Most Popular Cooking Oils Around the World

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Different global cuisines often stand out because of the distinctive blend of herbs and spices used in the recipes, but the cooking oil used also makes a difference to any dish being created.

Most Popular Cooking Oils Around the World

The different oils and varieties have some special benefits apart from being edible. They bring a taste of their own with the dishes and also prove to be healthy. 

Some oils strike us to be conventional and we must have used them regularly. While some are new and we would not know their purposes. The oil you use is also totally dependent on what you are cooking. 

Most cooking oils from around the world are now commercially available in western countries, but which are the most popular cooking oils used in different regions of the planet? Let’s find out.

1. Olive Oil

olive oil

As you would presume, olive oil is obtained from olives. The olive tree that produces the fruits traditionally grows in the Mediterranean Basin. Olive oil is widely used in Mediterranean and Southern European cuisines.

Almost half of the global production of olive oil happens in Spain. Other major producers are Italy, Greece, Tunisia, and Turkey.

The consumption of olive oil is highest in Greece, followed by Italy and Spain. Olive oil is also popularly used in cooking in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Israel. The North African countries of Morocco and Egypt also widely used cooking oil.

While olive oil is a wonderful oil for cooking many dishes, especially for frying foods and using it as a salad dressing, it’s also commonly used in cosmetics, soaps, and pharmaceuticals. It can even be used as fuel for traditional oil lamps.

Olive oil is a versatile cooking oil, so you can try out many different dishes. Get started by checking out these twenty-five recipes that make olive oil the star.

And when you’re done cooking, you should consider how you dispose of the oil. You can make a positive environmental impact by recycling your used olive oil into a component of biofuel.

Find out more about how to dispose of cooking oil in an environmentally-friendly manner.

2. Peanut Oil

peanut oil

Peanut oil is a vegetable oil derived from peanuts. It’s also known as groundnut oil and Arachis oil. Peanut oil consists of 17% saturated fat, 32% polyunsaturated fat, and 46% monounsaturated fat.

Standard peanut oil has a mild or neutral flavor. However, peanut oil made with roasted peanuts has a stronger flavor.

China and India are the biggest producers of peanut oil, which is also commonly used in those two countries for cooking. Peanut oil is often used in other Asian cuisines as well. It’s popularly used in African and American cuisines too.

If you want to try out some authentic Indian dishes using peanut oil, such as mixed sprouts or broccoli and paneer tikki, check out this fabulous selection of recipes using peanut oil.

3. Coconut Oil

coconut oil

Derived from the coconut palm fruit, coconut oil has been used for cooking in Asia for a long time, especially in the abundant coconut palm regions.

It’s commonly used in Sri Lankan cuisine for frying and sautéing in savory and sweet dishes. Coconut oil is also prominently used in the cuisines of Thailand and the Indian state of Kerala. It’s often used in the cuisines of Pakistan and Bangladesh too.

While coconut oil is ideal for cooking many dishes, and the unrefined varieties have sumptuous coconut aromas, the oil contains high saturated fats. Therefore, its consumption should be limited.

4. Sesame Oil

sesame oil

Derived from sesame seeds, sesame oil is the earliest-known crop-based oil.

While its worldwide production is limited compared to other cooking oils due to the inefficient harvesting process required to extract the oil, it’s still very popular in many countries.

Its highest popularity comes from continental Asia, particularly East Asia and certain states of South India.

Sesame oil is made from raw seeds. The oil has a high proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids, but among cooking oils with high smoke points, it’s the least prone to turn rancid when left out in the open. That’s because it contains natural antioxidants.

If you’re not used to cooking with sesame oil, check out these eleven sesame oil recipe ideas.

5. Red Palm Oil

red palm oil

Palm oil is derived from the fruit of oil palms. As well as being used in food, palm oil makes beauty products and biofuels.

It’s only since the mid-1990s that red palm oil has been cold-pressed and bottled as a cooking oil. Red palm oil contains around 50% saturated fat but contains vitamin E, sterols, and carotenoids.

White palm oil is also available, which is made by processing and refining the fruit of oil palms until it loses its deep red color. White palm oil is used in manufactured foods like chips and peanut butter.

Red palm oil is mostly used in Western African and Brazilian cuisines as a cooking oil.

6. Flaxseed Oil

flaxseed oil

Many would not have heard of this oil or its edible nature. However, it is one of the strong-flavored oil most commonly used in small volumes.

It is very intense and viscous as a substance to have a prominent taste. It has a low smoke conductivity and does not respond well to overcooking or frying. It is typically used as a seasoning agent in salads or dressing ingredients in dips and sauces.

The flavor it brings to the dish is irreplaceable and acts as a taste-giver to anything it is added to. The odor is quite strong and works very similarly to flaxseeds.

The health benefits are no less competent as flaxseeds, in general, are filled with omega-3 fatty acids. It has a gram of saturated fat, 2,5 gram of monounsaturated fat, and polyunsaturated fat.

The health benefits range from cooling your body to providing essential proteins which give stamina. It can be used extensively without any restrictions in salads or sauces.

It is also quite commonly used in many recipes of western cuisines and totally goes well with fruits, vegetables, and nuts. It is nutty in taste and slightly smooth in texture to spruce up the items when added. 

7. Vegetable Oil

vegetable oil

This is the most commonly used edible oil and boasts itself as an ingredient suitable for allergic people. It is considered healthy as it is made from soybeans or corn.

It responds well to overheating and can be used for frying, baking, deep frying, roasting, and grilling. The flavor is neutral but definitely gives a texture to the food and a flavor that compliments the dish. 

It has essential nutrients that come with soybeans or corn and correlate well with all kinds of dishes. It can be heated multiple times, but you have to ensure that it is not subjected to discoloration. 

It can safely heat up to a smoke point of 400 to 450 degrees F. It can also be rehashed as long as it is not old and overheated to the point it has turned brown.

It is also rarely used as a seasoning agent to get the texture right in salads or dips. It is very common in Asian cuisines and is commonly used for gravies and curries. 

Conclusion

Oil is an important ingredient in cooking and shares many health benefits depending on what kind we use. A careful effort to stay measured on the quality of oil we use helps our health.

However, getting to know the different varieties of edible oil will make us want to pick the one that suits us. This article will help you with the awareness of types of oil and why it is used. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is olive oil?

As you would presume, olive oil is obtained from olives. The olive tree that produces the fruits traditionally grows in the Mediterranean Basin. Olive oil is widely used in Mediterranean and Southern European cuisines.

What is peanut oil?

Peanut oil is a vegetable oil derived from peanuts. It’s also known as groundnut oil and Arachis oil. Peanut oil consists of 17% saturated fat, 32% polyunsaturated fat, and 46% monounsaturated fat.

What is flaxseed oil?

Many would not have heard of this oil or its edible nature. However, it is one of the strong-flavored oil most commonly used in small volumes. It is very intense and viscous as a substance to have a prominent taste.

What is vegetable oil?

This is the most commonly used edible oil and boasts itself as an ingredient suitable for allergic people. It is considered healthy as it is made from soybeans or corn. It responds well to overheating and can be used for frying, baking, deep frying, roasting, and grilling.

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