Avocado oil is growing in popularity, and more and more people are choosing it over olive oil for similar dishes.
It’s a light-tasting oil with a nutty flavor that many people prefer to olives. If you’re already a fan of avocados, why not try out a new healthy oil that can replace olive oil in almost any dish?
What Is Avocado Oil?
Avocados are bright green fruits with a fatty, buttery texture and a nutty flavor. Like olives, they contain plenty of healthy fats that can be extracted to make cooking oil.
Avocado is one of the only edible oils that is made from a fruit, rather than a seed. The oil in avocados is taken from the buttery flesh, and not the pit.
The oil in avocados carries much of its flavor, including that signature nutty buttery avocado flavor. However, the more the oil is refined, the less of this flavor remains.
One of the most attractive and interesting properties of avocado oil is its unusually high smoke point.
A smoke point is a temperature at which oil begins to smoke, which is to say, burn. Smoking oil is not only a risk of a fire, it usually ruins the oil and whatever you are cooking with it.
That’s why you can choose any oil for a salad dressing, or to drizzle on hummus, but you need to choose an oil that has a high smoke point for the hottest forms of cooking, like deep-frying, to avoid burning the oil.
Olive oil starts to smoke at around 400 F, but avocado oil has a smoke point of 500 F, making it exceptionally versatile and suitable for deep-frying and sauteing.
What Does Avocado Oil Look Like?
If you were expecting an oil that is bright green like the fruit, you will be disappointed.
After the extraction process, both unrefined and refined avocado oil are odorless and yellow.
Unrefined avocado oil is much darker and refined avocado oil is clearer, but neither of them look like anything special, and unless they were labeled you might mistake them for olive oil.
What Texture Does Avocado Oil Have?
The texture of olive oil is very similar to olive oil, or vegetable oil. It is a viscous oil that pours freely and is easy to drizzle.
Types Of Avocado Oil?
There are 2 types of avocado oil, and they are used for different purposes.
Extra virgin avocado oil, also called unrefined avocado oil, is intended to add the flavor of avocados to whatever you are drizzling it over.
The point of unrefined oils are to add the characteristics of the fruit or the seed to the oil itself. Unrefined, extra virgin avocado oil is perfect for drizzling on meat, vegetables, and spreads.
It has its own version of the fatty, nutty avocado taste and you can use it anywhere you would use extra virgin olive oil.
Refined avocado oil removes the impurities that carry all of the flavor characteristics through further filtering processes, so it loses the signature avocado taste.
This transforms the oil from a flavoring to a flavor delivery system. Refined avocado oil is ideal for situations where you don’t want to taste the oil at all – what you want is to bring out the underlying flavor of what you are cooking.
Where Does Avocado Oil Come From?
You can’t just squeeze the oil out of avocados. The process of making avocado oil is a little more complicated than that.
First, avocados need to have their skin and pits removed, leaving only the buttery flesh. After this, the flesh is churned and mixed at a slightly raised temperature, allowing the oil to separate from the cells.
Finally, the oil and water are extracted from the pulp using spinning centrifuges, and then the oil is separated from the water in a final round of centrifuges.
This is just one way of traditionally cold-pressing avocado oil, but dozens of other methods involve drying the avocado mash, using solvents, and other techniques.
When the avocado oil is extracted, the leftover pulp can be used to nourish the soil where the avocados are being grown as manure, or as a cheap feed for livestock.
Is Avocado Oil Healthy?
In addition to having a great taste and a very high smoke point, avocado oil has plenty of health benefits.
Avocado oil is packed with antioxidants that target free radicals in your bloodstream and reduce your long-term risk of cancer and other diseases.
In particular, avocado oil is rich in lutein, an antioxidant that also contributes to eye health.
There is plenty of Oleic acid in avocado oil. This healthy, monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid is responsible for 70% of the fat content in avocado oil.
Oleic acid supports cardiovascular health, and some studies link it to brain health and memory retention.
Avocado oil lowers your bad cholesterol while raising your good cholesterol, which helps to keep your heart healthy.
These are all health benefits you get from eating avocado oil, but they can also help your skin. Applying avocado oil topically can reduce inflammation and offer relief for eczema.
What Are The Dangers Of Avocado Oil?
In moderate amounts, avocado oil is very healthy and safe. However, there are some concerns to be aware of if you plan on using avocado oil for everything while regularly eating avocados.
If you are allergic to vegetable oils, avocado oil is not a good choice for you since it shares many of the same properties.
Likewise, if you are allergic to avocados, you might still get a reaction from avocado oil, including refined avocado oil that is almost tasteless.
If you consume too much avocado oil, you could have allergic symptoms like itchy skin breakouts, hives, etc. If you get these symptoms, stop using avocado oil.
How Can I Store Avocado Oil?
As an oil, avocado oil doesn’t go bad quickly, but it does lose its freshness eventually.
You can keep avocado oil in a cool, dry cupboard for up to a year without any loss of flavor.
Avocado Oil vs. Olive Oil
Olive oil and avocado oil are commonly compared because they can be used in so many similar situations, and they have many characteristics in common.
Either can act as a substitute for the other in most recipes, although there are some important differences to be aware of.
