What is avocado oil? Is it good for you? Is avocado oil healthier than olive oil? Breaking down all things avocado oil.
One topic I’ve been asked repeatedly about recently is about avocado oil – is it good for you? How does avocado oil compare to olive oil? And to be totally honest, I hadn’t tried it until a few months ago. Before that, my two main go-tos were canola oil and olive oil, but recently I’ve been loving cooking with avocado oil. I’m diving into what all the avocado oil hype is about.
Disclosures: None. This post was not created in partnership with any product or brand.
What is avocado oil?
Avocado oil is oil made from pressing the pulp of the avocado (that’s the yummy part of the avocado you usually eat and use!) and then separating the oil from the water (foods naturally have a water content).
Avocado oil can be used like any other cooking oil to flavor vegetables or proteins, drizzled on salads, flavoring sandwiches or greasing baking pans.
What’s the flavor like of avocado oil?
Surprisingly, avocado oil has a really mild flavor. You can use it in practically anything; it won’t taste like avocado. Instead, avocado oil is a flavor enhancer of whatever it’s being served with. In my experience avocado oil is more versatile and has more depth than canola oil (so bread dipped in avocado oil and herbs is delicious!) without having as overbearing of a flavor as olive oil.
What’s good about avocado oil?
Nutritionally, avocado oil is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, which are heart healthy fats (1). Replacing saturated fats (saturated fats are solid at room temperature – like butter, coconut oil, palm kernel oil) with monounsaturated fats help reduce LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) without affecting HDL (“good” cholesterol), and in people with type 2 diabetes it lowers blood sugar and triglycerides (2, Amazon affiliate link to book reference).
The other really important selling point about avocado oil is that it has a really high smoke point. The smoke point of fat is the temperature at which that fat starts to break down, smoke and produce free radicals. Heating a fat past its smoke point will also diminish the flavor and quality of the fat. The most healthful, tasty way to go is to choose a fat that remains stable at the temperature you’re cooking. Refined avocado oil is stable with high-heat cooking up to over 500°F.
Is avocado oil healthier than olive oil?
Nutritionally, avocado oil and olive oil are pretty similar in that they’re both rich sources of monounsaturated fats. The benefit to a refined avocado oil (I use Chosen Foods, not an affiliate link) over olive oil is its stability in high heat cooking.
Smoke Points of Avocado Oil vs. Olive Oil:
Refined oils have higher smoke points, meaning they are stable at higher cooking temperatures, than unrefined oils. Smoke points can also change depending on the freshness of the oil.
- Extra virgin olive oil: 375°F
- Virgin olive oil: 390°F
- Virgin avocado oil: 350-375°F
- Refined avocado oil: >500°F
Notably, if you look online you will see all sorts of numbers and ranges for the smoke points of these oils and various other fats! I did my best to choose from what I felt were the most reputable sources for each value. Regardless of mild variations in values, refined avocado oil is repeatedly the most heat stable.
Personally, aside from the fact that I like the mildness in flavor of avocado oil for a variety of cooking applications, I love that I can use a refined avocado oil for high-heat cooking like roasting vegetables (which is usually at 425°F) or on the grill. A lot of home cooking happens around 250-350°F from the literature, however since stovetops and indoor grills don’t have temperature gauges, I feel more comfortable using a high-heat stable cooking oil in case I’m above that range.
Bottom Line on Avocado Oil
Overall, avocado oil is a great, versatile choice for the kitchen! Particularly for high-heat cooking, avocado oil is high-heat stable which means it retains its quality and nutritional value without breaking down. Avocado oil can be used in rotation with other unsaturated cooking fats like olive and canola oils for flavorful, nutritious meal prep!
Have you tried avocado oil?
What do you think about avocado oil?