Being nutritious and almost flavorless, safflower oil is used in a wide range of food recipes. So, an ideal safflower oil substitute must have similar properties. Canola oil and corn oil are 2 ideal substitutes.
Safflower oil comes in two types. The commonly available version is rich in monounsaturated fatty acid, and is used for cooking. The other type is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acid, and is used as a cold oil.
Safflower plant (Carthamus tinctorius) belongs to the sunflower family Asteraceae. The oil is extracted from the seeds of the plant. Safflower oil is almost flavorless, and is similar to sunflower oil in various aspects, including nutrition. It is mainly used as a cooking oil, and in salad dressing. It is also claimed to be beneficial for skin and hair care. For cooking, you may use its substitutes, in case you run out of safflower oil.
Canola oil (or rapeseed oil) is one of the best safflower oil substitutes. It has a very mild flavor that is difficult to detect. If the recipe requires an oil with a neutral flavor that goes well with the flavor of other ingredients, you can definitely go for canola oil. Like safflower oil, canola oil has a high smoke point, and is ideal for deep frying. It can be used in stir-fries and for baking.
As it has a mild flavor, corn oil can be used as an alternative to safflower oil. Even the smoking points of these two oils are almost similar. Corn oil can be used in salad dressings, and for making margarine. Usually corn oil is not used for frying in very high temperatures, but medium temperatures would do. Though it is not a bad choice for baking, canola oil is preferred.
Derived from the seeds of the sunflower plant, sunflower oil is also a good replacement for safflower oil. The flavor of sunflower oil is delicate and does not interfere with the flavor of the dish. With a high smoking point, this oil is good for frying too. It can also be used in salad dressing and for searing foods.
Cooking oils with a mild flavor may work as safflower oil substitutes. However, the substitute must serve the purpose. While soybean oil can be used for baking and sauteing; peanut oil has some flavor that may not go well in all recipes. Olive oil has a very low smoking point, whereas hazelnut oil has a nutty flavor. So, choose your substitute wisely.
Cooking With Safflower Oil
Before trying a particular substitute, you must find out the type of safflower oil required for preparing the recipe. If it is needed for high-temperature cooking, it denotes the oil that is rich in monounsaturated fats. If the safflower oil is meant to be used as a cold oil, you must use the oil with polyunsaturated fats. While the former is rich in oleic acid, the latter contains high levels of linoleic acid. Monounsaturated oil is mainly used as a heat-stable cooking oil and polyunsaturated one is a cold oil, which is commonly used in dressings.
The monounsaturated oil is commonly available in the market. It is shelf stable; but has to be stored in a cool, dark place, so as to prevent it from turning rancid. Polyunsaturated oil is more prone to turn rancid, as compared to its counterpart. So store this oil in the refrigerator. While monounsaturated oil is preferred for high-heat cooking methods, the other is kept away from heat. You can identify the type of oil from the label on the bottle. Use the substitutes according to the recipe you want to prepare.