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What is neutral oil? What’s the best one to use in recipes that call for it? Here’s what we recommend and why.

Neutral oil
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Making a recipe that calls for neutral oil and not sure what to use? Baking recipes like our healthy banana muffins or banana bread call for this type of oil. What is it? A neutral oil is a cooking oil that has a neutral flavor like vegetable, canola, or grapeseed. This sets them apart from stronger flavored oils like olive oil and avocado oil, which often aren’t used in baked goods because of their intense flavor.

If you’re making a recipe that calls for neutral oil, which should you use? Here are our top recommendations.

Best neutral oil for cooking

1. Grapeseed oil.

The best neutral oil? Grapeseed. We prefer grapeseed oil because it’s made with a natural processing method. It has a neutral flavor and a high smoke point. Grapeseed oil is rich in omega-6 fatty acids, which can be a heart-friendlier option butter, margarine or shortening, (Here’s more on nutrition of grapeseed oil.)

2. Organic vegetable oil or canola oil.

The neutral oil you may already have in your pantry is vegetable oil or canola oil. These work great for most cooking and baking needs. Look for organic versions to ensure best quality.

3. “Light” olive oil, sunflower oil, or peanut oil (in a pinch).

Light olive oil, sunflower and peanut oil are light flavored oils, though they do have a stronger flavor than grapeseed or vegetable oil. However, they will definitely work and the flavor likely won’t have a large effect on the overall recipe.

Here are some recipes that use these types of oils:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Mz Moe says:

    What temperature should be used to sear the scallops… gas and electric? I use electric most of the time.

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      We use high heat and sear them quickly.

  2. Cheryl Boschert says:

    HI, Just found your site – looks great! I’m going to try the muffin recipes right away. Best site I’ve found for healthy cooking that has recipes that use foods I am familiar with.

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Love this! Let us know what recipes you enjoy :)

  3. David Boreham says:

    Would you recommend using rapeseed oil as a neutral oil at all?

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Yes, rapeseed is another name for canola oil and works great!

    2. Silraz says:

      Oh my lawdsamercy RAPESEED OIL IS THE BEST!!!!! Can not go wrong with it ;]