What Are Some Alternatives For Olive Oil?

By Ellie Smith

1 week ago

Substitutes for the modern 'liquid gold'


The skyrocketing price of olive oil is the talk of the supermarket aisles right now. Costs in the UK have more than doubled in the past two years: in April, The Grocer reported that the average price for one-litre of own-label olive oil in major supermarkets was £7.38. And it looks like prices are set to climb even more this year as climate change continues to affect production – with some insiders predicting mass-market extra virgin could go up to as much as £16 a pop next month. All this has led us to wonder: are there any olive oil alternatives that won’t break the bank? 

Olive Oil Substitutes: What To Use Instead

Thanks to its low content of saturated fat and great taste, olive oil is a staple in many households – used both in cooking and in dressings. However, other oils can work as a substitute, offering health benefits and flavours of their own. This is particularly the case with cooking, when flavour is less important – you can then save the pricey olive oil for drizzling over your salad or dipping your bread in.

Olive oil and bread

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When choosing an oil for cooking, a key factor to consider is the smoke point: the temperature at which the oil turns dark and starts giving off smoke. Oils with a low smoke point, such as flaxseed and walnut oil, aren’t usually the best for cooking as they can burn easily, affecting the nutritional value and taste.

If health benefits are important to you, look for unrefined oils labelled ‘virgin’, ‘extra virgin’, or ‘cold-pressed’. However, it’s worth noting that refined oils tend to be better suited to cooking, as the refining process removes the enzymes and sensitive compounds which are more likely to burn.

Here are some olive oil alternatives to consider.

Canola Oil

Made from crushed canola seeds, canola oil has a high smoke point and a neutral flavour, meaning it works well for sautéing, frying and roasting. It’s also one of the healthiest oils available: rich in vitamins K and E, and low in unsaturated fat.

Sunflower Oil

With a high smoke point and high content of linoleic acid (an essential fatty acid), sunflower oil is another good alternative to olive oil. It has a neutral flavour, so will be fine for frying or baking, but wouldn’t really add much to a salad dressing.

Stir fry

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Sesame Oil

Sesame oil has a smoke point of 410°F, so it can be used in cooking, however it does have a strong, nutty taste, so won’t work in everything. It’s best in Asian dishes such as stir fries. If you’re cooking with it, make sure you’re using the light or raw variety; toasted is best for dressings.

Rapeseed Oil

High in monounsaturated fat (the good kind) and rich in omegas 3 and 6, rapeseed oil is a nutritious olive oil alternative. It also has a high smoke point, so can be used in cooking.

Butter

If flavour is important, butter can also work as an olive oil alternative, although it is high in saturated fat, so should be used in moderation.