Everything You Need To Know About Cooking With Neutral Oils

With olive, avocado, sesame and more types of oil at your disposal, seeing the word “neutral” on a recipe may throw you for a loop. If you’ve ever made your way through a recipe only to notice that olive oil isn’t technically “neutral”, you’re not alone. Common in many baking recipes, neutral oil is simply oil that doesn’t impact the taste of whatever you’re making.

According to Hungry Huy, neutral oil includes relatively flavorless options that don’t have a strong smell or taste. For instance, if you use olive oil in a bread recipe, you may notice that the bread tastes like the oil rather than the bread itself. Other oils like this include sesame oil, peanut oil and coconut oil that can all alter the taste of your dish. Some recipes that may call for a neutral oil include various types of bread, deep frying oil or steaming dough, the outlet reports.

Additionally, you may want to steer clear of pungent oils when baking goods such as banana bread or brownies. That’s why many recipes call for vegetable oil for your baked goods. However, vegetable oil may not be the healthiest option. Instead, bakers like A Couple of Cooks, reach for grapeseed oil when they’re working with neutral oils. According to them, it has a much more natural processing method and a higher smoke point. With more omega-6s, grapeseed oil may be the best option for heart health as well.

Avocado oil is also a neutral oil

When you’re rifling through your pantry trying to find a neutral oil, your avocado oil may be a great option as well. With less flavor but a higher smoke point (up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit), avocado oil is widely considered a healthy option that won’t interfere with the taste of whatever you’re cooking. Hungry Huy even reports that its high level of antioxidants provides a heart-healthy option alongside its ability to reduce cholesterol.

Sunflower oil and light olive oil can also fit the bill when you’re in a pinch and need a neutral ingredient. A Couple of Cooks explains that the light flavor both of these have won’t impact your dish but will still provide the consistency you need. If you’re looking to fry your food, light olive oil can withstand the heat while keeping the flavor intact. Safflower oil also works for this purpose as well. Just make sure to check the smoke point of whatever oil you’re planning on using before you cook with. If you’re making anything at a high heat, avocado oil is likely the best, safest option. You can also use canola oil, but try to find the highest-quality option as possible since these can often have unhealthy additives. 

Neutral oil is just that — it’s neutral. Sunflower, safflower, avocado and canola oil all serve as viable options. 

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