Best Neutral Oil for Cooking

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

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 vegetable or grapeseed. This sets them apart from stronger flavored oils like olive oil and avocado oil. These oils often aren’t used in baking because of their strong 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 a 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.

Related recipes

Here are some recipes that use these types of oils:

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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