Peanut oil is a staple for many people, but those with peanut allergies are left out in the cold. Luckily, there are plenty of peanut oil substitutes that don’t have to be used solely as alternatives. In this blog post we’ll go over some of the best peanut oil substitutes and show you how you can still cook your favorite recipes!
What is Peanut Oil?
Peanut oil is a vegetable oil derived from the peanut. It’s used in many household products and cooking, such as fryers and microwaves because it has a high smoking point (450 degrees F). That makes it ideal for frying foods at higher temperatures without burning them. However, if you’re not allergic to peanuts or have an allergy to tree nuts then be mindful of how much peanut oil you consume since the flavor dominates whatever dish you use it on. The good news is there are plenty of other options out there including olive, corn, grape seed oils, and walnut oil. They all work well too!
health benefits of peanut oil
Farmers make peanut oil by roasting peanuts and then grinding them. The oils are extracted from the ground nuts, heated to eliminate trans fats, filtered for impurities, bottled with a protective coating around it.
Peanut oil is very popular to cook with because of the high smoke point of 450 degrees F.
- Peanut oil is high in monounsaturated fat, which helps lower bad cholesterol levels,
- High in polyunsaturated fats, which makes it a little more unstable the higher the temperature
- It is also high in omega 6 fatty acids, which are essential for brain function and growth. Consumed in high quantities can be bad for the cardiovascular system though.
- The omega 3 fatty acids in peanut oil can help lower inflammation in the body and reduce cholesterol.
The point is, with any fat, healthy of not, should be eaten in moderation!
Refined vs Unrefined Peanut Oil
But not all peanut oil is the same! Refined peanut oil has been cooked at high temperatures, which causes the oil to lose its natural vitamins and nutrients. Generally, this removes the protein of the peanut and is considered safe for people with allergies. Unrefined peanut oil has not been heated and is rich in proteins, minerals, calcium and monounsaturated fats that are good for heart health. It has a lower smoke point of 350 degrees F.
Refined peanut oil, and oils in general, are better for cooking at high temperatures, especially deep frying. You’ll lose the nutritional benefits though. So, if you’re going for health, unrefined peanut oil contains protein as well as other vital minerals and will give you a better flavor.
Peanut allergy risk
While peanuts themselves are not actually nuts, they do share some characteristics with tree nuts like almonds or walnuts. This means people who have an allergy to one of those foods may also be allergic to peanuts.
According to peanutallergy.com, the FDA does deem refined peanut oil safe for those with allergies. Even though refined peanut oil claims to be safe for those with allergies, it’s still best to discuss with your doctor.
The oils are made from the nuts, which is why people with allergies should steer clear of them.
What is the shelf life of peanut oil?
The shelf life of peanut oil is about two years unopened, but it’s best used within the first six months as oxidation occurs. This could change flavor, texture, and color. Peanut oil is good for stir-frying because of its high smoke point and neutral flavor that doesn’t overwhelm other ingredients when heated in a pan.
6 of the Best Peanut Oil Substitutes
There are many different types of vegetable-based oils that can be used instead of peanut oil in cooking or baking recipes if you have a nut allergy. For example, olive or safflower oils work well for most dishes but they don’t provide as much flavor as peanut oil does so I tend to use those more sparingly.
Read on for my top 6 peanut oil substitutes!
Sunflower oil is a nutty, flavor-neutral cooking and baking vegetable oil. It typically has one of the highest smoke points of any major cooking oils (450 degrees F). It can also withstand high temperatures without breaking down chemically or forming trans fats. You may use sunflower as an alternative to other expensive oils like olive oil if you’re on a budget.
The most popular uses for sunflower oil are deep frying, pan searing, stir fry dishes, and sautéing vegetables. Sunflowers do not produce much essential fatty acids so this oil should be used sparingly when trying to maintain healthy levels of omega 3’s in your diet because it usually contains very low amounts.
This has become one of our favorites at home because it’s versatile and simple to use. Use sunflower or any other light tasting oils like sesame seed or corn oil instead when frying up foods that would usually be prepared with vegetable shortening, like fried chicken.
Olive oil is the most popular of all oils, due to its versatility in cooking and other areas. It can be used for sautéing, frying, or as a salad dressing. The smoke point is a little lower, at 320 degrees F. Olive oil also contains more healthy fats than any other kind of vegetable oil – making this one of our top picks. It is heart healthy!
In addition to containing abundant amounts of antioxidants like beta-carotene and vitamin E which help protect cells from free radical damage that could lead to cancer, heart disease or Alzheimer’s disease. olive oil has been found to contain oleocanthal, an anti-inflammatory ingredient that provides relief.
Sesame oil is made from sesame seeds that have been pressed or extracted. The oil has a delicate nutty flavor and is rich in antioxidants, vitamin E, minerals like copper and zinc, as well as the vitamins A and B complex.
Sesame oil’s most popular use is to make tahini—a paste made from roasted ground sesame seeds mixed with lemon juice or water. Use it for frying at higher temperatures. It doesn’t break down easily under heat; therefore you’ll find it on many restaurant tables around Asia where deep-frying is common. Sesames are high in both oleic acid (the same healthy fat found in olive oil).
Next on the list is avocado oil. Although the oil itself is derived from a fruit, it has become a popular substitute for peanut and vegetable oils. The best sources are cold-pressed avocado oils because they have not been heated to high temperatures. It’s not the best to use at high temperatures, but rather lower heat cooking like sautéing.
Avocado oil contains heart healthy monounsaturated fats that are known to reduce cholesterol levels in the gut. Monounsaturated fats also help with weight loss by reducing belly fat storage. You should be careful when heating these types of oils because they contain unstable polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Avocado oil also tastes great! Use this oil as you would any other cooking oil at medium temperature ranges–no more than 350 degrees Fahrenheit max!
Here’s one you may not know. Grapeseed oil is a healthy oil that has the advantage of having a high smoke point, making it an excellent option for frying. Grapeseed oil is made from pressing grapes seeds and extracting the fruit’s natural oils.
You can use it in many way!
This oil has been shown to enhance flavor when cooking at higher temperatures like roasting or grilling because its flavor dissipates faster than other oils such as olive oil which would burn first before giving up their flavors. So next time you are looking to roast some vegetables or potatoes, try substituting with grapeseed oil instead of butter or vegetable shortening (the latter being loaded with trans fats).
Some of the health benefits include the following:
- Grapeseed oil is rich in Omega-oil fatty acids.
- It contains a high concentration of vitamin E, which eliminates free radicals and may help protect against cardiovascular disease.
It makes a great alternative to peanut oils for the lack of overpowering flavor and cooking at high temperatures.
Another great peanut oil substitute is almond oil! This oil has a mild and pleasant flavor. It has a light color with an even lighter taste which makes it perfect for sautéing or frying seafood!
Almond oil also offers numerous health benefits including helping to regulate blood sugar levels, increasing bone density, improving cardiovascular function and relieving arthritis pain just to name a few.
The cooking point for Almond Oil is 430 degrees Fahrenheit.
Almond oil is great for sautéing and frying seafood or other light vegetables.
Almond oil has a milder flavor than peanut, olive, or corn oils and has a relatively high smoke point. However, the health benefits are worth considering.
Picking out your own peanut oil substitute
There are many other oils to choose from, not just the ones I listed above! The key point to take away is this. If you’re looking more for oils to cook with, choose refined oils. If you’re not going to cook at high temperatures, go for unrefined for the health benefits!