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Peanut oil is a favorite of mine. It is a healthy choice as it doesn’t have fats detrimental to the heart. Its mild flavor also makes it a good choice for deep frying, roasting, and grilling. But while it has many health benefits, this doesn’t mean you will be able to use peanut oil all the time.
Perhaps you can’t find peanut oil in your area. Or you could be allergic to it. Does that mean that you should just forget a recipe requiring for it? Definitely not! I will share with you some of the best substitutes for peanut oil.
What is peanut oil?
This sweet and flavorful oil comes from a low growing plant called Arachis hypogea. Although it has the word ‘nut’ in its name, peanut is really a legume like lentils and thus grown underground. It is unlike walnuts and almonds which are grown on trees.
The origins of peanut can be traced to South America. One of the first civilizations to use it was the Incans of Peru, who placed peanuts alongside their mummies.
Peanut oil is naturally sweet and flavored. It can be cold pressed, which has a yellow color and a sweet and nutty flavor, or refined which is characterized by a light yellow color and neutral taste.
What are its health benefits?
peanuts and peanut oil jars on the table
Regardless of the type of peanut oil, you can get lots of vitamins A, D, E and monounsaturated fats from it.
It is also rich in polyphenol antioxidants that can help the body in fighting off free radicals that can cause cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. One of those antioxidants, resveratrol, can also aid in reducing stress on the cardiovascular system and lowering blood pressure by interacting with hormones such as angiotensin.
The high level of monounsaturated fatty acid (oleic acid) in peanut oil is also a reason why this oil can lower bad cholesterol while at the same time boost good cholesterol. Peanut oil can also contribute to the prevention of cardiac-related diseases like heart attack, coronary heart disease, and coronary artery disease.
In fact, the American Heart Association says that we should increase our consumption of foods rich in better fats like peanut oil and other vegetable oils.
Peanut oil can also promote good skin healthily when applied topically because of its high levels of vitamin E. It can also fight off wrinkles, blemishes and similar signs of premature aging.
Top substitutes for peanut oil
Peanut oil may be healthy but there are times that we can’t avoid but to use another ingredient in lieu of it. But which ingredient should you look for to replace peanut oil? Here are my top suggestions:
1. Canola oil
Flower Reform, Canola oil and wool roll
Canola oil is edible oil that comes from rapeseed. Like peanut oil, it is heart healthy as it doesn’t have saturated fats. It is one of the best oils to be used in lieu of peanut oil. It is also very versatile, able to tolerate smoking points of up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
What I like about canola oil is that it doesn’t have a strong flavor. This makes it such a good ingredient for cooking and baking. You can replace a cup of refined canola oil for every cup of peanut oil called for in a recipe.
2. Refined corn oil
Refined corn oil and corn on the table
Just like peanut oil, corn oil has a high smoking point of up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. For people who are budget-conscious, corn oil is an excellent choice because it is less expensive compared to other edible oils.
Moreover, it is very easy to find refined corn oil. You can buy one in most groceries. It doesn’t have a rancid flavor as well.
I highly recommend this for baking, deep frying, sautéing, and searing food. You can also use this for salad dressing and Chinese dishes.
However, you should know that refined corn oil is rich in polyunsaturated fats which can increase risks of prostate and breast cancer if taken in excessive amounts.
You simply replace a cup of refined corn oil for a cup of peanut oil called for in a recipe.
3. Refined safflower oil
a bowl of Refined safflower oil and safflower
Safflower oil doesn’t have that sweet and flavored taste of peanut oil. But it is also low in saturated fat and high in oleic acid, just like peanut oil. It is a stable oil that you can use in foods requiring high heating levels as it can tolerate temperatures of up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
It is best used for deep frying, sautéing, stir frying, and searing foods. You can also use it for drizzling on salads.
4. Refined soybean oil
a bowl of Refined soybean oil and soybean
Refined soybean oil is also heat stable, with a smoke point of 460 degrees Fahrenheit. It has a neutral taste, too, just like refined safflower oil.
You can use this for deep frying, baking, and sautéing. Simply use a cup of soybean oil for every cup of peanut oil.
5. Sunflower oil
Sunflower oil, Sunflower and sunflower seed
Finally, sunflower oil is high in oleic acid which makes it a healthy replacement to peanut oil. It is heat stable with a smoke point of 450 degrees Fahrenheit. You can use it for deep frying and baking.
Indeed, there are plenty of oils that you can use in place of peanut oil. I doubt you will have a hard time finding any of these oils as all of these are widely available.
Do you have any comments on this article? Let me know. I will also appreciate if you share this on Facebook and Twitter. Let’s make more people aware of the health benefits and potential replacement for peanut oil, shall we?