Choosing the Right Cooking Oil (Fat)?

Gold Post Medal for All Time! 523 Posts
February 25, 2016

This might seem like a poll, but I would really like to get as many opinions as I can.

I made some gravy tonight to go over some leftover rice. The only fat I had was canola oil and some fat back grease leftover from frying fat back for cabbage. I chose the fat back grease.


I lightly browned flour in the grease, then stirred in water to which had been added, black pepper, half a seasoning packet from Ramen chicken noodles (basically bouillon) and a teaspoon of non dairy creamer. Actually, it was pretty good, considering the ingredients I used. The reason I didn't use the canola oil was because of its taste (don't tell me I should have used chicken stock and fat, I didn't have any).

I used to buy Walmart's shortening blend (animal and vegetable). It made the best biscuits. The one they carry now is not the same. To me, it is not has a heavy, sweet taste.

I have lost count of all the cans of shortening and bottles of cooking oil I have given away because of their taste and smell. I keep buying different brands and different fats hoping to find a palatable one.

Canola, safflower, sunflower, and soybean oil, all, when heated, end up smelling like old enamel paint or linseed oil. The solid shortening blends have a nasty, sweet odor and taste that (I think) is due to the preservatives used in them.

I really don't use much cooking fat, but when I do, I don't want it to stink up the house. So, my question is directed to members who have tried a variety of different cooking fats. Which have you found to have, or impart to your food, the least taste...and to have the least scent when cooking?

You can choose from the above mentioned fats and you can include coconut, peanut, olive, avocado, or any other fat.

Until I can find a relatively taste free fat, I will be using clarified butter. It ain't cheap and its use is limited, but at least it doesn't taste like rancid linseed oil or some foul, sweet preservative.

Do comment, please. The fat I buy next will be the one that is favored the most.

(I'll still use fat back grease to fry cabbage, bacon grease to flavor black eyed peas and butter to make cornbread. My, my, my).


Silver Post Medal for All Time! 267 Posts
March 2, 20160 found this helpful
Best Answer

I have had the best luck with avocado oil. I get the big bottle from Costco. I use it for most cooking and roasting. It's great at a high heat and doesn't seem to have any discernible flavor. A lot of cooking magazines call for using grapeseed oil for the same properties.


For baking, I look for recipes that call for butter instead of shortening. Recently, I have been experimenting with coconut oil. It's great for making popcorn and for roasting vegetables. It is very solid so it might be a good substitute for recipes that call for shortening.

And you can easily clarify your own butter at home for less than buying it prepared. Once you remove the milk solids, the clarified butter (or ghee) lasts a long time.

Hope this helps! Let us know what works the best. :)

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6 More Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

October 14, 2008

I would like to know if all Vegetable oils have soy in them, as I can't have soy. I need a light oil that can accommodate high temperatures, like for frying or sauteing. Is Canola oil a good oil? Thanks!

Debby from San Diego, CA


By yaddy (Guest Post)
October 15, 20080 found this helpful

You can use pure virgin olive oil, cold pressed, and peanut oil is good for very hot cooking.

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By Harry (Guest Post)
October 15, 20080 found this helpful

The ingredients of vegetable oils would be listed on the label. If soy was included in trace amounts it would not likely be listed.


Best to contact the company by phone or e-mail. The e-mail address is usually listed on the label.

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By Bill (Guest Post)
October 15, 20080 found this helpful

If it doesn't say soy on the side, then it probably doesn't contain soy (read the label). There are a broad number of alternatives. Sunflower and canola are both good without adding a lot of flavor. I like olive oil (extra virgin), especially for fish and vegetables. Peanut oil is also good, esp. for stir fry. Hope this helps.

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By Candy (Guest Post)
October 16, 20081 found this helpful

My daughter is allergic to soy. Yes all vegetable oil has soy because it comes from the vegetable soy bean. Use Canola oil and NOT the blend. I have learned what to buy and how to make what I can not. I use certain flours also. All of your prepackaged and mixes have soy. You will find yourself becoming a cook from scratch just like Mom. Email me and we can talk.Just put Soy in the subject or I won't open it.


