People have had allergic reactions to various nuts and other foods for centuries. However, for centuries it was thought that these were the exception rather than the norm. In reality, many people suffer from various food allergies and can get very sick or even die if exposed to these foods. That’s why it is so important for these allergies to be taken seriously, especially if it is to a common food such as peanuts. Avoiding whole peanuts is not enough on its own to avoid reactions, though.
Peanut oil is in a wide variety of foods, so if you or someone in your household has this allergy, then you should definitely read labels of all processed and prepared foods before you buy and stock up on these peanut oil substitutes for safe cooking at home.
Peanut oil is used in a lot of food applications, especially in Asian countries. However, during WWII when other oils were in short supply, it became popular in the United States and other allied countries. Use of it spread wildly even after the war ended because it was so readily available and has a high smoke point, which means that it can be used at higher temperatures than other oils without going rancid or emitting an off taste or odor.
It is literally the oil that is extracted from peanuts, also known as groundnuts because they grow under the soil instead of on top of it like most plants. Though they are a nut like almonds or pecans, they are actually a legume and more closely related to beans or peas than tree nuts.
Compared to other nuts, peanuts are generally easier and cheaper to grow, which is why they cost less at the grocery store than cashews or other nut variations. As a consequence, the oil that is extracted from them is also generally cheaper than other nut oils, which is why so many food manufacturers use peanut oil in their products.
It is actually quite common at fast-food restaurants and in a lot of prepackaged and prepared foods you find at the local market. The relatively low expense and the fact that it is great for frying foods without making them taste overly greasy are why so many producers use it in their products. It also has a very neutral taste, so it will not interfere with the flavors of whatever is being cooked in it.
There are also blended oils that may contain other oils such as soybean along with peanuts, so you must peruse food labels very carefully to ensure that there is nothing that can cause an allergic reaction. If you are unsure, you can always contact the manufacturer directly. It is easy to go to their website or a social media page and ask a question.
If you are still unsure after that, then it is best to err on the side of caution and not use the product. There is no reason to take a risk when there are so many great alternative options available.
9 Substitutes for Peanut Oil
1. Grapeseed Oil
Grapeseed oil is a really great alternative to peanut oil. It is a very neutral oil, meaning it does not have a strong taste like olive or other oils. It also has a high smoke point just like its peanut brethren, meaning it is perfect for flash frying, stir-frying or deep frying. It is light and crisp and also does a great job as a marinade and to make homemade salad dressings. Grapeseeds are also high in antioxidants, so many health buffs love using it as well. More and more chefs and cooks are recommending grapeseed as their oil of choice for cooking and baking. You may find an increasing amount of cookbooks and online recipes recommend this instead of peanut, canola, or other oils that they may have recommended in the past.
2. Corn Oil
Corn oil is another great substitute that is readily available at your local stores. It is relatively inexpensive and can be used in a variety of applications like sauteeing, where it really shines. You can buy this oil in bulk too, which is why some companies have replaced the peanut oil in their products with corn instead. Corn is also one of the many food sources that may be used in vegetable oil along with other vegetables.
3. Sunflower Oil
Sunflower oils are a great alternative that is also good for your heart health. Some people who have peanut issues may have issues with this, so it is best to get tested before using it. However, if you do not have a sunflower allergy, this is a great way to add some fat to your diet while still maintaining your overall health. Some health food buffs swear by high-oleic sunflower oil, which means it is high in monounsaturated fats.
These are the good fats found in things like avocadoes and olive oil, so they are better for your health than regular sunflower oils.
4. Vegetable Oil
If you’re asking yourself can I substitute peanut oil for vegetable oil, you’ll be happy to hear that vegetable oil is an awesome alternative to use. This is very easy on your pocketbook because it is cheap and easy to manufacture, so the price is very low compared to some other oils.
It is generally not considered to be healthy, so most people who try to maintain a healthy lifestyle only use it sparingly. However, as a substitute that will not bust your grocery budget, this is a good choice.
5. Canola Oil
If you would rather cook with something inexpensive that is better for you, consider canola oil. There are many types available, so if you want max health benefits then look for one that says ‘expeller-pressed’ on the label, or cold-pressed for the best quality and taste. Canola that is expeller-pressed may cost just a little bit more, but it is well worth the extra price.
6. Safflower Oil
If you love to deep fry things or flash fry at a high temperature, then safflower oil might be the best thing for you. It has a high smoke point, far higher than most other oils, so there is no heat reaction and the oil stays tasting clean and pure at high temperatures. So get your French fry or mozzarella stick craving on by using safflower instead of peanut or other oils.
7. Walnut Oil as an alternative
While many peanut alternatives have a neutral taste that does not interfere with what you are cooking, some like walnut oil has a very distinct and strong taste. Walnut has one of the nuttiest and deepest flavors that is unmistakable, and that makes it great for use in salad dressings.
Many people also like to drizzle it on top of cheese, bread or soups as a finishing touch to add depth of flavor. Gourmets and foodies swear by the taste, so expand your culinary boundaries and try this oil for a tasty treat. Although this is a substitute for peanut oil, it is not to be used if you have a nut allergy.
8. Almond Oil
Almonds have become a really common snack because they have heart-healthy oils, a distinctive and satisfying crunch, and go well with a variety of foods. They can also be crushed to extract their oil for use in a lot of different dishes. Almond oil is not cheap compared to vegetable or canola, but it is delicious and a great treat for special dishes when you do not mind splurging. Some massage therapists also use almond oil as a massage oil because it works well and has a pleasant natural scent.
9. Rice Bran Oil
A far less common oil that some may not have heard of yet is called rice bran oil. This is another one that has a high smoke point, so you can use it high temperatures such as for stir-frying or deep frying without causing a lot of smoke that will set off your smoke detector. It is also used in baking for a heart-healthier alternative to other oils since it has lots of antioxidants in it.
It can be ordered online or found in gourmet or specialty stores, although a lot of more mainstream grocery stores are finally starting to stock it, so you may want to seek it out to try. You may find that it will become your everyday oil for everything from sauteeing to deep frying.
With so many choices now widely available to consumers, there is no reason to buy products with peanut oil anymore, even if you do not have an allergy. There are just better and safer alternatives, some of which are actually good for your heart and your overall health. Just make sure you store the oil properly, in a well-sealed container and not near the heat. That’s why we’ve determined what to use instead of peanut oil in this guide.
Many people store their oil on the stove, but this can lead to it going bad before its time. Store in a cool dry and preferably dark place if at all possible. This will extend its life so that you do not have to throw it out and waste any of your money. Storing your oils properly not only reduces waste, but it ensures you get the best, freshest taste possible each time you use it.
Remember, the taste of the oil transfers to the foods you use it in, so keeping it fresh means your finished dishes will taste and smell great as well. You’re now on your way to being an expert in using the best substitute for peanut oil.