Sunflower oil is typically used for cooking, cosmetic, and medicinal purposes. It has a pale amber color and mild nutty flavor. It is good for the heart because of its high monounsaturated fats content which lowers inflammation levels. It also increases good cholesterol.
Sunflowers are native to North America, but are now extensively grown in Russia and Ukraine. Ukraine is the largest exporter of sunflower oil with up to 46% share of the market.
But because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the sunflower oil industry has been greatly affected. What are the possible substitutes for sunflower oil? The following are some of the best.
- Olive Oil
- Peanut Oil
- Walnut Oil
- Coconut Oil
- Canola Oil
- Avocado Oil
- Safflower Oil
- Grapeseed Oil
- Flaxseed Oil
If you are really unlucky and still unable to find any of the alternatives above, read on to find out the full list of the best Sunflower Oil Substitutes.
But first, let’s touch on how this healthy ingredient is made and some of its benefits
13 Best Substitute For Sunflower Oil
Crude sunflower oil is obtained from partially dehulled seeds by mechanical pressing followed by hexane extraction and water degumming. Quality and stability are the major factors in the production, acceptance and marketing of vegetable oil products.[Source]
High oleic sunflower oil is more frequently sold since it is more stable for cooking.
Oils containing at least 70% oleic acid may reduce coronary heart disease.
The Food and Drug Administration
Sunflower oil has plenty of health benefits. It is high in fatty acids and low in saturated fat. As a skincare product, sunflower oil helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles and prevent premature aging because of its high vitamin E content.
It also contains linoleic acid which helps retain skin moisture. It has also been found to hasten wound healing because of its oleic acid content.
If you have run out of sunflower oil, one of the best substitutes will be olive oil which also can be used for cooking and cosmetic purposes. It is also a healthy oil with high oleic acid content.
If you do not have both of these, here are some alternatives to consider
Olive oil is commonly used for cooking and baking but it can also be used for cosmetic and medicinal purposes. It has a smoke point of 374–405°F (190–207°C).
There are three types of olive oil namely refined, virgin, and extra virgin. The classification is based on the type of processing the oil underwent. Refined olive oil is the most processed while extra virgin olive oil is the least, thereby making it the healthiest.
Olive oil has high oleic acid content. Studies show that this fatty acid helps reduce inflammation, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and lower bad cholesterol.
Aside from that, olive oil has plenty of antioxidants that lower the risk of heart disease. It is also rich in vitamins like vitamin E and vitamin K.
Olive oil is best for salads, pasta, and dips for bread.
Peanut oil, also known as groundnut oil, is a natural oil extracted from peanut plant seeds. It is often used for cooking but it can also be used as a massage oil, biodiesel, and oil to make soaps.
Peanut oil has a smoke point of around 450°F. It can withstand high temperatures without burning, making it a great cooking oil.
Regular peanut oil has a light color and mild flavor. However, peanut oil made from roasted peanuts has a darker color and stronger flavor. This type of peanut oil is often used for flavoring in Asian and African cuisine.
It has high levels of unsaturated fats, which are good for the heart. It has high levels of vitamin E, which help eliminate free radicals in the body. It has also been found to lower bad cholesterol levels and improve blood sugar levels.
Peanut oil is a good choice for high-heat cooking and baking because of its high smoke point.
Walnut oil has a light color, delicate smell, and sweet, nutty flavor. Walnut oil is rich in vitamins and antioxidants. It is great for the skin because of its high alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) content.
ALA stimulates wound healing and skin growth, and reduces inflammation. Walnut oil lowers blood pressure, improves blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and reduces the chances of cancer progression.
Unrefined walnut oil has a smoke point of 320°F. This is a bit low so it means the oil will burn quickly in high temperatures. It is, therefore, recommended to replace sunflower oil in salad drizzles and salad dressings.
It is prized for its antimicrobial and antifungal properties. Studies show that the lauric acid in coconut oil prevents the growth of microbes such as Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, Streptococcus mutans, Helicobacter pylori, and Escherichia coli.
Coconut oil is also an excellent addition to your skincare routine. Because it is rich in lauric acid that kills bacteria causing acne, applying coconut oil to the skin will help lessen pimples, reduce the appearance of acne scars, and increase skin moisture. It can also be used as a hair mask or hair moisturizer.
Coconut oil has a smoke point of 350°F, making it best for stir-fries and sautés. Extra virgin coconut oil has a yellowish color and coconutty taste, while refined coconut oil has a clear and neutral taste.
It has long been established that canola oil is good for the heart because of its very low saturated fat content (7%). It also has high levels of omega-3, omega-6 fatty acids, and phytosterols that cut down the absorption of cholesterol.
