Corn oil is one of the healthiest oils around, but that doesn’t mean you have to run to the store if a recipe calls for it and you’re out. Other oils work just as well as corn oil in recipes, salads and food preparation – even for corn bread. Several substitutions have the same amount of calories and nutritional value as corn oil, while you can still use others that differ only slightly.
Corn oil contains both types of beneficial fats, which are monosaturated and polyunsaturated fat, along with a small amount of saturated fat. The saturated fat content in a tablespoon of corn oil is 1.76 g compared to the 3.7 g of monosaturated fat and 7.4 g of polyunsaturated fat. Monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature and offer health benefits that include a lower cholesterol level and reduced risk of heart disease.
Oils that also come from vegetables work as substitutes for corn oil in baking, recipes and on salads. Choices include peanut oil, canola oil, safflower oil or other plant-based, flavorless oil. Olive oil has a distinct taste that may not work well for baking or other recipes. If you normally sauté with corn oil, you can substitute olive oil, a non-stick cooking spray or the other flavorless, plant-based oils. Use the same amount of oil for substitutions that you would use of corn oil; you don't need to adjust any measurements.
A single tablespoon of corn oil has 120 calories, a total 13.6 g of fat, 1.94 mg of vitamin E and not much else. It has no cholesterol. The same calories and nutritional values come with canola, safflower, olive and peanut oils.
What About Soy?
Soybean oil is a possible substitution for corn oil if you don’t mind slightly increasing your saturated fat intake. While the calorie count and overall fat content is the same, soybean oil contains 2.1 g of saturated fat, 3.1 g of monosaturated fat and 7.9 g of polyunsaturated fat. It contains no cholesterol. Soybean oil can replace corn oil for sauteing but it has a slight taste that might not work well for baking, recipes and salads. Use the same amount of soybean oil as you would corn oil.
What Not to Use
Since corn oil is a beneficial fat, substituting it with a potentially harmful fat is not the healthiest move. This means steering clear of heavy doses of saturated fat and trans fat. Saturated and trans fat can come from animal food sources, although trans fat is usually the product of processed unsaturated fat. Fats that are solid at room temperature are the culprits. They include butter, margarine sticks, shortening, pork and beef fat.