Sharing 3 better cooking oils that will improve your cooking and their surprising benefits.
One of the most surprising things I realized when I began cooking from scratch was the absolute difference little things made in the overall result. From what I chose to cook with to even the fats or oils I used. The type of oil you cook with not impacts the consistency of the food, it’s flavor but also has many health implications that we will explore in this blog post.
Originally I switched out the fats, opting for healthier choices as many of the ones on our store shelves cause inflammation in the body, among other unhealthy side effects. To my utter surprise, the foods tasted better, and I had better results when using them.
Suddenly my buttermilk fried chicken was perfectly golden crisp, and the crispy oven fries I enjoyed making in the oven were crunchy as if I had actually fried them. Incredibly swapping out old fats for better cooking oils was like having a secret weapon. My food tasted better, and I was serving a healthier option to boot. It was a total win-win.
Today I am sharing 3 of the best cooking oils that are not only considered healthier options to use but also create superior results in the kitchen Imagine, improving the quality of your food, and its taste all while making healthy choices that can effect your overall health. Sound too good to be true? Well, let’s take a closer look.
A Quick Note
This blog post serves to provide some basic information about the health claims and cooking benefits associated with a few oils. These are oils I use personally and I am not a nutritionist or a medical pro. So I recommend reading more on this topic to gain further insight and a great article on the topic is The Oiling of America, a wonderfully eye opening article. As well as the Westin Price website which provides well researched information on traditional eating and holistic health through nutrition. I hope you find these resources useful.
As you might already know, coconut oil is becoming increasingly popular in the kitchen. This in large is due to the health claims and its versatility. Although it does have somewhat of a high saturated fat content, you generally need small amounts of it when cooking. When it comes to the various types of oils available, coconut oil is one to consider.
From its antioxidant properties to its unique flavor, there are many reasons why switching to coconut oil for cooking can be beneficial. It can be used for everything from baking to sautéing, and its versatility makes it an ideal choice for any kitchen.
In fact, I love frying my buttermilk chicken in coconut oil as it comes out perfectly golden every single time. You might be thinking, doesn’t this make the chicken taste like coconut? The crazy part is, though there is a light essence of coconut it does not overwhelm the chicken at all. What you get is golden crispy chicken fried in a healthier oil and a taste of herbs and spices from the recipe.
What is Coconut Oil?
- It is an edible oil derived from the meat of the coconut
- It is composed of 92% saturated fat, 6% monounsaturated fat, and 2% polyunsaturated fat
- It has a melting point of 76 degrees Fahrenheit
- It contains lauric acid which can help boost immunity
- Lauric acid is a rare saturated fat that seems to improve the composition of blood lipids.
- Studies show it may increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels
- Coconut oil is packed with healthy saturated fats and medium-chain fatty acids, which may help support heart health and aid in weight management
- It may help reduce inflammation
- With any oil, it should be used in moderation
- It has a high smoke point, making it suitable for high heat cooking
- Wonderful to deep fry with that yields great results
- It can be used as a substitute for butter or other baking ingredients like these no butter cranberry oatmeal cookies
The use of coconut oil in cooking has become a popular choice however, there are a lot of controversies surrounding its health benefits. You can read more on the topic here. Although, somewhat controversial, there are enough benefits to cooking with it for me to use it in my kitchen. If you choose to do so, you should do so in moderation. Coconut oil is just one of several oils I use in my kitchen.
Tallow (rendered fat) is a traditional cooking fat that has been used for centuries. It’s made from rendered animal fat, making it a great source of energy and nutrition. Tallow is full of healthy fats and can be used in a variety of recipes. It has a high smoke point, making it ideal for frying and baking. Tallow is an excellent choice when it comes to finding better cooking oils. Although likely the most expensive fat on this list, due to the demand for tallow and rising popularity. But first, let’s answer a few questions you might have.
What is Tallow?
- Tallow is a type of rendered animal fat used in cooking.
- It is typically made from beef or mutton fat, though it can also be made from pork fat.
Why Use Tallow for Cooking?
- Tallow has a high fat content, making it ideal for frying and baking.
- It is a great source of energy and essential fatty acids.
- Its flavor is mild and neutral, making it a great choice for use in savory dishes.
