Safflower oil is a neutral-tasting cooking oil with a high smoke point and some important health benefits. Along with its useful nutritional profile, it has the advantage of being relatively affordable and widely available. If a quick trip to the grocery store is out of the question right now, there are quite a few other cooking oils that can provide similar benefits. Here are some of the best safflower oil substitutes:
Your best bet: Sunflower oil
Both sunflower and safflower oils are popular cooking oils with a lot in common. They are similar when it comes to their health benefits. The main sunflower oil varieties are the linoleic and high oleic.
High oleic sunflower oil is the best substitute for the oleic type of safflower oil. High oleic sunflower oil is 80 percent monounsaturated fat, similar to the monounsaturated fat content of oleic safflower oil. Sunflower oil is the richest source of vitamin E among cooking oils, which means that it contains even more of it than safflower oil.
Sunflower oil also has a similar mild flavor profile like safflower oil. Its smoke point is also high, which means that you can use it at a high temperature without burning and generating toxic compounds.
A decent second choice: Peanut oil
Extracted from the peanut legume, peanut oil is relatively easy to find. With peanut oil, you will get a similarly high smoke point that allows it to stand in for safflower oil in stir-fried and deep-fried dishes. You also get a good source of vitamins E, and K. Peanut oil’s flavor profile is not as mild as the taste of safflower oil, but it shouldn’t interfere with the flavor of your dishes if you use the refined kind.
Peanut oil is not quite as healthy as safflower oil, but it is still not the worst option out there. The downside of peanut oil is that it does contain more saturated fat and polyunsaturated fat than safflower oil.
While saturated fat is always bad for you, polyunsaturated fat does have some health benefits; however, only if you consume it in moderation. Studies show that most Americans get enough of it in their diet, so consumption should be limited. Too much polyunsaturated fat can cause inflammation.
In a pinch: Canola oil
Relatively inexpensive and easy to find, canola oil has a list of properties that make it a good alternative to safflower oil. Made from a variety of rapeseed that was bred to eliminate bad flavors from the oil, canola oil has a very mild flavor profile. Its name means Canadian oil, low acid. The low acid part means low erucic acid, which a toxic compound found in rapeseed.
It is highly unlikely that you will tell the difference between canola and safflower oils based on taste or smell. Besides being a good safflower oil substitute from a culinary standpoint, canola oil has a similar nutritional profile. It contains a lot of monounsaturated fat and is low in saturated fat. It also includes a lot of vitamins E and K.
Canola oil does contain more polyunsaturated fat than you would get from safflower oil.
Vegetable oil is a neutral cooking oil made with a blend of various plant-based cooking oils. Its flavor and nutritional profile can vary depending on the oils used. Some blends are mostly soy, while others may be canola-based.