If you love experimenting with different ingredients, you may wonder which oil or fat to use in your recipes. Many of us are familiar with the popular butter substitute – margarine, but have you ever tried cashew oil? Is it true that it could be better than margarine?
To answer that, I’ve gone ahead and provided a full side-by-side comparison of cashew oil vs margarine below. I cover cooking/baking properties, taste, nutrition, and more. So, let’s get started!
Comparing cashew oil vs margarine
|Cashew oil||Margarine (hard stick)||Margarine (soft)|
|Solid or Liquid?||Liquid||Solid||Solid|
|Smoke Point (Fahrenheit)||410 degrees||410-430 degrees||410-430 degrees|
|Good for Cooking…||Raw, low heat, moderate heat||Raw, low heat, moderate heat||Raw, low heat, moderate heat|
|Allergens||Tree nuts, cardanol, cardol and anacardic acid||Soy, corn, etc||Soy, corn, etc|
Differences between cashew oil and margarine
Cashew oil is a plant-based oil that’s made purely from cashew nuts, while margarine is a spread made from different types of vegetable oils and contains water and emulsifiers to create its texture. It comes in both hard and soft varieties. The more solid a margarine is, the higher its concentration of saturated fat.
Cashew oil is typically extracted through a mechanical cold-pressing process, which involves crushing the cashew nuts and separating the oil from the solid residue. On the other hand, margarine is produced through the hydrogenation of vegetable oils, where hydrogen gas is added under high pressure and temperature to convert liquid oils into a solid form.
Baking and cooking with cashew oil vs margarine
Cashew oil is your go-to for high-heat cooking adventures. Its high smoke point makes it perfect for stir-frying those veggies or sautéing your favorite proteins. It adds a delightful nutty aroma and taste, elevating your dishes to new heights. Cashew oil pairs well with vegetables, seafood, and poultry, adding a subtle nutty note to the dish.
Margarine brings a creamy, buttery goodness that is better suited for baking, sautéing, and moderate-heat cooking. Use it in your cookies, cakes, or even as a spread on warm toast for that classic, comforting taste. You can also use margarine to give your pancakes and waffles a deliciously rich flavor. However, keep in mind that margarine may contain added salt or flavorings, which can affect the taste of your final dish.
Can cashew oil and margarine be substituted for each other?
While cashew oil and margarine have different properties, they can be substituted for each other in certain situations. If a recipe calls for cashew oil but you don’t have it on hand, you can use margarine as a replacement in baking. Likewise, if a recipe calls for margarine but you prefer the flavor profile of cashew oil, you can use it as a substitute in sautéing or cooking at medium-high temperatures. However, it’s important to note that the substitution may affect the texture and taste of the final dish.
Nutrition: Cashew oil vs margarine
Cashew oil is rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, and minerals like magnesium and phosphorus. It can contribute to a balanced diet when used in moderation.
On the other hand, margarine is often fortified with vitamins A and D, but some varieties may contain trans fats and hydrogenated oils, which should be avoided due to their negative impact on heart health. When choosing margarine, opt for options made with healthier oils and without trans fats.
|Per tablespoon (15mL)||Cashew oil||Margarine (hard stick)||Margarine (soft)|
|Polyunsaturated||3 g||3.4 g||3.0 g|
|Monounsaturated||10 g||5.5 g||6.3 g|
|Saturated||2 g||2.1 g||1.6 g|
|Trans||0 g||0 g||0 g|
|Total Fat||15 g||11.3 g||11.2 g|
The primary fat source is bolded.
How to store cashew oil and margarine
Store cashew oil in a cool area away from direct sunlight, heat, and sources of moisture. Ideally, a pantry or cupboard away from the stove or any appliances that generate heat is a good location. Since fluctuating temperatures can affect the quality of the oil, I recommend keeping cashew oil in the fridge to extend its shelf life up to 6 months.
Margarine usually comes in a tub or a wrapped stick. Keep it in its original packaging until you open it. Once opened, margarine should be stored in the refrigerator and used within 2-3 months to prevent it from going bad. Make sure the container is tightly sealed to prevent odors from other foods in the refrigerator from affecting the margarine. Always check the packaging for specific storage instructions, as different brands may have varying recommendations.
Cashew oil vs margarine: Which is better
In the end, it all comes down to what you’re making and your personal taste preferences. If you’re looking for a versatile oil with a high smoke point for various cooking methods, cashew oil is a great choice. Its nutty flavor and nutritional benefits make it my preferred option! However, when it comes to baking and spreading, margarine can be a delicious alternative, provided you choose a variety without unhealthy additives.
Cashew butter, being a nut-based spread, is generally considered to be a healthier option than butter due to its higher content of unsaturated fats, protein, and various vitamins and minerals, while butter is primarily composed of saturated fats.
Cashew butter can be a healthy addition to one’s diet when consumed in moderation due to its nutrient profile that includes healthy fats, protein, and various vitamins and minerals. However, it is important to consider portion sizes as it is also calorie-dense.
Almond butter is considered one of the healthiest nut spreads due to its high content of healthy fats, protein, and various vitamins and minerals.