Best Substitutes for Canola Oil

canola (rapeseed) oil

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Canola oil is a versatile vegetable oil. It has a neutral flavor and a high smoke point, making it the perfect oil for sauteing and frying foods. You may also use canola oil to make salad dressing or as an alternative fat source when baking.

Though widely used and readily available, what do you do when your recipe calls for canola oil and you do not have it or you cannot use it? Fortunately, there are a number of options you can use in place of canola oil.

About Canola Oil

Canola oil is made from the seed of the canola plant. It is light in color, texture, and flavor, which is why it has so many uses. You also can refrigerate the oil without it losing its liquidity, making it the perfect oil for salad dressings. It also can replace butter in some in baked goods, adding moisture and texture without the saturated fat. 

Canola oil also has a high smoke point. This means you can heat the oil to a temperature of 478 degrees Fahrenheit without it smoking—or burning—so it can be used for sauteing and deep frying.

You may have concerns about canola oil because of its association with rapeseed oil. Rapeseed oil is a type of vegetable oil with a high content of erucic acid, which is a substance that is toxic to humans when consumed in high amounts. 

The canola plant was bred from rapeseed. However, the versatile cooking oil has minimal amounts of erucic acid and is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the Food and Drug Administration.

Canola Oil Nutrition Facts

Canola oil is considered a "heart-healthy" oil, because it is low in saturated fat and high in unsaturated fats. The nutrition information for 1 teaspoon (4.5 grams) of canola oil comes from the USDA.

  • Calories: 40
  • Total fat: 4.5g
  • Sodium: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 0
  • Fiber: 0
  • Sugar: 0
  • Protein: 0
  • Saturated fat: 0.331g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 2.85g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.26g

Canola oil has one of the lowest amounts of saturated fat of any cooking oil. The FDA allows manufacturers of canola oil to place health claims on their food labels stating that the oil may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).

CHD, also known as coronary artery disease (CAD), is the most common type of heart disease. With CHD, you have narrowing or blockages in your coronary arteries—the main arteries in your heart—due to a buildup of plaque along the blood vessel walls.

The reason for the health claim is due to the oleic acid present in canola oil. Oleic acid is a type of monounsaturated fat also found in olive and sunflower oil. Replacing saturated fats with oils high oleic fats, like canola oil, may lower your risk of CHD.

A review study published in 2020 found that canola oil reduces total cholesterol and bad cholesterol—low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol—better than olive oil.

Why Use a Substitute

Though a versatile oil and a staple in many kitchens, there are many reasons why you might need a substitute for canola oil. Maybe it is not an oil you regularly buy and you are right in the middle of making a recipe that calls for it and you need to know what you can use instead. Or, maybe you are all out and cannot find any canola oil at your local grocery store. 

You may also be searching for a canola oil substitute because you have an allergy to mustard. Canola oil is made from a plant that is a member of the Brassicaceae family. Though allergies to canola oil are rare, if you have an allergy to mustard, which is also part of the Brassicaceae family of plants, then you may want to avoid canola oil too.

Best Substitutes for Canola Oil

Canola oil may be versatile, but it is not your only vegetable oil option. If you are all out or you cannot use canola oil, there are many good alternatives. Here are some potential options you can try in a pinch.

Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil is a versatile cooking fat that is light in color with a neutral flavor, making it a perfect one-to-one substitute for canola oil. The one thing to note about vegetable oil is that it may contain a blend of vegetable oils, like soy, corn, or even canola oil. If you have an allergy to any of these oils, you will need to read the label carefully,

However, vegetable oil is readily available and inexpensive cooking oil. It also has a similar nutrition profile. Vegetable oil also has a high smoke point and can be used for sauteing and frying. 

Safflower Oil

Safflower oil is made from the seeds of the safflower plant. It is light in color with a neutral flavor and works as a good substitute for canola oil. Safflower oil has a similar nutrition profile to canola oil. You can also use safflower oil for high-heat cooking, like sauteing or frying. 

Olive Oil

When it comes to heart health, olive oil may be the first oil that comes to mind. You can also replace your canola oil with olive oil. However, the type of olive oil you use may affect the color or flavor of your dish. 

When substituting for canola oil, refined olive oil makes the best choice because it is light in color and has a very mild flavor. Virgin olive oil is a very flavorful oil and may not work as well in recipes where you do not want to add any olive oil flavor.

Olive oil makes a good replacement for canola oil in salad dressings and for sauteing. However, it has a lower smoke point than the other oils and is not a good substitute for deep frying.

A Word From Verywell

When looking for a replacement for canola oil, there are a lot of oils from which to choose. While most oils can be substituted without much change in flavor, you do have to be careful about the type of olive oil you select when using it as a substitution. All in all, if you need to make a substitution for canola oil because you are out or cannot use it, you should be able to replace it with ease.

10 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Canola Council of Canada. Canola oil.

  2. Food and Drug Administration. Code of federal regulations: Rapeseed oil.

  3. USDA, FoodData Central. Oil, canola.

  4. Food and Drug Administration. FDA completes review of qualified health claim petition for oleic acid and the risk of coronary heart disease.

  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heart disease facts.

  6. Amiri M, Raeisi-Dehkordi H, Sarrafzadegan N, Forbes SC, Salehi-Abargouei A. The effects of Canola oil on cardiovascular risk factors: A systematic review and meta-analysis with dose-response analysis of controlled clinical trials. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2020;30(12):2133-2145. doi:10.1016/j.numecd.2020.06.007

  7. Fiocchi A, Dahdah L, Riccardi C, Mazzina O, Fierro V. Precautionary labelling of cross-reactive foods: The case of rapeseed. Asthma Res Pract. 2016;2:13. doi:10.1186/s40733-016-0028-4

  8. USDA, FoodData Central. Oil, vegetable, soybean, refined.

  9. USDA. FoodData Central. Oil, safflower, salad or cooking, high oleic (primary safflower oil of commerce). Published April 1, 2019.

  10. University of Florida, IFAS Extension. Health benefits of olive oil and olive oil extracts.

By Jill Corleone, RD
Jill is a registered dietitian who's been learning and writing about nutrition for more than 20 years.