Soybean oil and olive oil are two cooking oils that have become pantry staples, but what sets them apart? Which one should you reach for when you’re whipping up a meal? Let’s find out!
Comparing soybean oil vs olive oil
|Soybean oil||Olive Oil (Extra Virgin)||Olive Oil (Light/Pure/Regular)||Olive Oil (Virgin oil)|
|Solid or Liquid?||Liquid||Liquid||Liquid||Liquid|
|Smoke Point (Fahrenheit)||450-475 degrees||350 degrees||390-470 degrees||350 degrees|
|Good for Cooking…||Raw, low, moderate, and high heat||Raw, low heat||Raw, low, moderate, and high heat||Raw, light heat, moderate heat|
|Allergens||Soy||Olive, olive pollen||Olive, olive pollen||Olive, olive pollen|
|Paleo?||No||Yes||If it is not refined||Yes|
Differences between soybean oil and olive oil
Firstly, soybean oil is made from soybeans and olive oil is made from—you guessed it—olives! Soybean oil typically goes through a solvent extraction and refining process, olive oil is obtained by crushing and separating the oil from the olives in a more natural way.
Soybean oil has a neutral flavor, which means it won’t overpower the taste of your food. It’s also pretty versatile, making it a popular choice for cooking, baking, and even frying.
On the other hand, olive oil has a distinct fruity flavor that can add a wonderful zing to your dishes. It’s great for drizzling over salads, dipping bread, or using in marinades.
Extra virgin vs regular vs virgin olive oil
Now, let’s zoom in on olive oil and explore the differences between extra virgin, regular, and virgin olive oil.
Extra virgin olive oil is extracted using a cold-pressing method, which preserves the natural flavors and aromas of the olives. It’s considered the highest quality and is ideal for drizzling over salads and dipping bread.
Regular olive oil, on the other hand, undergoes a refining process and may contain a blend of virgin and refined oils. It has a milder flavor and is better suited for cooking and frying.
Virgin olive oil falls somewhere in between, offering a balance of flavor and versatility.
Baking and cooking with soybean oil vs olive oil
When it comes to baking and cooking, both soybean oil and olive oil have their own strengths.
Soybean oil has a higher smoke point compared to olive oil (450-475°F vs 350-470°F), which means it can withstand higher temperatures without breaking down and releasing unpleasant odors. This makes it great for frying and deep-frying.
Olive oil has a lower smoke point, making it better suited for sautéing, roasting, and baking at moderate temperatures. Extra virgin olive oil is also my favorite oil to use raw in salad dressings and as a finishing oil over soups or pasta.
Can soybean oil and olive oil be substituted for each other?
But what if you’re in a pinch and need to substitute one oil for the other?
While it’s generally possible to substitute soybean oil for olive oil and vice versa, keep in mind that the flavor and overall result of your dish may be slightly different.
Soybean oil has a neutral taste, so it won’t drastically alter the flavors of your recipes. On the other hand, olive oil, especially extra virgin olive oil, has a distinct and robust flavor that can add depth to your dishes.
So, if you’re looking to infuse that delightful olive oil taste into your cooking, you might want to stick with the real deal.
Nutrition: Soybean oil vs olive oil
Soybean oil is known for its high content of polyunsaturated fats, particularly omega-6 fatty acids. It also contains vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant.
On the flip side, olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, which are considered heart-healthy. Additionally, olive oil contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a popular choice in the Mediterranean diet.
However, both are high in calories and should be enjoyed in moderation. In addition, soybean oil is a highly processed, refined oil and isn’t good in large quantities. Cold-pressed or unrefined soybean oil is better, but is still not as healthy as olive oil or avocado oil.
|Per tablespoon (15mL)||Soybean oil||Olive Oil (Extra Virgin)||Olive Oil (Light/Pure/Regular)||Olive Oil (Virgin oil)|
|Polyunsaturated||7.9 g||1.5 g||1.5 g||1.5 g|
|Monounsaturated||3.1 g||10 g||10 g||10 g|
|Saturated||2.1 g||2 g||2 g||2 g|
|Trans||0.1 g||0 g||0 g||0 g|
|Total Fat||13.6 g||14 g||14 g||14 g|
The primary fat source is bolded.
How to store soybean oil and olive oil
Soybean oil is highly prone to oxidation when exposed to heat, light, or oxygen. This produces potentially harmful compounds and causes the breakdown of nutrients, so it’s best stored in a dry, dark, cool place. The refrigerator is best for extended periods of time.
To ensure the best quality and freshness of olive oil, I recommend storing it in a cool, dark place, away from direct light and heat sources – just like soybean oil. Ideally, it should be kept in a tightly sealed, opaque container to protect it from oxidation.
Soybean oil vs olive oil: Which is better
Now, the big question remains: which oil is better?
Overall, olive oil is a more natural oil with a better nutritional profile than soybean oil – it’s a winner in my eyes! Of course, if you’re looking for a neutral-tasting oil with a high smoke point for frying, soybean oil might be a better choice… but I would stick to using it on occasion (and opt for unrefined varieties if possible), due to soybean oil’s highly refined nature and the fact that it’s more prone to oxidation.
Yes, you can substitute soybean oil for olive oil in most recipes, but keep in mind that the flavors may vary.
While cold-pressed or unrefined soybean oil may have some health benefits compared to refined versions, oils like olive oil or avocado oil are generally considered healthier due to their higher levels of monounsaturated fats and beneficial nutrients.
Olive oil, especially extra virgin olive oil, is often considered one of the healthiest cooking oils due to its monounsaturated fats and antioxidants. However, moderation and balance are key when it comes to any oil in your diet.