Cottonseed Oil Nutrition Facts

Calories, Carbs, and Health Benefits of Cottonseed Oil

Cottonseed annotated
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman 

Cottonseed oil is the oil extracted from cotton seeds including Gossypium hirsutum and Gossypium herbaceum. This inexpensive oil can be used for home cooking, but it is also used by food manufacturers in the production of foods like cookies and potato chips. So is cottonseed oil bad for you? The answer depends, in part, on how you use it. This oil is healthier than some, but less healthy than others.

Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for one tablespoon (13.6g) of cottonseed oil.

  • Calories: 120
  • Fat: 14g
  • Saturated fat: 3.5g
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Carbohydrates: 0g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 0g

Fats in Cottonseed Oil

There are three different types of fat in cottonseed oil.

This oil contains saturated fat. Saturated fats are considered to be less healthy fats as they may contribute to heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends choosing oils with less than four grams of saturated fat per tablespoon. Cottonseed oil provides just 3.5 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon.

You'll also get 7 grams of polyunsaturated fat when you consume a tablespoon of cottonseed oil. Polyunsaturated fat is liquid at room temperature and may boost heart health when you use it to replace less healthy fat (like saturated fat) in your diet. 

There are two different kinds of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and cottonseed oil contains both of them. According to USDA data, you'll get 2 percent of your daily recommended intake of α-linolenic acid (ALA) omega-3 fatty acids and you'll get 58 percent (7 grams) of your recommended daily intake of linoleic acid or omega-6 fatty acids.

There is also a small amount of monounsaturated fat in cottonseed oil. Monounsaturated fats come primarily from plant sources, like avocado, nuts, or seeds. Monounsaturated fatty acids, also called MUFAs, are believed to increase your HDL cholesterol or "good" cholesterol. Health experts recommend that you replace less healthy fats (such as saturated fats and trans fats) with monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fat. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that 15 to 20 percent of your caloric intake come from monounsaturated fatty acids.

Carbs in Cottonseed Oil

There are no carbohydrates in cottonseed oil. The estimated glycemic load of cottonseed oil is zero.

Protein in Cottonseed Oil

There is no protein in cottonseed oil.

Micronutrients in Cottonseed Oil

Cottonseed oil contributes vitamin E to your diet. You'll get a little less than 5 milligrams or about 32% of your recommended daily intake when you consume one tablespoon of cottonseed oil.

Vitamin E, or alpha-tocopherol, plays an important role in cell membranes as an antioxidant and has immune, antioxidant, cell signaling, and metabolic process functions. This important vitamin may also help to protect against certain diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease, cataracts, and diabetes.

You will also get a small amount (just 3 micrograms, or 4 percent of your daily target) of vitamin K in a tablespoon of cottonseed oil. Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting functions.

Health Benefits

When you consume cottonseed oil, you increase your intake of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, two types of polyunsaturated fat. Both omega-3 and omega-6 are essential fats, these are fats that must be consumed in the diet because your body does not produce them.

The omega-3 fatty acids in cottonseed oil help to reduce blood clotting and inflammation in the body and also may help dilate blood vessels and lower blood pressure. However, this oil conversion to EPA and DHA which are essential to the human body is low. Only 5% of ALA is converted to EPA and less than 0.5% of ALA is converted to DHA. It may be best to cook cottonseed oil with fatty fish.

The omega-6 in cottonseed oil helps to reduce your risk for heart disease and may also help to reduce your risk for cancer.

The small amount of monounsaturated fat in cottonseed oil also provides health benefits. Research has shown that when you replace saturated fat with monounsaturated fat your risk for cardiovascular events or cardiovascular death is reduced. In addition, studies have found that an increased intake of monounsaturated fat reduces the risk for all-cause mortality and stroke.

If you choose to include cottonseed oil in your diet it's important to remember that this oil—like all oil—is fat. Fats contribute nine calories per gram as opposed to four calories per gram for carbohydrates and protein. So even though cottonseed oil is considered a healthy fat, you should still consume the oil in moderation in order to reach and maintain a healthy weight.

Common Questions

Is cottonseed oil bad for you?

Cottonseed oil is not considered to be one of the more healthy fats because it has more saturated fat than other oils and less healthy fat. In addition, some consumers have raised concerns about pesticides that are used in cotton farming that may end up in the oil in trace amounts. 

