Groundnut oil is another name for peanut oil. The flavor and odor of this pale yellow oil are so subtle they are barely detectable. This subtlety makes groundnut oil ideal for baking. Its high smoke point -- the temperature at which it begins to break down and smoke -- makes it an excellent oil for deep frying. Also, consisting primarily of monounsaturated fats, groundnut or peanut oil is a heart-healthy fat. You can substitute a number of options for groundnut oil.
High Smoke Point
Groundnut oil has a high smoke point, at 450 F, making it well suited to high-heat cooking. Many groundnut oil substitutions have high smoke points. Avocado oil's is higher, at 520 F, as is rice bran oil's, at 490 F. Corn oil, safflower oil, soybean oil and sunflower oil's smoke points are the same as peanut oil's, at 450 F. Palm oil's smoke point is 446 F, hazelnut oil's is 430 F and almond oil and cottonseed oil's are 420 F. Sesame oil's smoke point is 410 F. Canola or rapeseed oil and walnut oil both have slightly lower smoke points. Various grades of olive oil, with the notable exception of extra virgin, have smoke points at or above 420 F. Once oil reaches its smoke point, it creates toxic fumes and free radicals. Discard oil cooked to this point, along with food prepared in it.
Sometimes, as with baking, groundnut oil is called for because its scent and flavor aren't pronounced in a dish. If you need a basically odorless and flavorless fat that won't compete with other flavors to substitute for groundnut oil, you have a few options. Sunflower oil, safflower oil, canola oil and corn oil are good choices.
Oils made mostly of monounsaturated fats are a bit more sturdy than the other heart-healthy option, polyunsaturated fats. They store better and hold up to heat better during cooking. Monounsaturated fat substitutions for groundnut oil include almond oil, avocado oil, canola oil, hazelnut oil, macadamia nut oil, olive oil, rice bran oil and walnut oil.
Fats and Heart Health
Substitutions for groundnut oil, particularly for baking purposes, include saturated fats. The more common include butter, clarified butter, lard, vegetable shortening, coconut oil and palm oil. Though they provide a richer flavor, saturated fats are not heart-healthy like their mono and polyunsaturated counterparts. Saturated fats contribute to elevated cholesterol levels and increased risk of developing certain serious health problems. The American Heart Association recommends that while 25 to 35 percent of your daily calories should come from fat, no more than 7 percent should be from saturated fats. Trans fats are best avoided completely.
Eric Mohrman is a food and drink, travel, and lifestyle writer living with his family in Orlando, Florida. He has professional experience to complement his love of cooking and eating, having worked for 10 years both front- and back-of-house in casual and fine dining restaurants. He has written print and web pieces on food and drink topics for Orlando Style Magazine, CrushBrew Magazine, Agent Magazine, Dollar Stretcher Magazine, The 863 Magazine and other publications.
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