Peanut oil is a light oil derived from the seeds of the peanut plant and has a distinct nutty flavor. It has a smoke point of around 450°F (232°C). And because it does not absorb the flavor of other foods cooked in the oil, it is perfect for deep-frying and sauteing. Peanut oil can also be added after cooking to add flavor to the dish.
If you’ve run out of peanut oil or are merely looking for alternatives that can help you recreate a similar flavor profile, these peanut oil substitutes are sure to satisfy both your palate and health.
1. Sunflower Oil
Sunflower oil, which comes from sunflower seeds, has a pale yellow hue and a neutral flavor that does not alter the flavor of any foods cooked in it. It’s readily available in most stores and is quite affordable, too. It’s high in monounsaturated fats and oleic acid as well as omega-6 fatty acids and vitamin E, making it a healthy alternative to peanut oil.
Sunflower oil’s high smoke point of 450°F and its emulsifying properties make it a great substitute to use for frying and deep-frying purposes. It can also be added to sauces and dressings and can be used to replace butter in baking recipes. Keep in mind that it may release toxic compounds when heated to high temperatures repeatedly, so don’t reuse it for deep frying.
*Because sunflower oil is nut-based, it should be avoided if you are allergic to nuts or sunflower seeds.
2. Canola Oil
Canola oil is made from the canola plant, which is a specific variety of the rapeseed plant. It has a smooth texture and a neutral flavor similar to sunflower oil. It is readily available in most supermarkets and is rich in monounsaturated fats, essential omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin E. It has a smoke point of around 400°F, which is slightly lower than peanut oil.
Although canola oil has a lower smoke point than peanut oil, it can still resist high temperatures. As a result, it’s suitable for light frying and roasting and can also be used for salad dressing. You can also use canola oil to replace vegetable oils in baking recipes like brownies. It’s also a great choice for grilling meats or producing infused or flavored oils, as it maintains the flavors of herbs and spices amazingly well.
3. Safflower Oil
Safflower oil, made from the seeds of the safflower plant, is a relative of the sunflower. It is available in two variants — high linoleic and high oleic. Safflower oil that has been refined has a high smoke point of 510°F, is light yellow in color, and does not have overpowering flavors, although it is more expensive. It’s high in omega-6 fatty acids and contains vitamin E, making it a healthy choice.
Safflower oil can be used for deep-frying, sauteing, searing, baking, and other high-heat cooking methods as an alternative to peanut oil. You can even use it in salad dressing, for garnishing, or to replace solid butter or shortening in baking recipes without affecting the flavor, though it may affect the texture.
*Unprocessed safflower oil is not suitable for those with nut allergies, so make sure to read the label on the bottle before purchasing.
4. Walnut Oil
Walnut oil, made from ground walnuts, has a rich texture and delicate nutty, woody flavor. It is available in both refined and cold-pressed forms and is high in antioxidants and essential omega-3 fatty acids, providing great health benefits when used as a substitute for peanut oil.
When using walnut oil to substitute for peanut oil, walnut oil can improve the flavor of grilled fish and steaks, as well as desserts and fruit-based dishes.
However, because it has a low smoke point of 320°F and becomes bitter when heated, it’s best used as a salad dressing and a finishing oil rather than for cooking. Use it as a flavor enhancer in cooked foods or in recipes that don’t require cooking, such as dipping sauces, and you’ll be good to go.
5. Grapeseed Oil
Grapeseed oil is produced from grape seeds that are a by-product of the wine-making process. It has a mild flavor that does not show up in finished dishes. Grapeseed oil is high in omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, vitamin E, and antioxidants and is also linked to lowering cholesterol and improving heart health.
Because grapeseed oil has a moderately high smoke point of about 420°F, it works well in preparations that don’t require a high amount of it, such as searing, sauteing, and drizzling over salads.
You can also use it to replace peanut oil for pan-frying. It is virtually tasteless and will work with creamy sauces and marinades as well. However, it is an expensive oil, so it is not recommended to be used for deep-frying purposes.
6. Almond Oil
Almond oil is a more expensive, but healthier alternative to peanut oil. It is made from the seed of the almond fruit and is available as cold-pressed and refined. It’s high in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E and contains both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, making it a fantastic stand-in.
You can use the delicate nutty-flavored cold-pressed almond oil as a base for dressings and sauces or as a finishing oil over chilled dishes and cooked food. The refined form, on the other hand, has a somewhat high smoke point of 430°F, making it ideal for pan-frying, roasting, and baking.
*Almond oil is not suitable for people with nut allergies.
7. Vegetable Oil
Vegetable oil is a blend of oils extracted from a variety of plants or veggies, including palm, canola, corn, and safflower. It is one of the most common oils used in cooking and is an affordable option. It has a neutral flavor and a smoke point of 400-450°F, making it suitable to use in a range of cuisines and recipes without impacting their overall flavor.
Vegetable oil performs well in cooking preparations that call for high temperatures and is best used to replace peanut oil for stir-frying or roasting vegetables.
Unfortunately, because it retains a lot of smell and flavor of the food you cook, it cannot be reused after deep-frying. Keep in mind that vegetable oil comes in a lot of varieties, so read the label carefully to ensure that you don’t buy one that is too high in saturated fats.