Corn oil is a refined yellow vegetable oil that is widely used for culinary and industrial purposes. It is derived from the germ of the corn (maize) kernels, wherein it goes through unique refining processes to make this one-of-a-kind corn oil.
For culinary purposes, corn oil is known as one of the best oil for deep frying foods to a perfect crispness since it has a high smoke point of about 450°F (232°C). Hence, frying with the use of corn oil will not quickly burn your food. Aside from deep frying, corn oil is a widely available popular cooking oil of choice for pan-frying, sautéing, making salad dressings, marinades, baking cakes, bread, and other baked goods.
However, with all the processes involved in producing corn oil, some people would just prefer to steer away from buying corn oil. But somehow, studies claim that corn oil also has some beneficial health effects to our bodies since it has compounds that are found good for the heart, such as phytosterols, linoleic acid, and vitamin E.
Sometimes, you may find yourself in a cooking situation where you have run out of a particular key ingredient. That also happens to me at times. The next thing you would most likely do is to either jump into your car to buy that missing ingredient at the grocery store. Or maybe, you want to change the flavor of your recipe, or you just feel you have no need to drive to the grocery store to buy a bottle of corn oil just to use a few teaspoons of it for your recipe. Instead, you would prefer to find another ingredient that would work as an alternative. It sure is a little ridiculous and impractical idea to spend money on a bottle of corn oil when you only need a few heaps of it. Whichever way, you would be determined to give your best to get your recipes perfectly done, right?
There are plenty of kinds of oil that can fairly work well as corn oil, and you can always find most of them in the market. If you want a healthier alternative or something else that may be available in your pantry, just read through the rest of this article and find out the best corn oil substitute that works perfectly for your recipe. Whatever kind of oil you are going to use as a corn oil substituted, just simply use a 1:1 ration. Here are the choices:
1. Peanut oil
Like corn oil, peanut oil is a versatile refined oil that has a high smoke point with a mild nutty flavor taste. This kind of cooking oil is extracted from the peanuts of the legume family. Peanut oil is known as one of the world’s traditional oil for deep-frying since it can withstand high temperatures, and it can keep the outside of your fried foods crispy and moist on the inside. The interesting thing about cooking with peanut oils is that they do not absorb the flavor from other foods. Peanut oils come in different types. Just choose either of the following: Gourmet peanut oil (unrefined), refined peanut oil (non-allergenic, best for frying but highly processed), and 100% Peanut Oil (pure).
In terms of nutrition, peanut oil shares a common profile with corn. Peanut oil is rich in phytosterols, antioxidants, specifically vitamin E. It’s also a great source of polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fats that are deemed healthy in lowering the body’s cholesterol levels and has the potential to protect your health against diseases like colon, breast, and prostate cancers. Avoid using this oil if you are allergic to peanuts.
Substitute corn oil with peanut oil if you are going to prepare:
2. Safflower oil
Safflower oil will be the right healthy cooking oil of choice if you are going to prepare dishes that require to be cooked under high heat. Safflower is a tall plant that has yellow or orange flowers and spiky leaves. The seeds of this plant are the one that is used to produce safflower oil. Like corn oil and peanut oil, safflower oil has a higher smoke. Actually, even higher than most oils such as canola oil, corn oil, olive oil, sesame oil, and many more alternatives to mention. Aside from that, safflower oil has a neutral flavor, and it can work well for many recipes. However, it is just pricier than other cooking oil options, though. But if you already have this oil in your pantry, then that’s awesome!
As for its health benefits, safflower oil is a rich source of mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids, also known as the “good fats.” However, fats are fats, and you will still need to use them all in moderation.
Substitute corn oil with safflower oil if you are going to prepare:
3. Canola oil
Canola oil is one of the most common and most affordable mild-flavored cooking oils pressed from the rapeseed plants. In some parts of Europe, canola oil is called rapeseed oil. The downside of canola oil is that it becomes less nutritious compared to other oils since it has been through an extensive refining process utilizing heat and chemicals in extracting the oil. Despite this, canola oil has a moderately high smoke point and a long shelf life. And, most people would still use this oil as an easy substitute for corn oil. Using canola oil as a corn oil replacement will suit many recipes, and it won’t significantly impact your dishes’ flavor or appearance.
