The Difference Between Canola And Rice Bran Oil For Frying Food

hands pouring oil into pan
hands pouring oil into pan - New Africa/Shutterstock

There's an ongoing debate about which cooking oils are good, which oils are bad, and which are better than you thought. While it would be nice to use extra virgin olive oil for everything, there are many reasons why we can't. The truth is that different types of dishes work better with certain oils. You probably wouldn't use the same oil for deep frying in your daily homemade vinaigrette, and you wouldn't use something with no taste as a flavoring oil for your stir-fry.

Canola oil, a cooking oil you've probably used many times, and rice bran oil, one you may have never heard of, are two plant-based lipids you're likely to see pitted against each other on lists of neutral oils that are good for high-heat cooking. High-heat cooking requires oils with high smoke points that minimize the amount of harmful compounds that can get into your body and damage your cells. Based on appearance, you might not be able to tell them apart, and certainly, the two share some noticeable similarities. Regardless, the differences between them lie in smoke point, taste, and nutritional value — key factors to be aware of when deciding which to use.

Read more: 12 Little-Known Facts About Salt

What Is Canola Oil?

jar of canola oil
jar of canola oil - Chamillewhite/Getty Images

A highly refined cooking oil, Canola oil is extracted from crushed canola seeds. Although canola oil is low in saturated fats compared to other commodity cooking oils and contains an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the seeds must undergo a combination of heat and chemical extraction. As a result of this process, canola oil has a reputation for having little nutritional value compared to rice bran oil, despite its utility as a neutral-flavored cooking oil that is well-suited for high-heat cooking.

Canola oil has a smoke point in the range of 435 to 445 degrees Fahrenheit, which is roughly 50 to 100 degrees higher than that of extra virgin olive oil. If you do a lot of wok cooking, this is the oil for you. Canola oil lets you crank the heat high for the signature flash-cooking that happens when you cook proteins, vegetables, and carbs in a wok. The high smoke point ensures the oil won't break down during the cooking process, and the neutral taste of the oil won't impart any unwanted flavor, allowing the ingredients to take center stage. Furthermore, the lack of prominent flavors in canola oil, combined with its low level of saturated fats, makes it a good candidate for homemade salad dressings or even homemade mayonnaise.

Rice Bran Oil Is Nutty, Light, And Packed With Vitaman E

rice bran oil in bowl
rice bran oil in bowl - NIKCOA/Shutterstock

As the name suggests, rice bran oil is extracted from rice bran, the brown outer husk that's milled off of white rice. When you think of rice, you may think of carbohydrates. However, rice bran oil is carb-free. Like canola oil, it is a highly processed oil that goes through several stages of production, from pressing to distillation. It contains a good amount of unsaturated fats as well as an exceptional amount of vitamin E compared to canola oil. Its flavor is mostly neutral, although it contains a mild nuttiness provided by the rice bran, and it has a slightly higher smoke point (450 degrees Fahrenheit) than canola oil.

Since it makes use of a staple crop common in Asia, rice bran oil is most often used in the cuisines of such countries as Japan, China, and India. If you enjoy cooking dishes from those countries, rice bran oil will make a welcome addition to your kitchen cupboard. For example, if you're curious about cooking tempura at home, rice bran oil is an ideal choice. The nutty flavor complements tempura, and the low viscosity won't impart any extra heaviness. Blend in a dash of sesame oil for a pleasing aroma.

Read the original article on Mashed.