Find the best oil for whatever you're cooking with our guide to six great types and their uses.
Discover all you need to know
Although oil can last for a long time, it does have a shelf life, so do check the use-by date. Keeping oil tightly sealed and in a cool, dark place helps to prevent oxidisation, which can spoil the aroma and taste.
Oils have different smoke points so it’s important to use the right one for whatever you’re cooking. Once an oil reaches its smoke point, it starts to break down chemically, and loses all its goodness.
Keep a range of oils to hand for different jobs. Fruity, extra-virgin olive oil is great in salads, but not so good for cooking with, whereas rapeseed and coconut oils perform well at high temperatures.
Take a look at six of our favourite oils
Also known as peanut oil, this pale, golden liquid is obtained by pressing peanuts. Its high smoke point makes it great for Asian stir-fries, while its lightly nutty flavour also lends itself to dressing a salad.
As its name suggests, this fragrant, richly coloured oil is derived from toasted sesame seeds. It smokes easily, so don’t use it for frying. Save it for drizzling over cooked, Asian-inspired dishes.
Pressed from the seeds of the bright yellow rapeseed crop (often British-grown), this oil is not only lower in saturated fat than olive oil, but its high smoke point means it can be used in all types of cooking.
A good all-rounder, this light, pale oil is obtained from pressed sunflower seeds. It has a high smoke point with a non-distinct taste, so it’s best when used for frying or roasting when you don’t want any additional flavour.
Produced primarily in the Med, olive oil comes from pressed olives. Just like wine, its flavour varies according to country and crop. Extra-virgin is the purest grade of olive oil.
Made from cold-pressed coconut flesh, coconut oil has become popular in recent years thanks to its versatility. Perfect for baking, roasting and frying, it solidifies at room temperature but contact with heat will return it to a liquid state.
Meet the expert: Harry Gillespie, Buyer for oils and vinegars.
What does your job involve?
I work with our suppliers to create and improve Tesco’s own-brand and branded oil ranges. This includes the more familiar varieties, such as olive and sunflower oils, and newcomers such as rapeseed and coconut oils.
Why is there such a buzz around rapeseed oil?
Rapeseed oil has less sat fat than olive oil, which makes it a good alternative for everyday cooking. It's mellow, nutty favour is just as good in a salad dressing as it is for roasting potatoes. Plus, there’s a good chance it will have been produced by a UK farm; our finest* British rapeseed oil is made from cold- pressed seeds and is triple filtered for a purer finish.
Which country produces the most olive oil?
People tend to think most olive oil comes from Italy, but Spain is the biggest olive oil producer in the world. I spent some time in Seville during the olive harvest; you wouldn’t believe all the hard work that goes into producing just a small bottle of the stuff.
What other oils should customers look out for?
Our favoured oils, such as basil, chilli and garlic are great for adding fair to dishes – try drizzling one over mash.
Make the most of gorgeous rapeseed oils in this delicious Chicory and lentil salad with warm shallot dressing.
As featured in Tesco Magazine February 2015.