Table of Contents Forums Dictionary Recommended Reading Marketplace Giftshop What I Ate Michael's Blog
Latest Post on Michael's Blog: Fall Television Season 2018 Grid
Kitchen Notes

Smoke Points of Various Fats

by Michael Chu
Normal view
Next »
« Prev
The smoke point of various fats is important to note because a fat is no longer good for consumption after it has exceeded its smoke point and has begun to break down. Once a fat starts to smoke, it usually will emit a harsh smell and fill the air with smoke. In addition it is believed that fats that have gone past their smoke points contain a large quantity of free radicals which contibute to risk of cancer. Refining oils (taking out impurities) tends to increase the smoke point. The table below lists some ballpark values for smoke points of various common fats.

FatSmoke Point °FSmoke Point °C
Unrefined canola oil225°F107°C
Unrefined flaxseed oil225°F107°C
Unrefined safflower oil225°F107°C
Unrefined sunflower oil225°F107°C
Unrefined corn oil320°F160°C
Unrefined high-oleic sunflower oil320°F160°C
Extra virgin olive oil320°F160°C
Unrefined peanut oil320°F160°C
Semirefined safflower oil320°F160°C
Unrefined soy oil320°F160°C
Unrefined walnut oil320°F160°C
Hemp seed oil330°F165°C
Semirefined canola oil350°F177°C
Coconut oil350°F177°C
Unrefined sesame oil350°F177°C
Semirefined soy oil350°F177°C
Vegetable shortening360°F182°C
Macadamia nut oil390°F199°C
Refined canola oil400°F204°C
Semirefined walnut oil400°F204°C
High quality (low acidity) extra virgin olive oil405°F207°C
Sesame oil410°F210°C
Cottonseed oil420°F216°C
Grapeseed oil420°F216°C
Virgin olive oil420°F216°C
Almond oil420°F216°C
Hazelnut oil430°F221°C
Peanut oil440°F227°C
Sunflower oil440°F227°C
Refined corn oil450°F232°C
Palm oil450°F232°C
Palm kernel oil450°F232°C
Refined high-oleic sunflower oil450°F232°C
Refined peanut oil450°F232°C
Refined Safflower oil450°F232°C
Semirefined sesame oil450°F232°C
Refined soy oil450°F232°C
Semirefined sunflower oil450°F232°C
Olive pomace oil460°F238°C
Extra light olive oit468°F242°C
Soybean oil495°F257°C
Safflower oil510°F266°C
Avocado oil520°F271°C

I like cooking with extra light olive oil and butter. This is mainly because olive oil is high in monounsaturated fatty acids (73%) while being low in polyunsaturated fatty acids (less than 10%). The refined nature of extra light olive oil mainly affects taste and smoke point, but does not reduce the nutritional benefits of olive oil. Butter, although high in saturated fat (66%), is low in polyunsaturated (4%) and contains a host of vitamins, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and acids that are antimicrobial and antitumorigenic. Also, it tastes good.
Next »
« Prev
Written by Michael Chu
Published on June 10, 2004 at 03:15 PM
107 comments on Smoke Points of Various Fats:(Post a comment)

On October 16, 2005 at 02:56 AM, Michael Chu said...
Thanks to Florian for providing the Celcius conversions!

On October 16, 2005 at 02:56 AM, Brian Hayes (guest) said...
Methinks that grapeseed oil when it can be purchased at a reasonable price can replace peanut and coconut oils for high heat uses. Your chart shows grapeseed with an adequately high smokepoint for a cooking oil. It is light and drains easily. Some say it actually lowers cholesterol -- opposite the popular deep frying oils.

On October 16, 2005 at 02:57 AM, Brian Hayes (guest) said...
Sorry to add this extra comment, but as I thought, most sites report grapeseed oil with a smoke free range from 420F to 485F -- plenty hot. It maintains its healthy properties at the highest cooking temperature (up to 485 degrees F).

No Cholesterol
No Sodium
No Trans-fatty acids
No preservatives
High in Antioxidants
Vitamin E: 11-22mg/serving
Highest concentration of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats of any oil
Lowest level of saturated fat of any oil
72+% Lineolic Acid (Omega 6)
May help increase HDL (good) and reduce LDL (bad) Cholesterol

There is a grapeseed oil fact sheet at

I don;t sell it. I just have learned to use it a lot.

On October 16, 2005 at 02:57 AM, Michael Chu said...
I welcome all comments.

A few comments on your assessment of grapeseed oil:
No Cholersterol, sodium, trans-fatty acids, preservatives - these are true for all pur vegetable oils.

High in antioxidants and vitamin E - yes, grapeseed oil is a good source for vitamin E.

Highest concentration of mono and poly of any oil - untrue. Canola and safflower are two commonly available oils with lower saturated fat. (And in my fats article I note that avoidance of saturated fats may not be a healthful choice. In fact, high consumption of polyunsaturates should be avoided.) Unlike canola oil, grapeseed oil is mostly polyunsaturated.

Almost all of the polyunsaturated fatty acids in grapeseed oil is linoleic acid which is an omega-6 fatty acid. High consumption of omega-6 oils is not recommended as it inhibits the body's ability to process alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3) fatty acids. Don't get me wrong, omega-6 is essential, but (at least in the U.S.) we get a large amount of omega-6 in our food already. Supplementing your diet with an 72% omega-6 oil may not be such a good idea.

I'm not familiar with the ability of grapeseed oil to increase HDL and reduce LDL counts. Anyway, I don't take too much stock in the cholesterol hypothesis.

Mary Enig suggests an equal parts combination of coconut oil, sesame oil, and olive oil for frying for maximum health benefits.

I use either extra light olive oil or canola oil for my frying currently as it is difficult for me to purchase other beneficial high heat oils at a price point that I am willing to spend.

On October 16, 2005 at 02:58 AM, an anonymous reader said...
I am impressed with the smoke point tables and realy the whole site.

I have recently become aware of an oil (widely available) from india called,
"Gingelly Oil" which has nice properties and is inexpensive hoowever takes some practice with getting used to mixing the taste into things. I'm looking for info on this oil if anyone has any???

On October 16, 2005 at 02:58 AM, Shrew (guest) said...
Gingelly oil, according to my understanding is just sesame seed oil. It's just called by a different name in India.

On October 16, 2005 at 02:59 AM, Michael P Nugent (guest) said...
Someone tell me if I understand this correctly, and comment on how this effects the "healthfulness" of otherwise healthy oils: polyunsaturates, while considered healthy, become trans-fatty at 360 F. If we agree-- and most seem to-- that trans-fat is far less healthy than even saturated fat, then this heat makes sesame, flax, et al less healthy than beef tallow. One is definitely inclined to use a low-poly oil for frying at high temperatures, but these usually don't have the highest smoke points. What then?

On October 16, 2005 at 03:00 AM, an anonymous reader said...
Can anyone shed any light on Tea Oil used for cooking? It is not very common but apparently from the reports I've read regarding its properties, it seems to be as healthy as olive oil, with an 82% mono fat content, and a low 10% sat fat content. It also boasts a high smoking point and decent levels of Omega-3's. So why is it so uncommon?

On October 16, 2005 at 03:00 AM, an anonymous reader said...
I was looking at the list for smoke points ofr certain fats, but i did not see duck fat. I was wandering if anyone knoew the smoke point ofr duck fat. I am a chef and I would like to use duck fat as a cooking medium in my deep fat fryer to cook with, especially our house made potato chips. If anyone knows the temperature I would greatly appreciate to get the information. You can contact me by email at Thank you

On October 16, 2005 at 03:00 AM, an anonymous reader said...
Very interesting info on cooking oil.
How about posting references on scientific information
in general, so it's not just like rumor which gets
so tiresome after seeing it much.
That was the nice thing about Laurel's Kitchen cookbook.

On October 16, 2005 at 03:01 AM, an anonymous reader said...
My name is chris I am a chef in Cincinnati Ohio. I was wondering if there is a chart or formula for the point when the oil lights on fire or flash points. Chris

On October 16, 2005 at 03:01 AM, Rachel Ramey (guest) said...
I found the following information at

Duck and Goose Fat this was used in traditional Jewish cooking, even more so that chicken fat. As with any animal, the omega-3 to omega-6 ratios varies depending on their diet.

Omega-6 to omega-3 ratio 13:1
Omega-3 fatty acids = 0
Omega-6 fatty acids = 13%
Omega- 9 fatty acids = 52%
Saturated Fat = 35%
Smoke Point = 375 F

On October 16, 2005 at 03:01 AM, an anonymous reader said...
Michael, trans fats are made through the process of hydrogenation. While heating an oil past its smoke point will cause it to break down and oxidize, it DOES NOT cause trans fats. Definately *avoid* shortening and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils! It's a good idea not to cook any oil under high heat circumstances.

