While safflower oil and sunflower oil have a lot in common, they are very different oils. Sure, they are similar to each other, but ultimately, one will best suit your needs.
Is there a difference between sunflower oil and safflower oil? One advantage of sunflower oil is that it comes in a wide variety — this makes it an easy-to-find and affordable option, while safflower oil is more suitable for grilling due to its higher smoke point.
Our goal today is to provide an in-depth analysis of both seed oils. We will examine their manufacturing process, their characteristics, and their nutritional composition, so you can choose which is best for you.
What Is Safflower Oil?
From the safflower plant, safflower oil is obtained.
This oil is mainly used as a plant-based cooking oil and for making margarine, though it has other uses as well.
There are two types of safflower oil: one high in oleic acids (monounsaturated fatty acids) and one high in linoleic acids (polyunsaturated fatty acids).
Safflower oil, if you buy it, will probably be high in oleic acids; linoleic oils aren’t commonly used in food.
How Safflower Oil Is Made
Due to the fact that this is a seed oil, the process of extracting the fat is pretty similar to all other seeds oils.
Safflower seeds are crushed and then pressed or treated with chemical solvents to extract their oils.
It is possible to package and sell unrefined safflower oil. However, most often, it is refined further. Filtering the oil removes most of the nutrients as well as the color.
Although refined or semi-refined safflower oil may not be as nutrient-dense as unrefined oil, they have some benefits.
Characteristics Of Safflower Oil
Safflower oil is usually tasteless, colorless, and highly refined.
There’s a yellowish color in refined safflower oil that’s usually barely noticeable. This version is completely flavorless and tastes like oil. It does not contain much nutrition either.
The benefit of refined safflower oil is that it has a smoking point of 510oF (266oC). What is the significance of this?
By doing so, you are able to safely cook at very high temperatures in the oil without it smoking or igniting. This results in a golden fried product that is crispier.
Oils with high smoking points produce fewer toxic fumes containing free radicals (compounds that cause cancer).
Semi-refined safflower oil hasn’t been filtered as much. It has a slightly yellower color, but is still quite pale.
320oF (160oC) is the smoking point of this oil, so it isn’t suitable for cooking at high temperatures.
Last, but not least, is unrefined safflower oil. It has the most yellow color, but again, it is not very flavorful. It tastes mostly like seeds and earth.
Because of its smoking point of 225 degrees Fahrenheit (107 degrees Celsius), this oil is best used for dressings or at low temperatures.
How Safflower Oil Is Used In Cooking
The type of safflower oil you use determines what it can be used for. Refined and semi-refined safflower oils can be used for deep-frying, pan-frying, stir-frying, baking, and grilling.
You should use unrefined safflower oil for salad dressings, marinades, and preserving liquids that don’t require heat.
There are many different options with various smoking points, so you can use this oil for virtually anything!
Nutritional Breakdown Of Safflower Oil
Safflower oil has a high content of oleic acids in the food industry. But what does that mean? Safflower oil can help you reduce your risk of heart disease.
With 124 calories per tablespoon, this oil is a great alternative to foods high in saturated fats, such as coconut oil or butter.
There are no vitamins or minerals in it, except vitamin E, but that isn’t special – most seed oils contain vitamin E. However, it contains many antioxidants that are beneficial to your health.
What Is Sunflower Oil?
Among the most popular cooking oils around the world, sunflower oil is derived from sunflower seeds.
There are many options available for this oil due to its popularity.
Oils from sunflower seeds are classified as high oleic, mid oleic, or linoleic. High oleic and linoleic oils are the most common cooking oils.
In general, linoleic sunflower oil is the cheapest and most refined option. It is also commonly referred to as “classic sunflower oil.”
Solvent-pressed or expeller-pressed sunflower oil is healthier, less refined, and retains more nutrients, healthy fats, and color than refined sunflower oil.
How Sunflower Oil Is Made
The process for making sunflower oil is the same as for all other seed oils.
In order to extract even more oil from sunflower seeds, they are hulled, crushed, pressed, and chemically extracted.
As soon as the oil is extracted, it is packaged and sold as various cooking oils.
Characteristics Of Sunflower Oil
As can be seen from the picture above, sunflower oil products come in a variety of colors ranging from yellow to a yellowish-white liquid that is almost opaque.
There are also a lot of variations in the nutrient content of the different options. The characteristics of the oils depend on how much processing has been done to them.
Firstly, we have neutralized, dewaxed, bleached, and deodorized sunflower oil. It is very processed, but there is a benefit to it!
The highest smoking point among all the options is achieved by refined sunflower oil, which has a temperature between 486-489oF (252-254oC).
450oF (232oC) is the smoking point of semi-refined sunflower oil.
You can also buy cold-pressed, unrefined oil. It has a lower smoking point of only 225oF (107oC), and it will have the brightest color.
How Sunflower Oil Is Used In Cooking
With such a wide variety of options to choose from, you are sure to find one that meets your needs when it comes to culinary uses for sunflower oil.
Products with high smoking points (such as refined sunflower oil or high oleic sunflower oil) are best used for deep-frying, stir-frying, grilling, roasting, and pan-frying.
The best use for unrefined sunflower oil is in salad dressings, marinades, and sauces – anything that doesn’t require high heat.
Nutritional Breakdown Of Sunflower Oil
Among all sunflower oils, high-oleic oil is the healthiest. It contains the highest amount of monounsaturated fat.
Your heart health is directly influenced by this type of oil since it lowers “bad” cholesterol levels.
Generally speaking, oils aren’t nutritional. They contain vitamin E, and that’s pretty much it.
Safflower Oil Vs Sunflower Oil — Similarities And Differences
Compared side by side, safflower and sunflower oils have many similarities and some differences.
Source And Production
Both oils come from seeds, but they come from different plants. They are both quite popular around the world.
Like sunflower oil, safflower oil isn’t a common household ingredient. It’s mostly used by businesses, restaurants, and manufacturers.
The process of extracting these oils is also very similar. Seeds are crushed and pressed to extract oil, which is then refined or semi-refined.
Unrefined oils have the lowest smoke point while they contain the highest vitamin E content, while refined oils have the highest smoke point, making them more versatile.
Compared to refined sunflower oil, safflower oil (refined) has a higher smoking point, which makes it better for high-heat cooking, such as grilling.
Color And Flavor
Both of these oils have a yellowish hue that intensifies as they become less processed.
The two are pretty flavorless. If you can pick up any flavor, it may be earthy seed-like.
Availability And Price
Again, sunflower oil offers a lot more options than safflower oil, which is primarily used in commercial kitchens and manufacturing.
There is a difference in price between these oils as well. They are nearly the same, but sunflower oil is generally cheaper. Again, this is because sunflower oil is more readily available.
A variety of sunflower oils are available: high oleic oil, mid-oleic oil, and linoleic oil. Linoleic oil is very affordable and popular worldwide.
There are two types of safflower oil: high oleic and high linoleic. While linoleic oil is less healthy, it is the cheapest.
Are Safflower Oil And Sunflower Oil Interchangeable?
The two oils are basically interchangeable, but always check the refinement of the oil you are substituting!
If you use refined sunflower oil for roasting, you cannot substitute unrefined safflower oil. The unrefined oil will catch on fire at roasting temperatures.
The same goes if you specifically chose one option for nutritional reasons. For instance, if you chose high oleic safflower oil, purchase high oleic sunflower oil as well.