Traditionally, safflower seeds are used as coloring and flavoring for food. Currently, one of the primary use of safflower is oil extraction in edible and biodegradable forms. There are two types of edible oil, high in oleic acid (monounsaturated fatty acid) and high in linoleic acid (polyunsaturated fatty acid)
The most common safflower oil in the market is the high-oleic type, considered a heat-stable cooking oil. Safflower oil has a high smoke point (around 450℉). This makes it an excellent oil for frying, deep-frying, baking, stir-frying, and sautéing. The high-linoleic type is less shelf-stable and best used as dressing and for uncooked dishes.
If you cannot use safflower oil or have an allergy to it, you can find many alternatives to use.
- Sunflower Oil
- Vegetable Oil
- Canola Oil
- Avocado Oil
- Grapeseed Oil
- Apricot Kernel Oil
- Soybean Oil
- Hazelnut Oil
- Light Olive Oil
Before anything else, let us make it clear that safflower is not related to saffron at all. Saffron is a spice, while safflower is a plant under the sunflower family.
17 Best Substitute For Safflower Oil
Safflower oil is extracted from the seeds of the safflower plant through the Soxhlet extraction method to produce a low acid, slightly yellow, neutral oil. It provides health benefits for cholesterol, inflammation, dry skin, and blood sugar problems.
Safflower oil is also used in skincare. It is non-comedogenic and may be applied topically. As an essential oil, it helps treat acne and eczema.
The best substitute for safflower should have the same characteristics, use, and benefits. Safflower oil has many uses, and one of its primary uses is in cooking. If safflower oil is not available, you can use any neutral oil with a high smoke point.
Sunflower oil extract comes from sunflower seeds using the pressing method or soxhlet extraction. It has a lower smoke point than safflower yet is relatively high (around 440℉).
Sunflower oil comes from the same family as safflower. Therefore, it is not surprising that it has a clear, slightly amber color with a neutral taste and slightly fatty smell similar to safflower oil.
It is high in vitamin E, linoleic, and oleic fatty acids and gives the same benefits as safflower oil.
These characteristics make sunflower oil the best and closest substitute to safflower in culinary and other uses.
Vegetable oil is one of the most common oils available in the market. The oil extract comes from essential oil-rich plants, and then undergoes the process of distillation and refining.
It has a mild, neutral flavor with amber color like safflower oil. It has a smoke point between 400℉ to 450℉ and can be used for deep-frying, stir-frying, and sautéing.
Vegetable oil is not as healthy as safflower oil. Its main components are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. However, vegetable oil contains a significant amount of Transfat.
Canola oil comes from the rapeseed plant (different from grapeseed). It is the most widely sold oil and is always available in stores.
It has a smooth, yellow texture with a mild flavor and odorless aroma. It has a high smoke point of 400℉, which is most suitable for stir-frying, deep-frying, baking, and sautéing.
Canola oil has the same nutrients and healthy fats found in safflower oil, making it a good substitute for safflower oil.
Avocado oil is touted to be one of the healthiest oil anyone can use. It contains 70% oleic fatty acid, omega 6, omega 3, and omega 9 fatty acids. It is heart-healthy and helpful in regulating blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure.
Avocado oil is obtained from the pulp of the avocado fruit. It has 2 types, refined and virgin or unrefined avocado oil. Virgin avocado oil is healthier and retains its natural flavor, nutrients, and buttery aroma.
Both types of avocado oil have a high smoke point, although refined avocado oil has a higher smoke point of 520℉ compared to the 480℉ smoke point of unrefined avocado oil. Avocado oil is used in cooking and frying.
Grapeseed oil is extracted from the by-product of winemaking. After the wine juice extraction, the remaining seeds from the grapes are cold-pressed to extract the oil.
Grapeseed oil has a smoke point of around 420℉, slightly lower than safflower oil, but nevertheless suitable for pan-frying, baking, sautéing, or other cooking methods under medium heat. It is also a neutral oil and will not alter or overpower the taste of your dish.
It has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and non-comedogenic properties. It is also rich in flavonoids and vitamin E. These characteristics make grapeseed oil a highly preferred ingredient for skincare products.
Apricot Kernel Oil
Apricot kernel oil may not be as popular as other oils, but it is a versatile substitute for safflower oil. Apricot kernel oil is extracted from apricot seeds using the cold press method or solvent extraction method.
Apricot kernel oil has a smoke point of 495℉ (one of the highest), making it suitable for any cooking method. It has a mild flavor and aroma similar to safflower oil that will not overpower your dishes.
