Just because you’re short of a few ingredients doesn’t mean you can’t cook your desired meal. There’s no denying peanut oil is an absolute champ when it comes to deep-frying food items. The neutral flavor of this highly stable oil manages to lock in the tenderness of anything you put in the deep fryer. But when it comes to a matter of substitute for peanut oil, you have a handful of options in your hand.
In this comprehensive guide, I’ll be comparing 5 healthy alternatives for peanut oil. All of them are healthy oils so I won’t be declaring a winner.
Anyways, that’s a lot of chitchats, let’s unpack everything now-
Peanut Oil- the Basic Knowhow
As the name suggests, peanut oil comes from peanuts. Half of every peanut is basically oil. But the surprising fact is it wasn’t widely produced before the 1500s.
During WWI, this oil was used as a key ingredient for explosives. After the war, people realized the true potential of peanut oil. Thanks to its long-lasting properties, peanut oil became a staple oil in commercial frying.
The high smoking point allowed it to withstand high heat for a maximum of 24 hours without any oxidation.
Varieties of Peanut Oil
Turns out there are quite a few varieties of peanut oil. Well, they’re all peanut oil, what’s different is the process they’ve gone through. Here’s a quick rundown-
Refined Peanut Oil
Refined peanut oil goes through a refinement process where it is deodorized and bleached. In layman’s terms, your peanut allergies won’t show up if you happen to eat something that’s cooked with peanut oil. Because of the neutral and flavorless taste, the restaurant folks love it.
Cold Pressed or Virgin Peanut Oil
The peanuts are crushed to bring out the oil with a cold press machine. Thanks to the low RPM of the cold press, there’s little to no oxidation, resulting in a natural tasting peanut oil. On top of that, it contains higher nutrients than refined peanut oil.
Gourmet or Roasted Peanut Oil
Gourmet peanut oil isn’t widely available. So, you could call it a specialty oil. The roasting process results in an intense and deep flavor, much deeper than refined oils. This is the nutty flavor you’d want in your stir-fries.
Peanut Oil Blends
More often than not, peanut oil is blended with soybean oil to make it more budget-friendly. The affordable price tag makes it a grab for commercial buyers.
Is Peanut Oil Healthy?
If you mostly use peanut oil for deep frying, the health benefits dim down.
Despite having, 48% of monounsaturated fat, 33% polyunsaturated and, 19% saturated fat, the risk of heart disease doesn’t lower the heart risk.
Sure monounsaturated fat is good for health. But when you burn it at a high temperature for a long time, oxidation ruins everything.
Peanut oil also has anti-inflammatory properties such as linoleic acid and omega-6 fatty acid. However, they do the exact opposite when they’re not balanced out by omega-3 fatty acids.
Other than that, unrefined peanut oil has a ton of antioxidant vitamin E. But as I’ve said, the nutrients are destroyed when they come in contact with high temperatures.
What Are The Substitute for Peanut Oil?
Finding the perfect alternative can become one mammoth of a task when there are so many options. Luckily, I’ve brought it down to 5 oils.
Before jumping in, take a look at this table. I know the numbers can get a bit confusing.
So, here’s what you need to look out for-
- The more monounsaturated fatty acids the oil has, the healthier it is. However, there are exceptions. Some oils have saturated fat which is basically helpful lauric acid, eg coconut oil.
- Unrefined oil is always better than refined ones. The less processing it has gone through, the better it is for your health.