On October 16, 2005 at 03:02 AM, ncdave4life (guest) said...
Would you please explain to me what it means for oils to be "refined," "semirefined," and "unrefined," or none of the above, and which of these correspond to the stuff you find on the shelf at Kroger and Safeway?

There are apparently huge differences in the characteristics of the oils, depending upon whether or not they are "refined." For example, your chart shows:

Unrefined safflower oil 225F
Semirefined safflower oil 320F
Refined Safflower oil 450F
Safflower oil 510F

That's an astonishing range of temperatures!


dave263 at

On October 16, 2005 at 03:02 AM, an anonymous reader said...
do you know what the smokng point for unrefined grapeseed oil and refined grapeseed oil?

On October 16, 2005 at 03:06 AM, Michael Chu said...
I have grapeseed oil's smoke point listed at 420°F. Assume refined if I don't list another version. As to unrefined grapeseed oil, I wasn't able to find this info. Anyone know?

On November 10, 2005 at 04:08 AM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Cooking oil
Hey i was wonderin for my school project, does oil have the ability to preserve food? :)

On November 10, 2005 at 01:31 PM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: Cooking oil
Anonymous wrote:
Hey i was wonderin for my school project, does oil have the ability to preserve food? :)

Yes, oil potentially has the ability to preserve food, but this must be carefully done. Oil is used in preservation by creating a (mostly) oxygen free environment if the object to be preserved is fully submerged in the oil. However, some bacteria and spores can survive (and even thrive) in an oxygen deficient environment. Only attempt to preserve food if you are experienced in this or are learning to do it from someone who is experienced.

On November 11, 2005 at 04:57 PM, MRudelich (guest) said...
Subject: smoke point(less)
I'm not sure why anyone would want to A) Deep fry at a temperature higher than 375 degrees, and B) Saute at a temperature higher than about 300 degrees. So, why would one need grapeseed oil for its high smoke point? (I use it because it has a clean, neutral flavor and a light viscosity.)

On November 11, 2005 at 08:11 PM, oyo said...
Subject: Re: smoke point(less)
MRudelich wrote:
I'm not sure why anyone would want to A) Deep fry at a temperature higher than 375 degrees, and B) Saute at a temperature higher than about 300 degrees. So, why would one need grapeseed oil for its high smoke point? (I use it because it has a clean, neutral flavor and a light viscosity.)

stirfrying, perhaps?

On November 11, 2005 at 09:00 PM, oyo said...
Anonymous wrote:
Michael, trans fats are made through the process of hydrogenation. While heating an oil past its smoke point will cause it to break down and oxidize, it DOES NOT cause trans fats. Definately *avoid* shortening and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils! It's a good idea not to cook any oil under high heat circumstances.

true, high high on unstable oils creates lipid peroxides, which are also unhealthy.

On November 28, 2005 at 12:19 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Oils oxidise quickly
You stated
Refining oils (taking out impurities) tends to increase the smoke point.

I disagree they are not impurities, they are associated cofactors/enzymes that I consider as nutrients.
We learned in chemistry that oils can quicky go rancid if left in the light (photoreactive) as well as oxidize. Isn't it interesting that most oils at the store are in clear bottles that have a shelf life of 2 to 3 years if not longer, whereas their counter parts unrefined oils will decompose and go bad within months.
Why is that I believe it is because of the refining process, oils put under high temperatures and all "impurities as you put it" have been removed. Thus increasing shelf life so the store owners don't have to throw it away.

This same mentality has been used with Milk and Eggs, does anyone remember how Milk used to only last a week before curdling. Now it lasts twice as long. Remember when we used to crack eggs and sometimes would find alittle white thing in there along with some blood, not anymore what happened how come? eggs used to go bad in our fridge within 2 weeks, that was fun because we used to get them to have an egg war. Unfortunately not anymore, Im older now but Ive had eggs in the fridge for 3 weeks and after opening them they looked fine why is that?

sorry for the long statement, main point is that oil reacts to light but not any of the oils at the store why?

On December 12, 2005 at 10:24 AM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: On the shelf life of milk and eggs.
I live in the UK, so this may not apply to where you live... but....

Over here, milk lasts longer than it used to because of the advances in pasteurisation. This (as I understand it) is treating the milk to kill any bacteria in it that cause it to go bad. This lengthens shelf life by a huge amount, although once the milk is opened, it will go off eventually due to bacteria "migrating" into the bottle. If you want an even longer shelf life, then you can buy UHT (Ultra High Temperature) milk, which is essentially boiled at high temperatures to kill virtually all bacteria.

Eggs no longer have those spots in them because they are unfertilised. This means that there is no chance of getting chicken embryos in the eggs. Our eggs are also lion-marked, meaning that the chickens that leyed them were vaccinated against Salmonella.

On January 23, 2006 at 12:52 AM, Caroline said...
Subject: Re: shelf life of eggs and milk
It's interesting that you pointed out *exactly* what's so convenient and disturbing about current food processing. People want milk that looks the same throughout (i.e. not with cream on top and separation of fat particles) and that lasts longer than a few days. We also want eggs that don't look like little embryos. We especially don't want to risk getting sick from our food and so many of our foods today are irradiated, homogenised, pasteurised, sterilised and so on.

Brigning it back to oils, the question of why oils last so long on the shelf is a good one. And why doesn't canola oil smell like....anything? The refining process requires a lot of mechanical pressure and heat and the oils simply oxidise. Then they have to bleach and filter them to get them to look the way they do in those clear bottles on the shelf. If you can find Rapunzel oils in your local health food stores, you should splurge sometime on a bottle of their organic, unrefined canola oil. It's a rich yellow colour and has the most amazing smell and taste. I love to bake cookies with them (being sure to keep the oven below 300F) yum!

But of course, the smoke point is then so much lower with unrefined oils. I try to do the olive oil/coconut oil combo when I need to stir-fry, and then I drizzle on sesame oil at the end just for flavour.

On February 16, 2006 at 11:48 AM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Thanks for settling an argument!!!
A friend of mine and myself were having a fairly heated (haha geddit!) argument the other night (albeit after a few beers) over whether sunflower oil or olive oil burns at a higher temperature... I said sunflower oil burns hotter, and so is better for things like stir frys, sauteeing etc... I think this shows I was right, although we didnt specify the exact conditions... Going with the unrefined values... I win!

Thanks for settling this!!! :D

On March 06, 2006 at 03:01 AM, an anonymous reader said...
Remember when we used to crack eggs and sometimes would find alittle white thing in there along with some blood, not anymore what happened how come? eggs used to go bad in our fridge within 2 weeks, that was fun because we used to get them to have an egg war. Unfortunately not anymore, Im older now but Ive had eggs in the fridge for 3 weeks and after opening them they looked fine why is that?

This is actually all wrong. I (well actually my wife) produce eggs for the local farmer's market. We don't do _anything_ to our chickens, just give them food and water and shelter, and steal their children.

The eggs we sell do occasionally have blood or meat spots. Commercial eggs don't have those because they are "candled". This originally meant that someone literally held each egg up to a candle, looking for any weird shadows that indicated something not quite right. Modern egg production uses machinery, including a contraption that rolls eggs past some sort of optical electrosensor. This is also the main reason that white eggs are so popular in the US: they're much easier to candle (which means the producer would rather deal with them) and the candling results are more certain (which means the consumer is happier with them).

We rarely get complaints about blood or meat spots, nor do we often find them in the eggs we eat. I believe this is because our chickens are healthy and active. Meat spots are literally bits of chicken meat -- bits of the hen that broke off and got incorporated into the egg while it was being produced. Imagine something similar to the colon polyps we're all told to watch out for. Blood spots are likewise bits of blood that leaked in during production. These things can happen as part of normal wear and tear in the bird. But imagine birds that live in 1x1 foot cages where they can barely turn around, fed high-energy feed full of hormones and god knows what else (probably not antibiotics -- I think that's actually illegal in the US, even for the big commercial operations). Birds that aren't healthy or physically fit. I imagine these birds probably make more blood & meat spots than ours. I have no specific facts to back this up, just the observation that we seem to have very few spots in our production. Not enough to warrant the effort of candling.

The only machine we use is a compressor to bubble air into an egg bath. We "wash" our eggs in dilute baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) solution.

Our eggs are fertilized (roosters run with the hens). We label them as such: "fertilized", not "fertile". We refrigerate our eggs (ok, I was wrong, that's a 2nd machine. The car we drive them to market in is as third.) Refrigerated eggs can sometimes be hatched, but they are not reliably fertile. If someone wants eggs for hatching, we make special arrangements to bring them un-refrigerated eggs. We are careful to label "fertilized" because this matters to certain subspecies of vegetarians.

