Christian Chefs International
Fats & Oils
Descriptions and Uses
Smoking Points
(below)

Name Description/Uses
Butter-Flavored Oils/Shortenings Vegetable oils (usually blended) flavored with real or artificial butter flavor for use on griddles. Hydrogenated shortening used for baking goods, pastries.
Canola Oil
(Rapeseed oil)
A light, golden-colored oil, similar to safflower oil. Low in saturated fat. Extracted from the seeds of a plant in the turnip family (the same plant as the vegetable broccoli rabe). Used in salads and cooking, mostly in the Mediterranean region and India; also used in margarine and blended vegetable oils.
Coconut Oil A heavy, nearly colorless oil extracted from fresh coconuts. Used primarily in blended oils and shortenings. Used primarily in prepared, processed, packaged foods.
Corn Oil A mild-flavored refined oil. It is medium-yellow colored, inexpensive, and versatile.
Cottonseed Oil This pale-yellow oil is extracted from seed of the cotton plant. Used for frying.
Frying Fats Blended oils or shortenings (usually based on processed corn or peanut oils) designed for high smoke point and long fry life. May be liquid or solid at room temperature.
Grapeseed Oil This light, medium-yellow, aromatic oil is a by-product of wine making. It is used in salads and some cooking and in the manufacture of margarine.
Lard Solid animal fat. May be treated to neutralize flavor.
Olive Oil Oil varies in weight and may be pale-yellow to deep-green depending on fruit used and processing. Cold-pressed olive oil, is superior in flavor to refined. Oil from the first pressing, called "virgin" olive oil is the most flavorful. Also classified according to acidity: extra virgin, superfine, fine, virgin, and pure, in ascending degree of acidity. "Pure" olive oil, and that labeled just "olive oil" may be a combination of cold-pressed and refined oil; suitable for cooking.
Click HERE to view an in depth article published by CCF on Olive Oils
Oil Sprays Vegetable oils (usually blended) packaged in pump or aerosol sprays for lightly coating pans and griddles.
Peanut Oil A pale-yellow refined oil, with a very subtle scent and flavor. Some less-refined types are darker with a more pronounced peanut flavor. These are used primarily in Asian cooking.
Safflower Oil A golden-color oil with a light texture. Made from a plant that resembles the thistle. Usually refined.
Salad Oil Mild flavored vegetable oils blended for use in salad dressings, mayonnaise, etc.
Sesame Oil Two types: a light, very mild, Middle Eastern type and a darker Asian type pressed from toasted sesame seeds. Asian sesame oil may be light or dark brown. The darker oil has a more pronounced sesame flavor and aroma. Asian sesame oil has a low smoke point so it is used primarily as a flavoring rather than in cooking.
Shortening/Baking Fat Blended oil solidified using various processes, including whipping in air and hydrogenation. Designed for plasticity and mild flavor. May have real or artificial butter flavor added. Usually emulsified to enable absorption of more sugar in baked goods. May contain animal fats unless labeled "vegetable shortening."
Soybean Oil A fairly heavy oil with a pronounced flavor and aroma. More soybean oil is produced than any other type. Used in most blended vegetable oils and margarines.
Sunflower Oil A light, odorless and nearly flavorless oil pressed from sunflower seeds. Pale yellow and versatile.
Vegetable Oil Made by blending several different refined oils. Designed to have a mild flavor and a high smoke point.
Walnut Oil A medium-yellow oil with a nutty flavor and aroma. Cold-pressed from dried walnuts. More perishable than most other oils; should be used soon after purchase. Used primarily in salads. (Other nut oils include almond, hazelnut, and peanut above.)


Smoking Points

Name Uses Melting Point* Smoking Point*
Butter, whole Baking, cooking 95F/36C 300F/150C
Butter, clarified Cooking 95F/36C 300F/150C
Coconut oil Coatings, confectionary, shortening 75F/24C 350F/175C
Corn oil Frying, salad dressings, shortening 12F/-11C 450F/230C
Cottonseed oil Margarine, salad dressings, shortening 55F/13C 420F/215C
Frying fat Frying 105F/40C 465F/240C
Lard Baking, cooking, specialty items 92F/33C 375F/190C
Olive oil Cooking, salad dressings 32F/0C 375F/190C
Peanut oil Frying, margarine, salad dressings, shortening 28F/-2C 440F/225C
Safflower oil Margarine, mayonnaise, salad dressings 2F/-17C 510F/265C
Shortening, emulsified vegetable Baking, frying, shortening 115F/46C 325F/165C
Soybean oil Margarine, salad dressings, shortening -5F/-20C 495F/257C
Sunflower oil Cooking, margarine, salad dressings, shortening 2F/-17C 440F/225C
*: The smoke point of any oil will be reduced after it is used for cooking. Temperatures are approximate.

The New Professional Chef, 6th edition * 1996,
by The Culinary Institute of America,
published by John Wiley & Sons

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