What is grapeseed oil?
Commonly produced in wine making countries like Italy, France, and Spain, grapeseed oil is a by-product of the wine making process. As the name suggests, it is oil extracted from the seeds of grapes and it has a very high smoke point making it great for cooking on high heat.
For years, wine makers were left with tons of stems, pulps, skins, and seeds of grapes which were fairly useless. These wine manufacturers can now extract the oil from grape seeds which are considered to have powerful antioxidants and grapeseed oil is taking the health, beauty, and culinary industry by storm.
Benefits of grapeseed oil:
Grapeseed oil contains vitamin E, even more so than olive oil. Vitamin E helps protect your cells from damaging free radicals that have been associated with heart disease, cancer, premature ageing, and a host of chronic illnesses. It also supports your immune system and helps battle environmental factors such as pollution. It is also potent in omega-6 which is good for the heart. Grapeseed oil contains antioxidants, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and flavonoids, substances that protect blood vessels from being damaged, help manage high blood pressure, and reduce high cholesterol levels.
Grapeseed oil is now a popular ingredient in various skin care products such as moisturisers, eye creams, and sunblocks. With its antibacterial properties it is also used to heal acne, lighten skin, reduce the appearance of scars and tighten pores. Grapeseed oil also contains linolenic acid which helps oily skin and clogged pores. While some natural oils like virgin coconut oil are also used for the scalp, they are not as lightweight as grapeseed oil.
10 Substitutes for Grapeseed Oil
1. Avocado Oil
Pressed from one of our favourite fruits, avocado oil is also widely used in the health and beauty industry. It has high levels of vitamin E and antioxidants that help stimulate growth of new cells, improve the appearance of skin, and reduce inflammatory problems including eczema and rosacea. Avocado oil also contains high levels of vitamin A, thiamine, folate and riboflavin.
Best use: As a cooking oil, avocado oil is best used for deep frying food like French fries, onion rings, and meat. It has a 271 C degrees smoke point which makes it a good grapeseed oil substitute because it allows the food to cook quickly without absorbing too much oil. It also has a neutral taste and can be used as salad dressing.
2. Almond Oil
Extracted from sweet almonds, almond oil has a smoke point of 216C degrees, just a little bit higher than grapeseed oil. The almond oil used for cooking is usually made from sweet almonds that provide a smooth, buttery flavour, with just a little nutty taste. Almond oil is commonly used as a finishing oil for salads, vegetables, and fish. It is also used as a grapeseed oil substitute in baking as it adds a nutty toasted flavour to cookies, cakes, and muffins.
Considered a super nut, almond oil contains high levels of vitamin E, vitamin B, monounsaturated and linoleic fatty acids, Omega 6, Omega 9, iron, zinc, and so much more.
Best use: Dressings and baking
3. Canola Oil
Canola oil is chemically extracted from the grapeseed plant. It’s a good grapeseed oil alternative when it comes to baking and it has a light flavour just like corn oil and grapeseed oil. Also similar to corn oil, it has a high smoke point of 200 C degrees.
It is cheaper than grapeseed oil and it is rich in both monounsaturated and omega-3 fats. However, these benefits are often overlooked because of the way canola oil is chemically processed.
Best use: Baking, stir frying and sauteéing.
4. Corn Oil
If you’re looking for something more affordable than grapeseed oil, corn oil is for you. Corn oil is extracted from the germ of the corn plant. It is one of the most inexpensive oils due to its high availability making it one of the most popular vegetable oils.
Just like grapeseed oil, it has a neutral flavour and it also has a high smoke point of 210 C degrees making it ideal for deep frying. It is also a key ingredient in some margarines. Unrefined corn oil is very high in fat and calories and is considered less healthy than olive oil or almond oil. Using an organic or cold-pressed version of corn oil will be healthier as you can benefit from the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat s that help balance cholesterol levels.
Best use: Deep frying
5. Olive Oil
Another kind of oil that you can use for baking purposes is olive oil. Oils used for baking shouldn’t have a strong aroma or flavour and that’s why olive oil is a great grapeseed oil substitute. It has a very light and smooth taste and has a high smoke point of 210 C degrees.
It is produced by grinding olives into a paste and separating the solids from the oil. Just like grapeseed oil, it is also rich in omega 3 fatty acids, monounsaturated fats and vitamin E making it an ingredient in hair and skin care products. It also helps reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
With its light texture, it is also perfect as salad dressing or used in dipping sauces. If you’d also like to make mayonnaise, you can substitute grapeseed oil for olive oil due to its emulsifying properties.
Best use: Baking, dressings and sauces
6. Peanut Oil
There are various processes used to get peanut oil. Refined peanut oil has the allergenic parts of the oil removed, this is the most commonly used type used by restaurants in cooking fried food. Cold-pressed peanut oil is a low-heat process whereby peanuts are crushed and oil is forced out. Gourmet peanut oil is unrefined and roasted, giving a deeper flavour to the oil. Because of its 230 degree smoke point, it’s amazing to use for stir-frying vegetables and other Asian-inspired dishes.
Best use: Stir Frying and Asian cooking
7. Safflower Oil
The safflower plant thrives in dry conditions and the oil is extracted from the seeds of the safflower plant. Similar to corn oil and peanut oil, it has a 265 C degrees smoke point, great for sautéing, frying, and searing. The petals are often used to substitute saffron and give colour and flavour to rice dishes. Safflower oil itself is almost flavourless and enhances the taste of your dishes, salads, and dressing.
It has the same health benefits as grapeseed oil and is also used in a few skin care products. If you are allergic to chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and the like, you might want to pass on this one and use the other alternatives in this list.
Best use: Salads and dressings
8. Sesame Oil
Sesame oil is one of the healthiest alternatives to vegetable oils. It has impressive amounts of vitamin E, vitamin K, polyunsaturated fats, and is filled with antioxidants. It also contains calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. It has a high smoke point of 210 C degrees so it is a good alternative to grapeseed oil when making dishes cooked at a high heat. It should be used sparingly because it has a pungent taste and aroma unlike grapeseed oil.
Best use substitute: Drizzling over Asian stir frys
9. Sunflower Oil
Made from pressed sunflower seeds, sunflower oil is commonly used in various skincare products. It’s also an important source of gamma alpha linolenic acid that prevents thinning hair and baldness. It is high in vitamin C, D, E, and A that helps prevent cataracts. It also has folic acid which help generate new cells, and selenium that helps reduce the risk of cardiac problems.
It has a 230 C degree smoke point, great for deep frying chicken and meat, and it can also be used as salad dressing because of its neutral flavour.
Best use: Deep frying and dressings
10. Walnut oil
Just like almond oil and avocado oil, walnut oil is best used for salad dressing and has a deeper nuttier flavour to it. It doesn’t have a high smoke point, so it’s best added as finishing oil.
It contains high levels of omega-9, omega-6, omega-3, and alpha-linolenic acid that helps improve blood circulation, reduce the risk of heart disease and it has phytonutrients that are an excellent source of selenium, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc, iron, and calcium. It also has high levels of B-1, B-2, and B-3, coupled with vitamin-E and niacin that benefit skin.
Best use: Salad dressings