Our eggs never look like embryos because bird eggs do not begin to develop until they have been held consistently warm for about 48 hours. This is a natural mechanism to prevent a nest full of eggs from hatching one by one (which results in mama hen wandering off to care for the first hatchling, and the rest of the eggs dying of cold). Mama bird lays an egg, sits on it for an hour or so, wanders off to eat, has a normal day. That night she sits on the eggs and keeps them warm all night. Repeat the next 6-10 days. Eventually there are enough eggs, she decides to seriously sit. That first egg has been sat on (brought up to body temperature) many times, possibly 10 times for 8-12 hours each time, but it has not progressed any farther in development than the last one laid. All the eggs in this nest will develop at the same rate and hatch within 12-24 hours of each other (21 days later, for chicken eggs).

Eggs do not go bad in 14 days in the fridge. Eggs don't go bad in 14 days on the counter, even a sunny counter. Before we started selling at the market, we often ate our own eggs that had been refrigerated for five months. By then they were starting to get runny, but still perfectly edible. If your mom gave you the eggs after 14 days, it was because she believed they were too old, not because they were actually going bad.

The USDA currently requires eggs to be labeled with their pack date and an expiration date 30 days later. Note that it is the pack date (which could be arbitrarily later), not their lay date. We label with the lay date, which is technically in violation, but always earlier or the same as the pack date (so at worst we are making our eggs "seem" older than they are, by their standards).

It may be that the USDA (equivalent agency back then?) used to require a 14-day expiration stamp. So your mom believed it and gave you eggs to throw. Now you're in charge of the fridge and you believe the 30 days stamped by today's standards.

Note that you cannot reliably expect store-bought eggs to last for 5 months in the fridge. Because the USDA has producers label by pack date, you really have no idea how old your eggs are. There's actually a reason that producers might deliberately age eggs: truly fresh eggs don't hard boil well. Well, they boil just fine, but they're really hard to peel. Bits of egg white stick firmly to the shell; you end up shredding the white pretty badly. If one brand of eggs had that property and the next one didn't, which one would still be on the market 6 months later? So there's a strong incentive for egg producers to age their eggs a few weeks, despite the inventory management costs. Once you have the necessary warehouse space to handle this rotating inventory stream, the exact age of eggs making it to store shelves is going to ebb and flow according to how the chickens are producing and how many eggs people are buying.

We don't do anything specific to combat this. If a customer mentions they intend to hard-boil, we steer them to an older dozen (we go to market every 1-2 weeks, so we have eggs at least a week old). We tell them to save the eggs a couple weeks before using them for that purpose. And we tell about a couple tricks: lightly crack the egg before boiling (it will leak a bit but may be easier to peel); themally shock them after boiling (drop into cold water until cool, drop back into the still-hot boiling pan). We haven't actually experimented enough with these techniques ourselves, we just use old eggs for hard boiling.


Part-time chicken engineer.

On May 23, 2006 at 10:55 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Michael, trans fats are made through the process of hydrogenation. While heating an oil past its smoke point will cause it to break down and oxidize, it DOES NOT cause trans fats.

Oh yes it does! :P

Here's the chemistry. "trans" and "cis" refer to the shape of otherwise identical molecules. In an unsaturated fat, there are occasional double bonds. This leaves two adjacent carbon atoms with only a single hydrogen attached to each instead of the usual two. This produces a slight push on one side of the chain. Hence the molecule can take either of two shapes: if the hydrogens are on the same side, the chain gets a (double) kink, if they are opposite, there is just a tiny zig-zag and the chain remains pretty well straight.

So we have:


| | | | | |
-C-C-C -C-C-C H H
| | \\ | | \\ | |
H H C-H H H C-C-C-
| | | |

cis trans


The natural form of most fats is the kinked "cis" isomer, the straighter "trans" form is unnatural and harmful. Both forms are stable at room temperature. However, when oil is heated the thermal vibration can wrench the double bond around into the other position. This occurs below the smoke point, so high temperature cooking transforms some of the natural cis fat into the harmful trans variety. It is not entirely negligible - this is one of the reasons they recommend not using cooking oil over and over again.

Regards, Derek Potter

On June 07, 2006 at 07:15 AM, Guest (guest) said...
Subject: Off subject discussion of eggs
One more off-subject comments on the eggs -- I also have had chickens and raised my own eggs, and one of the first things I noticed was how much thicker the shells were on my home grown eggs.

Here is my hypothesis -- grocery store eggs come from chickens fed the bare minimum to get the product to market and maximize profitability. Thin shells are the result of less availability of minerals in the chicken's system to produce a thicker shell. Thin shells also allow the eggs to be "candled" or optically inspected more efficiently (for all of us consumers that value predictability in our egg cracking experience). Thin shells also allow oxidation of the eggs (the process that causes spoilage as evidenced by that little bubble of air you find between the membrane and the shell in older eggs, and allows you to do the "float test" to determine an egg's freshness before you are unpleasantly surprised). So, grocery store eggs spoil faster IMHO, and are less nutritious (because that same programming principle of garbage in -- garbage out also works for food processing)

Am I far off the mark, anyone with more knowledge and less experience in this area?

On July 06, 2006 at 07:08 PM, visitor (guest) said...
Is it more harmful to deep fry something or styr fry something lets say chicken for instance and about how much harmful is one over the other.

On August 17, 2006 at 12:33 PM, Jeff (guest) said...
Subject: Cholesterol levels and CHD
Improvement of cholesterol levels is attributed to all unsaturated fats :

On March 06, 2007 at 01:48 PM, George Chow said...
Subject: smoke point of various fats
i did not realize that soybean, safflower and avocado oils have very high smoke points. the oil that is not on the list but is getting a lot of attention is rice bran oil - smoke point 490 f /254 c. i use it to coat barbecue grills before grilling and it does a great job in preventing the meat from sticking to the grill :)

On March 22, 2007 at 03:52 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Very useful
However, another source for similar information (admittedly less objective by nature) is Spectrum Organic's 1-2-3 guide to cooking oils. They offer a bunch of different oils at reasonable prices and their guide is written for their oils, so at least you know what product they refer to. (NOW oils seems to process their products in a similar fashion, FWIW).

It is a PDF file, but otherwise it is about perfect.

On March 22, 2007 at 03:56 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Oops
Anonymous wrote:

It is a PDF file, but otherwise it is about perfect.

Sorry, failed to preview the link before posting...

Use this direct link to the PDF file of the 1-2-3 cooking guide to avoid having to click through.

It does not cover rice bran oil, of which I bought a 16oz. bottle for $5 and used for a bo luc lac yesterday evening. It worked well at high heat, so there are some oils worth exploring which are not in the 1-2-3 guide. But the guide is more specific and less confusing than Mr. Chu's (great!) table, above.

Hope this helps others to choose wisely.

On March 28, 2007 at 06:39 PM, sportchick (guest) said...
Subject: oils
B) How about rice bran oil-HOT-HOT-smoke point 490 degrees and of course you want to fry at a high heat- why not with a good trans fat free cooking oil.

On March 28, 2007 at 07:08 PM, pinky (guest) said...
Subject: trans fat free
You can always find rice oil at It is a good value.

On June 11, 2007 at 02:48 PM, John Appleyard (guest) said...
Subject: not neccesarily veggie
Lots of people keen on their cooking. I have taken to using beef dripping or lard as approriate when cooking meats, a much more suitable flavour, of course.

What brought me to the site however is my seach for a heat transfer oil, anybody know some flash and fire points of high temperature oils. also why do manufactures bother to make synthetic ois for heat transfer when these veg oils have such higher smoke/flash points?


On June 24, 2007 at 05:37 AM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Cast Iron cookware
Does anyone have any recommendations for an oil to use in seasoning cast iron cookware? Most of what I have always been told to use was either vegetable shortening or liquefied bacon fat. I'm about to re-season mine and wonder if a something with a higher smoke point would last any longer or if any are more resistant to acid attack (such as tomato based sauces).

On June 24, 2007 at 01:55 PM, GaryProtein said...
I like to cook with Grapeseed oil. It has a high smoke point-around 420F and has VERY little taste. To season cast iron with it, you need to coat the pan well and "cook" the pan above its smoke point so the oil carbonizes. I'd bake it at 450F in an oven for an hour. When you take the pan out, let it cool and it must be smooth and NOT tacky to the touch. If the pan is sticky, all you have is a dirty pan. Put it back and cook it longer or if your oven never got to 450, check the temperature with an oven thermometer and cook it again.

Also, take a look at this thread. Jorg's technique works.

On June 24, 2007 at 11:27 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Well I tried the grapeseed oil technique.

