When cooking on your griddle, you’ll frequently need to be cooking with some oil or help prevent your food from sticking to the metal surface and help get the desired texture on your food. What are the best oils for griddle cooking? Is there a single one you should be using?
Factors to Consider
What are the advantages and disadvantages of various oil options? There are several things you should take into consideration when deciding what type of oil to use. Here’s what you need to know when selecting a cooking oil to cook with on your flat top grill.
When choosing an oil, you’ll want to ensure you’re using one with a high enough smoke point. You’ll typically want to use something with a smoke point of at least 400°F and preferably even higher.
You’ll want to avoid using extra virgin olive oil (325°F smoke point) and regular butter (350°F smoke point) unless you’re cooking at lower temperatures.
Cooking oils cooked above their smoke point can cause the oil to break down, resulting in the release of harmful chemicals, and it can give the food an undesirable taste as well. As long as you’re not cranking the heat up too high, these are perfectly fine to use.
Neutral vs. Flavored Oil
Another factor you’ll want to consider when choosing an oil is whether it’s a neutral-flavored oil or not. Neutral cooking oils will not affect the food’s taste, while others will impart some additional flavor to the food.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as adding these flavors may enhance the dish your cooking. It just comes down to what your cooking and what your preference is.
In some foods, you’ll want to impart flavor from the oil into the food. When cooking Asian dishes, sesame oil can impart some amazing flavor into the food, and many recipes will call for it specifically.
Beef tallow is non-neutral and can also enhance the taste of various dishes. If you want the food to stand on its own without the additional flavoring, be sure to select a neutral oil that won’t influence the taste.
Below is a quick reference list of oils with at least a 400°F smoke point and whether they are neutral oil or not so you can pick the best option.
|Oil||Smoke Point °F||Smoke Point °C||Neutral|
|Refined Avocado Oil||520°F||270°C||Yes|
|Refined or Light Olive Oil||465°F||240°C||Yes|
|Ghee or Clarified Butter||450°F||232°C||No|
|Refined Coconut Oil||450°F||232°C||Yes|
|Refined Sesame Oil||410°F||210°C||No|
My primary go-to options are ghee (clarified butter) and avocado oil, which have higher smoke points. I use avocado oil when I want a neutral flavor that won’t change the food and ghee’s taste to impart a buttery flavor to things like sautéed vegetables.
I’ll use other oils as well, depending on what dish I’m preparing, so don’t feel obligated to stick to just one or two of these. Sesame oil for Asian stir fry dishes being a prime example.
There are many options available, so pick what oil is best for you and the food you’re cooking.