How to Use Tallow for Cooking
- Tallow can be used in place of butter or shortening in a recipe.
- It can be used to grease pans, such as for baking cakes or muffins.
- Use it to deep-fry foods such as French fries or chicken wings.
- Tallow works great for creating flaky pie crusts
Cooking with tallow has been done for generations. Tallow is a great option as it is rich in vitamins A, D, E, K and B1. When using tallow, look for good quality grass-fed tallow. I love using Fatworks Grass-Fed Tallow. One con is that store bought tallow is not the most cost effective choice. I like using it sparingly in my kitchen as the flavor is superior. Fried potatoes in tallow are absolutely delicious. A great alternative to store bought tallow is to render the fat at home. Which we will explore next.
Homemade Rendered Fat
Tallow is essentially just a fancy word for rendered fat, so how about making our own? In this post by Lisa at Farmhouse on Boone, How To Render Beef Fat, she explains the entire process from start to finish. Rendering your own is much more cost-effective as purchasing ready-made tallow can be quite expensive as I previously mentioned. Especially when opting for a grass-fed organic kind. Making your own allows you to control the quality and have the benefits of high-quality store-bought rendered fat (tallow) for half the cost.
Benefits of Cooking With Rendered Fat
- Enhances natural flavors in food
- Adds rich, savory taste to meals
- Helps retain moisture in food
Healthier and More Nutritious Meals
- Lower in saturated fat than other cooking fats
- High in beneficial nutrients like Omega-3 fatty acids
- Heart-healthy alternative to other cooking fats
- More economical than other types of cooking fats
- Can be stored for extended periods of time
- Can be re-used multiple times
Homemade rendered fat is a versatile cooking fat that can be used to improve the flavor, health, and cost savings of many dishes. Its unique flavor and nutrients make it a healthier and more nutritious alternative to other fats. With the proper care, rendered fat can be stored for long periods of time and reused multiple times, making it an economical choice for home cooks.
Olive oil is a healthy and delicious cooking oil that is full of antioxidants and beneficial fatty acids. It has a high smoke point and a rich, nutty flavor that adds depth to all kinds of dishes. Olive oil is also low in saturated fat and has anti-inflammatory properties, making it a healthy choice for cooking. Believe it or not, I even bake with olive oil, which makes this Lemon Ricotta Cake perfectly rich and moist. I like to use both pure olive oil and extra virgin olive oil.
What is Olive Oil?
- Olive oil is a liquid fat obtained from pressing olives, the fruit of Olea europaea, a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin.
- It is used in cooking, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and soaps.
- It’s use dates back 6,000 years ago
- Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, which may help reduce bad cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease.
- It also contains a number of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that may help protect against certain types of cancer.
- Olive oil is a source of vitamins E and K, which are essential for healthy skin and eyes.
Cooking with Olive Oil
- Extra virgin olive oil has a high smoke point, making it an ideal oil for everyday cooking.
- It is also a great choice for marinades, dressings, and sauces.
- A mild flavor that makes it great for baking
- It can be used to sauté vegetables, or as a finishing oil for dishes such as pasta, salads, and fish.
Olive oil is one of the healthiest cooking oils you can cook with as it is loaded with antioxidants and using a genuine extra virgin olive oil has a smoke point of up to 410 degrees. This is considerably high for an unrefined oil. This makes it a good option for baking, cooking and even using for dressings. It is important to read your labels to understand the sort of oil you are getting.
Pure, light and extra light olive oil’s are highly processed olive oils that are bleached and refined. When buying olive oil as a healthier option, it is important to read the label when cruising the oil aisle and make sure you get a genuine extra-virgin olive oil.
By now, you realize that finding and using good quality oils is essential to creating delicious meals. Not only do they result in better tasting food but offer superior results over hydrogenated oils commonly found in the oil aisle. Thankfully unrefined oils are becoming more popular in the United States and therefore are easily accessible in most grocery stores. Remember to read the labels, and try different oils to find the right one that works best for your cooking needs.
I hope you found the information on these better cooking oils helpful in choosing the ones that are right for you. On the topic of bettering ourselves in the kitchen, might I share with you 7 Vintage Skills That Will Change Your Kitchen along with this Romance with Herbs video?
*Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through the links I provide (at no cost to you).