Oil is a very important ingredient in many recipes both cooked and not cooked. It is used to bring out the flavor and texture in baked goods, tenderize and add depth to meat and combined with herbs and spices to create delicious salad dressing and marinades. Some people even use food-grade oil to clean and soften their skin! It is a fact that vegetable oil and olive oil are two of the most beloved cooking oils. Both trained culinary artists, professional chefs, and foodies would be lost without their favorite oil.
So the big, tasty million-dollar question is, “Can I use vegetable oil instead of olive oil?
The answer isn’t as simple as yes or no. The two oils come from different sources, have different smoke points, and taste totally different. But, If you are in a pinch vegetable oil can be used when a recipe calls for olive oil most of the time. Vegetable oil will provide a milder flavor than olive oil but will provide the same texture and body.
There are many similarities and differences among all the cooking oils on the market today. Different recipes and uses require different oils to make the result deliciously amazing. Knowing the differences among some of the most frequently used can help you decide which one is best for your recipe.
- Olive Oil: Olive oil is one of the most popular and used oils. It is extracted from the fruit of the olive tree. There is extra virgin olive oil, virgin olive oil (EVOO), and pure olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is used mostly on raw foods as it adds a healthy depth of flavor to dips, dressings, and marinades. Virgin olive oil and pure olive oil are less refined than EVOO used in cooking.
- Vegetable Oil: Vegetable oil is a plant-based oil extracted from grains, seeds,and other sections of fruits and vegetables. Most vegetable oils have no flavor or fragrance. Some examples of vegetable oil are canola, soybean, corn, and palm oil. They are commonly used in cooking, baking and frying foods due to their smoke point. They are also found in many processed foods like salad dressings, mayonnaise, and packaged snacks.
- Avocado Oil: Avocado oil is another plant-based oil that comes directly from the flesh of a raw pressed avocado. It is healthier than other oils due to its high content of essential fatty acids. It is fine to cook at high temperatures and fry foods with avocado oil because it has an impressive high smoke point.
- Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is a cooking oil that comes from coconut milk, wick, and meat. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature and delicious when added to baked goods and frying foods. It is an excellent replacement for butter and vegetable oil. Coconut oil is added to many health and beauty products due to its natural components.
So now that we know there are other cooking oils on the market, what makes olive oil and vegetable oil different? First up, vegetable oil:
Vegetable Oil Is A Highly Processed Oil That Features:
- Multiple plant source product that is usually a combination of highly processed fats from canola, corn, sunflower, soy, safflower, and others
- A high smoke point oil that is commonly used in high heat cooking like baking and frying
- Very few nutrients depending on the oil blend
- Includes no antioxidants but based on the blend will retain very little nutrition
- Has a boiling point of 400 degrees Fahrenheit
Olive Oil Offers More Nutritional Value And Features
- One plant source product that is pressed from the fruit of the olive tree, olives
- A low smoke point oil that is enjoyed at room temperature in marinades, salad dressing, and cooking at low heat like sautéing and simmering
- Healthy components including vitamins E, K and loaded with natural antioxidants
- Three types of unprocessed oil including extra virgin, virgin and pure
- Has a boiling point of 390 degrees Fahrenheit
When you substitute vegetable oil for olive oil, the flavor and the nutritional value that olive oil provides will be different. Simply use the same amount of vegetable oil that the recipe calls for and there should be no problems with your recipe. Some chefs prefer vegetable oil in their recipes because it doesn’t provide any flavor, but provides a wonderful texture. It is a personal taste preference but can be substituted.
Is olive oil more expensive than vegetable oil?
Usually, unprocessed extra virgin olive oil is more expensive than vegetable oil. It depends on the brand, the age, and the size of the bottle as well.
Is olive oil healthier than vegetable oil?
Olive oil is unprocessed like vegetable oil and offers more antioxidants and nutritional value including Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. All oils are high in fat content and should be used in moderation.
Can I fry food with olive oil?
Since olive oil has a low smoke point, experts recommend not frying foods with olive oil. Quick pan-frying or sautéing with olive oil is ok, but vegetable oil is a better choice for deep-fried foods.
Can I use vegetable oil in recipes that calls for olive oil?
Substituting vegetable oil for recipes calling for olive oil with a one-to-one ratio is perfectly ok.
Can I use olive oil in baked goods as a substitute for vegetable oil?
Unlike vegetable oil that has no taste, olive oil features a stronger distinct flavor and could ruin the taste of baked goods.
Can I mix olive oil and vegetable oil together in the same recipes?
Vegetable oil can be mixed with olive oil in the same recipe. Keep in mind the two oils have considerable differences in fat content, flavor, and nutritional value, but it is ok to use them together.
Does olive oil or vegetable oil have a longer shelf life?
When stored in a cool, dark environment, olive oil has a longer shelf life than vegetable oil, approximately 24 months.