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What are the smoke points of different cooking oils?

tempering spices for curry oil smoke point
Tempering Spices for Curry

Oils are an absolutely integral part of cooking. Considered as fats, they are not only useful for searing, frying, grilling, or sautéing meats, but they are also primary components of salad dressings, mayonnaise, marinades and more.

Oil is extracted from seeds and nuts, such as sunflowers, olives, coconuts, avocados, almonds, walnuts.

Each type of oil is different and is better suited for a specific use. Some are better for frying, some are better for making mayonnaise and some are better for drizzling over salads.

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing your cooking oil is its smoke point, or better described as the temperature at which the oil starts smoking. Smoke point is also sometimes called the burning point and it is thus better (mostly) to not exceed the smoke point of the oil which you are using.

When you cook a curry, you wish to use an oil with a high smoke point, especially when tempering your whole spices.

Below is a list of the different oils and their smoke points. It is quite interesting to see how different levels of refinement affect the smoke point.

We ran a poll on our Facebook group, “We are Durban Curry Lovers” on what oil do the members prefer to use, and the overwhelming winner was Sunflower Oil.

If asked, we would confidently state that Sunflower Oil is the best oil to use when cooking a Durban Curry.

FatQualitySmoke point
Avocado oilRefined270 °C520 °F
Safflower oilRefined266 °C510 °F
Sunflower oilNeutralized, dewaxed, bleached & deodorized252–254 °C486–489 °F
ButterClarified250 °C482 °F
Mustard oil250 °C480 °F
Beef tallow250 °C480 °F
Pecan oil243 °C470 °F
Palm oilDifractionated235 °C455 °F
Soybean oil234 °C453 °F
Peanut oilRefined232 °C450 °F
Rice bran oilRefined232 °C450 °F
Sesame oilSemirefined232 °C450 °F
Sunflower oilSemirefined232 °C450 °F
Sunflower oil, high oleicRefined232 °C450 °F
Corn oil230–238 °C446–460 °F
Peanut oil227–229 °C441–445 °F
Sunflower oil227 °C441 °F
Almond oil221 °C430 °F
Canola oil220–230 °C428–446 °F
Cottonseed oilRefined, bleached, deodorized220–230 °C428–446 °F
Vegetable oil blendRefined220 °C428 °F
Grape seed oil216 °C421 °F
Olive oilVirgin210 °C410 °F
Olive oilExtra virgin, low acidity, high quality207 °C405 °F
Canola oil (Rapeseed)Refined204 °C400 °F
Coconut oilRefined, dry204 °C400 °F
Castor oilRefined200 °C392 °F
Olive oilRefined199–243 °C390–470 °F
Canola oil (Rapeseed)Expeller press190–232 °C375–450 °F
Lard190 °C374 °F
Olive oilExtra virgin190 °C374 °F
Corn oilUnrefined178 °C352 °F
Coconut oilUnrefined, dry expeller pressed, virgin177 °C350 °F
Sesame oilUnrefined177 °C350 °F
Olive oilExtra virgin160 °C320 °F
Peanut oilUnrefined160 °C320 °F
Safflower oilSemirefined160 °C320 °F
Sunflower oil, high oleicUnrefined160 °C320 °F
Butter150 °C302 °F
Canola oil (Rapeseed)Unrefined107 °C225 °F
Flaxseed oilUnrefined107 °C225 °F
Safflower oilUnrefined107 °C225 °F
Sunflower oilUnrefined, first cold-pressed, raw107 °C225 °F

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