Peanut oil and vegetable oil both refer to plant-based cooking oils but peanut oil comes from one specific kind of plant while vegetable oil is a blend. While peanut oil can have similar properties to vegetable oil, it’s not always the case. If you are trying to decide between the two, there are some important factors to consider. Here is a look at how these two oils compare to each other:
How does peanut oil differ from vegetable oil?
Peanut oil and vegetable oil come from different sources. Peanut oil is extracted from the peanut legume, which means that it is a vegetable oil. The cooking oil that is sold as vegetable oil is labeled as such because it contains multiple oils rather than one specific oil. Vegetable oil is a blend of different plant-based oils that may include peanut oil as well as a variety of other oils like canola, corn, or soybean oil.
Peanut oil and vegetable oil have different nutritional values. The nutritional profile of vegetable oil depends on which oils go into the blend. Because so many oils may be used, the nutritional value of vegetable oil may differ considerably from blend to blend. That said, most vegetable oil blends will contain a lot of either canola oil or soybean oil.
Both canola and soybean oil contain more omega-3 fatty acids than peanut oil, which makes them healthier options when it comes to preventing heart disease, cancer, and other serious illnesses. Both oils also typically contain less saturated fat than peanut oil. Saturated fat is associated with clogged arteries and heart disease. Peanut oil is a source of vitamins E and K, as are canola and soybean oil, but the latter two contain far more vitamin K per serving than peanut oil.
Peanut oil is usually more expensive than vegetable oil, which tends to be a lower-cost cooking oil.
Can you use peanut oil as a substitute for vegetable oil and vice versa?
Peanut oil’s most popular attributes are its neutral flavor and high smoke point. The smoke point is the temperature at which a cooking oil will begin to break down. Similarly, canola oil and soybean oil both have neutral flavors and high smoke points. These oils also won’t make or distract from the flavor profile of your dish.
Peanut oil and vegetable oil are perfect substitutes for each other and can be switched out in most dishes without making a difference. The only significant factor that might make peanut oil an imperfect replacement for vegetable oil is the cost. Peanut oil can add a lot more to the cost of a dish when used for deep-frying since that cooking method will require a large amount of the oil.
When should you use peanut oil and when should you use vegetable oil?
Because they can each handle high temperatures, peanut oil and vegetable oil are perfect for high-heat cooking techniques like stir-frying and deep-frying. Peanut oil is the preferred option if you plan to deep-fry a large amount of food because it has a reputation for not taking on the flavors of the foods cooked in it. Because of this property, some cooks reuse it many times before discarding.
Vegetable oil may be more suitable for smaller batches and may also be more economical since it typically costs less than peanut oil.