Canola oil is a popular option because of its mild flavor, high smoke point, and impressive array of health benefits. It is also affordable and easy to find in many grocery stores, especially in North America. If you run out suddenly or need an alternative for some other reason, try one of the canola oil substitutes below.
Your best bet: Olive oil
Olive oil is a Mediterranean cooking oil pressed from olives and is one of the healthiest and easiest to find oils. Its many health benefits include its ability to fight inflammation and control cholesterol levels.
Extra virgin olive oil is believed to be the healthiest form of olive oil and is cold-pressed, which means that it never gets above a certain temperature as it is being extracted from the olives. Cold-pressed olive oil is believed to be of a higher quality than other types.
Extra virgin olive oil does have a more robust and distinctive flavor profile than canola oil, and its smoke point is low; however, there are extra light versions that are neutral-tasting and that have high smoke points.
The cost can be a downside since quality olive oil will usually be more expensive than canola oil.
A decent second choice: Safflower oil
The safflower plant that provides safflower oil belongs to the same family as sunflowers. With its neutral taste and high smoke point, safflower oil makes a good alternative to canola oil especially for baking and shallow frying.
Safflower actually has a slightly higher smoke point than canola oil, which means that it might be better for high-temperature cooking styles like stir-frying. Studies show that its list of benefits includes helping to control blood sugar and fighting inflammation.
Keep in mind that there are two types of safflower oil: high oleic and linoleic. The high oleic variety is rich in monounsaturated fats; the linoleic is rich in polyunsaturated fats.
Safflower oil can have some serious drawbacks such as the fact that it can act as a blood thinner. It also belongs to the ragweed family so you may want to avoid it if you have allergies to that group of plants.
In a pinch: Avocado oil
Extracted from avocado fruits, avocado oil has a high smoke point and an unobtrusive flavor profile. One of the healthiest oils for cooking, avocado oil is as good for frying as it is for raw applications like salad dressings. Use it for baked goods and for drizzling over vegetables. The levels of monounsaturated fats in avocado oil are among the highest among all cooking oils.
Avocado oil can be on the expensive side, which means that you may not be able to use it in the same quantities that you would use canola oil.
Sunflower oil is full of polyunsaturated fats that can help to prevent diabetes and lower cholesterol levels. It is rich in vitamin E and can help to lower the risk of cancer. Like canola oil, sunflower oil’s flavor is close to neutral so it will work well in most of the same applications such as baking and frying.
Corn oil is arguably one of the easiest to find and the most affordable canola oil substitutes. Made from the germ of the corn kernel, corn oil is full of polyunsaturated fats and can help to control cholesterol levels. It has a mild flavor and a high smoke point that make it one of the best canola oil alternatives for deep frying.