There is nothing as important as a good oil that can provide flavor and prepare your food for the oven when it comes to cooking.
One of the most widely used oils in cooking is coconut oil in tropical regions worldwide.
Unfortunately, cooks don’t have many options when they swap out their traditional oil with an alternative.
Palm Oil is commonly known as an alternative to cooking the tropical regions, but the question is, why consider substitutes for Palm Oil? There are many risks associated with using this type of oil in our food and health concerns.
Let’s look into Palm Oil and its substitute so you can feel confident knowing all your options when it comes to cooking delicious meals at home.
What is Palm Oil?
In recent years, people have become more conscious of the food they eat and the products that they buy.
We are becoming increasingly suspicious about what we put in our bodies and how it affects us.
Demand for healthier oils has increased significantly, which has led to an increase in demand for palm oil.
Palm Oil is extracted from the fruit of oil palms native to countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia.
Its properties make it suitable for several processes, including mass food production, oil-based soaps, and margarine.
Palm Oil is edible vegetable oil from palm fruit, with many versatile applications.
It can be used in everything from chocolate bars to shampoo and washing up liquid.
That being said, there is also criticism of palm oil.
It can be produced through environmentally destructive means, and therefore, some people may avoid buying products that contain it.
Palm Oil has been linked to increased deforestation in Southeast Asia.
The disappearance of rainforest habitats in Malaysia, Indonesia, and other South-East Asian countries is causing the orangutan population to decrease rapidly due to habitat loss and poaching.
The habitats for many other species are also being destroyed by deforestation, potentially leading to mass extinction.
There is, therefore, a growing movement demanding palm oil be replaced with sustainable alternatives such as sunflower or rapeseed oil.
The 5 Best Substitutes for Palm Oil
If you’re concerned about palm oil harming the environment, there are several alternatives.
Below are just five of the most popular ones.
1 – Rapeseed Oil
Rapeseed oil is another excellent alternative to palm oil.
It has a high smoke point which means it doesn’t burn easily, making it suitable for even higher heat cooking methods such as frying and roasting.
This flavorful vegetable oil also contains monounsaturated fats, which are good for your health and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Not only is rapeseed oil a great substitute for palm oil in cooking, but you can also use it when baking.
In addition, it tastes delicious in salads and mayonnaise.
Compared to sunflower oil, rapeseed contains compounds in the oil that may help protect against certain types of cancer.
Considering that rapeseed oil can be used in almost every aspect of cooking and baking, it’s understandable why many people choose it as a substitute for palm oil.
2 – Sunflower Oil
Sunflower oil is another popular alternative to palm oil that many people overlook.
This oil is very high in vitamin E.
It also contains many monounsaturated fatty acids, which are the good kind of fat that helps reduce your risk for heart disease.
Just like rapeseed oil, it can be used in baking and salads.
Sunflower oil is another great choice when frying foods at high heat because it doesn’t burn as quickly.
Sunflower oil has a mild flavor, making it easy to incorporate into many dishes without dramatically changing the taste.
It’s worth noting that sunflower oil may not be suitable for frying fish because its smoke point is relatively low.
Therefore, you’ll want to use another type of oil if your dish includes fish or seafood.
3 – Vegetable Margarine
Vegetable margarine is another popular substitute for palm oil because it’s very cheap and widely available to buy in most grocery stores worldwide.
This buttery spread is usually made from a mix of oils, such as those found in rapeseed, soybean, sunflower, or canola.
In addition, it’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which makes it good for your heart too.
If you want to use vegetable margarine as a substitute for palm oil, then keep some things in mind.
First of all, it has a lower melting point than butter, which means that certain recipes may not turn out properly.
You’ll also need to keep in mind that it has a much stronger flavor, so you may want to reduce the amount of vegetable margarine called for in your recipe.
4 – Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is another popular choice as a substitute for palm oil.
This highly saturated fat has been shown to increase good cholesterol and help reduce the risk of heart disease.
In addition, it’s very stable at high temperatures, which makes it perfect for all kinds of cooking methods such as frying or baking.
Many people prefer to use coconut oil instead of palm oil for baking.
It also has a delicious buttery flavor, ideal for certain dishes like cookies, muffins, and quick bread.
Many people love to use coconut oil in their coffee because of the sweet taste that it adds to hot drinks.
Coconut oil is very convenient because you can buy it in large containers at most grocery stores.
This means that you never have to worry about running out of it like you would with other cooking oils.
Keep in mind that this type of oil tends to be pricier than your average cooking oil, so make sure you only buy the amount you need.
5 – Canola Oil
The final substitute that we will discuss is canola oil.
This oil is a great substitute for palm oil because it has a very low level of saturated fat which helps reduce your risk for heart problems.
In addition, it’s high in both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which are the good kind of fat that helps keep your heart healthy.
Even though canola oil has a mild flavor, it’s a good substitute for palm oil if you use it to cook food at medium-high heat.
It also tends to have a neutral taste, which won’t make your dish taste different.
Canola oil is nearly identical to palm oil when cooking foods in many ways.
In addition, canola oil is very affordable compared to other cooking oils, which makes it a great substitute for palm oil.
You can purchase it from large bottles at most grocery stores, and you only need a small amount in your dish.
So make sure to buy the size that best fits your needs.
Due to the high levels of saturated fat and unstable cooking temperatures, palm oil is not as healthy as other cooking oils.
Fortunately, there are many good substitutes to palm oil that you can use instead.
Sunflower oil is a great choice if you want something with a milder flavor.
Vegetable margarine works well for those who don’t like the taste of butter but want to mimic its cooking properties.
Coconut oil is a great substitute in recipes which call for a buttery flavor, and it has a high smoke point.
Canola oil is a good alternative if you don’t mind the slightly higher price tag, as this is one of the most affordable types of cooking oils you can buy at your local grocery store.