Q: What is the best substitute for grapeseed oil?
A: Canola oil is the best substitute for grapeseed oil. It’s mild flavour, high smoking point and the fact that it's readily available are all characteristics that demonstrate the success with which canola oil will replicate the role of grapeseed oil in cooking.
What is grapeseed oil?
According to the experts at Medical News Today, grapeseed oil is a byproduct of the grape seeds sourced during the winemaking process. The oil is extracted by crushing the seeds together and using solvents to withdraw it from the solid particles. Given the size of the seeds, the process tends to take place in a factory with specific machinery, so it’s not something you should try at home.
There are many health claims relating to grapeseed oil including that it contains high amounts of nutrients, polyunsaturated fats and antioxidants. Grapeseed oil contains a significant amount of Vitamin E which acts to defend cells against free radicals and support the immune system. It is also high in Linoleic acid, a type of omega-6 fatty acids.
The combination of these antioxidants, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and flavonoids help to protect blood vessels from being damaged, manage high blood pressure, and reduce high cholesterol levels.
Health Line reports, that despite the significant health benefits of grape seed oil there are concerns about the chemicals used to extract grapeseed oil and the adverse effects these chemicals could have on our health. ‘Hexane’ is one of the chemicals used in the extraction process and is said to have an adverse effect on both the environment and our health.
Grapeseed oil can be difficult to source, as a result it’s rarely readily available in the home when needed for a recipe. Luckily there are several other oils that can take its place. The key is determining the purpose of grapeseed oil and substituting it with an oil that meets this criteria.
- Canola oil
- Avocado oil
- Corn oil
- Olive oil
- Safflower oil
- Sunflower oil
- Walnut oil
- Peanut oil
- Almond oil
- Sesame oil
1. Canola Oil
Canola oil, just like grapeseed oil, is also chemically extracted from grape seeds. However, canola oil is cheaper to purchase, more readily available, and rich in omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats. This oil’s neutral flavour and high smoke (200 degrees celsius) make it suitable for a variety of cooking methods, especially baking, stir-frying or sautéing.
Given that canola oil has the same origins as grapeseed oil and can be adopted into any recipe, it is the best substitute for grapeseed oil.
2. Avocado oil
Similar to grapeseed oil, avocado oil is high in vitamin E, vitamin A, folate, thiamine, riboflavin and contains antioxidants that stimulate new cell growth, improve the appearance of skin and reduce inflammatory problems including eczema and rosacea.
Other than the notable health benefits, its high smoking point of 271 degrees Celcius make avocado oil a great substitute if deep frying is your purpose. If you require the oil for garnish or dressing purposes, avocado oil can also be substituted thanks to its neutral taste.
3. Corn oil
Corn oil is a very affordable oil option which is extracted from the germ of the corn plant. Organic, cold pressed corn oil is the healthiest alternative option because you benefit from mono and polyunsaturated fats that help to balance cholesterol levels. Given its health benefits and the fact that it has a smoking point of 210 degrees celsius corn oil would make a great substitute for deep frying.
4. Olive oil
Olive oil, produced by the grinding of olives into a paste and separating the oil, is rich in vitamin E, omega 3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats, and helps to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. The light, smooth and subtle taste of light olive oil, and high smoke point of 210C is great for baking; alternatively extra virgin olive oil, with its stronger flavour and texture mean it’s well suited as a salad dressing, garnish or emulsifying element when making homemade mayonnaise.
5. Safflower oil
Extracted from the seeds of the safflower plant, this has similar health benefits to grapeseed oil. Safflower oil can add a light touch to salads, given that it’s almost flavourless and won't drown out the flavours of the other ingredients. On the other hand given its 265 degrees celsius smoking point safflower oil is great for the frying pan. Unfortunately, if you’re allergic to flowers safflower oil is not a substitute for you.
6. Sunflower oil
Sunflower oil, sourced from the seeds of sunflowers, is an important source of gamma alpha linolenic acid that prevents thinning hair and baldness. This oil is also known for containing several vitamins and nutrients that reduce the risk of cataracts and cardiac problems, and generate new cells. Sunflower oil’s qualities allow it to be used for deep frying as well as a dressing and garnishing substitute.
Given that this oil is extracted from walnuts its flavour is potent, making it suitable for salads and stir fries that require a deep nutty element to be showcased.
8. Peanut oil
This is another oil that is extracted from nuts and has that strong nutty flavour. While peanut oil can be purchased in a refined form, which has removed the allergenic parts of the oil if you have a nut allergy it would be best to pick a different substitute oil. A high smoking point make peanut oil a perfect replacement for stir-frying vegetables and cooking Asian-inspired dishes as the taste is bound to linger.
9. Almond oil
Almond oil is another source of vitamin E; although it also contains vitamin B, monounsaturated and linoleic fatty acids, omega 6, omega 9 and zinc. Almond oil is extracted from sweet almonds and is great for baking as it will give your next batch of cupcakes a delicious, smooth buttery flavour and a slightly nutty taste.
10. Sesame oil
Sesame oil is a very healthy oil alternative because it’s packed full of vitamin E, vitamin K, polyunsaturated fats and antioxidants as well as, calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. There are two different types of sesame oil, ‘dark sesame oil’ which has a pungent taste that takes over, and ‘light sesame oil’ that has subtler flavour and higher smoke point making it excellent for wok-frying.