Not everyone knows about peanut oil, but this type of oil is essential in my kitchen. I use this oil when frying, sauteing, and baking. Not everyone likes this oil, though, because it does have a slightly nutty taste and can be high in both saturated and unsaturated fats.
What Is Peanut Oil?
This oil is also known as groundnut oil or Arachis oil, and it is the product of the edible seeds from the peanut plant. There are many styles of preparation for peanut oil, which affects the flavor and strength. Peanut oil can be refined, cold-pressed, gourmet, or blended.
The flavor in this oil can range from mild and sweet to strong and nutty. This oil is common in Asian cuisines, including Chinese, Southeast Asian, and Indian. Peanut oil has a high smoke point of 437 degrees F, so it is great for smoking and frying foods.
Why Replace Peanut Oil, Anyway?
Even though some people consider this oil to be safe and healthy, there are a few cases in which it needs to be replaced. Here are some of the most common reasons:
- Peanut Allergy: While refined peanut oil may be safe for people with peanut allergies, the other kinds are not. It may be best to avoid this oil altogether, as some commercial brands often use blends that could pose an allergy safety issue.
- Heart Disease: Peanut oil is not completely unhealthy, as it has a high amount of mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids. However, it also contains a high amount of omega 6, which is known to be an inflammatory fatty acid and could exacerbate heart disease and other inflammatory diseases.
- Cost: The best peanut oils out there are expensive and hard to come by. This oil is available in grocery stores, but it may not be the best quality.
What Can I Replace Peanut Oil With?
If you want a healthier option or another flavor, try these peanut oil substitutes instead:
Best For Frying, Pad Thai, and Safe for Allergies
#1. Canola Oil
Canola oil is the product of extracting oil from a type of rapeseed. This oil is very popular because it is low in saturated fats and contains a good amount of omega 3.
Canola oil is also neutral in flavor, making it a great fat to use when cooking things like pad thai, fried foods, and baked goods.
Keep in mind as well that canola oil is a good alternative for those with peanut allergies, so you can use it safely. Canola oil is also very affordable, making it a great alternative if peanut oil is too costly for you.
See More: Canola Oil Substitutes
#2. Grapeseed Oil
Grapeseed oil is the result of processing the seeds of the grapes, which is usually done during winemaking.
This type of oil is rich in antioxidants, but also contains high amounts of omega 6, which makes it inflammatory. However, using grapeseed oil in moderate amounts is a good alternative to peanut oil.
Use this oil when you fry and saute foods, in preparing pad thai, baking, and if you have a peanut allergy. In the past, grapeseed oil was thought to be toxic due to traces of hexane, but it is now proven that most manufacturers remove these before packing this oil.
#3. Sunflower Oil
Sunflower oil is the product of pressing sunflower seeds, which results in an amber color thick oil. This product has a very mild and neutral flavor, as well as high amounts of oleic acid, vitamin K, E, monounsaturated fatty acids, and phytosterols.
Sunflower oil is a great emulsifier, so you can use it safely in baking, but it also has a high smoke point, so it is a good option in frying.
You can find sunflowers anywhere these days, but be sure to use it if you have a peanut allergy. Unlike other oils, sunflower oil is relatively safe to consume for those with high cholesterol and heart disease.
Best For Salad Dressing, Baking, and Tahini
#4. Walnut Oil
While this oil isn’t as popular as the rest on this list, it is still a very tasty replacement for peanut oil. Walnut oil comes from grinding dry walnuts and cold-pressing them, which results in a thick and rich texture.
This oil is high in antioxidants and omega 3, so it can be considered anti-inflammatory and good for those with heart problems.
However, walnut oil may not be safe for those with severe peanut allergies, and you should always check before using it. This oil is good when you prepare salad dressings, pasta, tahini, and when you want to bake.
Consider too, though, that the flavor is also a bit nutty and slightly bitter.
#5. Almond Oil
Almond oil is obtained by pressing ripe almonds under minimal heat. This oil is high in antioxidants, including vitamin E, and contains monounsaturated fats.
The flavor is sweet and nutty, so it may not be suitable for every product, but works well in desserts, baked goods, salad dressings, and tahini.
You can find almond oil in organic and health stores, but it may be a bit pricey as it is not very common in cooking. Before you use it, make sure to check that it is suitable for those with peanut allergies.
#6. Safflower Oil
Safflower oil is the product of pressing the seeds of the safflower plant, which is a close relative to the sunflower plant. This oil is mild, flavorless, and has a high smoking point that makes it suitable for frying and smoking.
Safflower oil has a high amount of mono and polyunsaturated fats, so it is healthy in moderation.
Use this oil when you want to prepare salad dressings, tahini, stir-fries, and when baking.
Safflower oil is a bit expensive, especially because it isn’t as common to have safflower plants around, and it can be hard to obtain. This oil is safe for those with peanut allergies, so you can use it without a problem.
While olive oil is very healthy, it also contains a particularly bitter flavor that makes it stand out. This oil is also not good for use at high temperatures, so it may not be suitable. Instead, use any of these six alternatives.
Yes, vegetable oil is a good substitute for peanut oil, so you can use it for the same amount and in the same recipes. Some good examples of vegetable oils include sunflower, safflower, canola, and grapeseed.
In terms of nutrients and fat content, olive oil is healthier, as it contains more monounsaturated fats and omega 3. However, olive oil isn’t safe to use at high temperatures, so in this case, you may want to use peanut oil instead.
If you like cooking Asian meals, like pad thai, then peanut oil surely makes part of your regular grocery list. Still, some people should avoid it, particularly if they have a peanut allergy. Instead, you can try any of these six choices without any problems and for delicious end products.
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