Apricot kernel oil is also a topical non-greasy emollient, and rich in vitamins and nutrients. It can help heal wounds and scars, soothe dry skin, and reduce wrinkles and puffiness.
Soybean oil is a vegetable oil extracted from soybean seeds using the Soxhlet extraction method. It has many similarities to safflower oil, so an excellent substitute.
It has a mild, neutral flavor and pale yellow color like safflower oil. It has the same smoke point and culinary use as safflower oil.
Soybean oil contains the same omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids beneficial to the body. It is a versatile oil with many uses like dyeing, medical applications, and as an ingredient in beauty products.
Hazelnut oil is an all-purpose oil that is a good substitute for safflower oil. It is rich in linoleic fatty acid and vitamin E like safflower oil, so expect it to provide similar health benefits.
It has a nutty, sweet, mild, roasted taste and not a good substitute for cooking. However, it has a high smoke point of 430℉, so it is the perfect oil for frying and grilling.
Hazelnut oil is also helpful in reducing hyperpigmentation and helps hydrate and moisturize skin.
Light Olive Oil
Light or refined olive oil has a neutral flavor, almost colorless, and no aroma. It has a high smoke point of 465°F, suitable for most cooking methods like frying, deep-frying, and sautéing.
It has similar health nutrients and fats to safflower oil, but the same as other refined oils, some of its healthy nutrients and fats are reduced during processing.
Safflower oil is also used for baking, but you can substitute it with the following:
Corn oil is obtained from the germ of the corn kernel. Corn oil is primarily used in food, but it is also used as a moisturizer in soap.
Corn oil has a dark yellow color with a smoky, roasted flavor. It has a high smoke point of 460°F (refined corn oil), making corn oil a good substitute for safflower oil for baking.
It contains vitamin e, healthy fatty acids, and other nutrients that help the body be healthy and active.
Peanut oil or groundnut oil is extracted from peanuts and has a mild, almost neutral, nutty flavor. It has a pale amber color that is similar to safflower oil.
Peanut oil has a high smoke point of 437°F suitable for cooking and frying. However, it adds a richer flavor to your dishes, making it a great alternative for safflower oil in baking.
It contains healthy fats, phytosterols, and vitamin E like safflower oil but peanut oil also contains saturated fats, making safflower oil the healthier option.
To retain the coconut flavor suitable for your baking recipes, use unrefined coconut oil. It is rancid-resistant and has a longer shelf life.
It has a lower smoke point of 350°F compared to its refined counterpart; however, it is a suitable substitute for safflower oil in baking cookies and other baked goods.
Unrefined safflower oil has a lower smoke point of 225°F suitable for low heat cooking or uncooked dishes like salad. In its absence, you can work with other oils.
Wheat Germ Oil
Wheat germ oil comes from the germ of wheat kernels in the same way as corn oil. It has a toasted, nutty taste with pale yellow color. Wheat germ oil is also non-comedogenic similar to safflower oil.
Wheat germ oil has a smoke point of 225°F suitable for uncooked dishes like salad, sauces, and toppings. It contains riboflavin, pantothenic acid, vitamins, antioxidants, and healthy fats.
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) is made from cold-pressed pure olives. In short, EVOO is unrefined olive oil and contains all its natural taste, aroma, and nutrients.
It has a peppery, grassy flavor with a fruity aroma and a forest-green color. It has a low smoke point of 374°F compared to the 465°F smoke point of refined olive oil.
EVOO is a suitable alternative to safflower oil for salad dressing or dishes that do not require high heat.
Safflower oil is also used in skin and bath care products, and these oils are just as good alternatives.
Borage Seed Oil
Borage seed oil is extracted from the borage plant, considered an edible vegetable. However, it is not a suitable alternative for cooking because all beneficial fats disappear once heated. The culinary use of borage seed oil is in salad dressing and soup toppings.
However, Borage seed oil is one of the best substitutes for skincare use. The linoleic acid in borage seed oil can help with acne and hair problems, and penetrates the skin well.
Rice Bran Oil
The essential fatty acids in safflower oil help condition and improve the skin texture. This makes safflower oil a favorite ingredient in making homemade lotion and soap.
An inexpensive and excellent substitute is rice bran oil. It adds a creamy, rich lather and hardness to your bar soap. It helps soften and condition the skin. It is hypoallergenic, so it fits all skin types.
Sweet Almond Oil
Sweet almond oil is rich in protein, zinc, potassium, vitamins (A, D, E), and linoleic acid. It has excellent nourishing and emollient properties that help relieve irritation and dryness.
It is also non-comedogenic, so it will not clog the skin. Sweet almond oil has a mild scent suitable for sensitive skin lotions.