Avocado oil is made from the avocado fruit, which is widely prized for its health benefits. One of the few cooking oils not extracted from seeds, avocado oil is a versatile and healthy oil that has become trendy in recent years.
Avocado oil has a mostly neutral flavor profile that makes it easy to use, but you should still be mindful of its properties to get the most value from it. Here are some dos and don’ts to help you learn how to cook with avocado oil.
Do learn the differences between the various kinds of avocado oil that you might find in a grocery store.
Cold-pressed avocado oil has been extracted from the avocado fruit by squeezing it in a temperature-controlled environment. The process does not cause the oil to heat up above 120 degrees Fahrenheit, which is why it is referred to as cold-pressing. Cold-pressed avocado oil retains many of its nutrients because of the limited processing it undergoes.
Oil extracted with an expeller can heat the oil and is not referred to as cold-pressed. Aside from methods like cold- and expeller-pressing, avocado oil may also be extracted with solvents like hexane.
Manufacturers use solvents because the yield is greater, but oils extracted with solvents are generally considered to be less desirable for culinary purposes. Extra virgin oil is the oil that comes from the first pressing of the avocado. Refined avocado oil has been bleached after extraction.
Do use refined avocado oil at high temperatures.
Refined avocado oil has a high smoke point and is therefore perfect for high-temperature cooking. The smoke point refers to the temperature at which it begins to burn and smoke. Refined avocado oil’s smoke point is over 500 degrees Fahrenheit, which means you can use it at higher temperatures than other popular high-temp oils like peanut and sunflower oil.
Do use premium avocado oil as a finishing oil just as you would use premium olive oil.
While the oil certainly does handle high temperatures well, you may be able to get more value if you finish dishes with it. The higher the quality of a cooking oil, the better suited it is for use as a finishing oil. Virgin avocado oil will have a buttery flavor that can enhance certain dishes when drizzled over them just before serving.
Do use avocado oil on mild-tasting foods.
Its buttery flavor profile is easily masked and only truly comes to the forefront on lightly flavored foods. Use it on fish or on vegetables where you want to draw attention to its subtle and nuanced character.
Do store avocado oil correctly.
Avocado oil should be stored in a cool, dark location away from moisture. While it has a relatively long shelf life compared to other oils, it will still last longer if you store it correctly. That said, you should use it up within six months of opening the bottle. Unopened avocado oil can last up to two years.
Don’t overuse avocado oil.
In addition to the fact that it contains many nutrients, avocado oil does contain a high concentration of omega 6 fatty acids. While these are beneficial in moderation, too much of them in your diet can cause inflammation. If you take blood-thinning drugs like warfarin, you may also want to limit consumption since avocado has been reported to make these drugs less effective.