Welcome to the ultimate comparison between avocado oil, olive oil, and coconut oil.
All of them you’ve probably heard of. They all provide health benefits, each with a different nutrient profile.
But, when it comes to only picking one, which is the best option for you?
In this article, we’ll go over the nutritional benefits of each oil, determine the differences, and learn when is the best time to use each one.
Nutritional facts about avocado oil, olive oil, and coconut oil
Before we dig into the specifics of which oils are best for a certain category, let’s analyze the nutritional value of each.
The following table compares the nutritional information for one tablespoon of each oil.
|Nutrition Fact||Avocado Oil||Olive Oil||Coconut Oil|
|Total fat (g)||14.0||14.0||13.9|
|Saturated fats (g)||1.6||1.9||11.7|
|Monounsaturated fats (g)||9.9||9.8||0.8|
|Polyunsaturated fats (g)||1.9||1.4||0.2|
As you can see, they all have a very similar calorie and macronutrient breakdown.
With that said, the real difference is in the fat content.
Coconut oil has a much higher proportion of saturated fats. While the body needs some saturated fat to function properly, lots of research shows a high intake of this fat can increase the risk of heart disease.
Avocado oil and olive oil have a similar fat composition. They are both low in saturated and polyunsaturated fats. But, they are high in monounsaturated fats, which are generally considered to be healthier.
Which is better for cooking?
The best oil for cooking relies on its smoke point.
The smoke point is the temperature the oil starts simmering and producing smoke. It is often referred to as the burning point.
The higher the smoke point, the more temperature it can withstand.
Here are the smoke points for the different oils:
- Avocado oil: 520°F
- Olive oil: 410°F
- Coconut oil: 350-400°F (unrefined is the lower, refined coconut oil is the higher)
With that said, avocado oil is a better option for cooking things at a high temperature. For example, if you want to fry or simmer things, avocado oil is the best option.
If you try using coconut oil for any of these options it can change the nutritional composition and the flavor of the oil.
On the other hand, olive oil can withstand more heat than coconut oil, making it the best next option to cook on medium to low heat.
Finally, coconut oil is best to have fresh or on low heat.
Baking with avocado oil, coconut oil, and olive oil
All three oils are suitable for baking, when the smoke point matters a lot less. And in fact, avocado oil and olive oil are both great substitutes for coconut oil when baking.
Because all three are liquids, when substituting them for butter, I find that you’ll generally get a pretty moist bake, so it’s worth some experimentation to just make sure you get the right texture. Beyond that, your only major consideration is taste – obviously coconut oil has a different flavor profile and a certain sweetness to it, which I tend to prefer in baked goods.
Can I substitute one for the other?
Yes, you can substitute one for the other in equal amounts. However, it depends on what you are planning to do.
For example, if you are thinking of making french fries, it’s not a good idea to change avocado oil to coconut or olive oil since they have smaller smoke points.
Additionally, you need to consider the texture and the flavor.
In case you are making baked goods, an unflavored choice might be a better option. For example, unrefined coconut oil might be a better option unless you’re looking for the coconut flavor you’re going to get with refined coconut oil.
When do I use avocado oil, olive oil, or coconut oil?
I’ve always been a fan of using coconut oil in my dishes, especially if they are sweet treats.
There is something special about coconut oil and desserts.
On the other hand, avocado oil and olive oil have an earthy flavor that pairs nicely with savory things (like this keto pesto recipe with olive oil).
Avocado oil, olive oil, and coconut oil are great options to include in your diet.
Each one has its unique nutritional profile. For that reason, instead of focusing on only one, try adding all of them throughout the week to get a variety of nutrients.
In summary, avocado oil might be better for high-temperature cooking, olive oil for medium-heat, and coconut oil for adding to salads, dressings, or sweet recipes.
Frequently asked questions
One of the healthiest oils is extra virgin olive oil. Studies show that it can help decrease the risk of heart disease and promote overall health.
Options like palm oil, shortening, and lard are all pretty unhealthy. But as always, all things in moderation.
Yes, you can cook with olive oil, but it has a low smoking point, especially extra virgin olive oil. So, you can use regular olive oil for cooking at medium heat for a short duration. You might benefit from avocado oil if you want to cook at higher temperatures.
All vegetable oils are low in cholesterol since only animals can produce cholesterol. So, if you are worried about increasing your cholesterol levels, choose a vegetable oil such as olive oil or avocado oil.