegetable oil. Most vegetable oils are liquid at room temperature, but some tropical oils such as coconut oil and palm oil are solid. Cooking oil that comes from animals is solid at room temperature. Examples of animal fat used in cooking include butter and lard. There are many varieties of cooking oils. Each is unique and will have a different effect on your health, the flavour of your food and the cooking process. 

Types of Cooking Oils


Olive Oil

Olive oil is a culinary all-star, esteemed for both its complex taste and its high levels of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. There are three basic grades of olive oil: extra virgin, virgin and olive pomace oil. Extra virgin olive oil is made from the first pressing of the olives, making it less acidic and more flavourful. When you’re ready to turn up the heat, olive oil is great for stir-fries and sautés. Olive oil is also delicious when used for dipping, dressing and marinades.

Sesame Oil

Unrefined sesame oil has a strong nutty flavour, making it a popular ingredient in sauces and dressing. It also has a high smoke point, so it's suitable for stir-frying. Refined sesame oil has an even higher smoke point. This makes it suitable not only for stir-frying but also for deep frying. And because unrefined sesame oil is flavour-neutral, it doesn't change the taste of your food.

Canola Oil

Canola oil, which is derived from the canola plant, is recognized for its heart-healthy fat content. This light, clear oil has a mild flavour that won't interfere with the taste of your food. Canola oil has a high smoke point, making it suitable for frying foods. In baking, canola oil blends well with other ingredients to produce a soft, moist result.

Corn Oil

Corn oil, which is made from the germ of the corn kernel, is yellow in colour and almost tasteless. Corn oil is a good choice for baking and for preparing things like mayonnaise and salad dressings. With its high smoke point, corn oil is also suitable for frying and sautéing. 

Sunflower Oil

Sunflower oil is extracted from the seeds of the sunflower plant. Suitable for both baking and frying, this cooking oil is high in vitamin E. It has a heart-healthy mix of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, with low saturated-fat levels. Sunflower oil is yellow in colour and considered neutral, which means it won’t add flavour to your food.

Grapeseed Oil

Grapeseed oil is made by cold pressing grape seeds. This oil has a light nutty taste that adds flavour to fried and baked goods. Grapeseed oil is also a common ingredient in salad dressings, marinades and homemade mayonnaise.

Peanut Oil

Peanut oil has a longer shelf life than most other oils, meaning you're more likely to use it before the expiry date. Peanut oil also has a high smoke point, making it suitable for frying, light sautéing, fondues and stir-frying. Plus, with its relatively high levels of monounsaturated fats, this cooking oil is considered to be heart healthy.

Coconut Oil

Cooking with coconut oil has a long history in coastal tropical regions, where coconuts are readily available. More recently, the rest of the world has been catching on to this versatile oil, which is good for your body, inside and out. With its high smoke point, coconut oil is a suitable choice for frying and sautéing. Also, because it's solid at room temperature, coconut oil is a great for baking tasty family treats.


Butter is a fat derived from cow's milk. With its creamy texture and delicious flavour, it ranks as one of the most popular cooking oils. Many people prefer butter as a cooking medium for sautéing or frying because it enhances the taste of whatever you're cooking. But be careful because butter has a low smoke point, which means you can easily burn it.


Lard is a fat derived from the fatty parts of pigs. Once commonly used in many cuisines, lard fell out of favour for a time due its high levels of saturated fat. However, it actually contains more heart-healthy monounsaturated fat than butter. In recent years, lard has been making a comeback. This cooking fat tolerates high cooking temperatures quite well, and foods fried in lard come out crispy and flavorful, with a great texture.

Cooking Oil Buying Tips:

• When buying cooking oils that have relatively short shelf life, such as olive oil or sesame oil, choose a smaller container
• Consider how you will use your cooking oil before purchasing: moderately priced oils are fine for many purposes, but you may want to splurge on an extra flavourful oil for special dishes
• For high-heat dishes, choose oils with high smoke points, such as coconut oil, grapeseed oil or canola oil

Cooking Oils Storage Tips:

• Cooking oil deteriorates as it gets older; ensure the container is air tight and stored away from heat and light to make the contents last longer
• Unrefined oils will keep for 3 to 6 months
• Refined oils will keep for 6 to 12 months
• Cooking oils can be refrigerated; they may turn cloudy in the fridge but become clear when they return to room temperature
• Oils high in polyunsaturated fat age faster and should be refrigerated

Choosing Healthy Cooking Oils

All cooking oils contain varying amounts of three different fat types: saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Each is classified by the fat type that predominates. Diets high in saturated fat are linked with elevated cholesterol levels and increased risk for heart disease. You should limit the amount of saturated fat you eat and serve to your family. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are considered heart-friendly. When consumed instead of saturated fats, they can help to improve blood cholesterol levels, thereby reducing risk for heart disease. It's a good idea to choose these heart-healthy fats whenever possible.
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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