Knowing what cooking oil to use is like knowing what baby name to choose. With so many options, where do we even begin? At Serious Eats, we have some pointers.
Canola: Nutritionists recommend staying away from canola oil whenever possible. It has been linked to vitamin E deficiency and heart disease, plus it goes rancid easily. But if it's all you have lying around, it's pretty all-purpose, and most commonly used in baking and sautéing.
Olive: Ideal for salads, Mediterranean and Italian dishes (like pesto), and of course bread-dunking. Some recommended olive oil brands include: Carapelli, Whole Foods 365 brand, Berio, or the giant Kirkland brand jug from Costco, which should last you months.
Grapeseed: A bit pricy, but keep in mind, grapeseed oil lowers cholesterol. Use it when you'd use olive oil, and since it has a higher smoke point, it's also good for frying and sautéing. (And the super special bottles will involve an elephant spout.)
Peanut: Not the best one for you (lots of monounsaturated fatty acids in there). But when the time comes for stir frying and deep frying, throw a little in there.
Sesame: The vitamin E-rich oil adds a nice smoky flavor to foods, especially in meat and chicken. Make sure to keep it in the fridge. Usually the darker the oil, the more sesame-y the taste.
Soybean: It's in so many packaged goods (margarine, salad dressings, and mayo), odds are you're digesting it right now.
Walnut: The FDA is pretty pro-walnuts. They have said that "supportive but not conclusive" evidence shows that "eating 1.5 ounces of walnuts a day ... may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease." So go for it oil form. Throw walnut oil into salads or finish off a fish dish.