News from CRIS: Cooking Oils - Overview

October 24, 2022

What are cooking oils?

Cooking oils are lipids (fats) made from plants, animals, or synthetic compounds used when frying, baking, and preparing foods for consumption. 
We find three lipids in cooking oils, triacylglycerols (also known as triglycerides), phospholipids, and sterols. Triacylglycerols are the most common lipid found in our foods. 
There are many oils. This blog post will focus on the most common cooking oils derived from plants and animals.

What is cooking oil made from? 

Cooking oils are typically derived from plants and animals. 
Plants often include 

  • Avocados
  • Canola Seeds
  • Corn Kernels 
  • Olives
  • Palm Tree Kernels
  • Peanuts
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Soybeans
  • Sunflower Seeds 

Animal fat and animal products can be made into cooking oils. These can include 

  • Butter 
  • Lard (e.g., pork fat, duck fat, etc.) 
  • Tallow (e.g., beef, mutton) 

How are cooking oils used? 

We use cooking oils in frying, baking, flavoring, sautéing, roasting, grilling, and more. 
We use cooking oils for many purposes, but often, the oils impart a flavor we’d like to incorporate into the foods we’re preparing. For example, a baked good that uses lard from an animal will have a different taste than a baked good that uses margarine made from a plant. 


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