I poured some grapeseed oil inside the pan, then used a paper towel to spread it around the rest of the pan (bottom, handle, and sides), baked at 400 F for 45 minutes, spread another layer on and baked at 450 for 45 minutes and 500 for 45 minutes (since I've seen the smokepoint of the oil varied here between 420-485 F).

What turned out was mostly perfect. The inside of the pan was as smooth as could be (not gummy anywhere) but also appeared somewhat striated. To explain, it looked as if some of it had carbonized at different rates in little pools or bubbles, but being that I put it on the rack upside down, this could not be the case. The rims of the pan, on the other hand, appeared almost powder coated in some spots and had raised areas of carbonization. These were easily scraped off with a thumbnail and revealed what looks like *rust* on the underside of these raised areas. This, too, came off with a fingernail, but it certainly looks a lot like rust.

I have decided that I will put more oil on the inside and the rim and try this again at no more than 450 F.

On August 21, 2007 at 12:46 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Polyunsaturated fat.
When reading Michael's comments on Polyunsaturated fat, I am unsure of how he comes to the conclusion they are bad and should be avoided. I am studying nutrition and I have learned they are good fats- in fact, the best fats. He is right in saying too much Omega-6 fatty acids are bad, and we do get enough or too much in our diets, but it is the ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids that is important. Omega-3's are polyunsaturated and are the most beneficial to your health when you are getting Omega-6's. Michael says a diet high in polyunsaturates should be resricted, and I don't know how he can come to that conclusion. When he says, "And in my fats article I note that avoidance of saturated fats may not be a healthful choice. In fact, high consumption of polyunsaturates should be avoided" he is giving people false information. Saturated fats are much worse for blood cholesterol levels and overall heart health, and I don't think these claims that 'polyunsaturated are bad' is accurate. This is misleading people, and they need to know the full story- they need a ratio between 2:1 and 4:1 (Omega-6 to Omega-3) for optimal health benefits.
As well, do people really heat an oil past 100 degrees celsius? Most oils high in polyunsaturated fat won't be forming trans fats because most people don't heat their oil to a very high temperature. If they are using it for deep frying, they can use a high stability variety. This is by far the better alternative to saturated fats.

On August 21, 2007 at 02:09 PM, Rickard (guest) said...
Subject: Re: Polyunsaturated fat.
Anonymous wrote:
Michael says a diet high in polyunsaturates should be resricted, and I don't know how he can come to that conclusion. When he says, "And in my fats article I note that avoidance of saturated fats may not be a healthful choice. In fact, high consumption of polyunsaturates should be avoided" he is giving people false information. Saturated fats are much worse for blood cholesterol levels and overall heart health, and I don't think these claims that 'polyunsaturated are bad' is accurate. This is misleading people, and they need to know the full story- they need a ratio between 2:1 and 4:1 (Omega-6 to Omega-3) for optimal health benefits.

There is merit to what you say, but over the last couple years I've been reading more and more about the research conducted in this area and am leaning towards agreeing with Michael and his views on fats. It is true that a healthy ratio of n-6 and n-3 fatty acids should be maintained, but in the Western world we consume so much more n-6 than n-3 it's obscene (ratios of 6:1 or 10:1 are not uncommon). He doesn't say (I wouldn't back him up on this if he did) to cut out poly, just to limit consumption. This is because poly has a tendency to break down easily (not just through overheating, repeated use, but also in the stomach during digestion) and release free radicals. It's not an issue of poly turning into trans, but an issue of cancer causing agents being released into the body. Once way to combat this is to add an oil stabilizer such as acetic acid to your oil, another is to eat a lot of antioxidants. (Or, as Michael suggests, simply focus more on monounsaturated and saturated fats which do not have this problem.) Avoiding trans should drastically reduce your chances of heart disease; reducing consumption of poly should reduce your chances of certian types of cancer.

Also, on a different subject, Michael may be right about saturated fats. Experiments have to be performed again on saturated fats (not a mixutre of trans and sat fats as was previously done) to demonstrate if they are harmful to the body. The whole cholesterol consumption thing is bullshit as well (apologies for the language Michael)

Anonymous wrote:
As well, do people really heat an oil past 100 degrees celsius?
Do you cook anything with oil? The pan barely sizzles with water when you heat oil to 100...

On August 21, 2007 at 04:04 PM, an anonymous reader said...
I'm not disputing the fact that too much Omega-6 is bad, and we already get too much in our diets. I completely agree with that.
The major issue I have is over the saturated fat. Saturated fat DOES raise cholesterol levels and clog arteries - unless I'm wasting my tuition studying nutrition. The american heart association has a section on trans fats you may want to look over.

Here is a study by professionals:
"Influence of n-6 versus n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in diets low in saturated fatty acids on plasma lipoproteins and hemostatic factors"
Author(s): Sanders TAB, Oakley FR, Miller GJ, Mitropoulos KA, Crook D, Oliver MF

In which they conclude "This study shows that in a group of healthy young men with an average plasma cholesterol concentration of 4.2 mmol/l (163 mg/dl) when consuming a diet in which fat supplies only about 30% of energy requirements, removal of saturated fatty acid leads to a reduction in their plasma cholesterol concentration."

This article, in my opinion, is unbiased and talks about some of the concerns you presented on omega-3's, however, it also seems to me that it supports Omega-3's as a better choice. There are so many factors you have to look at before you can make claims, I just don't agree with presenting people with misleading ideas that only present one side of the story.

But, hey, I guess a degree in computer engineering gives you the authority to influence what people eat.

If there is a peer-reviewed, scientific article published by a professional that says saturated fat is good and should be consumed instead of polyunsaturated fat, then I will take it all back.

On August 21, 2007 at 05:50 PM, an anonymous reader said...
And by the way:

Q. I was told that canola oil changed to trans fatty acids when it is heated, as in cooking. Is this true?

The phenomenon that occurs is vegetable oils is known as lipid oxidation or rancidity. Lipid oxidation involves the breakdown of fatty acids in the oil to produce secondary compounds that reduce the nutritive value and produce off-flavors and odors. Only under the most severe frying circumstances will the fatty acid composition of an oil be significantly altered. It is very rare for either the consumer or food processor to fry with an oil under the conditions necessary for the formation of trans fatty acids. The production of trans fatty acids to any significant degree in an oil without the use of hydrogenation is extremely rare. It is important to note that foods prepared in rancid fats are likely to be inedible due to the development of off-flavor and odors as well as deterioration in the appearance of the oil. The oil would likely be discarded before it could be subjected to the levels of light, heat and oxygen necessary to produce trans fatty acids

Canola Oil: Effects of Processing & Frying on Fatty Acid Composition, Canola Information Service.

On September 11, 2007 at 04:00 PM, guest (guest) said...
Subject: fats

read "The oiling of america" as well as the other articles here on fats.

On November 11, 2007 at 08:49 AM, joe (guest) said...
Subject: choosing an oil
I am trying to choose a good healthy frying oil and dont care much for any of the olive oils, what are some of the pros and cons to sunflower oil?

On February 07, 2008 at 12:58 AM, mateo (guest) said...
stirfrying, perhaps?

What about cooking in a Wok? Proper technique with wok cooking usually involves very, very high temperatures -- using amazingly high heat output burners (I've read pro wok burners are up to 100k BTUs). Yet the Chinese use oil, how does this work? How do they not consume trans-fats, and damage the oil past the smoke point?

On February 07, 2008 at 11:49 AM, GaryProtein said...
I can't even imagine using a burner putting out 100K btu's of energy under a wok. I have burners running off high pressure gas valves that will put out 60K and 170K btu's, and I would never use even the 60K burner on full output for a wok. I use those biggies for boiling 40-80 quart pots with water for seafood fests and cooking massive amounts of corn on the cob at BBQ's for 100 people, and I still don't use them at full blast. For deep frying turkeys I use either of the big burners, but still never on high, even to get the oil up to my starting temperature.

A 100K burner used full tilt with a wok would simply turn the wok red hot and the food would just burn after a very short period of time--and I don't mean cooking time, it would just burn on the outside and the inside would just be raw. 30K btu for a wok is way more than enough, and once up to temperature, even that can be lowered. Basically, a good stove with 15-20K btu gas burners will do a fine job with a 14-16" wok.

On February 11, 2008 at 06:38 PM, JackLaBear (guest) said...
Subject: Chinese wok cooking
Yes, Chinese wok cooking involves heating the oil way past its smoke or even (I've seen this in "open kitchen" Chinese restuarants) its flash point.
This may be a factor in China having the highest rate of stomach cancer of any country in the world.

On July 10, 2008 at 11:53 AM, an anonymous reader said... said..." The refined nature of extra light olive oil mainly affects taste and smoke point, but does not reduce the nutritional benefits of olive oil." :unsure:

this is completely contrary to anything i have read. CAn you please provide a source? It is my understanding that only Extra Virgin Olive oil is healthy. All 'light' and 'pure' olive oils, in my understanding, have been extracted with high heats or solvents.

