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Can I Substitute Canola Oil for Safflower Oil?

By Melanie Greenwood

Few things are more frustrating than getting ready to make a recipe and not having the ingredients. While you can't do much about being out of flour, sugar, or spices, if the problem ingredient is oil, you're in luck. When a recipe calls for safflower oil and you don't have it, you can usually, though not always, replace safflower with canola oil. Often, there are some rather good reasons to use canola oil instead of safflower oil.

Oil Prices

Canola oil is less expensive than safflower oil, so it might be a good choice if your budget is tight. As of spring 2011, a 32-ounce bottle of standard safflower oil sold for $6.99, or about 21 cents per ounce. Organic safflower oil was even more expensive, with a 16-ounce bottle costing $8.75, or about 54 cents an ounce. Contrast this with a popular store brand of canola oil. At $2.59 for 48 ounces, it was a very affordable 5 cents an ounce.

Canola and Safflower Nutrition

When used in small amounts, both canola and safflower oil are good for you.
According to the American Diabetes Association, canola oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, which lower your bad cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke. Safflower oil, according to the Association, is a good source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids as well as cancer-fighting antioxidants. Since both oils are good, heart-healthy choices, you don't give up health benefits by using canola instead of safflower.

Flavor of Oils

You don't give up flavor if you use canola oil instead of safflower oil. Both canola and safflower have mild flavors, barely detectable in cooked dishes. Neither will obscure the flavor of other ingredients, and both are appropriate for delicately-flavored stir fries or for making mayonnaise or sauces.

Smoke Point

One drawback to substituting canola oil for safflower is that safflower oil has a lower smoke point. Smoke point is the temperature at which a fat degrades and burns. The smoke point of canola oil is 460 degrees F, while safflower's smoke point is 509 degrees F. Therefore, you might want to use safflower if you're doing high heat cooking, such as oven frying on 475 degree F sheets or cooking chicken under the broiler.

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