It’s CORN! Such a versatile plant. Popcorn, tortillas, corn flour and plain old corn on the cob with butter, is there anything this plant can’t do? It even makes oil! Corn oil is one of the most widely used cooking oils, but sometimes, you may find yourself in a situation where corn oil just won’t cut it. Whether it’s because you don’t have any or because your diet calls for something different, here are five substitutes for corn oil to help finish your meal.
- Canola Oil
- Extra Virgin olive oil
- Regular/virgin olive oil
- Safflower oil
- Avocado oil
Best All-Around Substitute For Oil: Canola Oil Or Any Refined Oil
Canola oil is one of the best all-around substitutes for corn oil, but you can also use any refined vegetable oil, such as sunflower seed oil, rice bran oil or safflower oil. Canola oil is sometimes labeled as rapeseed oil, and it has a neutral flavor, which is suitable for frying and cooking when you don’t want to impart specific flavor profiles into your dish.
It is a great all-around oil, with a smoke point usually up in the 400-degree plus mark, depending on the brand, making it suitable for everything from raw to high-heat cooking.
Best Raw Cooking Substitute For Corn Oil: Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil is my pick for the best raw cooking substitute for corn oil. Depending on where the olives are grown, the flavors are pretty different, but overall, extra virgin oil does have a pleasant grassy taste compared to corn’s neutral flavor profile, but that is because of all its healthy constituents, like antioxidants.
It covers any Greek/Mediterranean/Balkan dishes I’m cooking, and with a smoke point of 350 degrees, it’s also okay for regular heat cooking. Any higher than that, and it will oxidise and taste pretty awful. So, to be safe, use it as a finishing oil in cooked dishes rather than a frying oil, and apply it liberally to salads! I also like to use it in an olive oil cake (greek yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, eggs, flour, baking powder and soda, lemon zest) if you have some you need to use up.
Best Corn Oil Substitute for Regular Cooking: Regular/Virgin Olive Oil
Regular/Virgin olive oil has a smoke point of 390-470 degrees. Corn oil has a smoke point of 450 degrees, so both are good for raw cooking, low-heat cooking, regular cooking and high-heat cooking if you make sure the olive oil you buy has the higher smoke point value.
Regular olive oil is usually made from a blend of extra virgin olive oil and refined olive oil and is not quite as high in nutrients, but you do still get some! The flavor profile from olive oil is still slightly there, too, just a bit more subdued.
Best Corn Oil Substitute for High-Heat Cooking: Safflower Oil
Refined corn oil has a high smoke point, so it is often used for frying in commercial kitchens for this reason and also as it has a more neutral flavor. The smoke point of safflower oil is 475-500 degrees, which makes it one of the oils that can take the highest heat.
Safflower is usually flavorless and colorless, with a similar flavor profile of neutrality, just like corn oil. It is great for french fries and is sometimes used in cosmetics as a moisturizing agent!
Corn Oil Substitute that is Closest in Flavor and Most Neutral Flavored: Canola Oil
Corn oil has a neutral flavor which won’t affect the taste of your dish. Canola oil also has a neutral flavor, making it one of the closest and most neutral-flavored substitutes, but any refined oil can work!
In the baking industry, it is used as a moistener and tenderizer in cakes, breads, cookies and muffins. It is also one of the primary ingredients in vegetable shortening used for pastry and a key ingredient in some kinds of margarine.
Best Budget-Friendly Corn Oil Substitute: Canola Oil
Corn oil is cheap, around $15 to $25 depending on the brand, but canola oil is even more affordable. One gallon of canola oil at Walmart is usually under $10, but it is typically sold in 48 fl oz bottles for $5-$6
Best Healthy Corn Oil Substitute: Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Avocado Oil
Extra virgin olive oil, or EVOO, is one of the healthiest oils out there. It is high in monounsaturated fats, which are great for heart health and is full of antioxidants that can lower bad cholesterol and improve blood pressure. But, if you need a healthy oil for higher-heat cooking, then the deliciously buttery avocado oil is your guy. This oil can withstand temperatures of over 500 degrees! Avocado oil is rich in healthy fats and antioxidants like lutein, which are great for the eyes. Both avocado and olive oil can also be used on the skin and hair with numerous benefits.
Best Keto/Paleo/Whole30 Corn Oil Substitute: Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil is a safe bet for anyone following the keto, paleo or Whole30 diets. Keto is an extremely low-carb diet, but corn oil is not allowed as it has a high degree of processing. Paleo and Whole30 focus on processed and unrefined foods, and corn oil is a highly processed food, so it is not allowed. EVOO is a whole food made by pressing olives. No heat or solvents are used to make extra virgin olive oil.
Corn oil is high in polyunsaturated fats, which can be inflammatory to the body when eaten in large amounts. However, this doesn’t mean it’s evil. Eaten occasionally and in moderation has not been shown to affect health and may be a better option for those told to limit their intake of saturated fats compared to, say butter or lard.
Corn oil is considered safe for skin use due to its emollient properties. It can be used as a carrier oil in aromatherapy and massage or as a base ingredient for body creams, lotions, and soaps. However, it can cause sensitivity in some people, so it is always best to patch-test before dousing yourself.
Corn oil is shelf-stable for up to two years if stored in a cool, dry place. Once opened, it should be used within 3 – 6 months for optimal freshness and flavor.