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Healthy Cooking Oils Buyer's Guide

Tips and recommendations for choosing the best cooking oils.

All food sources that we think of as “fats”—we’re talking butter, shortening, oils—are made up of fatty acids. These fatty acids have specific chemical shapes that affect both how the fat performs in cooking (or baking) and how the fat affects your health. These chemical shapes generally are classified as saturated, polyunsaturated or monounsaturated. All fats contain all three types but are classified by the type of fatty acid that makes up most of the fat. For example, since butter consists mostly of “saturated” fatty acids, it’s considered a “saturated fat.”

Three More Oils to Try

Grapeseed Oil
Extracted from grape seeds, this versatile oil is usually mild in flavor, but imported ones may have a grapy flavor and aroma. A good choice for cooking over high heat.

Monounsaturated: 17% | Polyunsaturated: 73% | Saturated: 10%

Best uses: Use this all-purpose oil for sautéing, roasting and in salad dressings.

Peanut Oil
The high smoke point of peanut oil makes it a good choice for cooking over high heat. It contains heart-healthy phytosterols, essential plant fats known to lower cholesterol and inhibit cancer.

Monounsaturated: 48% | Polyunsaturated: 34% | Saturated: 18%

Best uses: Roasting and sautéing.

Sesame Oil
Essential to Asian cooking, sesame oil has a rich, nutty flavor. You’ll often find untoasted and toasted versions with other Asian ingredients in your supermarket.

Monounsaturated: 41% | Polyunsaturated: 44% | Saturated: 15%

Best uses: Stir-fry with untoasted sesame oil; drizzle toasted sesame oil onto a finished dish to give it a toasty flavor and aroma or use in salad dressing.

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