Why You Should Stock Your Pantry with Avocado Oil
The beloved avocado has found another way onto our plates—not as avocado toast, but in the form of cooking oil. Applauded for its health benefits and versatility, avocado oil has quickly become a staple in many kitchens. "One of the best parts of cooking with avocado oil is the high smoke point, which makes it perfect for grilling, baking, sautéing, searing, basting, infusion, and whatever kitchen project you dream up," says Maria Covarrubias, culinary specialist for Chosen Foods. Learn why you should consider cooking with avocado oil, how it stands up to olive oil, and which bottles we suggest you pick up now.
How is avocado oil made?
Avocado oil is made from the same type of avocados we love in guacamole, on our toast, and at pretty much at any meal, but it doesn't mean less avocados in the produce aisle. "The oil uses the gems that have fallen from the tree and would otherwise go to waste if not for our hero farmers who swoop them off the orchard floor and bring them to our production facility to be pressed for oil," says Covarrubias. "This is one reason that avocado oil is a sustainable choice."
Once the fallen avocados arrive at the production facility, the process is similar to how olive oil is made. The flesh, seeds, and skin are pressed and then filtered to remove impurities. The amount of filtering and processing determines if the product is extra virgin with minimal processing or more refined, similar to olive oil.
How does avocado oil stack up against olive oil?
Think of avocado oil as a complement to olive oil, not a replacement. "Avocado oil is very similar to olive oil in terms of fat and vitamin composition, both are incredibly healthy oils," says Mary Mori, Director of Technical Services at California Olive Ranch. "Olive oil, however, has more antioxidants and contains healthy phenols that avocado oil does not." That doesn't mean avocado oil isn't great for you; it's just a reminder not to abandon olive oil altogether.
Refined avocado oil shines in high-heat cooking and it doesn't impart flavor to the dish, unlike olive oil. Extra virgin avocado oil contributes avocado flavor to dishes, and the smoke point is still high enough that it can be used at medium-high heat.
Which avocado oils should you buy?
For neutral flavor and a clean taste, we like Chosen Food's Avocado Oil ($14.98, amazon.com), which adds minimal flavor to whatever you are cooking and is refined for a higher smoke point of around 500 degrees. Consider it your go-to oil for frying, roasting, and grilling, but it's also perfect for any type of cooking.
For rich fruity flavor and emerald color, La Tourangelle's Avocado Oil ($9.98, walmart,com) is a good choice. It's minimally processed, retaining more of the essence of avocado. It's perfect for sautéing, drizzling on roasted vegetables, and whisking into vinaigrettes when you want a burst of avocado flavor.
For the best of both worlds, try California Olive Ranch's Avocado Oil Blend ($15.99, target.com), a 50/50 avocado oil and olive oil. "We blend the two oils because we want to showcase the superior phenols and great taste of olive oil with the similar fat profile, higher smoke point, and milder flavor of avocado oil," says Mori.