Cottonseed oil is inexpensive. So some food manufacturers use hydrogenated cottonseed oil in the production of baked goods, crackers, cookies and other foods. These are typically not foods that are good for your heath and contribute to your intake of empty calories. Furthermore, in 2015, the FDA declared that hydrogenated oils or partially hydrogenated foods (also known as artificial trans fat) are not generally regarded as safe (GRAS). It was determined that removing it from food would prevent thousands of heart attacks and deaths per year.

What are some uses of cottonseed oil outside the kitchen?

Some consumers use cottonseed oil for hair and skin health. Some believe that consuming the oil promotes hair growth. Others use the oil topically on the skin, the hair, and the scalp to boost hair growth, prevent hair loss, and improve the appearance of skin.

Cottonseed oil provides vitamin E, which has been promoted as a treatment for scars, and to promote good skin and hair. Unfortunately, however, there is not strong support from the scientific community about the use of vitamin E for these applications. According to one research review, "After so many years of research on vitamin E, it is still unclear as to whether millions of dollars worth of vitamin E products paid for by patients and consumers have been of any benefit."

What is the best way to store cottonseed oil?

Cottonseed oil should be kept in an airtight container and should be stored in a cool dry place, out of direct sunlight.

Cooking and Preparation Tips

Cottonseed oil has a higher flash point than other types of healthy oil such as canola oil or olive oil or even safflower oil. The flash point, or smoking point, is the temperature at which an oil begins to smoke fumes. Because the smoking point of cottonseed oil is approximately 420°F (or 215°C), it is often used for frying and other high heat cooking techniques. Some say that it is the healthiest oil for frying because it contains at least some polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat.

Cottonseed oil can also be used for baking and in sweet treats. The oil has a neutral taste so that it can be used instead of other fats without changing the flavor of your favorite foods. 

Allergies and Interactions

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, a cottonseed allergy is relatively rare. There are questions about whether or not the allergen is present in cottonseed oil, although some research has suggested that it is not. So if you have a cottonseed allergy, you may not react to the oil.

If you have a cottonseed allergy, you may experience a rash in a specific area of the body if it is used topically. More serious symptoms after cottonseed oil consumption may include swelling in the face, throat and/or mouth, difficulty breathing, severe asthma, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.

If you suspect that you have an allergy to cottonseed oil, talk with your healthcare provider to get a proper diagnosis and tips for managing symptoms.

5 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. Oil, cottonseed, salad or cooking. USDA FoodData Central.

  2. Xiaoyuan Wang, Peter J. Quinn. The location and function of vitamin E in membranes (Review). Molecular Membrane Biology. 2000;17(3):143-156. doi:10.1080/09687680010000311

  3. Vitamin E. Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. National Institutes of Health

  4. Plourde M, Cunnane SC. Extremely limited synthesis of long chain polyunsaturates in adults: implications for their dietary essentiality and use as supplements. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2007 Aug;32(4):619-34. doi: 10.1139/H07-034. Erratum in: Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2008 Feb;33(1):228-9 doi:10.1139/h07-034

  5. Final Determination Regarding Partially Hydrogenated Oils (Removing Trans Fat). U.S. FDA.

Additional Reading
  • Vitamin E. Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements.
  • Keen MA, Hassan I. Vitamin E in dermatology. Indian Dermatol Online J. 2016;7(4):311-5.doi:10.4103/2229-5178.185494
  • Krasnova TN, Samokhodskaya LM, Ivanitsky LV, et al. [Impact of interleukin-10 and interleukin-28 gene polymorphisms on the development and course of lupus nephritis]. Ter Arkh. 2015;87(6):40-44. doi:10.1080/1091581017503009371
  • Schwingshackl L, Hoffmann G. Monounsaturated fatty acids, olive oil and health status: a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies. Lipids Health Dis. 2014;13:154. doi:10.1186/1476-511x-13-154
  • Schwingshackl L, Hoffmann G. Monounsaturated fatty acids and risk of cardiovascular disease: synopsis of the evidence available from systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Nutrients. 2012;4(12):1989-2007. doi:10.3390/nu4121989
  • Siri-tarino PW, Chiu S, Bergeron N, Krauss RM. Saturated Fats Versus Polyunsaturated Fats Versus Carbohydrates for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention and Treatment. Annu Rev Nutr. 2015;35:517-43. doi:10.1146/annurev-nutr-071714-034449

By Malia Frey, M.A., ACE-CHC, CPT
 Malia Frey is a weight loss expert, certified health coach, weight management specialist, personal trainer​, and fitness nutrition specialist.