- You need a higher smoking point if you’re planning on deep frying. Otherwise, you’ll be burning expensive oil in vain.
|Oil (Unrefined and Refined)||Smoking Point||Flavor||Monounsaturated Fatty Acids||Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids||Saturated Fatty Acids||Omega 6:3|
|Sunflower Oil||225°F (107°C)/ 450°F (232°C)||Subtle||16%||72%||12%||40:1|
|Canola Oil||225°F (107°C)/400°F (204°C)||Moderate||61%||32%||7%||2:1|
|Corn Oil||320°F (160°C)/450°F (232°C)||Nutty||29%||58%||13%||83:1|
|Safflower Oil||225°F (107°C)/510°F (266°C)||Mild||12%||75%||9%||133:1|
|Soybean Oil||320°F (160°C)/450°F (232°C)||Nutty||23%||62%||15%||8:1|
Best Peanut Oil Substitute for Cooking and Deep Frying:
If deep-frying is your primary need, go for refined oils. Refined variants of oils can reach a higher smoke point, making them suitable for deep frying.
- Sunflower Oil
- Soybean Oil
- Safflower Oil
- Corn Oil
Best Peanut Oil Substitute for Baking:
Baked goods don’t need higher smoke point oils as most baking is done under 450°F. This means you could explore flavorful oils. Flavors are a big no for some people but it’s a selling point if you happen to like it.
- Sunflower Oil
- Soybean Oil
- Corn Oil
Best Peanut Oil Substitute for Dressing:
The following 2 oils are great for substituting peanut oil but you could always spruce it up with flavorful oils.
- Safflower Oil
- Corn Oil
Now that you know all the basic stuff, let’s dive in a bit deeper about each oil-
- Sunflower oil is great for both deep-frying and baking.
- This not-fat oil has got higher amounts(72%) of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which reduces risks of heart diseases.
- The vitamin E rich oil has a steady smoke point sitting at 450° F.
- The subtle flavor of sunflower oil makes it perfect for baking.
- Canola oil tastes pretty similar to peanut oil. If you’ve got peanut allergies, you could consider this as an option.
- Canola is low in saturated fats, making it a heart-friendly and safe choice.
- With a smoke point of 400° F, it’s quite a versatile cooking oil.
- There’s no distinct flavor and aroma of canola, which is great for baking goods.
- Canola oil loses a significant amount of omega-3 fatty acid and other beneficial properties when it comes in contact with heat.
- The very small quantity of erucic acid canola oil has won’t do any harm to you.
- Corn oil is the inexpensive oil you wanted. Apart from the affordable rate, it’s got a higher smoke point of 450° F.
- You can use corn oil for almost everything from sautéing to deep-frying.
- Corn oil gives you a price advantage, but it’s got high levels of polyunsaturated fats. This makes you fall at higher risks of breast and prostate cancer.
- Unlike corn oil, monounsaturated safflower oil is good for your health as it contains a fair amount of saturated fat and oleic acid.
- With a smoke point of 510°F, safflower oil is one of the stable oils on the market.
- Stay away from polyunsaturated safflower oil as the polyunsaturated fat will do more harm than good to your body.
- Soybean oil is one of the most common oils you’ll find.
- The neutral taste is quite similar to peanut oil
- While you could use it for all purposes, switch to something different if you can.
What Oils Should You Never Replace for Peanut Oil?
Till now, you’ve noticed how I’ve talked several times about the smoking point of oils. When a certain oil reaches its smoking point, that’s when it turns to smoke.
Instead of beneficial fatty acids and vitamins, you’ll see toxic fumes. Other than that, not all oils have a neutral flavor. Unless you want your french fries to taste different, never use these 2 oils-
Smoke Point: Unrefined, extra-virgin- 405°F (207°C)
Unrefined, virgin- 420°F (216°C)
Refined, pure/light- 468°F (242°C)
Taste: Fruity and pungent
Smoke Point: Unrefined- 225°F (107°C)
Refined- 510°F (266°C)
Taste: Earthy and nutty
Well, it’s been a whirlwind of information till now. I’ve tried to make it as simple as I could but do leave a comment below if you need any further explanation.
When you’re choosing a substitute for peanut oil, remember to choose something that has a high smoke point and a neutral flavor. I know I’ve handed you 5 superb replacements for peanut oil but I’m not saying there aren’t any other fish in the sea.