What is Peanut Oil?
Peanut oil has many names, including vegetable oil, arachnid oil, or groundnut oil. It is flavorful and sweet and extracted from the low-growing plant Arachis hypogea.
This oil has a light yellow color with a near-neutral taste when refined. When cold-pressed, the oil is richer in color with a rich nutty flavor. Some choose to roast this oil, giving it an enriching deep hue that works well as a dish finisher.
Peanut oil is extremely popular for culinary purposes, especially in the Caribbeans and in Africa. Sometimes you can find it in soaps, pharmaceuticals, or aromatherapy products.
Are you looking for a replacement for this vegetable oil for your cooking needs? Here are six peanut oil substitutes that will fit a variety of dishes perfectly.
Top 5 Peanut Oil Substitutes
The best peanut oil substitutes are Canola Oil, Corn Oil and Safflower Oil. Soybean and Sunflower oil are also good peanut oil alternatives.
1. Canola Oil
Starting our list is a closely related replacement for health and flavor. Canola oil is a top contender as a peanut oil substitute. This oil is from a type of rapeseed and, like peanut oil, does not contain a lot of saturated fats. It is exceptionally healthy when you do not heat it in any way. A rich omega-3 fatty acid content makes it great for your cardiovascular health.
Like peanut oil, canola oil can tolerate extreme temperatures with a smoke point of 400 F for refined canola oil. It also has a light flavor, which is suitable for both baking and cooking. The only downside is that canola oil is missing the nutty flavor of peanut oil.
Use canola oil as a substitute for peanut oil if a family member has a peanut allergy. No one will be the wiser. Simply replace one cup of peanut oil with one cup of refined canola oil. You can use it for salad dressings, pan-frying, deep-frying, stir-frying, and grilling. It is also light enough for Chinese dishes.
2. Corn Oil
Refined corn oil is another peanut oil substitute that also possesses the latter’s lightweight qualities. Refined corn oil is also quite affordable, even more so than most edible oils, making it a common choice. You can find refined corn oil in most markets easily.
It is also similar to groundnut oil in taste. Corn oil does not have a rancid taste making it perfect for frying and sauteeing foods. You can also use refined corn oil for baking, searing food, making margarine, and other cold uses. Refined corn oil boasts a high smoking point at 450 F, close to peanut oil’s 440 F.
A note of caution, though, canola oil has lots of polyunsaturated fats that increase the risks of prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women post-menopause. You might want to avoid excessive consumption of this oil for this reason. It is best only to use this when you are out of alternatives and only for short periods.
Replace one cup of peanut oil with one cup of refined corn oil for your dishes’ recipe.
3. Safflower Oil
Safflower oil is gotten from the seeds of safflower when they are crushed and processed. The flower blooms are yellow, orange, or bright red, with several seeds. When processed, safflower oil has a neutral taste without any flavoring, unlike peanut oil.
A significant similarity between the monounsaturated safflower oil and peanut oil is its fat content. Safflower oil is low in saturated fat content. It is also high in oleic acid. Polyunsaturated safflower oil is also edible but is a suitable replacement only when the recipe requires cold use, like salad dressings.
Like all good substitutes, the safflower oil is also heat-tolerant and has the highest smoke point in this list at 510 F. However, it is safer to use only the monounsaturated type for cooking meals that require heating. Use one cup of refined safflower oil to replace one cup of peanut oil.
4. Soybean Oil
Soybean oil is a rich extract from the soybean, with the refined one being a perfect substitute for peanut oil. The soybean oil has a neutral taste, much like the safflower oil. However, a notable difference is its scent. If the distinct aroma of soybean puts you off, you might want to stay away from its oil.
Soybean oil has a smoke point of 460 F and is perfect for sautéing, deep-frying, cooking, and baking. It also works well on cold foods like salad oil. Like other substitutes, replace one cup of peanut oil with one cup of soybean oil.
5. Sunflower Oil
The sunflower oil is extracted from the seeds of the popular sunflower. As a peanut oil replacement, this oil scores high points for its health benefits. It is non-fat and rich in oleic acid. Sunflower oil is also rich in vitamin E.
Sunflower oil reduces cholesterol levels when consumed. Additionally, it does not contribute to coronary diseases. Health buffs seem to prefer substituting peanut oil with sunflower oil because of its healthier properties.
Sunflower oil has an extended shelf life, making it an ideal oil for prolonged usage. It is also a practical choice to keep at home in case you run out of peanut oil supply.
Note that only semi-refined sunflower oil has a high smoke point of 459 F. Sunflower oil’s smoke point drops when it is fully refined. Another disadvantage of sunflower oil is that it is nut-based, just like arachnid oil. So if you’re avoiding peanut oil because of allergies, this isn’t your best alternative.
Replace one cup of peanut oil with one cup of refined sunflower oil for dishes that require medium to high heat.
6. Almond Oil
While almond oil is arguably a healthier substitute for peanut oil, it is not typically one of the top choices. This is because of its high price point. Almond oil is pretty pricey, but if you do get your hands on a batch of it, it can serve peanut oil’s culinary purposes.
Just like peanut oil, almond oil combines healthy fats. It contains both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin E. Almond oil is also said to have several skin benefits, with some experts even recommending that it is used topically.
Almond oil comes in two different varieties, the cold-pressed option and the refined option. Cold-pressed almond oil works perfectly for cold dishes, including sauces, salads, and other delicacy dressings. For frying purposes, use the refined almond oil, which has a smoke point of 430 F.
Peanut oil is a pretty versatile option that serves many purposes. Choosing the perfect peanut oil substitute depends on several factors, including your budget, recipe, and personal preference.
You might not always need an alternative for this rich flavorful oil, but other vegetable oils can come to the rescue when you do. Make sure to select healthy and rich options that are perfect for your diet.