On July 10, 2008 at 12:48 PM, Michael Chu said...
Anonymous wrote: said..." The refined nature of extra light olive oil mainly affects taste and smoke point, but does not reduce the nutritional benefits of olive oil." :unsure:

this is completely contrary to anything i have read. CAn you please provide a source? It is my understanding that only Extra Virgin Olive oil is healthy. All 'light' and 'pure' olive oils, in my understanding, have been extracted with high heats or solvents.

Nutritionally, light olive oil and extra virgin olive oil are practically the same in terms of percentages of fatty acids. I haven't actually read a study that shows light olive oil is not as "healthy" as extra virgin - in fact, I haven't been able to find a real study showing why EVOO is considered to be a healthful oil. Most of that seems to be based around the anecdotal evidence that Mediterranean cultures consume a lot of EVOO and they appear to be healthy. There are some studies centered around the fatty acids proportions in EVOO, but if that's the case, then light olive oil is the same nutritionally. Healthfulness of a food is harder to define (especially when the other food - EVOO - isn't clear why it's healthful).

On August 23, 2008 at 04:47 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Wow! Thank you so much for the information and the chart!
I love your blog and hope you'll keep blogging for a long time.

On October 28, 2008 at 09:06 AM, sandra (guest) said...
Subject: smoke point of oils reference
I found your site at the bottom of the Wikipedia page on the smoke point of oils and your values are very, very different from theirs. Can you tell me your reference for this table?

Thank you

On February 07, 2009 at 12:13 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: References
I too would like to know the references for this data.


On February 08, 2009 at 01:03 AM, Michael Chu said...
Unfortunately, I don't have my sources anymore. I had built this list from various sources (written down on paper) and then transcribed them a couple years later when I started Cooking For Engineers. I suspect I will need to revisit this topic (smoke points) in the future.

On June 12, 2009 at 11:56 PM, dre (guest) said...
Subject: are polyunsats good or bad?
Harvard School of Public Health article (link below) says mono and polyunsats are good. Bad are saturated and trans.

Seems the opposite of what Michael says. Is there some other factors to explain the difference?

Regards Don.

On June 27, 2009 at 08:01 PM, jkarle1106 said...
Has anyone else used Olean (olestra) for frying? The smoke point is 480F and it contains nothing! No fat, no cholesterol, no nutritional components, nothing. It doesn't add any flavor to the cooked food. I've filtered it and re-used it 5 or 6 times and it never seems to "spoil".

On July 12, 2009 at 11:17 PM, Dave (guest) (guest) said...
jkarle1106, there are other problems with olestra.

Personally, I try to completely avoid artificial foods. They don't seem to have a particularly good track record. (Think trans-fat.)

On July 13, 2009 at 10:40 AM, jkarle1106 said...
I don't believe it's an artificial ingredient, I think it's what's known as an enantiomer, or a mirror image of the fat it replaces. The body just doesn't recognize it as a fat.

On September 10, 2009 at 04:56 PM, Brian (guest) (guest) said...
Subject: cooking oil temperatures and stove top thermostats
Do you have a way of telling what the temperature settings are for stove top burners (electric)?

What I mean; does the manufactures have a temperature guide for their stoves; telling me what temperature is the medium setting or medium/high; you know #7 on the dial?

And does someone manufacture a thermometer that has a flat bottom to lay in the oil in the pan or do I still use a pointed end model? With all the new technology out there what's new for cooking oils?

Since the most common house hold fires are created in the kitchen involving grease/oils.

In conclusion; please explain it to me as if I've never used an electric burner before; because I am frustrated with guessing what is the actual temperature of my stove top burners; it seems to me the "medium" setting will eventually boil water; it just keeps getting hotter and hotter; why is that?

Brian Sedlar

On September 11, 2009 at 08:48 AM, Dilbert said...
Hi Brian -

it's largely a matter of experience vs. "setting a specific temp"

I'm not aware of any (gas or) electric burners that "measure" the temp of the pan or the contents and "automatically adjust the dial" to maintain a specific temp.

the basic problem is the variability of "what is on the burner" vs the electrical energy input needed to reach and/or maintain a "set temp"

for example - boiling water. one would want max power input to bring the pot to a boil as quickly as possible (sometimes... consider cooking pasta vs poaching eggs - two different issues there) however once the pot is boiling, much less energy/heat input is required.

an example on the opposite end of the task range is heating a (thick) sauce - max power would probably burn the bottom - this task requires lower slower heating.

but how does the stove know that?

as for checking the temp, there are IR non-contact thermometers which are reasonably accurate.

theoretically "combining" the technologies, a cooktop could have permanently mounted IR over each burner to "measure" the temp of the pot contents (there are some 'calibration' issues, ignored for the moment) but that still leaves the question for the "automation system" - does it heat max&fast or low&slow or [something]in-between?

one possible solution is ala the "smart" microwaves of today.
"one bag of small popcorn, please" gets input by the user, the microwave has a stored program of power level, on/off cycle times, and total time for "a small bag." there are a lot more "options" needed for a stove....

the problem is less complicated for an "auto maintain this temp" button - user gets the pot to "where you want it" - push "auto" button.
again assuming some method of measuring the contents, the auto function could adjust the burner setting to maintain a constant temp - but "user smarts" are still required to establish the set point.

and it could easily be 'fooled' - say you want to fry pork chops. get the pan up to temp, frying away, remove one batch that is done, plop in a cold batch. same old "how much how fast" question comes back - if the burner goes to max power to recover the set temp, you're apt to get charred pork chops....

On December 03, 2009 at 05:26 AM, an anonymous reader said...
I use Extra Cold Filtered Rice Bran Oil - according to my bottle here it contains no cholestrol, smoking point of 250C (482F), plant sterols (oryzanol), vitamin E and packs a light flavour ;) It's more expensive here in Australia than most other oils but I love cooking with it.

On December 17, 2009 at 06:07 AM, Jan (guest) said...
Subject: Flash point temperature for commercial fryers grease
Do have information regarding a general temperature range for the flash point of the greases/oils used in commercial fryers?

On February 03, 2010 at 03:26 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Saturated fats and heart disease
To the person who is looking for research on saturated fats, there is a site called that lists several research articles on coconut oil. I have not yet read them, but I will. Briefly scanning the site, it looks like they may have a good argument on this typically "poopooed" oil.

On February 06, 2010 at 11:46 PM, Garret (guest) said...
Subject: butter s.p. for clarified or un-?
re the smoke point given for butter--is that for clarified or unclarified butter? Thanks.

On February 07, 2010 at 08:35 AM, Dilbert said...
I've seen a couple sources state clarified butter smoke point runs to 485'F

the 350'F is for butter right out of the package.

On May 18, 2010 at 08:18 PM, KayDat said...
Super late to the discussion, but I'd like some clarification on the issue raised by anon back in '07 about polyunsaturated vs saturated fats.
Now, anon's attitude left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth, and tbh, I actually hold a similar view to both Michael and Rickard; I remember my high school teacher telling us that polyunsaturated fats aren't really "good" fats so to speak (unlike what the mass media might have us believe) in comparison to saturated, just different. Speaking from memory here, he mentioned that while in Western countries, there was higher consumption of saturated oils, and also higher instances of heart disease, in cultures where polyunsaturated oils were consumed in higher amounts, there were higher instances of bowel cancer (I think; it was cancer of some part of the digestive tract). Now again, this is all from memory, and of course, correlation doesn't mean causation, but this all seems to match up with what Rickard said.
Of course, when I asked my teacher back then which fat was "better", he answered moderation, I think it can be safely said that trans fat is bad. =]

On August 26, 2010 at 11:45 AM, gotta stop worring (guest) said...
Subject: People worry to much.
I think people gotta stop worrying about what oil they use.

I see people deep fry in olive oil, I see people deep fry in cotton seed oil I see people deep fry in canola oil or vege oil.

I see people fry with peanut oil, sunflower, grapeseed rice bran, vege, soybean, canola, oilve oils etc...even lardand butter ghee.

if we actually got up of our butts and did a decent amount of physical exercise we would not need to be worries bout this kinda stuff....

20 30 yrs ago people used to cosume alot of bad things but they worked harder and had more active life styles.....

I buy various oils dependin on my buget that week....also you really think that ya local fish n chip shop do not care what oil they use YES when it comes to the money side of things NOT the health aspect.

