Walnut oil is not the easiest oil to find and can be expensive where it is available. Several other cooking oils can provide similar flavor profiles at lower price points. Here are some of the best walnut oil substitutes:
Your best bet: Sesame oil
Sesame oil comes from sesame seeds that come from the sesame plant. Sesame oil will provide a similar nutty flavor to that of walnut oil. It has an important advantage over walnut oil, which is its high smoke point. A cooking oil’s smoke point is the temperature at which it begins to burn and release smoke along with toxic chemicals.
The fact that sesame oil can tolerate higher heat than walnut oil means that it is more versatile and can be used for high-heat cooking techniques. For example, you can use sesame oil for cooking stir-fried dishes that would be inadvisable with walnut oil. Sesame oil is also typically more affordable than walnut oil, which can be on the pricey side.
When it comes to nutrition, both oils provide vitamins E and K along with phytosterols. Sesame oil is a better source of vitamin E than walnut oil but is not as good a source of vitamin K.
A decent second choice: Peanut oil
Some forms of peanut oil can provide the nuttiness that you want from a walnut oil substitute; however, the refined peanut oil that is most widely available is not as flavorful. It is regarded as a neutral oil that does not contribute to or alter the flavor of foods cooked in it.
While you can use peanut oil as a salad oil in raw preparations, its claim to fame is as a cooking oil. This is because of its high smoke point, which makes it an excellent oil for deep-fried dishes and stir-fried ones. Peanut oil has the same vitamin E and K combination that you get from walnut oil, but it has vastly more vitamin E and considerably less vitamin K.
Peanut is not a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, but it does contain a lot of omega-6 fatty acids. It also has more saturated fat than walnut oil, making it the less healthy option of the two.
In a pinch: Almond oil
Almond oil has a strong nutty flavor, making it suitable for replacing walnut oil in dishes where the flavor is key. For example, it is a great alternative in salad dressings where you want the nuttiness to shine through. It also has a high smoke point, which allows it to be useful for high-temperature frying.
Feel free to use almond oil for stir-fried and deep-fried dishes. Almond oil is exceptionally rich in vitamin E. It contains far more of it than walnut oil, and it contains vitamin K as well, but not as much of it as walnut oil. It is not a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and contains a lot of omega-6 fatty acids. Almond oil contains more monounsaturated fat than walnut oil and also slightly less saturated fat.
Sunflower oil comes from sunflower seeds and offers many of the same health benefits as walnut oil. Opt for the high oleic version to maximize benefits. Sunflower oil is a pretty good source of vitamins E and K. While sunflower oil contains much more of the omega-6 fatty acids than the omega-3 ones, it still does contain a significant amount of omega-3s.