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10 Highest-Quality Cooking Oils on Grocery Shelves

Prioritizing quality ensures that your cooking oil enhances the flavor of your dishes while also providing nutrients that promote good health.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino
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There are countless options available in the grocery store when it comes to cooking oils. From olive to canola to sesame, every oil serves a different culinary purpose due to its unique flavor profile and heat tolerance. Beyond utility, consumers also consider nutritional composition when making their cooking oil choices. Many are now veering away from conventional options like vegetable and corn oil, opting instead for oils high in healthy fats to support heart health and overall well-being.

The quality of the cooking oils you buy is an important factor in maintaining the nutritional integrity of the oil and ensuring you're getting the best flavor in the food you're cooking.

Extraction and processing methods play a crucial role in quality. Mechanical methods, like cold-pressing, preserve nutritional benefits; chemical extraction methods, such as those using hexane, may leave trace residues that compromise purity. There are also concerns of rancidity and adulteration, where oils may be blended with other low-quality oils.

Whether you're looking to saute, fry, or simply drizzle, it can be complicated to choose the right oil for your health and cooking needs. That's why we did the work for you and put together this list of 10 high-quality cooking oils to shop for.

How we selected the highest-quality cooking oils.

There are three separate prongs to choosing a high-quality cooking oil: extraction method, nutritional density, and the integrity of the oil's sourcing methods.

Extraction method

While some oils are extracted using the cheaper, more rapid approach of chemical expression which utilizes synthetic chemicals like hexane, others rely on gentler methods such as expeller-pressing or cold-pressing, preserving the oil's nutritional integrity without the need for synthetic additives.

While there are some concerns about trace levels of residual hexane after oil processing, these chemical methods may not necessarily be "bad" for you, especially when oils are used in moderation, which is recommended for all cooking oils.

Nutrition: does oil type matter?

Because of these chemical extractions—and certain flimsy studies—many consumers are concerned about seed oils and their potentially negative side effects such as inflammation or heart disease. But the reality is that certain seed or veggie oils can support your health, depending on which you choose. For example, one study found that canola oil could lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels in healthy people. Olive oil, as many of us know, provides an abundance of health benefits.

The important thing is to include a variety of oils in your diet rather than rely so heavily on just one, use them in moderation, and choose the right oil for your intended use.

If you're searing or frying, it's crucial to choose oils that can withstand high temperatures without oxidizing, as this process can generate potentially harmful trans fats and free radicals: highly reactive molecules that may damage cells, proteins, and DNA, contributing to the aging process and a variety of diseases. For this reason, don't use delicate oils, like walnut or sesame oil, for cooking.

Quality testing

Unlike olive oil which is heavily monitored through industry standards and even global competitions, other cooking oils are not so strictly standardized or supervised. Seeking oils from reputable brands that prioritize transparency in their sourcing and production processes can help you identify high-quality oils. Look for certifications such as USDA Organic or Non-GMO Project Verified, which indicate adherence to stringent standards.

The Best Cooking Oils

To help you on your quest to find the "best" cooking oil, we've rounded up 10 that have stood out in terms of quality, taste, and health support—no matter your cooking needs.

California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil

California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil Chef's bottle
California Olive Ranch

With over 230 accolades in ten years, California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil holds itself to strict standards—as well as total transparency—and certainly doesn't skimp on quality. Many of their blends are 100% California-grown, and no matter which blends you're partial to, you can rest assured that you're consuming high amounts of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids which, amongst other things, may reduce your chances of developing cardiovascular disease. Additionally, olive oil is a staple in the Mediterranean diet, a culinary lifestyle that can aid in fighting inflammation and reducing health risks. California Olive Ranch sells their award-winning EVOO in every imaginable format, from glass to aluminum bottles and even bag-in-box, and they just launched their new Chef's Bottles!

 13 Highest-Quality Olive Oils on Grocery Shelves

Primal Kitchen Pure Avocado Oil

Primal Kitchen Pure Avocado Oil
Primal Kitchen

If you're looking for a high-heat cooking oil (up to about 520 degrees), look no further than Primal Kitchen's Pure Avocado Oil. This oil's sole ingredient is avocado oil thanks to the fact that it's "centrifuge extracted," meaning that ripe avocados are mashed and spun at high speeds to separate the oil from the avocado's pulp and water. Therefore, no chemicals are added to this process, and you're solely ingesting the good stuff such as monounsaturated fats which, as promoted by the American Heart Association, may help reduce levels of "bad" cholesterol in your blood.

