Have you ever wondered what vegetable oil really is? Well, wonder no more!
Get ready to discover everything you need to know about this versatile cooking staple!
What is vegetable oil?
Vegetable oil is a type of oil that is derived from various plant sources.
It is commonly used in cooking and baking due to its versatility and affordability.
The term “vegetable oil” generally refers to a blend of different refined oils, such as corn, soybean, or canola oil.
As a result, several refined vegetable oils come from plants that contain common allergens, such as peanuts or soy. Always check the bottle for a list of specific ingredients and potential allergens.
Vegetable oil is a go-to option for many cooking and baking needs. It has a neutral flavor and it’s readily available and affordable, making it a pantry staple for many households.
How is vegetable oil made?
Vegetable oil is made through extraction from plant sources like seeds or fruits.
The process involves harvesting, cleaning, and preparing the plants. The oils are then extracted through mechanical pressing, solvent extraction, or cold-pressing.
Mechanical pressing involves crushing or pressing the plant material, while solvent extraction uses a solvent to dissolve the oil, separating it from the solid residue. Cold-pressing involves pressing at low temperatures.
Some oils may undergo additional refining processes to remove impurities and enhance their shelf life. The specific methods used can vary based on the type of vegetable oil.
List of vegetable oils
While “vegetable oil” typically refers to a blend of different vegetable oils for cooking, it’s also used to classify different types of oils that come from plants.
In that sense, here are some common types of vegetable oils:
- Soybean oil
- Canola oil (made from rapeseed)
- Sunflower oil
- Olive oil
- Palm oil
- Corn oil
- Peanut oil
- Coconut oil
- Sesame oil
- Safflower oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Avocado oil
- Flaxseed oil
For a full list of over 40 different types of oils, check out our oil hub!
Benefits of vegetable oil
Unlike some other oils, vegetable oil does not have a distinct taste or aroma, which makes it super versatile in the kitchen. You don’t need to keep multiple oils for different purposes – vegetable oil does it all!
Vegetable oil is often chosen as a frying oil due to its low cost compared to other options like sunflower oil.
Apart from its versatility, vegetable oil offers several health benefits. It’s a good source of healthy fats, including polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which are beneficial for heart health.
Made from 100% plant-based sources, vegetable oil is also dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan-friendly!
Vegetable oil nutrition facts
|Serving size||1 tbsp (15mL)|
|Total Fat||13.6 g|
Note: The exact nutrition facts will vary depending on the specific brand and ingredients in the vegetable oil. The primary fat source is bolded.
How to cook and bake with vegetable oil
Vegetable oil is fantastic for a wide range of cooking methods like sautéing, roasting, frying, grilling and baking! Its flavorless and odorless, making it a great base for salad dressings, marinades, and pretty much everything.
Its high smoke point makes it suitable for deep frying and pan frying. Keep in mind it may have a lower smoke point than sunflower oil or avocado oil (of course, this depends on the exact blend you get), so just be careful when using high heat. Nobody wants a kitchen filled with smoke alarms going off!
Now, when it comes to baking, vegetable oil works like a charm. Its smooth texture helps create moist and tender baked goods, from fluffy cakes to chewy cookies. It’s a lighter option than butter with a more mild flavor.
Ways to use vegetable oil
There are countless ways to incorporate vegetable oil into your recipes. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Banana bread
- Pancakes and waffles
- Fried chicken
- French fries
- Pan-fried fish and scallops
- Stir-fried vegetables
- Salad dressings
- Carrot cake
How to store vegetable oil
The best way to store vegetable oil is in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight and heat sources. Avoid placing it near the stove or oven, as exposure to heat can degrade the quality of the oil.
Unlike some other oils, refrigerating vegetable oil doesn’t affect the shelf life. It’s totally stable at room temperature!
When sealed, vegetable oil can last up to 2 years, while an opened bottle should be used within 1 year.
What are the best substitutes for vegetable oil?
If you find yourself running low on vegetable oil or simply want to explore other options, here are a few excellent substitutes:
Canola oil (the best alternative) – with its mild flavor and high smoke point, canola oil is a versatile substitute for vegetable oil in most recipes.
Extra virgin olive oil works well as a substitute in salad dressings or marinades.
Regular virgin olive oil is a suitable replacement for vegetable oil in sautéing and moderate-heat frying.
Safflower oil, with its high smoke point, is an ideal substitute when intense heat is involved, such as deep-frying or stir-frying.
Some examples include canola oil, soybean oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, and olive oil.
Vegetable oil refers to oils derived from plants and used for cooking and baking.
No, they are not the same. Canola oil is a type of vegetable oil derived from the seeds of the canola plant. If you’re interested, see our full article comparing vegetable oil and canola oil.
The choice between canola oil and other vegetable oils depends on personal preference, dietary needs, and cooking techniques. Canola oil is often favored for its mild flavor and health benefits.