Picking a cooking oil can depend on various reasons. Sometimes, it is quite the hectic task having so many options, and other times the one we have is just not the best fit.
Peanut oil is one of the most popular choices in any kitchen. It is most common in Asian, Caribbean, and African cuisines. It is an excellent pick for sauteing and deep frying foods. Chefs love using peanut oil in their recipes as it never overtakes the overall flavor and doesn’t consume the taste of the food all by itself.
Nevertheless, peanut oil may not always be the solution, or you may simply not have the luxury. Many of us are allergic to peanut oil, while some just woke up to realize they are fresh out one morning.Lastly, it’s relatively expensive too. If you’re one of them, worry not because we bring you a well-curated read to demonstrate the numerous substitutes for peanut oil and their various uses and health benefits that indeed make a convincing case.
But before we go into the specifics, let’s scurry up some interesting facts and health benefits of consuming peanut oil.
We get peanut oil from the peanut plant. The oil is extracted from the edible seeds derived from the plant and comes in various forms. It is mainly used for culinary uses and comes with multiple health benefits.
Peanut Oil: Facts & Health Benefits In One Go
- Peanut oil comes in various forms, including refined, cold-pressed, gourmet, and peanut oil blends.
- Refined peanut oil is usually used in restaurants and Asian cuisines, and comes deodorized, and is more neutral to the tongue.
- Cold-pressed peanut oil has a more nutty taste and a yellowy hue to it. It is made from crushed peanuts and has a sweet scent.
- Gourmet peanut oil is more intense on your palette and is generally unrefined. It is used as dressings in a salad or as a sauce drizzled over dishes as a final touch.
- Peanut oil blends are a mixture of other oils with peanut oil.
- Peanut oil is high in monounsaturated fats that are good for you.
- It is also rich in vitamin E, helps tackle cardiovascular diseases, increases resistance to insulin sensitivity, helps with weight loss, and is known to help prevent cancer.
- It may be used as a remedy for skin diseases like eczema, scalp crusting, etc.
- Peanut oil is also known to lower cholesterol and sugar levels in your blood.
However, there are negative aspects to consuming peanut oil. It is high in omega-6 content that is known to cause inflammatory issues in your body, and overconsumption can result in increasing the risk of other diseases.
One of the healthier choices you can make is picking sunflower oil. It is obtained from pressed sunflower seeds. Like peanut oil, it is rich in vitamin E and omega-6 content. However, you may want to look away if your reason for substituting peanut oil was allergies.
Tidbits About Sunflower Oil:
- Like peanut oil, sunflower oil is rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and therefore helps control cholesterol and sugar levels in the blood.
- It is low on saturated fat.
- It also has a considerably long shelf-life like peanut oil and therefore saves money.
- Like peanut oil, this oil also has a high smoke point of 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Sunflower oil contains a high content of oleic acid and contains 8.9 grams of omega-6 polyunsaturated fat in each teaspoon.
- To substitute peanut oil, you have to use either the semi-refined or high-oleic version of sunflower oil.
Sunflower oil is efficient for deep-frying and sauteing foods, thanks to its high smoke point. It has a subtle flavor to it and can be used for baking. Use sunflower oil as a healthy substitute for butter to grease baking pans. Whether you’re looking to saute vegetables or stir-fry them, sunflower oil can do an impressive job.
Grapeseed oil should be on top of your list of substitutes for peanut oil for its neutral taste, high smoke point, and crisp taste. This option also comes with various health benefits and can be suitable for bringing a different twist to recipes.
Tidbits About Grapeseed Oil:
- A by-product of winemaking, grapeseed oil is extracted from grapeseeds obtained after the process of pressing grapes.
- As you can imagine, winemaking is lengthy, and obtaining oil from grapeseeds is a more hectic process as it requires a significant amount of grapes to get enough oil.
- Grapeseed oil has a rich vitamin E content antioxidants previously encountered, namely, omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids.
- Vitamin E helps to strengthen your immune system.
- The omega contents help in aiding weight loss, lowering cholesterol and sugar levels in the blood.
- It is also used for skin treatments in the form of beauty products to remove makeup, moisturize the skin, tighten pores, etc.
- Like peanut oil, this substitute comes with a low saturated fat content.
- Grapeseed oil has a smoke point of 401 degrees Fahrenheit and it is moderately high and a good choice for frying and sauteing food.
- Be wary of commercially packaged grapeseed oil as many of them are made using hexane and neurotoxin, both harmful pollutants.
Grapeseed oil is a perfect fit for sauteing vegetables, stir-frying, searing or grilling meat, roasting chicken or vegetables, all thanks to its neutral flavor. It is best used to make pasta sauces, steamy soups, and stews, and as a great alternative to olive oil, it can also be used for salad dressings.
Canola oil is your heart’s best friend. It is the best source of cooking oils with the highest content of an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid. The omega-3 fatty acid is directly correlated to cardiovascular health. In general, it is a dynamic oil because of its subtle flavor and high smoke point.
Tidbits About Canola Oil:
- It contains a minimal amount of saturated fat and is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, making it one of the healthiest choices.
- The omega-3 content helps present chronic diseases, keeps your heart healthy, and keeping your cholesterol levels in check.
- A widespread concern surrounding canola oil regarding its erucic acid content is that it is unhealthy for you as the acid is said to contribute to heart tissue damages. Worry not because the oil only contains an unsubstantive amount of the acid.