Extra virgin olive oil and extra virgin avocado oil both have a different, distinctive flavor. The term extra virgin refers to the fact that these oils are unrefined and retain many of the flavor characteristics of the fruit they were made from. In the case of avocado oil, it carries an avocado taste.
If you prefer the taste of avocados to olives, you’ll probably like a drizzle of avocado oil better than a drizzle of olive oil.
When it comes to unrefined, extra virgin olives, choose the taste you prefer because it is going to come through in whatever you are preparing with it.
For refined oils, it is a little more complicated. Refined olive oil and avocado oil are both largely tasteless, but they have different properties.
Avocado oil has a much higher smoke point than olive oil, which makes it more versatile for pan-frying and deep-frying. However, olive oil is usually cheaper than avocado oil.
Avocado Oil Nutritional Information
|per 100g avocado oil, according to healthifyme.com|
|Saturated Fatty Acids||11.6g|
|Monounsaturated Fatty Acids||70.6g|
|Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids||13.5g|
Quick Table: 3 Avocado Oil Taste Recipes
|Green Salad With Roasted Walnuts And Avocado Oil Dressing||170||25 Minutes|
|Avocado Oil Brownies||140||40 Minutes|
|Butternut Squash Roasted With Avocado Oil And A Hint Of Brown Sugar||120||30 Minutes|
This delightfully simple salad can be put together by just about anyone in 15 minutes, and yet it pairs together some amazing and complex flavors that belong in a fancy restaurant.
The steamed asparagus tips and romaine lettuce offer the perfect pairing for a dressing that allows avocado oil to shine without being overpowered. Use your best extra virgin avocado oil for this recipe, and you’ll be glad you did.
Calories Per Serving: 170
Preparation Time: 25 Minutes
This recipe for mouth-watering chocolate brownies uses avocado oil rather than butter or vegetable oil, to provide extra health benefits as well as a rich, chocolate taste.
You can make these brownies from scratch and know that you’re getting healthy fats, nutrients, and antioxidants with your dessert.
In addition, this recipe makes other good substitutions to make it healthier, including using 100% raw cacao, and raw turbinado sugar.
Calories Per Serving: 140
Preparation Time: 25 Minutes
With such a high smoke point, you can feel comfortable using avocado oil in pretty much any recipe, including high-heat situations like roasting butternut squash.
This simple, classic recipe uses avocado oil to bring out all of the sweetest flavors in the butternut squash, and lend a bit of its nutty flavor as well.
You won’t want to switch back to butter or olive oil once you’re used to avocado oil and butternut squash.
Calories Per Serving: 120
Preparation Time: 25 Minutes
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Avocado Oil Change The Flavor Of Food?
That depends on the type of avocado oil you are using. Extra virgin or unrefined avocado oil is flavorful, and carries the taste of avocado with it, for better or worse.
When you drizzle extra virgin avocado oil over something, you will taste the flavor even if it is not overpowering.
However, refined avocado oil is tasteless. You can use it in a variety of cooking situations (except baking, where a nutty flavor still comes through) and trust that you will be bringing out the flavors of the food you are cooking, rather than layering an avocado flavor on top.
Does Avocado Oil Taste Different Than Olive Oil?
Yes, avocado oil tastes subtly like avocados, while olive oil tastes like olives. In unrefined or extra virgin oils, these flavors are more pronounced.
In more refined versions, both avocado oil and olive oil are tasteless. Since neither of them tastes like anything, in particular, they do technically taste the same at that point, and they can be used interchangeably, although it is good to remember that they are different in other respects, like their smoke point.
What Can I Use Avocado Oil For?
Avocado oil is one of the most versatile oils you can find. In its extra virgin, unrefined form, it has a subtle, buttery, grassy flavor similar to avocados that it lends to whatever it is drizzled on.
Refined avocado oil is tasteless, but brings out depths of flavor in whatever it touches. Since both versions of avocado oil have such a high smoke point, you can use avocado oil for almost anything, including deep-frying and sauteing.
Is It OK To Fry With Avocado Oil?
Yes! Avocado oil has one of the highest smoke points of all cooking oils. It is much safer to use avocado oil when frying than olive oil, vegetable oil, or many other oils.
However, you might not find it very economical. Avocado oil is significantly more expensive than some other oils with smoke points just slightly lower.
Although it’s healthy and effective to fry things in avocado oil, it might be a little hard on your wallet.
Why Do Chefs Use Avocado Oil?
There are many reasons that professional chefs reach for avocado oil, rather than other oils.
Extra virgin avocado oil adds a dollop of earthy, buttery avocado flavor as well as a rich, velvety oil finish. Chefs use unrefined avocado oil to add a subtle avocado flavor to everything from hummus to meats and vegetables.
While they could use extra virgin olive oil instead, choosing avocado oil imparts a different flavor that some chefs find more interesting than the standard olive oil versions.
Another reason chefs love avocado oil is because of its high smoke point. Some of the best cooking is done at very high heat.
An extremely hot cast iron pan can sear a cut of meat in just a minute or two with the right oil lubricating the surface.
However, the wrong oil can start smoking and burning at those temperatures, ruining the entire meal. Avocado oil is reliable in circumstances where temperatures are high.
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