If you don’t already cook with peanut oil, you might want to after reading this article.
Peanut oil is a mild-flavoured cooking oil that’s popular for frying, and it’s healthier than some other oils.
If you’re curious to know more about what peanut oil is, how it’s made, and all the yummy ways you can use it, keep on reading!
What is peanut oil?
Peanut oil is a type of vegetable oil derived from—you guessed it—peanuts! Also known as groundnut oil or arachis oil, it’s a popular frying oil, particularly in Asian dishes.
I love using it in my cooking because it has a mild flavor that doesn’t overpower my dishes, and it can handle high temperatures without smoking up my kitchen.
Peanut oil is made solely from peanuts and does not contain any additives or preservatives. It’s a pure oil that is rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, making it a healthier alternative to some other cooking oils.
However, it is important to note that peanut oil contains peanuts of course, so individuals with peanut allergies should avoid consuming it.
How is peanut oil made?
Peanut oil is typically made through a two-step process: extraction and refining.
First, peanuts are cleaned, shelled, and then subjected to either mechanical pressing or solvent extraction to extract the oil.
Mechanical pressing involves crushing peanuts to release the oil, while solvent extraction uses a solvent like hexane to separate the oil from the peanuts.
After extraction, the crude peanut oil undergoes refining processes such as degumming, neutralization, bleaching, and deodorization to remove impurities, improve its color, flavor, and stability, resulting in refined peanut oil suitable for consumption.
Types of peanut oil
There are two main types of peanut oil: unrefined and refined peanut oil:
Unrefined (also known as cold-pressed or virgin) peanut oil: Extracted using mechanical pressing methods without the use of chemicals or high heat. It retains its natural flavor, aroma, and nutritional value. It has a strong peanut flavor that tastes great in stir-fries, dressings, marinades, and dips.
Refined peanut oil: Undergoes a refining process to remove impurities, neutralize flavors, and increase its smoke point. Refined peanut oil has a lighter color, milder flavor, and a higher smoke point, making it suitable for high-heat cooking methods like frying and deep-frying.
Benefits of peanut oil
Aside from being super tasty, peanut oil brings some nutritional benefits to the table.
It’s packed with heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that help lower bad cholesterol levels.
Plus, it contains vitamin E, an antioxidant that keeps your skin glowing and gives your immune system a boost.
Oh, and did I mention it’s a great option if you’re following a special diet like vegan, gluten-free, or dairy-free? Yup, peanut oil ticks all those boxes!
Peanut oil nutrition facts
|1 tbsp (15mL)
The primary fat source is bolded.
How to cook and bake with peanut oil
Alright, let’s get down to the fun part—cooking and baking!
Peanut oil is a champ in the kitchen. It can handle different cooking techniques like sautéing, stir-frying, and even deep-frying. That’s because it has a high smoke point, which means it won’t burn easily.
You can use it to whip up some delicious stir-fried veggies, crispy fried chicken, or French fries. For high-heat cooking, go with refined peanut oil, as it has a high smoke point. For salad dressings or noodle dishes, use unrefined peanut oil to add a delicious nutty flavor.
As for baking, not all recipes are suitable for peanut oil, so it’s best to start with recipes that specifically call for it or those that work well with other oils. Peanut oil works particularly well in recipes like peanut butter cookies, certain cakes, and bread.
Ways to use peanut oil
Here are some common dishes and baked goods that use peanut oil:
- Stir-fried dishes
- Salad dressings
- Dips and sauces
- Satays and peanut sauces
- Asian noodle dishes
- Fried rice
- Deep-fried foods (French fries, fried chicken)
- Baked goods (cakes, cookies)
- Peanut-flavored desserts (peanut butter cookies, peanut butter pie)
- Thai and Southeast Asian curries
- Peanut-based soups
- Pan-seared meats and seafood
- Roasted vegetables with peanut oil drizzle
How to make peanut oil at home
Making peanut oil at home is a challenging and labor-intensive process, but with a lot of hard work and a LOT of peanuts, it can be done…
- Start by selecting fresh, raw peanuts and removing their shells.
- Dry the peanuts completely and optionally roast them for enhanced flavor.
- Crush or grind the peanuts to release the oil, then press the crushed peanuts in a cheesecloth or muslin bag to extract the oil.
- Strain and filter the oil to remove solids and impurities.
- Store the oil in a clean, airtight container in a cool, dark place.
How to store peanut oil
When it comes to storing your precious peanut oil, you want to keep it in a cool and dark place, away from direct sunlight and heat sources. Make sure to seal that bottle tightly to keep the freshness locked in.
Unopened peanut oil can stay good for up to a year at room temperature (no refrigeration necessary), while opened bottles should be used within six months for the best flavor.
What are the best substitutes for peanut oil?
What if You’re Out of Peanut Oil? No worries, my friend! There are some substitutes that work great in different situations…
For an all-around substitute, grab some sesame oil. It also comes in unrefined and refined varieties.
If you’re looking for a high-heat cooking oil, sunflower oil is your best bet.
And if you’re after a healthy option, go for walnut oil.
Peanut oil is considered a healthy option when consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. It is a good source of heart-healthy fats and vitamin E.
Yes, peanut oil is safe to eat for the majority of people. Of course, individuals with peanut allergies should avoid it due to the risk of an allergic reaction.
Peanut oil and vegetable oil can both be part of a healthy diet when consumed in moderation, as they both contain unsaturated fats that are beneficial for heart health, although peanut oil has a higher monounsaturated fat content while vegetable oil may have a higher polyunsaturated fat content depending on the specific type of vegetable oil.
Regular oil is a broad term that can refer to various types of cooking oils, including peanut oil. Peanut oil, on the other hand, specifically refers to oil extracted from peanuts. See our full list of 40+ different oils.