If you’re an avid cook or baker, you know the importance of choosing the right oil for your culinary adventures. But with so many options available, it can be challenging to determine which oil is best for your needs.
That’s why today, I’m covering peanut oil vs canola oil – two popular options for frying. Let’s explore their differences, cooking methods, substitutions, nutritional aspects, and storage tips to find out which one comes out on top!
Comparing peanut oil vs canola oil
|Peanut oil||Canola oil|
|Solid or Liquid?||Liquid||Liquid|
|Smoke Point (Fahrenheit)||440-450 degrees||225-445 degrees|
|Good for Cooking…||Raw, low, moderate, and high heat||Raw, low, moderate, and high heat|
*The FDA does not require highly refined peanut oil (often used for high temp cooking) to be labelled as an allergen, as it has almost no detectable peanut protein, which is what causes allergic reactions. However, unrefined peanut oil may contain the peanut protein allergen.
Differences between peanut oil and canola oil
Peanut oil, as the name suggests, is derived from peanuts. It has a distinct nutty flavor and is commonly used in Asian and African cuisines.
On the other hand, canola oil is extracted from the seeds of the canola plant and has a mild flavor, making it versatile for various dishes. Both peanut oil and canola oil are 100% vegan.
When it comes to cooking, peanut oil has a higher smoke point, making it suitable for high-temperature cooking methods like frying. Canola oil also has a moderate smoke point but is better suited for baking and sautéing.
Baking and cooking with peanut oil vs canola oil
Refined canola oil typically has a smoke point of around 400°F (204°C), while refined peanut oil has a slightly higher smoke point, usually around 450°F (232°C).
Peanut oil’s high smoke point makes it perfect for deep-frying crispy delights like french fries, chicken tenders, and tempura. Unlike neutral oils like canola oil, the nutty flavor of peanut oil also adds a distinctive taste to the fried foods, enhancing their overall flavor profile.
In my experience, peanut oil pairs well with Asian-inspired dishes such as stir-fries and satays, where it can contribute a rich, savory note to the dish.
On the other hand, canola oil’s mild taste makes it a great all-purpose cooking oil. It’s excellent for sautéing vegetables or pan-frying chicken.
Canola oil’s neutral taste is advantageous in baking, as it doesn’t interfere with the flavors of baked goods. Use it to make extra moist cakes and cookies with a soft texture.
Can peanut oil and canola oil be substituted for each other?
While peanut oil and canola oil have distinct flavors, they can be substituted for each other in certain recipes.
For example, if a recipe calls for peanut oil in a stir-fry, you can use canola oil as a suitable substitute, though you may miss out on the nutty undertones.
However, if a recipe requires canola oil for baking, peanut oil is not an ideal substitute, since it adds more savory notes and has a slightly thicker consistency compared to canola oil, so the flavor and texture of your baked goods may turn out different than expected. Instead, I recommend using grapeseed oil, sunflower oil, or avocado oil.
Nutrition: Peanut oil vs canola oil
In terms of nutrition, both oils are relatively healthy options.
Canola oil has a higher content of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and a lower level of saturated fats compared to peanut oil. This makes canola oil a better choice for maintaining cardiovascular health.
However, peanut oil contains slightly more vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant and supports skin health.
|Per tablespoon (15mL)||Peanut oil||Canola oil|
|Polyunsaturated||4.3 g||3.9 g|
|Monounsaturated||6.2 g||8.9 g|
|Saturated||2.3 g||1.0 g|
|Trans||0 g||0.1 g|
|Total Fat||13.5 g||14 g|
The primary fat source is bolded.
How to store peanut oil and canola oil
To maintain the quality of your peanut oil and canola oil, proper storage is crucial. Both oils should be stored in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight and heat sources. The pantry or a kitchen cabinet is an ideal location. It’s best to keep the oils in their original containers, tightly sealed, to prevent oxidation.
Generally, unopened peanut oil can last up to a year, while canola oil has a shelf life of about two years. Once opened, both oils should be used within six months for the best quality and flavor.
Peanut oil vs canola oil: The ultimate verdict
In conclusion, the choice between peanut oil and canola oil depends on your personal preferences and intended use.
If you enjoy the rich nutty flavor and need an oil with a high smoke point for deep-frying, peanut oil is the way to go! However, if you prefer a more versatile oil that can be used for a wide range of cooking methods, canola oil is a better option. Canola oil’s nutritional benefits and lower saturated fat content also make it a healthier choice for everyday cooking.
The healthiest oil to cook with is subjective, but options like olive oil, avocado oil, and canola oil are generally considered healthy due to their favorable fat composition.
When it comes to deep frying, oils with high smoke points and stable compositions like peanut oil, canola oil, and sunflower oil are often recommended.
Yes, you can mix peanut oil with canola oil. Combining oils can provide a balance of flavors and enhance the versatility of your cooking.