Roasted peanut oil is a solid option for giving Asian and Western dishes a rich, nutty flavor. It can give the flavor of roasted peanuts to salad dressings and dipping sauces. You can also use it as a seasoning for stir-fries and noodle dishes. If you don’t have it on hand and need an emergency alternative, here are some of the best roasted peanut oil substitutes.
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Your best bet: Make a roasted peanut-flavored oil
While you won’t be able to make peanut oil at home without a lot of time and effort, you can make a peanut-flavored oil without too much trouble. Your main ingredient will still be roasted peanuts. You can buy them already roasted or get them raw and roast them yourself.
Add the roasted peanuts to a cooking oil with a neutral flavor. Canola oil is a good option as is vegetable oil. You can even add it to refined peanut oil. Use a quarter cup of peanuts to a cup of oil, but you can increase the ratio of peanuts to oil if you want an even more concentrated flavor. Cook the peanuts in the oil until they darken to a deep brown then remove them. Use the oil the way you would commercial roasted peanut oil. Everything you need to make peanut-flavored oil is affordable and easy to find.
The only real downsides of this oil are that it won’t be as concentrated as true roasted peanut oil and it will still take time and effort to make, which means it won’t be a good idea if you are in a hurry.
A decent second choice: Toasted sesame oil
Like roasted peanut oil, toasted sesame oil brings an intense nutty flavor profile to dishes. It is used as a condiment or added in small amounts to marinades. It is a finishing oil that you drizzle on food but should avoid using as a frying oil due to its low smoke point, which is another characteristic that it has in common with roasted peanut oil.
It consists of oil extracted from toasted sesame seeds in the same way that roasted peanut oil is extracted from roasted peanuts. Toasted sesame oil is easier to find than roasted peanut oil in many Asian grocery stores in the West.
Toasted sesame oil won’t have the distinctive and familiar peanut taste of roasted peanut oil, but it will be close enough to work in most applications.
In a pinch: Walnut oil
A nutty flavor profile is one of the main properties of walnut oil that make it a good roasted peanut oil substitute. Like roasted peanut oil, it has a low smoke point, so it is often used in salad dressings and other uncooked preparations just like roasted peanut oil. Walnut oil is similar to roasted peanut oil in another way: it is a good source of phytosterols that can help lower your risk of heart disease by lowering your cholesterol.
Walnut oil won’t have the same kind of concentrated nuttiness that you would get from roasted peanut oil. Its flavor profile is more delicate and refined.
Hazelnut oil is another premium nut oil that can work as a roasted peanut oil substitute. Like roasted peanut oil, hazelnut oil is extracted from roasted nuts. It brings a rich, nutty flavor that you can use in many of the same applications that call for roasted peanut oil. The downside is that it is relatively rare and tends to be expensive when you can find it.