This article is brought to you in partnership with the United Soybean Board through Kitchen PLAY.
Choosing cooking oils can be overwhelming, especially if you care about heart health, flavor, smoke points, healthy fats, sustainable farming, greenhouse gas emissions, and supporting U.S. farmers.
There is a lot of conflicting information out there.
In my house, I use vegetable oil as an all-purpose cooking oil.
Let me tell you why that is and share a few recipes where vegetable oil is the best choice of cooking oil.
I use vegetable oil in most of my cooking for several reasons:
- It has a neutral flavor, letting the other ingredients really shine
- It has a high smoke point, meaning I can cook over high heat and sear meats and other ingredients beautifully without the oil smoking, burning, and imparting any odd flavors to the food
- It can be used in a wide variety of recipes, cuisines, and cooking methods
- It is widely available and affordable, making it great for recipes that require lots of oil, such as in baking recipes as a substitute for butter or for deep frying (make sure you check out the vegetable oil recipes at the bottom of this article!)
- It is a heart-healthy fat (more on that later!)
- It is sustainably produced and grown by farmers in the U.S.
Vegetable oil in the U.S.
Vegetable oil is the most widely available cooking oil in the U.S. Did you know that most of the bottled vegetable oil in grocery stores is 100% soybean oil made from soybeans grown in the U.S?
Soybean farming in the U.S.
Most soybean oil sold in the U.S. is grown in the U.S. by U.S. soybean farmers. So, if you’re trying to shop U.S.-made products and support U.S. farmers, vegetable oil is an obvious choice.
Soybeans are the second largest crop in the U.S., with 80 million acres of soybeans planted.
There are more than half a million soybean farmers in the U.S., and most currently employ sustainable farming practices such as crop rotation, reduced tillage, and sustainable water management. That’s a LOT of people trying to make things better. This leads to water and energy use efficiency as well as a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
You can use this interactive map to see how many soybean farms there are in YOUR state. New Jersey has 762 soybean farms. Who knew!
Omega-3 fatty acids in soybean oil
Soybeans are one of the few non-fish sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are recognized as the #1 most healthy fat.
Soybean oil is an excellent source of ALA omega-3s (alpha-linoleic omega-3s), which affect heart health and may reduce blood pressure.
Soybean oil has 0 grams trans-fat and only 2 grams of saturated fat per serving.
All of this is so important to me as my husband and I try to eat a healthier diet and make sure that most of the foods we are putting in our bodies have a healthy nutritional profile.
Other benefits of soybean oil
A tablespoon of soybean oil contains 20% DV of vitamin K, which supports blood clotting. Soybean oil also contains vitamin E, which is an anti-inflammatory nutrient that supports skin health (source).
Soybean oil and the keto diet
There is a lot of misinformation on the internet about vegetable oil not being compatible with the keto diet because it is high in carbs. That is absolutely not true. If you look at the ingredient and nutrition labels on the back of vegetable oils, you’ll see that it is made up of 100% oil (fat) and there are 0 carbs per serving.
So, you can see that soybean oil has many health benefits. You’ve probably used it in some of your favorite recipes already that call for vegetable oil.
Here are a few other ways to cook with vegetable oil:
Recipes That Use Vegetable Oil
Soybean oil (aka vegetable oil) is amazing for cooking because it is so versatile and can be used in pretty much every sweet and savory recipe. Here you'll see examples of main course recipes, sauces and marinades made with vegetable oil, moist desserts and cakes, as well as deep-fried food cooked in vegetable oil.
Sweet Potato Sausage Skillet with Peppers
This Sweet Potato Sausage Skillet is ready in just over a half hour and is a complete (and completely tasty!) meal. Tender bite-sized sweet potatoes, spicy Italian sausage, with a fragrant mix of bell pepper, onion, celery, and garlic make this a family favorite.
Vegetable oil is used to brown the sweet potatoes and sausage in this recipe.
Vegetable Hash with Fried Egg
This Vegetable Hash is a gorgeous, healthy side dish for dinner. It also makes a wonderful light lunch or brunch when served with a fried egg on top!
This recipe uses 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil to get the veggies perfectly crisp-tender and to make sure the eggs don't stick to the pan, so you get a beautiful runny egg.
Shrimp and Sweet Potato Coconut Curry
Enjoy a bowl of Shrimp and Sweet Potato Coconut Curry with lots of veggies served over rice. This curry can be eaten as a soup for a lighter meal. You will love the tasty coconut broth!
Vegetable oil is great for this recipe because it doesn't take away from the delicate, tasty flavors of the coconut broth.
Mushroom Pork Chops with Spinach Skillet
Tender mushroom pork chops are smothered in a creamy mushroom sauce with baby spinach. A one-skillet dinner recipe that is ready in just a half hour from start to finish, this recipe doesn’t use canned cream of mushroom soup and is gluten free.
This recipe uses vegetable oil to brown the pork chops.
Garlic Chili Chicken and Peppers Skillet
A one-skillet recipe for Garlic Chili Chicken and Peppers Stir Fry with a delicious spiced tomato sauce to spoon over pasta or rice. This recipe uses vegetable oil to sear the chicken and stir fry the peppers.
Shito Pepper Sauce
Vegetable oil is amazing for all kinds of sauces and marinades. This spicy Shito Sauce from Ghana is LOADED with flavor from ginger, garlic, spicy peppers, anchovies, and shrimp, all blended together with 3 cups of vegetable oil.
Use this sauce as a marinade for chicken, as a spicy bread dipper, or drizzle it on top of food as a condiment.
Asian Short Rib Nachos
This plate of nachos is calling my name. The crispy wonton "nachos" are deep fried in vegetable oil and are the perfect vessel for tender, fall-apart short ribs and all the other flavorful toppings.
Brazilian-Style Carrot Cake & Tips for a Moist Cake
Have you ever seen a carrot cake so beautiful? This recipe blends the carrots into a puree to give this carrot cake amazing texture similar to regular cake and a gorgeous color. It's also the reason the cake is so moist and delicious.
This recipe uses 1 cup vegetable oil, which makes a light, moist cake without being oily.
Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Thick slices of moist, cinnamon-spiced zucchini cake topped with cream cheese frosting. Does it get better than this for a dessert that is loaded with hidden vegetables??
This recipe uses 1 cup of vegetable oil for the cake.
Best Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Banana bread is everyone's favorite! This recipe uses oats instead of wheat flour, so you can have this cake for breakfast and not feel guilty.
This recipe uses 6 tablespoons of vegetable oil to keep the bread moist and delicious.
Golden Beet Orange Cake
Golden Beet Orange Cake is super moist and flavorful. With a hint of roasted beet flavor behind the orange, this unusual cake is as tasty as it is beautiful.
This cake uses 1.5 cups of vegetable oil to achieve that perfect texture you see in the picture.
You can use soybean oil for pretty much all of your cooking needs.
- Most vegetable oil sold in the U.S. is soybean oil
- Vegetable oil is a heart-healthy, all-purpose cooking oil suitable for ALL kinds of recipes
- Buying soybean oil means you are supporting the U.S. farming industry and sustainable farming practices
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Saturday 2nd of May 2020
Thank you for the information. I read that vegetable oil was not keto and it did not make sense to me since, from what I understand, all oil is 100% fat.
Monday 4th of May 2020
Yes, I am glad I am not the only one who saw that misinformation online and wondered how oil can be high in carbs! Thanks for stopping by. :)