On August 26, 2010 at 03:05 PM, Dilbert said...
>>what oil they use

to a large degree, I would agree. the 'fact' is the longer a fat is held at a temperature past its 'tolerance' the more it degrades. now,,,, 'longer' is rarely measured in minutes or hours that the home cook encounters for saute, frying, deep frying. but in a commercial setting where the deep fryers run for days and days and days, the type of oil can make a difference in how fast it breaks down, goes off flavor, generates nasty free radicals (and further such scary stuff)

the one issue the home cook may encounter is the oil 'burning' and going off flavor due to too much heat in the pan - obviously the higher the 'I'm gonna taste nasty' temperature, the less like this is to occur. however with very little effort one can turn virtually any oil/fat into a brown goopy foul tasting/smelling mess on an electric or gas burner. some attention to the task at hand is a really good solution to that problem.

we don't deep fry that much - so all that oil is essentially a 'one shot' use. we actually clean out the fry pans after use as well - so not much oil gets carried from saute to saute. all those nasty free radicals get fed to the garbage disposal - heh, it's happy.....

once upon a century dreary I too stocked peanut oil, safflower oil, olive oil, vegetable oil. ditched them, except for olive oil. I use it for any cooking process I need; fry or saute - if I want a browning effect I toss in a pat of unsalted butter. I still keep vegetable oil as an ingredient for recipes - and actually I use it for deep frying simply because olive oil is a lot more expensive.

if one does a dailyx365 diet of fried eggs/bacon at breakfast, fried hamburger for lunch, and deep fried chicken steak for dinner, then indeed one may need to pay attention to the specific oil. frankly, methinks that kind of diet needs more attention than the oil type, but heck - everybody does their own thing.

On September 16, 2010 at 05:20 PM, Marten (guest) said...
Subject: Nice High Heat Oil 495F
Spectrum Oils (Canadian Label) lists on their Refined Almond Oil a high heat rating (which I understand to be aka Smoke Point) of 495 F. Seems a clear (pardon pun) winner!

BTW, their pdf temperature listings are inaccurate, at least as of 09/16/10. They recommend to go by what's listed on the bottle as being accurate and current. Cheers.

On September 16, 2010 at 05:50 PM, Dilbert said...
>>clear winner at 495'F

avocado oil comes in at 520'F

On September 16, 2010 at 08:11 PM, an anonymous reader said...
""avocado oil comes in at 520'F"" dilbert

I am going with Spectrum Oils on this one. As I mentioned, when I questioned them on their discrepancy, they told me that their pdfs, where they listed 510, is inaccurate. and

They list 450 for their refined avocado oil and apparently that is supposed to be the current accurate rating.

I figure if anyone would know, it would an oil specialty company like Spectrum that has been around forever. So I'll go with the 450.

If there was another brand of avocado oil that was unrefined, it would most likely be even lower.

However, at the same time, it does seem that there are many different temperatures for oil smoke points, depending on the manufacturing process and the manufacturer. So I guess we each have to go with what we figure are the best odds for accuracy. :-)

On September 17, 2010 at 07:39 AM, Dilbert said...
both reference cite 510'F - if it's wrong, and they know it's wrong, and they have not corrected / do no care to correct their documentation, not sure I'd go overboard with a lot of faith in anything they have to offer.

that said, I frankly don't think there's any practical difference in the home kitchen between smoke point 495'F, 510'F or 520'F

On September 18, 2010 at 11:28 PM, Igor (guest) said...
"If you can find Rapunzel oils in your local health food stores, you should splurge sometime on a bottle of their organic, unrefined canola oil."

Isn't canola oil made from genetically-modified rapeseed? How can an oil that's made from genetically-modified ingredients be organic?

On September 18, 2010 at 11:33 PM, Igor (guest) said...
"Does anyone have any recommendations for an oil to use in seasoning cast iron cookware?"


On September 19, 2010 at 01:27 AM, Michael Chu said...
Igor wrote:
"If you can find Rapunzel oils in your local health food stores, you should splurge sometime on a bottle of their organic, unrefined canola oil."

Isn't canola oil made from genetically-modified rapeseed? How can an oil that's made from genetically-modified ingredients be organic?

Canola oil was developed through selective breeding. Although this involves the manipulation of genetics, because it is an indirect process (and one practiced for as long as agriculture and animal husbandry has been around) it is not considered genetically modified. There are more recent variants of canola oil which have been developed using genetic engineering techniques and these varieties cannot be labeled non-GMO.

On May 08, 2011 at 06:43 PM, Matt6543 (guest) said...
Isn't canola oil made from genetically-modified rapeseed? How can an oil that's made from genetically-modified ingredients be organic?

Virtually all canola oil that is not labeled organic is GMO. Nothing that is certified organic can be GMO. There are very few species that were actually created through genetic engineering. They generally just take an existing crop and splice in a section of DNA from some other organism to get some desired characteristic like cold-resistance or tolerance to Round-Up. So there are still heirloom varieties of these plants around that are grown on organic farms, at least until they all get contaminated with the GMO's. Canola and corn are two things that are best avoided if they're not certified organic, and soy is just unhealthy in general, but most non-organic soy is GM, which just makes it even worse.

As for the stuff about the oils, I'm kind of confused by this smoke point stuff. I'm trying to figure out what the healthiest oil would be for deep frying, and I know that you normally don't want to heat it to more than about 375 anyway, but I'm not really going to know if I accidentally get it hotter than that, plus I'm planning to reuse the oil because I can't really afford to just use that much oil once and throw it out, so I figure I should get the most stable thing possible.

So I guess what I don't understand is, what determines the smoke point if it's not just how saturated the fat is? Does it have something to do with the lengths of the carbon chains? I had always heard that coconut oil could stand extreme heat, which made sense since it's almost all saturated, but now I'm seeing that its smoke point is only 350. And when a saturated fat is heated too much, is it still getting oxidized and forming free radicals? I had been thinking that nothing bad would happen to a saturated fat when it's heated because I knew that saturated fats can't become trans-fats since they already have the maximum amount of hydrogen. But I guess any kind of oil will burn, so they can all be oxidized - but I have no idea what's actually being produced when fats are oxidized, other than CO2 and heat. It seems like most of the oils with the highest smoke points are high in monounsaturates like oleic acid. So are monounsaturates about as heat-stable as saturates? I had been thinking that refined coconut oil would be the best for deep-frying, but I guess not if the smoke point is only 350. I also don't want to use anything GM like canola or soy oil. So it seems like maybe palm fruit oil would be the most economical choice. Maybe peanut or rice bran would also be good options? I also don't want something that's going to impart a lot of its own flavor on the food. I don't think I can afford the high-oleic sunflower/safflower. I was also considering lard or tallow, but they actually seem to have a relatively low smoke point as well, plus in a quick search it didn't seem like organic lard and tallow are available, and cows and pigs are typically fed GM feedstocks in addition to all the nasty chemicals they get shot up with, not even getting into the issue of how the animals are treated at industrial feedlots. Cottonseed is another one that is always GM (and I don't think I've ever even seen it at a store - just on processed food labels). And "vegetable oil" is typically just soy and/or canola, depending on what it says in the ingredients list - often you don't even know what you're getting.

To the people saying that oil choices aren't that important, I definitely disagree with that. I guess if you're not using oil very often then it doesn't matter much to you, but fat is an essential nutrient, so we all need to be somewhat conscious of what fats we're eating. As far as overall consumption, I think the main concerns are to try to maximize omega-3 intake while minimizing omega-6 since those are so unbalanced in the typical diet - and since they are both polyunsaturated, that's not something you can tell from product labels; not to overdo it too much on monounsaturates, because most studies show them has having positive effects on cardiovascular health, but also being correlated with some types of cancer; and probably to try to get some MCFA's since they seem to be so beneficial, and I guess maybe I've heard about other specific oils having antioxidant, antimicroibial, immune-boosting, etc. effects. The politically correct idea has for a while been that saturated fat is bad for you, or at least that animal fat is bad, but it seems like the jury is still out on all of that. I've actually read that athero-/arteriosclerosis have little to do with cholesterol levels and more to do with sugar intake and insulin levels.

Then the issue of what oils you can heat up and how much you can heat them is entirely separate from overall fat consumption. Here we are talking about taking in carcinogens, and I don't think that's something where exercise is going to make much of a difference. From what I understand, it seems pretty clear that polyunsaturated fats are highly unstable and that fats high in omega-3 like flax oil should never be heated at all, not to more than like 115 F or so (which of course makes me wonder about cooking fish). Then the monounsaturated and saturated fats are where things get fuzzy for me, as I was saying. So does anyone have a better understanding of this stuff than I do? I've even done some searching online and haven't really come up with a good explanation, although I don't know organic chemistry, so I haven't gotten into anything really technical.