It also has vitamins E and K. Canola Oil has a high smoke point of 375 to 450°F, making it perfect for sauteing, deep-frying, roasting, grilling, and baking.
Avocado oil has two kinds – refined and extra virgin (unrefined). The classification is based on the amount of processing the oil went through.
Extra virgin avocado oil has a dark green color and avocado taste. It has a smoke point of 482°F. Meanwhile, refined avocado oil has a yellow color and a neutral taste. It has a smoke point of 500 to 520°F.
Avocado oil is coveted for its numerous health benefits. It is made up of 70% oleic acid, an omega-9 fatty acid, that helps lower cholesterol and reduce inflammation.
It is also rich in lutein, a carotenoid that reduces the risk of macular degeneration and cataract. It is also an excellent source of vitamins A and E that promote wound healing. Studies have also shown that avocado oil can be used to treat psoriasis.
Because of its high smoke point, it can be used as a cooking oil. But commonly, avocado oil is used as a salad drizzle, salad dressing, marinade, and flavoring.
Because of its tremendous health benefits and varied uses, avocado oil is an excellent substitute for sunflower oil.
Safflower Oil is an edible oil derived from safflower seeds. Safflower is a plant that belongs to the same family as sunflowers. Its flowers can either have a red, orange, or yellow color. The plant is primarily cultivated for vegetable oil production.
Because it comes from the same family as sunflowers, safflower oil is a good substitute for sunflower oil. It has a very high smoke point, especially the refined one.
Refined safflower oil has a smoke point of 510°F, while unrefined safflower oil has a smoke point of 225°F.
Like sunflower oil, safflower oil is rich in fatty acids like linoleic acid and oleic acid. Both of these fatty acids are good for the heart.
Studies have also shown that consuming 8 grams of safflower oil daily for four months helps improve blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation.
Grapeseed oil is a vegetable oil made from the seeds of grapes. The seeds. Which are leftovers from grapes used to make wines, are pressed to create grapeseed oil. The oil is light, odorless, and has a nutty taste.
Like coconut oil, grapeseed oil also has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also rich in vitamin E and other antioxidants, making it a favorite in the skincare industry. Studies have shown that grapeseed oil lessens skin redness, lightens scars, combats breakouts, and hydrates the skin.
Grapeseed oil is great for sauteing, pan-frying, stir-frying, and deep-frying because of its high smoke point (420°F). It Is commonly used in searing meat, roasting vegetables, and grilling. It can also be used as a salad drizzle or dressing.
Also known as linseed oil, flaxseed oil is made from the seeds of flax. The seeds of the flax plant are ripened, dried, and pressed to produce this oil. It is pale yellow and odorless.
Flaxseed oil is rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which is good for the heart. Ongoing studies have found that flaxseed oil has the potential to reduce the growth of cancer cells.
Aside from that, flaxseed oil is commonly used to treat gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea and constipation.
Flaxseed oil has a fairly low smoke point of 225°F, which means it should not be used for frying or any high heat cooking. Flaxseed oil is best used as a salad drizzle or salad dressing. Some use it as a finishing oil for soup, rice, desserts, shakes, and smoothies.
Corn oil has a light color and neutral flavor. It is a good substitute for sunflower oil because of its cheap price and wide availability. It has a high smoke point of 400 to 450°F, which Is suitable for sauteing, deep-frying, roasting, grilling, and baking.
Like most of the oils mentioned in the list, corn oil also contains linoleic acid and phytosterols which are good for the heart.
Phytosterols reduce the LDL “bad” cholesterol by blocking the body’s absorption. It also has vitamin E, which is good for the skin.
Cottonseed Oil is a vegetable oil derived from the seeds of cotton plants. It has a golden color and mild taste. It has a high smoke point of 450°F, which makes it perfect for high heat cooking.
It is often used in commercial food production because it helps in extending shelf life. It is also typically used as a salad dressing and salad oil.
Cottonseed oil is also used as part of skincare routine because of its high vitamin e and linoleic acid content. It helps in moisturizing and reducing inflammation of the skin.
However, a word of caution, unrefined cottonseed oil can be toxic because of gossypol, a naturally occurring toxin.
Soybean Oil is noted as the most consumed cooking oil. It has a high smoke point of 453-493°F suitable for deep-frying, grilling, roasting, and baking.
Soybean oil is good for the heart and bones because it is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin K.
Butter can also be used to substitute for sunflower oil. It has a smoke point of 350°F. It is commonly used for sautéing, baking, roasting meat and vegetables, and grilling. Butter is used with other oils for a more flavorful and creamier dish.
It has a lot of vitamins like vitamins A, E, and K. However, butter is very high in calories, hence, is not advised for those trying to lose weight.