As a nutritionist, I am always in search for healthy alternatives, and that is how I have discovered the peanut oil. Besides a unique taste, this oil offers numerous other benefits including boosting your immunity.
However, moderation is always the key to a healthy diet, and peanut oil is no exception. Namely, peanut oil is packed with omega-6 fats, and if you consume too much of it that can result in disturbing your omega 3:6 ratio and endangering your health.
It is therefore essential for you to know all about peanut oil but also have a couple of peanut oil substitutes up your sleeve. After all, peanut oil is quite expensive as well, and it is a good idea to sometimes replace it with some other affordable and healthy alternatives out there.
If you are wondering what the best peanut oil substitutes are, read this article to the very end, and you will find out!
Peanut Oil Defined
It is believed that peanut oil originated in South America and that it was first used by famous Incas in Peru. Nowadays, this oil is mostly produced in China, India and the USA.
It is made from Arachis hypogaea, a low-growing plant from the Fabaceae (Leguminosae) family. It is interesting to know that unlike other nuts, peanuts grow underground and are thus often referred to as groundnuts as well.
This edible oil has a distinctive sweet note and a pleasing aroma. We differ:
- Cold-pressed Peanut oil– it is the healthiest option and has a flavorful nutty aroma and deep yellow color.
- Refined Peanut oil– it has been deprived of impurities as well as allergens but also the rich aroma. Therefore, refined oil is more neutral and of lighter color.
- Roasted Peanut oil– this oil has the darkest color and the deepest flavor which makes it ideal for salad dressings, marinades, and sauces.
What is the Peanut Oil Used for?
Peanut oil is excellent for drizzling over your food as well as for mixing in your dressing or your favorite sauce. I recommend consuming it fresh rather than using it for cooking although you will often find people who use it mainly for frying or deep frying.
These people are not entirely wrong as peanut oil does have a high smoke point that will secure an all-time favorite crispy crust and soft inside effect. Moreover, food fried in peanut oil will retain its original taste. The secret lies in the fact that peanut oil does not absorb any flavors from the food. You can even fry several different food types at once without fearing that their flavors would clash or disappear.
Peanut oil is also great for aromatherapy and massage as it energizes your body. If you have acne, combine some peanut oil with a few drops of lime juice, and your skin should get better soon. Due to high vitamin E content, this valuable oil helps protect your skin from free radicals and prevents premature aging too.
Peanut oil can even help your hair, especially if you have dandruff – simply mix it with some lemon juice, a couple of drops of tea tree oil and, and leave it on for at least two hours. You will soon notice that your hair is not only dandruff-free but also deeply regenerated and thicker.
The 7 Best Peanut Oil Substitutes
I like the taste of peanut oil, but I am well aware that nature is abundant in other nutritious oils, so why not try them all? So, if you too are curious, allergic to peanuts or simply do not have peanut oil at home at the moment check out the seven alternatives I have found for you:
1. Sunflower Oil
- If you need to deep fry something and you do not have peanut oil at hand, you can use the sunflower oil instead as it has the same high smoke point (around 450 degrees). It is made from pressed sunflower seeds and quite neutral. It’s great substitute for butter when you bake something too.
- Like peanut oil, sunflower oil is rich in vitamin E and omega-6 fatty acid and has a low content of saturated fat. On the other hand, this oil is packed with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that will aid in lowering bad cholesterol levels.
A word of caution: People can be allergic to sunflower seed as well as peanuts, so make sure that you are not before you try it!
2. Grape Seed Oil
- Grape seed oil is another oil that has similar characteristics as the peanut oil: a neutral flavor and high smoke point. The problem might be its high price, especially if you want to deep fry something and thus need quite a lot of oil.
- As it is quite expensive, it is better utilized for sautéing and searing, and if you still insist on using it for frying, you will be glad to know that many professional chefs also choose it for the same reason. After all, it is still less expensive than extra virgin olive oil!
3. Safflower Oil
- Safflower plant is related to the sunflower and the oil made from its seed has similar characteristics as the sunflower oil too. First of all, it is almost flavorless, and anything you fry in it comes out tasting clean. You can use it for deep frying, searing, sautéing, as well as to drizzle your favorite salad.
- Besides having a high smoke point, it does not solidify when stored in cool temperatures much like olive oil. Like peanut oil, safflower oil has numerous health benefits, too! The high omega-6 fatty acids content will help you prevent cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
- Canola has a bit lower smoke point in comparison to the peanut oil (around 400 degrees), but it is still rather high and convenient for frying or deep frying your food. You can even combine the two oils with guaranteed good results! (I vouch for that!)
- Both these oils are rich in monounsaturated fats and thus help keep your bad cholesterol in check. On the other hand, they will help raise the level of good cholesterol in your body and maintain the optimal balance.
- While peanut oil is rich in omega-6 fatty acids, canola oil has high levels of essential omega-3 fatty acids, and that is another good reason to combine the two in your diet.
Related Article: Is Canola oil the same as Vegetable oil?
5. Walnut Oil
- If you need to replace the peanut oil but want to still be able to enjoy the nutty aroma, try the walnut oil.
- Unfortunately, it is neither cheap nor suitable for high-temperature cooking (it becomes bitter tasting). However, if you need an oil drizzle for your salad or you want to make a dressing or a sauce, walnut oil is a great choice. It pairs great with fish too!
- This oil is very healthy as well, rich in both antioxidants and essential fatty acids. It can help you prevent heart conditions, but also slow down the inevitable aging process.
6. Vegetable Oil
- If you need a budget-friendly peanut oil substitute, look no further, vegetable oil is the perfect solution. However, let me warn you right away, it is not the healthiest choice you can make.
- Vegetable oils are most often a mixture of other oils such as palm, corn, or canola oil. It is rarely naturally extracted and contains some chemicals or additives of questionable quality.
- Therefore, you should always check the label and at least make sure that the levels of saturated fats are not sky high. The highest amount of saturated fat per 100 grams of oil is 20 grams, and anything higher than that should be avoided by all means.
- In short, use this oil in emergency situations when your wallet is too thin to accommodate for the oil of better quality!
Related: Vegetable Nutrient Chart
7. Almond Oil
- The almond oil is the peanut substitute oil that stands on the opposite end from the vegetable oil. How come? Well, it is very expensive, but also very healthy for you!
- It contains both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that will help maintain a healthy level of cholesterol in your body plus the omega-3 fatty acids to protect your heart from disease. Vitamin E makes this oil suitable for cosmetic use as well. You can apply it to your face to soothe your skin or use it to relieve conditions such as psoriasis or eczema.
- You can choose from the cold pressed and refined almond oil. The latter is cheaper, less nutritious, but more convenient for frying as well. The former is a great addition to your salads, sauces, and other cold dishes.
If you do not have nut-related allergies, you should definitely try peanut oil and use it from time to time. Remember though, all the other alternative oils listed here make a good choice too.
No matter your choice, my recommendation is to use any oil sparingly as too much oil in your diet is never good for you. Your body does need the “healthy fats” but be reasonable about what you eat!
Avoid deep fried food whenever possible and use the precious oils to drizzle healthy salads – that is a sure way to a healthier you! I am eager to hear your opinions on this subject so feel free to comment below! Thank you for your time.