Candy praisinghimto AT

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By Frugal Freida (Guest Post)
October 17, 20080 found this helpful

I've been using olive oil for all my sauteing, but sunflower oil is very healthy and a good option for a light oil. I buy mine in bulk at my coop. Probably doesn't count as a "thrifty" buy as it is somewhat expensive, but our health is to important to scrimp on, so I find the lowest price for the largest quantity. Frugal Freida

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By Deb (Guest Post)
October 17, 20080 found this helpful

Grapeseed Oil is a very healthy oil that you can use at high temperatures!

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By suzin (Guest Post)
October 17, 20080 found this helpful

Too many oils, like canola, corn, etc. are bottled by the same company in the same lines that soy is bottled in, and they are contaminated with soy. I have been very sick when using canola, etc. I cannot eat soy I only use extra virgin olive oil, first cold pressed.


I get some in the regular hearty full bodied oil, and then some in the light. The regular Olive oil I use for frying and baking. I use the light oil in things like mayo. It works for me.

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By guest (Guest Post)
October 17, 20080 found this helpful

Oils become toxic when subjected to high temperatures. Some oils can withstand higher temperatures for a time more than others, but really try to avoid too much frying.

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By Cindy (Guest Post)
October 18, 20080 found this helpful

I, too, am allergic to soy. I have tried grapeseed oil, sunflower, and canola. Canola is a healthier oil to use as far as fats are concerned. Be careful of peanut oil as soy is closely related to peanut. I also am allergic to vitamin E so I stay away from olive oil.


Usually, a manufacturer will put a warning on the label if something is produced on equipment that is also used for common allergens. Good luck, it's been quite a trial finding things without soy or vitamin E.

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Silver Feedback Medal for All Time! 337 Feedbacks
October 19, 20080 found this helpful

Canola oil is a good oil, and here in Canada, the plants that press the canola oil make nothing else -- except other canola products, such as margarine. Canola is much better than olive oil for high temp frying, such as deep frying or stirfrying.

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By Loralei (Guest Post)
October 20, 20080 found this helpful

Try using Alfa One Rice Bran Oil instead. They also make a "Butter"

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December 5, 20150 found this helpful

Hi Candy,
I have had food allergies all my life and have just developed a soy allergy. It must be so hard with a little one to find things that are soy free. I have been spending hours in the grocery store trying to find products that are soy ( and wheat free products, also newly allergic to). I find myself feeling so bad for kids that have these allergies :( any recipes that you love or pre-made products that you love?!

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November 20, 20160 found this helpful

I have an intolerance to soy and if eating out usually find out too late if their vegetable oil has soy in it even though only labeled 'vegetable oil' with no mention of soy. I use olive oil and coconut oil although the latter can taste strong. I have episodic arthritis which is caused by various things but mostly soy and maize. Cooking from scratch is the only way.

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June 27, 20170 found this helpful

Note that Soybean oil is preferred for high heat cooking due to its high smoke point and flash (fire) point. The smoke point is when an oil begins to break down, after which it tends to give food an unpleasant taste. There are soybean oils that are highly refined so that the regulatory agencies have deemed it not necessary to be listed as an allergen since the refining processes serves to eliminate virtually all soy protein, and thus, the allergens, from the oil.

Olive oil is rarely used for cooking but is mostly used for sauces and salad dressings. Some light olive oils (not virgin) may be used for sautéing; however, with low smoke and flash points, olive oil is not recommended for frying or any high heat cooking. In addition, deep frying with olive oil does not make foods healthier than frying with other oils since, at high heats it breaks down and loses its nutritional value.

Note also that breast cancer and thyroid cancer research shows that soybean oil is safe to eat, even for women who have been treated for hormone positive breast cancer.

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Read More Answers

May 20, 2020

There are many types of cooking oils or fats that are used around the world. Experts disagree about the health risks and rewards of using certain oils but most recommend reducing intake of saturated fats and to avoid trans fats altogether.

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May 3, 2018

One major advantage to using peanut oil is that it can be used at higher temperatures than other oils. This is a page about using peanut oil instead of vegetable oil.

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This is a page about using vegetable oil instead of olive oil. Choosing what type of oil to use for cooking is a personal choice based on various considerations.

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April 12, 2012

This is a page about cooking with coconut oil. Cooking with coconut oil is becoming more popular and can even be a healthy alternative to other cooking fats.


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November 15, 2011

This is a page containing cooking oil tips. We use cooking oil for many recipes. Some are better for cooking at high temperatures such as when making stir fry. Others add a nice flavor to your dish.

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