9 Amazing Canola Oil Substitutes

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Finding a canola oil substitute is easy, given how many of them are out there, particularly healthier options with a better balance of fatty acids.

Canola Oil

Canola oil is a vegetable oil derived from rapeseed that is high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, as well as lower levels of saturated fats. It also has a higher smoke point than almost any other vegetable oil. However, since canola oil is often the product of genetic modification and is highly refined, some people do their best to avoid this oil. Lacking any distinct flavor, it is easy to replace in almost any recipe with a canola oil substitute.

Substitutes for Canola Oil

The most popular canola oil substitutes include sunflower oil, safflower oil, coconut oil, olive oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil, peanut oil, and corn oil, among others.

Sunflower Oil

Bearing a similar neutral flavor and smoke point as canola oil, this is a common suggestion to replace canola oil. Sunflower oil is also rich in polyunsaturated fats, which is known to reduce inflammation and help manage blood sugar levels, which some other cooking oils lack.

Coconut Oil

Despite being very high in saturated fats, the majority of those fats are in the form of lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid that can have good cardiovascular effects, when consumed in moderation. Coconut oil has a sweeter flavor than canola oil, but it does make a great replacement in desserts, baked good and other recipes where a bit of sweetness won’t be noticed.

Olive Oil

Perhaps the healthiest option as a canola oil substitute, extra virgin olive oil is completely unprocessed or refined, unlike canola oil. Olive oil also has an earthy, pleasant flavor that can imbue your food with more depth of flavor than the plain taste of canola oil. In many cookbooks, these two oils are interchangeable and should be swapped at a 1:1 ratio.

Soybean Oil

This oil is extracted from the soybean and is widely used as a canola oil substitute. It is refined oil, which is blended into various cuisines and is also sometimes hydrogenated. With a high smoke point, it is easier to fry with this oil. It has a naturally clean flavor and is odorless. This oil can also be used for salad dressings and baking.

Cottonseed Oil

If you are making a salad dressing, some people prefer to use cottonseed oil, which has a low smoke point, but a pleasant, light flavor that doesn’t overpower the other ingredients.

Peanut oil

This oil is another common choice for high-temperature cooking since it also has a high smoke point. The flavor of the oil is quite forward, however, and should only be used as a substitute in savory dishes where the flavor of peanuts will be complementary.

Corn Oil

Although corn oil and canola oil share the same amount of calories and possess a mild flavor, canola oil is healthier than corn oil in almost every other respect, including higher mono and polyunsaturated fats, and lower levels of saturated fats.

Vegetable Oil

Many people choose to use canola oil due to its high smoke point, so if you’re going to be frying foods, be sure to choose a vegetable oil with a similarly high smoke point to protect the integrity of the food. Furthermore, vegetable oil is a broad classification, including many different oils, often in combination. In terms of health, canola oil is typically considered healthier than vegetable oil, but the latter can still be used as a substitute in a pinch.

Safflower Oil

Popular in both baking and frying, this oil has a mild flavor similar to canola oil, as well as similar levels of good fats that can protect against cardiovascular disease, chronic inflammation, and obesity.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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