Fresh Press Farm Sunflower Oil

Fresh Press Farms Sunflower Oil
Fresh Press Farms

Fresh Press Farms Sunflower Oil is a cold-pressed oil made only from high-oleic sunflower seeds. High-oleic sunflower seeds are bred specifically for their higher oleic acid content to provide more monounsaturated fatty acids.  Using high-oleic seeds is an important detail because data suggests that consuming oils with high levels of oleic acid, when replaced for fats and oils higher in saturated fat, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. The data is strong enough that the FDA has granted a qualified health claim allowing the potential link between these oils and heart disease risk to be communicated. Plus, this oil meets the criteria for the American Heart Association Heart Check.  The high oleic sunflower oil has a smoke point of 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Spectrum Organic Canola Oil

Spectrum Organic Canola Oil
Spectrum Organics

Canola oil is a more neutral cooking oil that won't leave a nutty or tangy taste after cooking. Canola oil is great for medium-to-high heat with a flashpoint of up to 450 degrees, and Spectrum's Organic Canola Oil is a top-of-the-line choice that's both USDA-certified organic and non-GMO verified. This canola oil has been expeller pressed instead of using hexane to extract the oils. Canola oil-based diets have been shown to reduce plasma cholesterol levels compared to diets containing higher levels of saturated fatty acids.

La Tourangelle Pistachio Oil

La Tourangelle Roasted Pistachio Oil
La Tourangelle

Although pistachio is a lesser-known cooking oil in America, this oil is prized by the French for its depth of flavor and full-bodied enhancement. La Tourangelle's Pistachio Oil boasts 7 grams of omega-9 fatty acids which aid in fighting inflammation and may even have anti-cancer properties. Although the brand claims that it's great for high-heat cooking, some sources say that it's better for low-heat cooking, so we suggest that you gradually increase the heat of whatever you're cooking to test out how pistachio oil can best serve your needs. Additionally, the bold flavor of this oil also is delicious as a drizzle over greens or your favorite fruit medley.

Fresh Press Farms High Heat Oil

Fresh Press Farms High Heat Oil
Fresh Press Farms

A pure cold-pressed olive oil that allows for cooking up to 475 degrees Fahrenheit? Sign us up. To allow for this unicorn oil to exist, the brand uses a fine filtering process using natural wood-based cellulose, allowing for the oil to be heat-stable. But you can use it as a drizzle on salads and roasted veggies, too.

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SOW Chia Seed Oil

SOW Chia Seed Oil

Believe it or not, chia seed oil isn't just good for your skin. Chia seed oil is a rockstar for your health as it's packed with Omega-3 fatty acids and may help absorb other nutrients such as vitamins K and A. SOW Chia Seed Oil is a great way to fuel your body with this ancient grain, and chia seed oil is naturally gluten-free for those with allergies or sensitivities. Additionally, SOW's chia seed oil is non-GMO verified for those on the lookout, and for consumers with specific dietary restrictions, this oil is both vegan and Keto-friendly. By the way: chia seed oil has a high smoke point, making it a great choice for high-heat cooking (or any cooking, really).

Nutiva Hemp Seed Oil

Nutiva Hemp Seed Oil

Raw and cold-pressed, Nutiva Hemp Seed Oil is perfect for your low-to-medium cooking needs (it's not suitable for frying) and has a smooth texture and flavor that is also delicious raw. In just one serving of this olive oil, you receive 7.5g of Omega-6 LA, 2.5g of Omega-3 ALA, 2.0g of Omega-9, 500mg of Omega 6-GLA, and 250mg of Omega-3 SDA. Long story short, this combination is great for your heart health.

Flora Organic Sesame Oil

Flora Organic Sesame Oil
Flora Health

A staple in much of Asian cuisine, sesame oil is oft-overlooked in the Western hemisphere. However, sesame oil can be a very healthy option, and brands like Flora guarantee quality, certified organic ingredients. This sesame oil is cold-pressed, meaning that the only ingredient is organic sesame oil without any added chemicals to aid in the extraction process. Sesame oil is chocked full of healthy monounsaturated fats as well as short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) which are derived from plants and have anti-inflammatory, immunoregulatory, and anti-obesity properties. Use this oil for cooking low-to-medium heat dishes, up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Thrive Market Organic Rice Bran Oil

Thrive Market Organic Rice Bran Oil
Thrive Market

Rice bran oil is gaining popularity as a healthy cooking oil due to its well-balanced fat composition and the presence of unique antioxidants. Its high levels of unsaturated fats, including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, contribute to heart health, while its low saturated fat content makes it a better choice for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. Additionally, rice bran oil contains oryzanol, which has been shown to have cholesterol-lowering properties and may also provide anti-inflammatory benefits.

Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LD, CLEC, CPT
Lauren Manaker is an award-winning registered dietitian, book author, and recipe developer who has been in practice for almost 20 years. Read more about Lauren
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