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Know your pantry: All about oil

Know your pantry: All about oil

Instead of reaching for that old go-to, let’s look into some of the healthier (and more delicious) alternative oils out there.


Sunflower oil is made from pressed seeds, delivering a high vitamin E content and a low count of saturated fat. It has a high smoke point which makes it ideal for frying and its light flavour makes it a good option for baking. However, it’s not recommended to use for drizzling as the taste can be slightly bland
Best for: Baking


Known for its host of antioxidants, olive oil is made from pressing the oil from the fruit. The typical smoke point is dependent on the type (extra virgin or virgin), with extra virgin having a higher smoke point than its cousin and other seed oils. Being cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil also has the best flavour and the most health benefits because it is extracted without the use of chemicals. Be on the lookout for olive oil blends which are usually a mix of olive, soy, grapeseed and safflower oils that differ drastically in taste; make sure you are getting the real thing.
Best for: Dressing, cooking and frying

Did you know?
SA Olive is an association representing the interests of the local olive industry. If you see their seal on a bottle, it means the oil is 100% South African and that the producer is committed to the standards set by SA Olive.



Peanuts are first steam-cooked and then pressed to extract the oil. It has a very high smoke point, making it great for both shallow- and deep-frying; but the flavour is quite intense, so rather avoid using it for baking or drizzling.
Best for: Frying and stir-fry


This oil boasts the ability to lower cholesterol and a richness in essential fatty acids. It has a lovely fragrance which makes it perfect for baking and, when mixed with another oil, it will add a nutty flavour to your cooking.
Best for: Baking


As the pantry staple everyone is familiar with, canola oil has less saturated fat than olive oil, a high smoke point and is neutral in flavour – plus it’s cheap! Put all that together and you have your ultimate all-purpose cooking oil!
Best for: All-purpose cooking and baking


Trending at the moment – and for good reason. The oil is extracted from the coconut flesh and has a lovely sweet flavour. A favourite in baking, especially when it comes to raw treats, this is the only oil that hardens in the fridge. Don;t forget that it is quite high in saturated fat, but also composed of healthier lauric acid.
Best for: Baking


This is a plant-based oil made from a combination of sunflower, soybean and safflower oils. This is another neutral option with a high smoke point and a mix of flavours that also makes it good for drizzling.
Best for: All-purpose cooking

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