Cooks used to use just one or two fats for cooking. Fifty years ago, it may have been shortening and margarine; a hundred years ago, lard and butter.

Now our pantries contain bottles from all over the globe: olive oil from Spain, canola oil from Canada, coconut oil from the Philippines. We’re savvier about fats and health, yes, but with more choices come more questions.

But you don’t need to have an existential crisis every time you sauté mushrooms! Just check out this guide to which cooking oils are the best for different cooking methods.


A smoke point is the temperature at which an oil starts to smoke. Smoke comes before burning. When scientists actually calculate smoke points, the oil isn’t burning, per se — volatile compounds evaporate and create blueish smoke.

Not all cooking oils behave the same way when heated. Some, like

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