Smoke points for various cooking mediums

Oil heated beyond the smoke point breaks down in molecular structure and starts to turn carcinogenic. This is important to know when cooking for Krishna and His devotees. Below is a chart of maximum cooking temperatures for various frying mediums. They are listed in order from lowest smoke temperature to highest. Notice how ghee rates as one of the mediums with the highest cooking temperature ranges. This is provided that it is good quality ghee. I've used ghee that began to smoke at temperatures around 200 degrees Celcius (395 F) which is significantly less than what is posted here. In any case, its good to be aware of some smoke points as a passionate session in the kitchen can lead to overlooking the health of the devotees who will partake.

To know what temperature your oil is when cooking you need either an infrared or a probe thermometer. (The prices on this page are pretty high. I bought my infrared for less than AU$200 to use with my wood fired oven. I just didn't have time to look around the internet much.)

Here you can download a printable .pdf format of this chart for laminating and hanging on the kitchen wall at your local Hare Krishna center.

(Data from Cooking for Engineers)

Type of Oil
Max Temp °C
Max Temp °F
Unrefined canola oil 107°C 225°F
Unrefined flaxseed oil 107°C 225°F
Unrefined safflower oil 107°C 225°F
Unrefined sunflower oil 107°C 225°F
Unrefined corn oil 160°C 320°F
Unrefined high-oleic sunflower oil 160°C 320°F
Extra virgin olive oil 160°C 320°F
Unrefined peanut oil 160°C 320°F
Semirefined safflower oil 160°C 320°F
Unrefined soy oil 160°C 320°F
Butter 177°C 350°F
Semirefined canola oil 177°C 350°F
Coconut oil 177°C 350°F
Unrefined sesame oil 177°C 350°F
Semirefined soy oil 177°C 350°F
Vegetable shortening 182°C 360°F
Macadamia nut oil 199°C 390°F
Refined canola oil 204°C 400°F
High quality (low acidity) extra virgin olive oil 207°C 405°F
Sesame oil 210°C 410°F
Grapeseed oil 216°C 420°F
Virgin olive oil 216°C 420°F
Almond oil 216°C 420°F
Hazelnut oil 221°C 430°F
Peanut oil 227°C 440°F
Sunflower oil 227°C 440°F
Refined corn oil 232°C 450°F
Refined high-oleic sunflower oil 232°C 450°F
Refined peanut oil 232°C 450°F
Refined Safflower oil 232°C 450°F
Semirefined sesame oil 232°C 450°F
Refined soy oil 232°C 450°F
Semirefined sunflower oil 232°C 450°F
Olive pomace oil 238°C 460°F
Extra light olive oil 242°C 468°F
Ghee (High Quality) 252°C 485°F
Soybean oil 257°C 495°F
Safflower oil 266°C 510°F
Avocado oil 271°C 520°F