Avocado oil has been making waves in the culinary world, and for good reason!
This rich and versatile oil is extracted from the creamy green fruit, and it brings a delightful taste and a plethora of health benefits to your everyday cooking.
So, what exactly is avocado oil? Let’s dive in!
What is avocado oil?
Avocado oil is a smooth and luscious oil that is extracted from the fruit of the avocado tree. It is typically made by pressing the flesh of ripe avocados, resulting in a vibrant green oil that is packed with flavor and nutrients.
Due to its mild flavor, high smoke point, and beneficial properties, avocado oil is commonly used in cooking, salad dressings, marinades, and even skincare products.
How is avocado oil made?
Avocado oil is typically made through a cold-press extraction process:
Ripe avocados are harvested, washed, peeled, and pitted. The avocado flesh is then pulped to create a consistent paste, which undergoes malaxation to break down oil-rich cells.
A centrifuge separates the oil from the pulp and water, and the extracted oil is filtered to remove impurities.
Finally, the avocado oil is bottled and stored in dark containers to preserve its quality. This process doesn’t use excessive heat or chemical solvents, and retains the oil’s natural flavors, nutrients, and beneficial properties.
Types of avocado oil
The two main types of avocado oil are unrefined and refined:
Unrefined/extra virgin avocado oil: Considered the highest quality and is obtained through a cold-pressing process, preserving the natural flavors and nutrients of the fruit.
Refined avocado oil: Extracted using high heat and chemical solvents. It has a neutral taste and a higher smoke point, making it ideal for high-heat cooking methods.
Benefits of avocado oil
Not only does avocado oil add a deliciously mild, buttery flavor to your dishes, but it’s also a nutritional powerhouse. Avocado oil is chock-full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats that can help lower bad cholesterol and boost the good one. It’s also packed with vitamin E, an antioxidant that promotes healthy skin and boosts the immune system.
Avocado oil nutrition facts
|Serving size||1 tbsp (15mL)|
|Total Fat||14 g|
The primary fat source is bolded.
How to cook and bake with avocado oil
Avocado oil has a mild and buttery flavor that works well in both savory and sweet dishes.
As I mentioned, avocado oil has a super high smoke point of around 520°F, which means it can handle high-heat cooking methods like frying and searing. However, for raw preparations or light sautéing, you can enjoy avocado oil in its natural, unheated form to fully appreciate its delicate flavor.
When it comes to baking, avocado oil is a great substitute for other oils or butter. Its mild taste won’t overpower your baked goods, and it can add a lovely moistness to cakes, muffins, and bread.
Personally, I use avocado oil every day for cooking eggs, in my air-fryer for pretty much anything, and when I need a liquid oil for baking.
Ways to use avocado oil
Here are a few recipe suggestions to get you started:
- Salad dressings
- Roasted vegetables
- Air-fryer chicken wings and french fries
- Grilled meats and seafood
- Stir-fries and sautés
- Homemade avocado oil mayonnaise
- Baking recipes (cakes, muffins, and cookies)
- Marinades for meat and poultry
- Dips and sauces
How to make avocado oil at home
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try making your own avocado oil at home:
- Gather ripe avocados and cut them into small chunks.
- Place the avocado chunks in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
- Transfer the avocado puree to a saucepan and heat it gently over low heat.
- Stir occasionally for about 20 minutes until the oil separates from the avocado solids.
- Let the mixture cool and strain it through a cheesecloth or fine-mesh sieve to collect the oil.
- Store your homemade avocado oil in a dark glass bottle in a cool, dry place.
How to store avocado oil
When it comes to storing avocado oil, it’s important to protect it from light and heat. The best way to store it is in a dark glass bottle in a cool pantry or cupboard. This will help preserve its flavor and nutrients.
Because avocado oil has mostly monounsaturated fats and less polyunsaturated fat, it has a generous shelf life.
As long as it doesn’t show any signs of going bad, opened avocado oil can typically last up to six months (unrefined) or 8 (refined). If you don’t think you’ll use it before then, I suggest keeping your avocado oil in the fridge, where it can keep fresh for 8-12 months!
What are the best substitutes for avocado oil?
If you find yourself without avocado oil, fear not! Macadamia oil or refined vegetable oil can step it when you need it.
For an all-around substitute, macadamia oil is an excellent choice. It has a similar flavor profile and works well in both cooking and baking. Its smoke point isn’t as high as avocado oil, but it’s okay for up to 410°F.
If you need to cook at higher temperatures such as deep-frying, refined vegetable oil is best.
Avocado oil and olive oil both have their own unique qualities and health benefits, so it ultimately depends on personal preferences, dietary needs, and intended use. While avocado oil has a higher smoke point and may offer more vitamin E, olive oil is rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and antioxidants.
Avocado oil stands out for its high smoke point, creamy flavor, and abundance of monounsaturated fats and vitamin E, which contribute to its health benefits.
Avocado oil’s higher smoke point makes it a better choice for frying as it can withstand higher temperatures without breaking down and producing smoke.
Avocado oil is versatile and can be used for various cooking techniques, such as sautéing, roasting, baking, making salad dressings, and even in homemade mayonnaise.