Avocado Oil vs Olive Oil: What’s the difference?
Avocado Oil has cropped up to be one of the latest “superfoods” in town. I’m always a little skeptical of any “superfood” claims, since most are bogus. The recent controversy of coconut oil as a health food vs. saturated fat devil doesn’t make it any easier to figure out what the heck to believe about health claims of certain ingredients.
So let’s put that overly charged word “superfoods” away and just compare avocado oil to olive oil and see when it might be better to use one over the other.
Main Differences Between Avocado And Olive Oil
Flavor and smoke point are the biggest differences between these two oils. Obviously avocados and olives taste different so this affects how their oils taste. Avocado oil tends to be more buttery and less potent than the stronger flavor of olive oil. The taste of olive oil can be dramatically different based on the quality and source. Some are spicy some are fruity. Unfortunately the quality of most olive oils in America are terrible.
The olive oil industry is a hot mess and full of scandals pointing to a very large percent of phony olive oils on our supermarket shelves. The American Council on Science and Health reveals that virgin olive oil is required to be free of chemicals, but over half of virgin olive oils in the U.S. market are basically fraudulent and contain other cheaper oils like sunflower oil.
Smoke point is the temperature at which a cooking oil or fat starts to break down and can possibly produce carcinogenic toxins. The smoke point matters because low temperature smoke point oils should be avoided in high heat cooking methods like stir-frying and baking. Different oils each have different smoke point temperatures. Olive oil even has different smoke points based on whether it’s virgin, extra-virgin or pure.
Avocado oil: 520°F
Olive oil: 375°F-410°F depending on the quality and type.
A skillet on the stovetop will reach around 375°F- 450°F from medium to high heat settings. So it’s typically better to use avocado oil if you’re cooking in a skillet on high or roasting vegetables in the oven. Olive oil can be used for light stir-frying and cooking on medium or low on the stovetop. In general avocado oil is the winner for high heat cooking.
The Bottom Line
Both oils are considered healthy oils and have similar caloric and fat quantities. High quality olive oil is great for salad dressings and dishes that really spotlight the flavor of the oil. Avocado oil is ideal for roasting at high temps and cooking dishes like eggs that you might not want the added strong flavor of olive oil with.
The most important thing is to keep things in perspective. There are tons of articles out there that demonize every type of cooking oil out there while others hail that the xyz fatty acid will cure cancer.
It’s too easy to get paralyzed by the amount of conflicting information out there. Using a little bit of oil to cook meats and vegetables is still miles healthier than 90% of the food you can find eating out. Don’t stress and just keep everything in moderation.