Confused about which oil/fat to use in your cooking and baking? I’ve got you covered! Read this comprehensive article comparing palm kernel oil and margarine to make an informed choice. Find out the differences, cooking methods, substitutions, nutrition facts, storage tips, and my ultimate recommendation!
Comparing palm kernel oil vs margarine
|Palm kernel oil||Margarine (hard stick)||Margarine (soft)|
|Solid or Liquid?||Semi-solid||Solid||Solid|
|Smoke Point (Fahrenheit)||430-450 degrees||410-430 degrees||410-430 degrees|
|Taste||Mild and nutty||Buttery||Buttery|
|Good for Cooking…||Raw, low, moderate, and high heat||Raw, low heat, moderate heat||Raw, low heat, moderate heat|
|Allergens||Oil palm fruit||Soy, corn, etc||Soy, corn, etc|
Differences between palm kernel oil and margarine
Palm kernel oil is a tropical plant-based oil extracted from the kernel of palm fruits. It’s related to palm oil (as the names suggest, they’re extracted from the flesh of the same fruit) and to coconut oil. It is a pale yellow color, with a mild flavor and hint of nuttiness, that can be used in various recipes.
On the other hand, margarine is a butter substitute made from various vegetable oils. The taste of margarine can vary depending on the brand and ingredients used. While some margarines may have a flavor that some people perceive as artificial, there are also brands that strive to create a more natural and butter-like taste.
While palm kernel oil is obtained through a mechanical extraction process, margarine is produced by hydrogenating vegetable oils – a process where hydrogen is added to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid.
Baking and cooking with palm kernel oil vs margarine
Palm kernel oil has a higher smoke point compared to margarine, making it suitable for high-temperature cooking methods like deep-frying and stir-frying. It pairs well with savory dishes like roasted vegetables, grilled meats, and sautéed seafood.
In contrast, margarine’s lower smoke point makes it ideal for gentle heat cooking methods like sautéing and baking at moderate temperatures.
Use margarine instead of butter for baking cookies, cakes, and pastries, or as a spread. Use unsalted margarine to have better control over the salt content in your baked goods, and follow the recipe’s instructions regarding the substitution of margarine for butter.
Can palm kernel oil and margarine be substituted for each other?
While palm kernel oil can be used as an ingredient in the production of margarine, the two have different properties and compositions.
Margarine contains additional ingredients like emulsifiers and flavorings, making it distinct from palm kernel oil. Therefore, direct substitution may not yield the desired results in terms of taste, texture, and functionality in recipes.
I recommend coconut oil as a substitute for palm kernel oil, as they share similar properties.
Nutrition: Palm kernel oil vs margarine
Like other tropical oils, palm kernel oil is higher in saturated fat compared to other vegetable oils and margarine. This means that consuming large amounts of palm kernel oil may raise cholesterol levels.
Margarine, on the other hand, can be a healthier option if it’s made with heart-healthy oils and does not contain trans fats. Look for margarine brands that are low in saturated fats and trans fats while high in unsaturated fats, such as those made from olive or canola oil.
|Per tablespoon (15mL)||Palm kernel oil||Margarine (hard stick)||Margarine (soft)|
|Polyunsaturated||0.2 g||3.4 g||3.0 g|
|Monounsaturated||1.6 g||5.5 g||6.3 g|
|Saturated||11.1 g||2.1 g||1.6 g|
|Trans||0 g||0 g||0 g|
|Total Fat||13.6 g||11.3 g||11.2 g|
The primary fat source is bolded.
How to store palm kernel oil and margarine
To store palm kernel oil, keep it in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight and heat sources. Make sure the container is tightly sealed to prevent air exposure and oxidation. If possible, store it in the refrigerator to extend its shelf life.
For margarine, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for storage. Typically, it is recommended to keep margarine in a cool place, away from direct sunlight and heat. Some types may require refrigeration, while others can be stored at room temperature. Always check the packaging for specific guidelines and ensure the container is tightly sealed to maintain its freshness.
Palm kernel oil vs margarine: The ultimate verdict
After considering all the factors, it’s time for the ultimate verdict!
While both palm kernel oil and margarine have their uses, it ultimately depends on your specific needs. If you’re looking for a high smoke point oil for frying or savory cooking, palm kernel oil is the way to go. On the other hand, if you’re primarily interested in baking and spreading, margarine can be a suitable choice, especially if you opt for a healthier, trans-fat-free option. Personally, I find palm kernel oil easier to cook with, but I prefer margarine’s nutritional profile. That said, vegetable oils that are naturally liquid at room temperature, such as avocado and olive oil, are always my first choice!
It depends on your dietary preferences and health goals. Palm kernel oil is a plant-based oil with a high smoke point, making it suitable for high-temperature cooking, while butter offers a rich flavor and creamy texture but is higher in saturated fat.
Avoiding palm kernel oil is a personal choice, considering factors such as its high saturated fat content and potential environmental impact associated with palm oil production.
Yes, palm oil is commonly used as an ingredient in the production of margarine due to its stability and texture-enhancing properties. However, not all types of margarine contain palm oil.