Substitute corn oil with canola oil if you are going to prepare:
4. Soybean oil
Soybean oil is a pale yellow semi-drying or drying cooking oil that is widely used worldwide. This oil is made from soybean seeds. Mainly, it has been already used for thousands of years, especially during ancient times in China.
If you have soybean oil at home, you can use it as a corn oil alternative. However, if you are conscious in terms of your fat quality intake, just know that soybean oil may slightly increase your intake of saturated fats. As a corn oil substitute, soybean oil’s taste is somewhat stronger than other kinds of oil, and it might not be suited for desserts, baked goods, and salad dressings. It does not hurt to try if you are curious, though.
Substitute corn oil with soybean oil if you are going to prepare:
5. Avocado oil
Avocado oil is one of the world’s recognized healthy oils with a high smoke point derived from avocado pulp extraction. Although the avocado tree is in the same plant family as bay laurel, the avocado oil does not taste like a bay leaf at all. Instead, this healthy oil is described to have a buttery aroma in contrast with corn oil. As a healthy oil, avocado oil is the best source for monounsaturated fats, HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol), oleic acid, lutein, and omega 3 fatty acids. All of these are considered to be beneficial for your cardiovascular and eye health.
Substitute corn oil with avocado oil if you are going to prepare
6. Grapeseed oil
Grapeseed oil or grape oil comes from the seeds of wine grapes. This oil is known to possess some healthy properties that can help fight cancer and heart disease since they contain high amounts of polyunsaturated fats and vitamin E.
Like they say, if you choose grapeseed oil, the more you are helping the environment because the oil-making process is considered eco-friendly. Both of these can be beneficial for treating serious diseases like heart disease and cancer. It also has a high smoke point and a very mild flavor profile, just like corn oil.
Grapeseed oil has a mild and nutty flavor with a high smoke point, and it can serve as a healthy alternative for corn oil.
Substitute corn oil with grapeseed oil if you are going to prepare:
7. Olive oil
Olive oil is well-known as the oil of choice for many health-conscious dieters around the world. This oil is obtained from pressing fresh olive fruits, and it is traditionally used in Mediterranean cooking. However, olive oil has a low to medium smoke point. Yes, it burns quickly when you cook your dish under high temperatures. Although it is a healthy kind of fat, you can’t use it in many different types of high-heat cooking. Note that olive oil has a stronger and more distinct taste. If you use it as a corn oil replacement, expect that your dish’s taste and flavor will change. So, as much as possible, try using the extra light variation to minimize the olive-y taste in your dish. Well, unless you don’t mind the aroma, though.
Substitute corn oil with olive oil if you are going to prepare:
8. Vegetable oil
Actually, there are many derivatives of vegetable oils. Canola oil, soybean oil, palm oil, and the like are examples of vegetable oils that are extracted from plant seeds or from other parts of fruits. But what I’m talking about this time is a vegetable oil that has different blends of oil in one product that most households use in their everyday cooking. The ones you see displayed and labeled as “vegetable oil” in the grocery stores are commonly made from a combination of soya beans plus probably some mixture of sunflower oil, canola oil, and more. This vegetable oil can withstand high cooking temperatures. It is an inexpensive kind of oil with a neutral flavor.
In terms of how healthy this vegetable oil is, it is just below the healthy kinds of oils. Oils labeled as “vegetable oils” are highly processed, or it may even have trans-fats as some of these are hydrogenated with the use of chemicals that extend its shelf life.
With all those negative health concerns involved, vegetable oil is useful for a wide range of culinary uses.
Substitute corn oil with vegetable oil if you are going to prepare:
Corn oil is a typically common cooking oil best for deep frying because it has a high smoke point.
If you are looking for a corn oil substitute, whether it is for frying, sauteing, braising, baking marinades, salads, and more, there are some options you can choose, depending on your preference.
For more healthy oil substitutes with high smoke points, you can replace corn oil with peanut oil, safflower oil, avocado oil, and grapeseed oil. Olive oil is a healthy oil, but its smoke point is low to medium.
If you prefer to use the inexpensive option, you can use either canola oil, vegetable oil, or soybean oil.
So, this is it! At this point, I hope this post has helped you decide on which corn oil you are going to use.