As I’m doing more and more cooking, I want to try out some different cooking oils. One question I had when I was looking for different oils to use was ‘is avocado oil good for high heat cooking’? I’d heard a few people saying they used this, so thought I’d check it out.
So is avocado oil good for high heat cooking? Yes avocado oil is good for high heat cooking. With a high smoke point of over 500 degrees Fahrenheit, you can safely sear, fry, barbecue and bake at very high temperatures without burning the oil. It is also very high in vitamins and minerals, and is high in cholesterol reducing fats.
So the short answer is yes using avocado oil is good for high heat cooking, but there is more to it than this. It is also useful to know a little more about exactly why it is a good choice, and what the benefits of this are.
If you want to know more about this, see how you can make your own at home, and learn more about the health benefits of this then read on. I’ve also taken a look at some alternatives to avocado oil for high heat cooking.
Is Avocado Oil Good For High Heat Cooking?
As I stated above, avocado oil makes an ideal oil for high heat cooking. It’s high smoke point (the highest of all cooking oils) means that you can cook to incredibly high temperatures. The smoke point of an oil is basically the point at which an oil stops cooking, and starts burning.
Taking it past this point, whilst not tasting good, is also seriously unhealthy. I’ll go into more detail about this later. Avocado oil will not reach the smoking point until 520 degrees Fahrenheit, which makes it ideal for really high heat searing and frying.
Avocado oil is one of the few oils that is pressed straight from a fruit, along with olive oil. Many oils are extracted chemically from seeds, but this is not the case with avocado oil.
It is generally pressed straight from the pulp (I will show you how to do this later in this article) and contains approximately 30% oil.
Due to the natural process of pressing avocado oil, it is free from chemicals that affect the taste, especially when cooking at high heats. That’s what makes this oil so perfect for cooking with.
There are other oils that are high in monounsaturated fast with high smoke points, such as canola and peanut oils, but the chemicals used in order to extract these oils means they are refined in an altogether unhealthy way.
I do also love cooking with coconut oil, and have found this to be a much healthier alternative to regular cooking oils. This does, however, affect the flavors of your food dramatically sometimes. Whilst I do love the taste of coconut, some dishes can really be spoiled by adding this flavor when cooking.
I’ve read in many places that extra virgin olive oil is the healthiest oil to cook with, and whilst this may be true at very, very low temperatures, it cannot compete with avocado oil at high heats. most extra virgin olive oils have a smoke point of 220 degrees Fharehneit.
As this can often not be a high enough temperature to sear, fry or barbecue food to be as hot as we need it to be, the oil begins to break down. Once oils get past the smoke point, they begin to break down and release dangerous compounds.
For this reason extra virgin olive oil really is not suitable for high heat cooking at all, which pretty much rules out frying with it.
As well as using avocado oil to sear, fry and barbecue your food safely, it has other uses too. This oil can be used in baking, with it’s high temperature capabilities allowing baking at high temperatures to take place.
Due to the natural processing of this oil, it can also be used for foods without cooking at all. I’ve used avocado oil in a number of different salads, and it complimented these very well.
Why Is Cooking With Avocado Oil So Healthy?
Oils can be made up of polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and saturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats should not be used for high heat cooking. In fact they really shouldn’t be heated at all. Oils that contain this type of fat once heated very quickly begin to release a compound called HSE.
This compound can be extremely dangerous, and has been linked to cancer and other health issues. The longer one of these oils is heated, the more HSE is produced, and the more dangerous this can become.
Oils high in polyunsaturated fats include sunflower, corn, soy grape seed and safflower. Cooking with these oils should really be avoided.
In contrast to this, avocado oil is high in monounsaturated fats. Levels of this in avocado oil are much higher than in extra virgin olive oil, and it also has much less saturated fat than extra virgin olive oil.
Monounsaturated fats are widely considered to be one of the healthiest kinds. They are linked to reducing cholesterol levels, and significantly reduce the risk of heart disease. Avocado oil also helps to keep moisture levels in the outer layers of your skin high.
Adding this to your diet can add high levels of moisture to your skin. Who doesn’t want that?
Avocado oil also contains something called Lutein. This is an antioxidant that has benefits for your eyes. Over time this can serve to counteract the ageing of your eyes, helping to prevent conditions such as cataracts.
How Can You Make Your own Avocado Oil?
- Rinse avocados (approximately 10) and cut in half.
- Scoop out the pit and discard.
- Using a spoon scoop out the avocado and throw away the skin (I use this cool avocado tool).
- Place the scooped out avocado into a food processor or blender (best if you have a setting for puree).
- Turn the blender or food processor onto puree. Continue this, checking until the avocado has a smooth past-like consistency.
- Empty the avocado onto a baking tray and spread evenly across.
- Place the tray into a preheated oven (150 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Dry the avocado out on the oven for between 5 and 6 hours. Keep checking to make sure it is not being cooked (remember you are drying it out).
- After 5 – 6 hours it should be dark brown/green. Take the tray our of the oven.
- Scrape the avocado off the tray and onto a thin cloth.
- Pull the corners of your cloth together.
- Squeeze the contents of the cloth over a bowl as hard as you can (this will take some time and effort).
- When you have squeezed all of the oil out, use a funnel to pour oil into a bottle and place the lid on.
- You now have your own homemade avocado oil!
What Are Some Alternatives To Avocado Oil For High Heat Cooking?
Coconut oil is another healthy alternative to using something like extra virgin olive oil. The smoke point of coconut oil is not as high as avocado oil, at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, but this is still much higher than olive oil.
It’s still not going to be as good as avocado oil for really high heat cooking, but for between medium and high heat it will do the job. I love the taste of coconut oil, and do use it a lot.
Ghee is a specific type of grass fed butter. It is full of vitamins K, D and A. Its is full of Omega 3 fatty acids, and has a really smooth and creamy taste and consistency. With a smoke point similar to coconut oil, it will do the job for medium to high heat cooking. It is much better than extra virgin olive oil, but I would still stick to avocado oil if you are really turning up the heat.
Peanut oil is also high in monounsaturated fat, and for this reason is also linked to lowering the risk of heart disease. It is also full of vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps to protect the body.
It has a high smoke point of around 440 degrees Fahrenheit, so is a good alternative for high heat cooking.
Can you reuse avocado oil after frying? You should not reuse avocado oil after frying or cooking with it. When you cook with oils they begin to break down near their smoking point. This is called oxidisation. Once this happens, a number of toxic substance can be released from the oil. Reusing oils once they have oxidised is extremely bad for your health.
Which oil has the highest burning point? Avocado oil has the highest smoke point at 520 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning that it is one of the best for high heat cooking. Other cooking oils with an extremely high heat include Refined Safflower Oil (510 F), Rice Bran Oil (490 F) and Ghee (485 F)).