On May 08, 2011 at 07:05 PM, Matt6543 (guest) said...
Subject: Re: Kitchen Notes: Smoke Points of Various Fats
Cooking For Engineers wrote:
I like cooking with extra light olive oil and butter. This is mainly because olive oil is high in monounsaturated fatty acids (73%) while being low in polyunsaturated fatty acids (less than 10%). The refined nature of extra light olive oil mainly affects taste and smoke point, but does not reduce the nutritional benefits of olive oil. Butter, although high in saturated fat (66%), is low in polyunsaturated (4%) and contains a host of vitamins, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and acids that are antimicrobial and antitumorigenic. Also, it tastes good.<br><br>

Also, regarding "does not reduce nutritional benefits," the refining is not altering the actual fats that make up the oil, so their nutritional profile would be the same, but those vitamins, antioxidants, etc. that you're talking about in the butter are exactly what is lost or destroyed in the refining process. A lot of the nutritional benefits of food come from micronutrients, but all we usually hear about are the macronutrients. Also, if the light oil is obtained by chemical solvent extraction, there could be remnants of the solvent left in the final product. Anyway, the reason EVOO is recommended so much is because being cold-pressed and unrefined, it is a whole, raw food, and the only commonly available oil that fits that description (actually, maybe it's not technically whole, since it doesn't include the meat of the olive, but you get the idea). Once it is solvent-extracted, heat processed, refined, etc., it's no longer raw - it's just pure fat without any beneficial phytonutrients, just like every other refined oil.

By the way, I can't find a feature to subscribe to this topic, so if anyone responds, maybe they could email me at "revolution is patriotic" at gmail (no spaces). Thanks!

On July 30, 2011 at 08:09 AM, John (guest) said...
Subject: Refined coconut oil
Does refined coconut oil have a higher smoke point temp.?

On July 30, 2011 at 11:27 AM, Dilbert said...

As cooking ingredients, refined and unrefined coconut oil have the same melting point---76 degrees F. However, refined coconut oil has a smoking point of 450 degrees F, whereas the smoking point of unrefined coconut oil is 350 degrees F. Because of its greater heat tolerance, refined coconut oil can be a better option for high-temperature cooking methods such as frying.

Read more: Refined Vs. Unrefined Coconut Oil |

On August 22, 2011 at 03:30 PM, (guest) said...
Subject: Tea Seed Oil
I use Tea Seed Oil (Camellia Oleifera). It has the following health benefits


On August 26, 2011 at 03:58 AM, beauty (guest) said...
My name is Regine. I am really thankful that I find this info. This really help me from my report dealing with FATS AND OILS...Anyway, I'm a college student from VSU...


On October 05, 2011 at 10:00 PM, chris aylmer (guest) said...
Subject: deep frying
I enjoyed the comments by Matt 6543 recently. I have the same dilemma of not knowing what type of oil to use for deep frying. There are so many different ideas about what is good and bad.

Use unrefined oil and it can smoke at the temperature that you need for deep frying potatoes. With the best of intentions, I tried unrefined red palm oil but this smokes at above 160C. OK for fish in batter, but at that temperature you get soggy chips/French fries and it can take 15 minutes to cook potatoes properly. It's also a messy hassle to filter palm oil after frying as it goes solid when cold. You should ideally filter oil after every use to avoid burnt residues of flour, batter and breadcrumbs from building up. When I switched to refined rapeseed oil at 190C, the potatoes cooked to a crisp golden colour in only 6 minutes and were so much better for it...the best I'd tasted for ages after persevering with the red palm oil for far too long. But now we hear that these refined oils are solvent extracted and processed at high temperatures to remove low smoke point fats. So they may not burn but they could easily still be vulnerable to lipid peroxidation with continued use and the formation of trans fats (if one seemingly knowledgable scientist contributer is correct). Who would want to throw the oil away every time you fry? It's so wasteful.
For now I will continue with refined high smoke point oils for deep frying (Maybe light olive oil rather than rapeseed)because the only thing I am sure of is that my fried potatoes are definitely much better for it! It's quick, so I use less power, waste less time and the potatoes are done crisply and perfectly. I can easily filter the oil the next day when it is cool.
For all other uses, I always use extra virgin olive oil: e.g. salads, drizzling over savoury foods and sauteeing. I also drizzle it over toast or dip the toast in the oil with garlic crushed in it, rather than spread butter(I do like unsalted butter on freshly baked bread). The taste of extra virgin olive oil is great, subtly hot and peppery without any greasiness, and it is good value now in supermarkets.

As far as the debate on saturated fats goes, I am not at all convinced of the tired old story that saturated fat is bad for your heart. It's gone into the nutrition bible and will take a generation or two to exsponge. It doesn't matter how many papers you quote....there is now real debate about this topic among nutritionists.
I am a pharmacologist by training and did an experiment on myself to see if I could find out what was happening to my cholesterol on high and low fat diets. I put myself on a high fat/very low carb diet for two weeks, followed by high fat/low carb for 4 weeks and then a very low fat /high carb diet for another 4 weeks. The saturated fat intake was 6 times higher in the high fat diets than in the very low fat diet. There was a control period of 2 weeks at the start. I had my lipid profile measured after each period. The best lipid profile was after the high fat/very low carb period. HDL was well up and triglycerides markedly lower, with LDL about the same as control. The ratio of HDL to triglycerides is considered a good marker of heart risk, the higher the better. There were similar results for the second period but less pronounced. With the low fat/high carb diet there was little difference to control. These results suggest that it is the carb intake that is most important for a good lipid profile and that high fat(including 6 times as much saturated fat) is not detrimental. I rest my case! Of course, maybe I should not be eating potatoes at all to cut down on carbs, but then we can't all be saints!

please see:

for full results

On October 06, 2011 at 12:13 AM, yocona said...
Subject: Re: deep frying
chris aylmer wrote:

As far as the debate on saturated fats goes, I am not at all convinced of the tired old story that saturated fat is bad for your heart.

Then why not try frying in duck fat? It makes the most incredible french fries.

On January 27, 2012 at 10:21 AM, JoePutman (guest) said...
Subject: polyunsaturated fatty acids
The author commented that he liked cooking with light olive oil and butter and one of the reasons he listed were that both were low in polyunsaturated fat. That doesn't seem like a good thing to me, wouldn't you prefer they were high is polyunsaturated fat? Polyunsaturated fat is a good thing.

On March 25, 2012 at 07:05 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: polyunsat
No polyunsaturated fat is not a good thing - it is a very bad thing. Saturated fat is a good thing. Use natural fats that have been around for hundreds of years - butter, lard (not the hydrogenated stuff most stores sell), tallow, bacon grease. Cholesterol is not the evil it is made out to be. The brain and heart need cholesterol and cholesterol isn't absorbed from the food eaten. For those who think cholesterol is a problem - mine went from 201 to 165 in 4 months when I switched to a low carb high saturated fat diet and I lost weight. I have done a lot of research on this issue. The studies that claim saturated fat is bad and polyunsaturated fat is good ignore previous studies that say the opposite and are manipulated to say what they want it to say. Many of those studies are a subset. What subset means is that they do a study and if the results say opposite of what they wanted it to say and a small portion of it seems to say what they want the results to be, they publish only the portion that says what they wanted the results to say.

A good place to start researching this issue is:

A heart surgeon (don't remember his name) recently came out and said that inflammation causes the cholesterol to stick to the arteries. In the absence of inflammation, cholesterol flows through the vessels like it is supposed to do. Inflammation explains why people with "good" cholesterol have heart attacks. I heard of a study that possibly correlates high A1C to heart attacks more than anything previously reprted

On May 27, 2012 at 06:11 PM, anon (guest) said...
Subject: How to peel an egg
Replying to "a part-time chicken engineer" on how to peel a hard-boiled egg. After years of peeling off dozens of little chips of egg shell, I discovered the perfect way a few years ago. Here's how: After boiling, drain the water and fill the pot with cold tap water. Leave the eggs in the water for 30 minutes or so to completely cool. Take an egg, use your knuckle and put a dozen or so cracks all over the whole egg. Here's the magic part - hold the egg vertically with the pointy end pointing up. Hold the egg between both of your palms and slightly squeeze the egg while rolling it between your hands. After rolling 10 - 12 times, grab the egg and use your thumbnail to get under the shell. Keep unpeeling it all the way. Rolling it between your palms loosens the shell from the egg. After a bit of practice, you'll become an expert at removing the entire shell in one piece, I've been doing it for years. Note of caution - If you put too much of a squeeze when rolling it, you'll split that sucker in half, so be gentle. There - we've lifted the cloak and now you know the magic. Go impress your friends.