- In addition, another issue regarding the chemical extraction of canola oil is that hexane is involved like grapeseed oil. Our advice is to use cold-pressed canola oil to avoid such concerns, but beware it may be slightly more expensive.
- Canola oil has a high smoke point of 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Canola oil, unlike peanut oil, doesn’t cause allergies and therefore is a perfect substitute for those with peanut allergies.
Canola oil is best used in grilling and barbecuing fish and meat because of its high smoke point and neutral flavor. Besides grilling and baking, use canola oil for virtually anything you can think of.
From pan-frying salmons, stir-frying beef to deep-frying chicken, it is as versatile as claimed. But because of its subtlety in flavor and taste, it is also a good fit for baking purposes.
We’re all accustomed to vegetable oil. It is one of the most economical options used across various recipes and cooking purposes. But because it is made from multiple oils combined, it is sometimes hard to source each ingredient involved, and it is also not the healthiest option out there.
Tidbits About Vegetable Oil:
- Vegetable oil is a combination of various oils like canola, corn, palm, and safflower oils, to name a few. It has a neutral taste and a high smoke point 0f 428 degrees Fahrenheit.
- As it is a blend of various oils, it is hard to know each oil content. Therefore, it is even more challenging to understand the amount of saturated fat, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats it comes with.
- The previous point clarifies why some of us may discourage using vegetable oil for health reasons; therefore, it is always wise to check the nutrition facts on the packaging when you purchase vegetable oil.
- If the saturated fat content exceeds 20 grams per 100 grams, leave it on the shelf and pick another one.
Well, vegetable oil is used for all kinds of cooking. It is one of the cheapest choices and comes with a high smoke point. Use it for grilling, searing, stir-frying, pan-frying, and even baking purposes. Restaurants like using vegetable oil for its neutrality across various recipes, and it can be used for skin care as well.
We saw one of the cheapest substitutes and now let’s introduce ourselves to a more expensive one: walnut oil. Like peanut oil, walnut oil is extracted from ground walnuts. It is excellent for meat and fish and has various health benefits like its alternatives.
Tidbits About Walnut Oil:
- Walnut oil comes in two forms; cold-pressed and refined.
- Cold-pressed walnut oil is more expensive as it is also organic and is high in nutrients.
- In contrast, because of its low nutrient contents, refined walnut oil is used in beauty products.
- Walnut oil is an excellent source of vitamins like vitamin C, E, B1, B2, B3. Therefore, it provides all the benefits such vitamins offer, such as a healthy heart and a robust immune system, and aids in absorbing iron efficiently, to name a few.
- Walnut oil is also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and healthy minerals, including calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, selenium, and iron.
- Calcium keeps our bones, teeth, and gum healthy. Selenium aids in healthy skin and hair.
- Walnut oil becomes bitter when used in high-temperature cooking.
Walnut oil is expensive and not necessarily the best choice for doing everyday cooking because of that. Moreover, walnut oil has a moderate smoke point of 320 degrees Fahrenheit, the result of which is its bitter taste when burnt in high temperatures. Therefore, it’s best used to flavor steaks, chicken, fish, and drizzling through salads and pasta as a dressing because of its nutty flavor.
Safflower oil is a wise substitute for peanut oil because of its high smoking point. It is great for high-temperature cooking and can be used to sear, saute, or deep-fry dishes.
Tidbits about Safflower Oil:
- Safflower plants are relatives to the sunflower plant, and like sunflower oil, their seeds are where the oil is extracted from. Safflower plants give 20-25 seeds every time they bloom.
- Safflower oil is neutral in flavor and light yellow and therefore goes well with various dishes and recipes.
- Safflower oil comes in two variations: the high-linoleic safflower oil and the high-oleic safflower oil.
- High-linoleic safflower oil gives us a high content of polyunsaturated fats, while the high-oleic version is a rich source of monounsaturated fats.
- High-oleic safflower oil goes hand in hand with peanut oil because of its low saturated fat content.
- Avoid overconsumption of high-linoleic safflower oil because too much polyunsaturated fat consumed regularly can accelerate metastasis in the body.
- Safflower oil has one of the highest smoking points at 510 degrees Fahrenheit! Refined safflower oil is also the second-highest in terms of smoking point among cooking oils. As a result, it naturally excels at deep-frying or searing food or any high-temperature cooking.
Monounsaturated safflower oil, as we learned, is excellent at sauteing, stir-frying, deep-frying, etc. Its high-temperature cooking ability and neutral flavor make it an intelligent substitute for olive oil as well. Moreover, any neutral-flavored oil is excellent for baking purposes, and safflower oil is a good butter substitute.
In contrast, you can use polyunsaturated safflower oil to garnish dishes or drizzle over salads as a dressing.
Peanut oil comes in various forms and is packed with multiple health benefits. It is versatile, has a high smoking point, and has a nutty flavor and scent. We looked at different alternatives based on some of these criteria and have made the task quite simple for you to choose. We saw how peanut oil might not be suitable for many of us, or maybe it’s too expensive, while some just want something different.
It boils down to your eating habits, how big or small your family is, the kinds of cuisines your family’s palette is used to at the end of the day, and therefore choose wisely but choose healthily.
Our top choice would be grapeseed oil because of its crispness and neutral flavor, but more importantly, its high smoking point lets you cook various dishes and the many health benefits that come with it.