If you have cooked with canola oil, before then you surely know that this is a relatively healthy oil. It is versatile, has a mild to low flavor, and can withstand high heat. This is why canola oil is often the first ingredient in any dish. However, there are occasions when you may need an alternative.
When baking, sauteing, frying, or even just drizzling food, canola oil is the preferred choice. If you don’t have any at home and going to get some is not an option, it is a good idea to understand what kind of oil to use in its place and when to use it.
What Is Canola Oil?
But first, let’s talk about canola oil and what it is exactly.
This vegetable oil is made from the canola plant, specifically from a process in which the liquid is extracted from the canola seeds.
This oil is high in the essential fatty acid, omega 3 and it can be used in temperatures of up to 468°F, which is very high and useful when smoking or baking. It is also a healthy oil because it is made from monounsaturated fats that help boost HDL – the good kind of cholesterol – and lower the bad kind, LDL.
The flavor of this oil is also very neutral. Some say it is almost nonexistent, which is why many prefer it when preparing a dish. While not being the healthiest option, canola oil remains a staple in many kitchens.
What Can I Replace Canola Oil With?
These are the best canola oil substitutes you can use in your recipes:
#1. Sunflower Oil
Many consider this type of oil the closest to canola, but it is also healthy and can be used in very high heat too.
Sunflower oil comes from the pressing of the sunflower seeds, which have a light flavor and result in neutral oil. This oil is high in omega 6, another essential fatty acid, and in monounsaturated fats.
You can buy sunflower oil in any grocery store, but sometimes you can try variations with infusions and flavors in the local farmer’s market. We suggest you use the same amount of sunflower oil that the recipe calls for canola oil.
#2. Olive Oil
While often deemed the healthiest oil in the market, olive oil has certain characteristics that deem it unusable in certain situations. Because it is made from the olive plant, it has a peculiar and somewhat pungent flavor.
It is also not suitable to use at very high temperatures, as it can become bitter and create carcinogenic substances, particularly if you use the extra virgin kind that many consider superior.
Olive oil can be used in salads, sauteing at low temperatures, and even baking if not too hot. You should adjust the temperature to be at least 25 – 45° lower than with canola oil, and consider using the same amount of olive oil, but some may consider the flavor to change the final one in the dish.
#3. Safflower Oil
This is another healthy vegetable oil that is made from the seeds of the safflower plant. The flavor is also neutral and it stands very high temperatures, so it can be a good option for baking and frying. It is also full of monounsaturated fatty acids, so it will lower your LDLs when used in moderation.
Safflower oil can be bought in most grocery stores, but sometimes it can be scarce, so you can try the organic supermarket. You can pretty much replace canola oil for equal parts of safflower oil.
#4. Avocado Oil
A recently popular oil that is made from the flesh of the avocado, this oil has high amounts of mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids. It is very high-heat stable and has somewhat of a neutral flavor, though some can still taste the avocado in it.
Often, avocado oil is used in salads and healthy dishes, but it can be included in your baking, sauteing, or frying without a problem.
You can buy avocado oil in the grocery store, but sometimes it will be easier to find it at the closest organic store. You can replace 1 tablespoon of canola oil with 1 tablespoon of avocado oil.
#5. Coconut Oil
While some swear by this oil and others consider it unhealthy, coconut oil can come in handy in some situations.
This oil is extracted from the flesh of mature coconuts into coconut milk, and can sometimes be refined or unrefined, which changes the texture. Because of this, coconut oil is high in saturated fat and should be used carefully.
You can find coconut oil as a health product for the skin, but sometimes it used in some cuisines such as Asian or Caribbean. It is good for pan-frying and sauteing, but not suitable for high-temperature frying. You can use 1 tablespoon of liquid coconut oil in place for 1 tablespoon of canola oil.
Yes, but we recommend you do it mostly in sauteing and in baking. You can change one cup of butter for every ¾ of canola oil, which means you’ll need a little extra. Otherwise, you will have to adjust for liquid if you add less butter.
This is a misconception on canola oil. Rapeseed oil contains high levels of erucic acid, which can be toxic to humans if consumed in large amounts. However, canola oil has very low levels, which means it will never reach toxicity.
That depends on what you need it for. The vegetable oils that withstand high temperatures and are healthy include canola oil, avocado oil, sunflower, and safflower oil. However, extra virgin olive oil and pure olive oil have more monounsaturated fats and fatty acids.
Whether you are trying to bake, saute, or fry something, don’t stop because you have run out of canola oil. These 5 substitutes are great options that can be used for separate things and will make a great addition to your pantry. Make sure you always taste the oil and measure well before adding.
*Photo by Kruchenkova/depositphotos