This Is The Best Type Of Oil For Marinating

Of all the kitchen tips and techniques that help add flavor to a variety of dishes, we particularly love marinating. This method of coating ingredients — usually meat and poultry — in an herbed or spiced vinaigrette or sauce is a dead-simple, almost entirely hands-off way to infuse your food with yumminess. Something we also love about marinating is how entirely flexible it is. 

Depending on your tastes, and what kind of dish you want to prepare, you can use a basic oil-and-acid (usually vinegar or citrus juice) base and then choose whatever flavorings you like, from raw garlic to dried herbs to lemon zest to fancy spices (via The Spruce Eats). Marinades are almost always based on oil because this helps transfer fat soluble flavorings, such as spices and herbs into food, per Cook's Illustrated. However, sometimes it can be tough to decide which oil to use. Do you pick one for flavor, like a robust olive oil, or do you choose based on other factors? 

Use high smoke point oils

When choosing an oil for marinating, you should consider its smoke point (via The Spruce Eats). A fat's smoke point is the temperature at which, when heated in a pan, it stops shimmering and starts smoking (via Serious Eats). This is important to know, because depending on your cooking method, you should choose an oil that won't burn and cause off flavors. Examples of oils with low smoke points are extra-virgin olive oil and sesame oil. While those with high smoke points — which tolerate high heat cooking — include peanut oil and canola oil.

Which brings us back to marinating. We typically marinate foods that are destined for the grill that include items like chicken, steak, or sliced veggies. According to The Spruce Eats, grilling is about as high heat a cooking method as you can get, so when marinating for the grill (or for roasting in the oven), it's best to choose a high smoke point oil for your mixture. The outlet also recommends peanut, canola, safflower, or soy oils, which are all readily available in supermarkets. This will help ensure that your marinade not only imparts delicious flavors to your food, but helps protect it during cooking, too. It's a win-win!