Avocado oil is a trendy cooking oil that has grown in popularity in recent years, much like the fruit from which it comes. Olive oil is another oil that has had a long reputation as a healthy fat. Are these two oils interchangeable? Do they provide the same benefits? Find out how avocado oil and olive oil compare in the SPICEography Showdown below.
How does avocado oil differ from olive oil?
The first difference has to do with the sources. Avocado oil comes from a Mesoamerican stone fruit; olive oil comes from a Mediterranean drupe.
The two oils differ in terms of their flavor profile, with avocado oil being mild and almost neutral with a subtle nutty flavor. Olive oil is available in the three different varieties with differing concentrations of flavor. The most flavorful is extra virgin olive oil, which has a flavor profile that can be described as nutty and fruity. Virgin olive oil has a milder flavor, and light olive oil has the least pronounced flavor of the three.
Avocado oil has a higher smoke point than all olive oil variants. The smoke point is the temperature at which heated oil begins to smoke. Avocado oil’s smoke point is much higher than that of extra virgin olive oil but only slightly higher than light olive oils.
Avocado oil and olive oil have different levels of vitamin E. Avocado oil has a little less of it than is available in olive oil.
Avocado oil is generally more expensive than olive oil though it depends on the quality of the olive oil. Higher grades of olive oil tend to be more expensive.
While avocado oil may be growing in popularity, it is more difficult to find it in standard grocery stores. Olive oil has long been popular and is available in virtually all grocery stores.
Can you use avocado oil as a substitute for olive oil and vice versa?
Nutritionally speaking, avocado and olive oils are similar with similar proportions of fatty acids. Those fatty acids are the keys to their powerful cholesterol and cancer-fighting benefits. If your focus is on the health benefits of these oils, they are excellent substitutes. Avocado is an exceptional substitute for olive oil since it has virtually the same health benefits and a higher smoke point. Olive oil can work as an avocado oil substitute as well.
If your priority is flavor, then you will have to be careful which olive oil you replace with avocado oil. Avocado oil’s mildness may seem bland when used to replace the robust flavors of extra virgin olive oil. Similarly, extra virgin olive oil may introduce strong flavors in dishes that need avocado oil’s mildness. It is better to use avocado oil as a substitute for light olive oil and vice versa.
When should you use avocado oil, and when should you use olive oil?
Avocado oil is the better option when you want the flavors of the ingredients in your dish to be at the forefront and not the taste of the oil. If you need a versatile oil that you can use to cook at high temperatures, avocado oil is the better option. If you want to enhance your food with a flavorful oil, extra virgin olive oil’s intensity may be what you need.