On September 26, 2012 at 02:58 PM, Natalie (guest) said...
Subject: Avocado Oil
HI there,

Wondering if you can specify on your chart that the avocado oil you have listed is the refined version. I sell naturally refined avocado oil and have had smoke point testing done on multiple virgin avocado oils on the market. They all claim smoke points of 500 degrees or more - which is inaccurate at best - and I'm trying to correct the misinformation online about avocado oil's smoke point. I would appreciate you updating your chart as it is commonly referred to as a source when stating avocado oil smoke point. If you have any questions of would like to see the data from the smoke point analysis I'm more than happy to talk with you.


On December 26, 2012 at 01:53 AM, guest (guest) said...
Subject: Is Extra Virgin Olive Oil good for sauteing?

I am using Unrefined Seasame Oil and now I am planning to use Extra Virgin Olive Oil, especially for sauteing. I would like to know whether it is better to stick with Unrefined Seasame Oil or switch over to EVOO. Also, is it necessary to switch of the stove/reduce to minimum heat when we see smoke in the oil, especially during sauteing?

On December 26, 2012 at 08:28 AM, Dilbert said...
the 'extra virgin' olive oils very frequently have distinct flavors - the regular olive oils less distinct / more neutral.

I made a caprice salad for Christmas dinner and we had a mini-taste testing to determine which oil to use - plain ole' 'olive oil' won out over extra virgin and a couple other 'infused' oils - so be aware of flavor shifts.

if the pan is emitting billows of smoke, yes it's too hot regardless of which fat you're using.

On April 10, 2013 at 08:14 AM, cook (guest) said...
Subject: Smoke Point in Baking
Does the idea of Smoke Point also apply to baking or only to cooking over a high fire directly? Would a pizza drizzled with olive oil made under the broiler (around 500F) or in the oven (475F) also cause the olive oil to react the same way as it does when it's heated to a high temperature on the skillet?

On April 10, 2013 at 09:12 AM, Dilbert said...

even tho the oven temp is high - the dough or if just drizzled on - never gets to that temp.

On April 29, 2013 at 07:15 PM, Katfwiiley (guest) said...
Subject: Smoke points of blended oils

I have read several conflicting opinions (I haven't found any actual research) on whether blending oils has any affect on the smoke point. For example, if I were to blend 10 parts avacado oil (very high smoke point) with 1 part flaxseed oil (very low smoke point) would I be able to cook with that oil above the smoke point of the lower of the two?

Any help on this matter would be appreciated. Especially in the form of a direction towards scientific research on this matter. Thanks!

On July 23, 2013 at 02:21 AM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Rice Bran Oil
Rice Bran Oil - SP= 232 C (450 F)

On August 20, 2013 at 12:51 PM, RangerX (guest) said...
Subject: Ghee smoke point
I would like to know the smoke point of ghee. I have found through extensive searching it appears to right at 450. Still has that nutty buttery flavor as well.

On August 20, 2013 at 02:35 PM, Dilbert said...
ghee is a form of "clarified butter" - I say "form of" because (local) customs / traditions / methods do not always produce an identical result.

you will find a range of smoke points cited by different sources on the order of 450-485F (232 - 252C)

On August 20, 2013 at 02:36 PM, Jim Cooley said...
I know from experience it's far lower than that.



On September 28, 2013 at 01:21 AM, oirfideach (guest) said...
Subject: A hearty thank you!
I am testing different oils for marijuana infusion, and this is a great factsheet. I appreciate your hard work, and I am sure I will appreciate it even more in the coming hours! B)

On November 04, 2013 at 12:53 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Beef dripping has a smoke point of upwards of 220C, some say 250C/480F. This isn't on the list.

There has never been any science showing a link between saturated fat and heart disease. Rather than posting an enormous wall of text, here are a couple of well produced documentaries from Australian TV on the subject, which contains wider criticism of what is clearly fundamentally conflicted research filtering out via the CEOs in charge of the medical industries...

Watch Heart of the Matter parts 1 & 2 here...

On November 22, 2013 at 02:29 AM, an anonymous reader said...
The real meaning of smoke point:

On September 06, 2015 at 02:39 AM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: canola oil
I was very interested to learn more about Grapeseed oil and was surprised to learn about the high PUFA levels it contains and the health issues that this can cause in the body. On the other hand, I saw that canola oil was one of the oils recommended here as a beneficial oil to use and my research has shown that, quite often, it not only comes from crops that are laden with pesticides but also have been processed with chemicals. All in all, canola oil can be extremely toxic. In fact, I've read that it's so toxic that it should be classified as 'industrial oil'!

On September 06, 2015 at 04:23 PM, Dilbert said...
you should probably start to think and research for yourself and stop believing every blogging idiot that posts on the internet.

there are so many claims about canola - here's a few you can research:

Canada paid the FDA (fill in the blank) millions of dollars (US or Canadian?) to approve canola oil as "generally recognized as safe."
research sez: even the conspiracy nutcases admit there is no proof and no indications and no evidence this happened - or in fact anything of any type to even indicate the story is anything other than completely "made up to sound good" - regardless, it's on the internet therefore it is true. and no conspiracy nut case has yet found the multi-hundreds-on-millions-of-dollars in the Canadian "black budget"

claim: canola oil is toxic
actual fact: water is toxic. every year a couple stupid college kids drink so much water they kill themselves.
research sez: once upon a time the rapeseed oil harvested was in fact used as an industrial lubricant and its plant ancestors do indeed contain high levels erucic acid concentrations deemed unsafe for human consumption. the erucic acid content was drastically reduced by selective breeding.
selective breeding is not genetic engineering; were it not for selective breeding you would be eating mostly garden weeds and very skinny non-good tasting animal products.

claim: it was genetically modified to make it safe.
actual fact: the erucic acid was reduced by selective breeding decades before "genetic engineering" was anything more than science fiction.
actual fact: since the invention of RoundUp, some rapeseed varieties used have been made 'RoundUp resistant.' a large percentage, but not all, of the crop is produced from RoundUp ready seed.

claim: canola oil is banned in Europe
actual fact: that would be news to the Europeans. in fact, they grow their own. LEAR is their designation.

claim: canola is processed with chemicals x,y,z which are toxic and will kill you.
actual fact: if you believe this kind of hype, you probably don't want to know how the rest of your food is prepared.

claim: rapeseed is in the mustard family and we all know how mustard gas is made!
actual fact: utter horse feathers. go research mustard gas - it is not made from any plant source.

claim: canola is is classified as a bio-pesticide by the US EPA.
actual fact: true.
further facts: Ivory soap would be classified as a bio-pesticide if it were packaged and sold as a pesticide. soaps kill waxy bodied insects, oils suffocate hard bodied insects.
if you sell two wooden blocks to clap together and kill flies, the EPA will label it a pesticide.
if you sell water in a spray bottle with directions on how to wash aphids off your roses, the EPA would force you to label it a pesticide.

so, stop believing everything on the Internet and start thinking for yourself.

On April 25, 2017 at 08:43 AM, djl (guest) said...
Subject: refined oils
I have read in several places that refined oils are unhealthy and should not use them. Is that accurate that refined oils should be avoided just like we should avoid trans fats ?

On July 16, 2018 at 05:00 PM, Guest (guest) said...
Subject: Did I just read that?
This is a very useful list and helpful for those looking to season cast iron or who cook with a variety of oils.

But did I just read a whole slew of comments rating "organic" over GMO?

From a scientific perspective, "certified organic" usually means one thing: higher risk of bacterial or parasitic contamination. For an engineer it means dramatically lower crop yields, inefficient land use, and increased labor requirements, and for an economist it means significantly higher COGS.

From a cooking perspective, "certified organic" means... Yeah I got nothin. Wash all your food before you eat it, watch its shelf life, and sign up for a couple chemistry classes at a community college if you're worried about "chemicals" in your food.

Oh, and Dilbert, selective breeding IS genetic engineering. It's just very very slow and very very inefficient and very very unpredictable genetic engineering.

On July 17, 2018 at 12:57 AM, Dilbert said...
if you're so hot on science and definitions, you should look up how genetic engineering is defined.

selective breeding takes advantage of naturally mutations - happy 'accidents' saved for the next generation.

genetic engineering artificially modifies an organism in ways nature cannot.

On August 11, 2021 at 03:10 AM, Frances (guest) said...
Subject: How about refined extra virgin olive oil & ghee?
How about refined extra virgin olive oil and ghee? Does anyone knows the smoke points?
Thank you

On August 11, 2021 at 11:29 PM, Lyceme said...
Yes, its possible. Pour your extra virgin olive oil into a heat-resistant bowl like Pyrex glass. You can smoke any amount of oil you'd like, depending on your planned usage.

On August 17, 2021 at 02:06 AM, sensiblewall said...
But you have to consider the right temperature. Good thing, extra virgin olive oil turns out to be one of the best choices for high-heat cooking even if it does not have the highest-smoke point.

About CfE Contact User Agreement Privacy Policy FAQ's In the Press Write for CfE