How Do You Choose The Right Cold-Pressed Oil For Your Kitchen: Tips And Recommendations

So you recently made the switch from refined oils to cold-pressed oils for your daily cooking. Good choice!

Cold-pressed oils are flavourful and have essential micronutrients, but with so many options on the shelf, choosing the right one can feel confusing. 

This guide will help you navigate the many options of cold pressed oils and find the perfect fit for your daily cooking style. 

First, how are cold pressed oils different?

Flavor. That’s where cold pressed oils stand out. Think of refined rice bran oil. Can you describe how it tastes? Most likely not. 

Refined oils go through a process that strips away most of their nutrients along with natural flavor, making them neutral and bland.

Cold-pressed oils, like the ones we make at Gramiyaa, retain the subtle and complex flavors of the seeds, nuts, or fruits they're extracted from. 

Think of Kerala banana chips. Apart from the banana, do you recall the slightly sweet nutty flavor? That’s because it's fried in coconut oil. Cold pressed coconut oil has a distinct sweet coconutty flavor. Similarly each oil tastes different. 

If you enjoy cooking flavorful food, cold pressed oils can be your secret weapon. 

Different flavors of cold pressed oils

You’ve guessed it right. Like coconut oil has a slightly sweet flavor, each oil has its own flavor profiles. 

Do these oils’ flavors impact the flavor of your dish? 

Yes, sometimes. 

About 3 years ago, on a hungry evening, my mom wasn’t around. My aunt offered to make some crispy dosas for me. 

Unlike my mom who uses cold pressed groundnut oil to crisp the dosas, my aunt prefers cold pressed sesame oil or gingelly oil as it's called in Tamil Nadu. 

Once I started eating, I felt like something was off. It just didn't taste like usual. 

Some parts of the dosas tasted amazing and some parts had a very bold earthy flavor that was overpowering my usual dosa flavor. 

Back then I didn’t know a thing about cooking and couldn’t figure out that it was because of the change in oil. 

Sesame seeds have a richer flavor. Drizzling it over dosas or chapatis or even seasoning salads with sesame oil lets you enjoy the flavor directly. But if you cook a curry using cold pressed sesame oil, the flavor nicely blends in and makes it delicious overall.  

So it depends on how you like it. Experiment to figure out how you enjoy it best. 

Cold pressed oils like groundnut oil have a very subtle flavor that doesn’t overpower your food. Coconut has a slightly sweet nutty flavor whereas mustard has a pungent note. 

Cold pressed oils are flavourful so often 2 tsp are enough to cook a meal for 1. 2 tsp/person/meal lets you enjoy flavor without overdoing it on calories.   

Smoke point and cooking method 

Almost every dish needs oil to cook. You pour some oil into a pan. And like our grandmothers do, we let it heat up, smoke a little, turn it down and then add the ingredients. 

There’s a point in between all of this when the oil starts smoking. You see smoke rising up from the pan. That’s the smoke point of the oil. This temperature varies for different oils. 

For instance, there’s a common notion that you can’t cook with olive oil. Why? 

The reason is because it has a low smoke point. It’s great for seasoning and dressing but rarely preferred for cooking. 

These days there are some variants of olive oil (processed differently, harvested at different phases etc) that are better suited for higher temperature cooking. 

So the smoke point plays a major role when you’re cooking. 

Let’s say it's a gloomy evening and it's pouring heavily outside. You're craving for some yummy fritters (bajjis). 

How are bajjis made? Deep fried. 

So can you choose an olive oil (with low smoke point) to deep fry which requires high temperatures? 

Not really. 

Instead you choose one that has a higher smoke point like mustard or sesame oil. 

Deep frying temperature is 177°C to 190°C. If the oil’s smoke point is higher, then that’s great. 

Cold pressed coconut oil’s smoke point is 177°C so it’s good for a quick deep fry. But if you’re frying big batches, choose something that can withstand at least 190°C.

My colleague’s cook once made raw banana fritters. She used a blend of mustard oil and sesame oil in a 50:50 ratio to fry them. 

We suspected it would carry the pungency of mustard (we were unsure how us non-Bengalis would like it). Surprisingly, it didn’t and tasted delicious. 

Here’s an easy cheat sheet for you to come back to whenever you're confused.  


Smoke Point


Suitable for

Groundnut oil



Medium-heat cooking: Sautéing, tempering, seasoning

Coconut oil


Sweet coconutty

Sesame oil

177 °C

Bold, earthy nutty

Sunflower oil



High-heat cooking: Roasting, flavoring, deep-frying

Mustard oil


Moderately pungent


Rich, roasted, nutty 

Cuisines and culinary preferences

Just like spices and ingredients tell the story of a place's cuisine, the oil used adds another layer of taste.

Take a trip to India! 

In Bengal, mustard oil is a must-have. Its sharp bite and strong aroma add a unique touch to curries, lentils (dals), and pickles. When you see a Bengali fish fry with a crispy, golden-brown crust, that's most likely thanks to mustard oil.

Over in Kerala and Southeast Asia (Thailand and Indonesia), coconut oil takes center stage. Its subtle sweetness and coconutty scent bring a twist to curries, stir-fries, and even desserts.

Imagine a fragrant Thai green curry simmered in coconut oil – the oil adds a hint of sweetness to the creamy texture, making it yummy!

In Tamil Nadu, sesame oil is a key player in "tempering," a technique for adding flavor and aroma to dishes.  

A few drops of sesame oil are heated with mustard seeds, curry leaves, and dried red chilies. As these ingredients release their flavors, the temper (or tadka) is poured over cooked vegetables, dals, or sambar. 

There are actually two types of sesame oil:

  • Cold-pressed sesame oil: Gramiyaa’s cold pressed sesame oil is made from non-roasted, sun-dried seeds. This oil keeps the natural nutty taste and aroma of sesame seeds. It's perfect for adding flavor while cooking or tempering.
  • Roasted sesame oil: This oil has a stronger, smokier flavor. It's often used for pickling and as a finishing touch, and is a favorite in many Asian dishes.
Experiment and discover

These are just a few examples of how cold-pressed oils can be used. The best part is that they're so versatile! 

Experiment with different oils, try new flavor combinations, and see how they can make your food taste better.

Even if you have a go-to choice of oil, include a variety of cold pressed oils to enjoy different flavors and get a variety of nutrients for a balanced diet.

If you try new oils in unexpected ways, comment below so we can try it too. 

Author Bio

Pragati’s always dreaming about her next read, journey or meal. When it comes to food, she always thought healthy food lacked flavor. But that changed 3 years ago when she moved out of home and had to start cooking. After experimenting with flavors, the new challenge on her plate is to increase protein in her carb-heavy South Indian vegetarian diet. 


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