Avocado Oil: What is it, and How Do I Use it?

When you’re cooking (almost) anything on your stovetop, what’s typically the first step of the process?  Adding some type of cooking oil to your pan!  You might be thinking that oil is oil, and as long as you’re throwing something in the pan, all will be well.  Not to burst your bubble, but the type of oil you’re cooking with has a big impact on the results of your cooking.

As a frame of reference, here are some of the most common cooking oils:

  • Olive oil
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Vegetable oil
  • Canola oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Corn oil
  • Hemp seed oil
  • Avocado oil

For today’s discussion, we will focus on avocado oil!

What is Avocado Oil?

As the name suggests, avocado oil is produced by extracting the fat from the pulp of avocados.  Unlike most plant-based oils, it is derived from the actual fruit, rather than the seeds.  There’s two types of food-grade avocado oil: cold-pressed extra-virgin and refined.  Extra-virgin offers a nutty, buttery, grassy, rich flavor (similar to the avocado itself), while refined has much of the flavor, aroma, and color of the oil removed. This makes it a great neutral choice for your baked dishes!  (You can read more here about extra-virgin vs. refined avocado oil to determine which is the best choice for you.)

If you’re wondering whether cooking with avocado oil will change the flavor of your food, don’t worry – it lends a very mild flavor to your dish.  We would describe it as having a subtle but mellow flavor, so it’s nothing you should shy away from!

Why Should I Use Avocado Oil?

There’s one key point to remember about avocado oil – it has a high smoke point.  (A smoke point is the temperature where the oil stops shimmering, starts to break down, and then smokes i.e. burn your food.)   If you go too far past the smoke point, the oil will taste acrid, release free radicals, and get close to lighting on fire – AVOID!

If you are cooking something at a high temperature and you do NOT want to serve up some blackened, smoky flavors to your dinner guests (and we are guessing that you don’t), avocado oil is the way to go!  Keep in mind that extra-virgin avocado oil has a smoke point of around 480°F, while refined avocado can be as high as 520°F!  Compare that to extra-virgin olive oil, which has a smoke point of 350°F.  That is quite a big difference!

Avocado oil is wonderful for cooking food that requires very high temperatures, and is perfect for perfect for pan-frying, deep-frying, roasting, barbecuing, and baking.

Avocado Oil’s Health Benefits

You’re probably aware of many of the health benefits of avocados, so it only makes sense that avocado oil is chock-full of them, too!  Here are a couple standout benefits:

  • Rich in oleic acid (a very healthy fat)
  • Reduces cholesterol and improves heart health
  • High in lutein (which benefits the eyes)
  • Helps you absorb other important nutrients
  • Anti-inflammatory benefits
  • Promotes heart health
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Improves skin and promotes wound healing

Avocado Oil’s Nutritional Profile

1 tablespoon of avocado oil has:

  • Calories: 124
  • Fat: 14 grams
  • Saturated fat: 2 grams
  • Monounsaturated fat: 9.8 grams
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.9 grams
  • Vitamin E: 1.8 milligrams

Other Kitchen Uses for Avocado Oil

We’ve already discussed how you can use avocado oil for cooking, but you can also use it raw!  It’s great when used in dressings, dips, mayo, hummus, and drizzled over veggies.

Non-food Uses for Avocado Oil

By now you’re (hopefully) starting to realize how awesome avocado oil is, but we’ve barely scratched the surface on its uses!  In fact, some of the most interesting ways to use avocado oil occur outside of the kitchen!  Here’s some other non-food ways you can use avocado oil (you can also check out this website for more specific details):

  • To soften your cuticles
  • A hair mask or leave-in conditioner
  • Skin moisturizer
  • Makeup remover
  • Massage oil
  • Facial cleanser
  • Diaper rash ointment
  • To lubricate a squeaky door hinge

Ready to Try Avocado Oil?

Once you purchase your bottle of avocado oil, you’ll be amazed at how many ways you can use it!  Below are some of our recipes that traditionally use olive oil, but you’ll find that interchanging it with avocado is no problem at all.

Have you used avocado oil in your kitchen?  What do you think about it?  Leave your comments below!








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