Oils and fats – Oils and fats play a vital role in cooking, simmering and frying

As a manufacturer of high-quality cookware, BERNDES is committed to top product durability and customer satisfaction. We are specialists in non-stick-coated cast aluminium cookware, drawing on many years of experience backed up by constant product tests and materials research. Today, almost half a century after the market launch of our first non-stick frying pan, there are still many mistakes people commonly make when using cookware. That's why we want to share our know-how with you and give you information on things such as the connection between cookware and the right choice of oil or fat.

Olive oil is frequently used for frying. The result: spitting and smoking. These are the first signs of incorrect cooking, excessive temperature, or simply the wrong oil! Every dish has its own requirements in terms of cooking method and oil or fat. For instance, pancakes are entirely different from lamb chops.

Oils and fats have different smoking points. That is the temperature at which the oil or fat burns and transforms into vapour. This burning process often leaves black deposits in the pan that have burned into the surface. If, in a non-stick frying pan, these deposits are further burned in, this damages the non-stick property. What's more, the next time you heat the pan, the residues can burn, creating toxic vapours.

Today a huge variety of fats and oils is available on the market designed and optimised for different purposes. That means you have to select the right oil for the job: boiling (100 °C/212 °F), simmering (120 °C/248 °F) or frying (140-210 °C/284-410 °F).

Healthy oils and fats?


To examine this aspect more closely, we need to make a brief detour into nutritional science. High-quality oils are nutritionally valuable and contain important fatty acids such as omega-3. The body can not produce these unsaturated fatty acids itself, which is why they are very healthy in moderation! They are ideal for salad and other dressings, spreads and sauces. Due to their low smoking point (see above), they are suitable only to a limited extent for frying at high temperatures. Included in this group are e.g. virgin (cold-pressed) rape seed, hemp and linseed oils.

If unsaturated oils or fats are overheated, vitamins are destroyed and substances generated that are unhealthy in the long term. Refined (hot-pressed) oils also contain unsaturated fatty acids. However, they are more suitable for frying. In contrast, solid fats such as concentrated butter, coconut or palm fat only contain saturated fatty acids, but for that reason they are suitable for very high temperatures, e.g. for deep frying.

In short: From a nutritional viewpoint, unsaturated fatty acids are better than saturated fats, but they have a lower smoking point and are therefore not suitable for frying at very high temperatures. The following table presents an overview of the various types of use with recommendations for the right fats or oils.



Further explanations for chart

* Palm and coconut fat have a similarly high smoking point to most refined oils. However, due to their solid form they are also suitable for searing at higher temperatures. When preparing food at temperatures of over 210 °C/410 °F, we urgently recommend using a BERNDES product with a ceramic coating. These products are especially suitable for high temperatures.

Correct deep frying

Deep frying is a special case because it is usually done at much higher temperatures than strictly necessary. The optimal temperature is approx. 175 °C/347 °F. At this temperature, important nutrients in the oils and fats are retained. Health-hazardous acrylamide forms above this temperature. For reasons of health and taste, we recommend oils and fats with mono- unsaturated fatty acids for deep frying, such as refined olive or sunflower seed oil. Incidentally, peanut oil is especially good for chips. So, despite popular belief, it is not necessary to use solid palm fat with unsaturated fatty acids.