How to Care for your Cooking Oils

By Shane YoungFebruary 23, 2015

In last week’s post I talked about how important it is to embrace and rotate through a variety of saturated fats and healthy plant-based oils. Remember, rotating your fats and oils is the key to optimal health and digestion; it will help you avoid Leaky Gut Syndrome and notably minimize your consumption of harmful free radicals.

This week, I want to dive a little deeper into how to care for and use these different oils in your cooking depending on their saturated fat content. I’ve also included a helpful chart at the end of this post that you can print out and refer to when cooking!

As I mentioned, unsaturated fats (e.g. olive, vegetable, and plant-based oils) are subject to oxidation and rancidity more so than fats that are saturated (e.g. coconut oil, ghee, butter). Many of the more common cooking oils I mentioned do contain unsaturated fats and those high in polyunsaturates (e.g. almond, walnut oil) are most vulnerable. Therefore, these oils should be used for cold cooking (dressings, marinades etc.) and within a few months of opening.

To ensure your fats and oils don’t spoil, it’s super important to keep a few helpful techniques in mind:

  • Although you may save a few bucks, I typically advise you don’t buy large batches at a time. Buy smaller ones so you can use them entirely before they have a chance to spoil. Your food will taste fresher and you won’t have to worry about storing a large vat of oil in your posh San Francisco apartment!
  • It’s also necessary to keep oils containing high amounts of unsaturated fats (olive, sesame, and avocado) in an environment where they are less likely to go rancid. Since these cooking oils oxidize when exposed to heat, oxygen, and light, it’s best to store them in a cool, dark, dry place. I like to keep these oils in my small pantry rather than next to my stove so as to avoid expedited oxidation.
  • Take some time to make sure you screw the lid on tightly after you’re done to avoid oxygenation. I know it’s a pain to twist off sometimes, so luckily you’re all building strength by working out regularly!

And, here’s your handy chart! Seriously, print it out and keep it in your kitchen.

Best for Hot Use (from highest to lowest temperature stability) Good for Cold Use
Coconut Oil Peanut Oil
Margarine Sesame Oil
Ghee, Clarified Butter Olive Oil
Butter Avocado Oil
Palm Oil Sunflower Oil
Lard, duck fat, tallow Walnut/Almond Oil


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