Roasted peanut oil and peanut oil are two versions of the same oil with different characteristics. In the SPICEography Showdown below, we will go into those characteristics and how these oils are used.
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How does roasted peanut oil differ from peanut oil?
Roasted Peanut oil is processed differently from refined peanut oil. Because of how it is used, roasted peanut oil is not deodorized like (refined) peanut oil. The fact that it comes from roasted peanuts is an important difference since the peanuts used to make peanut oil are steamed rather than roasted.
The different processing methods result in important flavor differences. Roasted peanut oil tastes like roasted peanuts as you might expect. The flavor is particularly strong. Peanut oil does not usually taste like peanuts. When it does, the flavor is subtle. The refining process removes much of the flavor and aroma producing an oil with a neutral or almost neutral flavor profile.
The colors are different as well. Because it is extracted from roasted peanuts, roasted peanut oil will have an amber color. Refined peanut oil has a pale yellow color similar to the color of canola and other vegetable oils.
Roasted peanut oil is a specialty oil that you won’t find in many grocery stores. While it is available online, it won’t be as easy to find or as affordable as refined peanut oil. Because it is a popular cooking oil, refined peanut oil is both widely available in the US and costs less than roasted peanut oil.
Roasted peanut oil has a low smoke point, which means that it will start to burn at a relatively low temperature. Peanut oil has one of the higher smoke points of all cooking oils and is widely recommended for high-temperature cooking.
Roasted peanut oil and peanut oil can have different effects on health since roasted peanut oil still contains allergens while peanut oil doesn’t.
If your recipe calls for one, can you use the other?
Roasted peanut oil can work as a peanut oil substitute for raw applications. It will be the superior option in dishes where the oil’s flavor is important. It will contribute far more to the dish than the refined peanut oil’s neutral flavor profile.
You don’t want to use roasted peanut oil as a frying oil because of its low smoke point. Also keep in mind the strong roasted peanut flavor, which will be unsuitable for any dish that requires a neutral-tasting oil. Most dishes that require peanut oil will benefit from using a low-flavored oil in its place.
You can use peanut oil in place of roasted peanut oil but usually only as a frying oil. Peanut oil is usually used as a high-heat oil and not for its flavor, which is minimal. If you use it as a roasted peanut substitute, you will be eliminating the roasted peanut flavor from your dish.
When should you use roasted peanut oil, and when should you use peanut oil?
Use roasted peanut oil when you need a nutty finishing oil. It works for drizzling onto Asian noodle dishes and stir-fries. It also works in raw applications like Asian salads and can be a novel twist on the olive oil that you often see in French vinaigrettes.
Use peanut oil for deep-frying or whenever you need an oil without much flavor that can work in high-heat preparations.