How a Test Kitchen Expert Stores Cooking Oils

This chef-approved trick makes cooking faster and better!

How a Test Kitchen Expert Stores Cooking Oils
Oil on lazy Susan next to stovetop
Simply Recipes / Alyse Whitney

Every few weeks, I use my funnel to decant cooking oils into squeeze bottles—a neutral oil (currently canola, but sometimes avocado or vegetable), an everyday olive oil for cooking, a fruitier and pepper-accented delicate olive oil for finishing, and toasted sesame oil for drizzling at the end of most Asian-leaning recipes I make. (I’m Korean American, so sesame oil belongs in almost everything.)

There’s only one exception: if a bottle is beautiful and can hold a pouring spout—like Brightland’s garlic-infused oil—I opt not to transfer the oil into a squeeze bottle.

This quad of oil-filled bottles sits on a lazy Susan by the stove so I can easily access them. (You can see my set-up in the above image.) I first learned about this setup from working in a test kitchen and observing restaurant chefs’ mise en place—having everything you need to cook out and prepped, is arguably what makes you a better and more efficient cook. You may have spotted some on The Bear.

Why I Am a Fan Squeeze Bottles for Cooking Oils

Sometimes I can have a heavy hand with oil if I’m pouring it from its original bottle—the spout is so big! A squeeze bottle gives me a gentle stream rather than a waterfall. I can squeeze just enough oil to coat the bottom of a pan to fry eggs, crisp up potstickers, or sauté onions. It also helps me be more precise when measuring into a liquid measuring cup, whether for whipping up a vinaigrette or making a batch of boxed cake mix.

I can also dress a salad directly with a drizzle of oil and a squeeze of lemon juice, adding more as needed by the squirt without accidentally adding too much. I feel lost without them when cooking in a new place. What can I say? These bottles are my main squeeze.

The Best Squeeze Bottles for Oil 

If you have a restaurant supply store in your town, you can find squeeze bottles in an array of sizes for cheap, especially if you buy in bulk. I like to use 16-ounce bottles for everyday cooking oils and eight-ounce bottles for finishing oils that are more delicate.

H Mart and Dollar Tree have affordable and surprisingly durable squeeze bottles. Although I won’t be using them for ketchup and mustard, I’m going to get this fun trio of squeeze bottles with faces or some lavender purple ones.

Just like with storing any oils, it’s best to keep the bottles out of direct sunlight to avoid oxidation. Opaque, darker-colored bottles are a better bet than clear. I’ve been able to figure out approximately how much oil I use per month based on how often I decant it into squeeze bottles so that it doesn’t lose any quality or flavor, and I keep extra oils in their original bottles in the pantry.