My Grocery Store Guide on How to Choose Safe Cooking Oil

My grocery store guide on how to choose safe cooking oil will not only help you feel confident in your shopping choices, but it’ll also reduce your overwhelm while walking through the aisles. I used to get so overwhelmed by the amount of cooking oil options on the store shelves. I never knew what to buy, especially after I learned how horrible seed oils are for our bodies.

Please know, that I’m not a medical or nutrition professional; I’m just sharing what I’ve learned and what I buy. I hope this guide helps you decide what’s best for you and your family.

bottle of olive oil and bottle of avocado oil laying on a towel on the counter
Source: Plum Branch Home

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How to Choose Safe Cooking Oil

When choosing a safe cooking oil, there’s so much information online. It’s hard to sort through it all and know what’s true and not the information big corporations buy to keep people quiet. It all comes down to learning all you can and deciding what’s best for you and your family. I hope what we go off of and use in our house helps you sort through the overwhelm.

Why It’s Important to Choose a Safe Cooking Oil

  • So you can protect your health and consume what’s safe.
  • To make cooking at home from scratch wholesome and nutritious.
  • To avoid unsafe oils that can cause health issues.
  • So you know what’s in your food.

Important Things To Know Before Shopping

Oil Smoke Points

Cooking oil smoke points are extremely important to look at. It’s at this temperature that the oil begins to burn and smoke due to the heat breaking down its compounds. At the smoke point temperature, the nutritional compounds get destroyed and begin to produce toxic compounds that can cause cellular damage to our bodies.

What Are Seed Oils and Why Are They Bad

Seed oils are plant-based oils high in omega fatty acids, which are good for our bodies in small doses, but with the average American diet, we’re getting way too much in our bodies. This can cause inflammation, heart disease, arthritis, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and even metabolic syndrome, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

They are found in highly processed foods in grocery stores and restaurants. Of course, it’s not terrible to go enjoy a nice meal out on the town every once in a while, but when you’re cooking at home, it’s best to avoid seed oils to protect your body! This is also why cooking from scratch is so important.

Unsafe Oils to Avoid (seed oils)

  • vegetable oil
  • canola oil
  • shortening
  • palm oil
  • safflower oil
  • sunflower oil
  • peanut oil
  • corn oil
  • grapeseed oil
  • sesame oil
  • flaxseed oil
  • walnut oil
  • cottonseed oil
  • soybean oil
  • rice bran oil

Cooking Oil Purity

It is so important to ensure the cooking oil you buy, even the safe ones, is pure. This means there are no added ingredients or extra processing. Poor oil quality can increase the chance of heart disease

What You’ll Be Using the Oil For

Before you head to the grocery store, have an idea of what you’ll be using your cooking oil for. If you’re making salad dressings, olive oil would be a good choice. When roasting in the oven, avocado oil will be the best choice. If you’re whipping up chocolate candies, coconut oil is a great option.

If you’re unsure or want to use your cooking oil in many ways, I recommend sticking with avocado oil. You can use it to make hamburger buns from scratch or fry food at home.

bottle of avocado oil on the counter
Source: Plum Branch Home

3 Safe Cooking Oils To Choose From

Below, you’ll find three safe cooking oils to choose from at the grocery store. Make sure you look at the smoke points to see what temperature each oil can be heated to.

As you can see at a glance, avocado oil is the safest oil you can use, as it’s pure, wholesome, not a seed oil, and can be heated up to 520 degrees Fahrenheit. 

  • Pure Avocado Oil (safe up to 520 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (safe up to 375 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Unrefined Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (safe up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit)

FAQ – How to Choose Cooking Oil That’s Safe

What to look for when choosing a safe cooking oil?

You’ll want to ensure it’s not a seed oil, has a high smoke point, is pure, and is free of trans fats.

What are the different types of fat in food?

There are three different types of fats in food: saturated, unsaturated, and trans. Saturated fat is good for you in moderation and naturally occurs in foods like meat and coconuts. Unsaturated fats are naturally occurring in nuts and whole seeds; they’re safe fats your body needs. Trans fats are processed and should be eliminated as much as possible.

What is the safest cooking oil?

In my opinion, the safest cooking oil is avocado oil. But extra virgin olive oil and unrefined extra virgin coconut oil are safe as well.

Why is avocado oil not a seed oil?

Avocado oil is pressed from the avocado flesh, not the seed pit or the skin. 

What can I substitute for cooking oil that’s not an oil?

You can use ghee (clarified butter) or beef tallow in place of regular cooking oil.

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