When cooking and infusing with various oils, we need to be mindful of varying temperatures and ‘smoke points’ where the integrity of the oil begins to break down and the oil starts to burn and smoke. Overheating also creates harmful free radicals and we want to avoid that whenever possible.
The smoke point of cooking oils varies widely and there are various schools of though/belief. In general, the more refined an oil, the higher its smoke point, because refining removes impurities and free fatty acids that can cause the oil to smoke.
Light olive oil (light in color, not in calories), has been refined so it has a higher smoke point (486˚F) than extra virgin olive oil (410˚F) that has not been refined.
Even so, the smoke point of extra virgin olive oil makes it suitable for many types of cooking. Cooking on average home stoves, such as roasting in the oven and sautéeing, pan-frying and stir-frying over medium-high heat, is typically between 250˚F – 400˚F.
Less traditional oils that have high smoke points (400˚F +) include avocado oil (refined), almond oil, corn oil, canola oil, grapeseed oil, peanut oil, safflower oil, sesame oil and sunflower oil. These oils are better suited for cooking at higher temperatures.
*Unrefined oils such as flaxseed oil, wheat germ oil and walnut oil have a low smoke point and should not be heated*
Almond oil has a smoke point of 430˚F (so close to that magic number!). Feel free to use for frying, grilling, roasting, baking and salad dressings. High in monounsaturated fat and an excellent source of vitamin E (1T = 5.3 mg), a potent antioxidant.
Avocado oil has a very high smoke point of 520˚F. , which is ideal for searing meats, frying in a wok, frying in general, grilling, roasting, baking and salad dressings. High in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, avocado fats also aid in muscle and athletic recovery (or heck, let face it, some days, it just helps you recover from “life.”).
Butter has a smoke point of about 350˚F, best used for sautéing and baking.
The smoke point for Refined Canola Oil is 400˚F. Fabulous for sautéeing, pan-frying and baking. Also a stellar source of monounsaturated fat and it is high in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acid.
You can use organic, cold pressed coconut oil (high in beneficial saturated fats and medium chain triglycerides) for most mid-temperature cooking applications like cannabis infusions. Be mindful, coconut oil has a smoke point of about 350˚F, which means it is not suitable for high temperature cooking.
Flax Oil has a low smoke point of 225˚F. It’s best used in salad dressings, smoothies and for drizzling over cooked foods.
Avocado oil has a very high smoke point of 400˚F – 520˚F, which is ideal for searing meats or frying in a Wok. It is also full of healthy, beneficial fats to aid in muscle and athletic recovery (or heck, let face it, some days, it just helps you recover from “life.”).
The smoke point of Extra Virgin Olive Oil is about 375˚F – 420°F. Refined olive oil’s smoke point is around 468°F. This makes olive oil a safe choice for most cooking methods, including high heat applications like pan frying and sautéing.
The smoke point of Light Olive Oil is 468˚F. Perfect for all-purpose cooking and baking due to its neutral taste.
Refined peanut oil has a smoke point of 450˚F. Ideal applications include searing, deep-frying, pan-frying, sautéeing, roasting, grilling, baking and salad dressings (mild flavour). A good source of monounsaturated fat.
With a smoke point of 450˚F, safflower oil is ideal for searing, deep-frying, pan-frying, sautéeing, roasting, grilling, baking and salad dressings. An excellent source of vitamin E (1T = 30% of your daily requirement).
With a smoke point of 440˚F refined sunflower oil is used for deep-frying, pan-frying, sautéing, roasting, grilling, baking and salad dressings. High in vitamin E, delivering 5.6 mg per Tablespoon.
Unrefined walnut oil has a smoke point of 320˚F. It’s best used in salad dressings and for drizzling over foods after cooking. It is a great source of the omega-3 fatty acid ALA; one tablespoon delivers 1.4g.