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Have you ever had that moment when you have the perfect meal in mind, you open up the cupboards and realise that although you got all of the intricate, finite ingredients necessary, you forgot to buy more oil? And sitting there in your cupboard is multiple bottles, each with just a dreg left at the bottom? Well, have no fear, you are not the only one who has found themself in this predicament. Today I am going to look into if it is okay to mix oils, with a particular focus on answering the question around two of the most popular oils used – “can you mix peanut oil with vegetable oil?”.
Table of Contents
Is it safe to mix cooking oils?
Cooking with oil always comes with its risks – the oil can burn, it can set off fire alarms, it can spit and it can burn. The reason oil starts to smoke up, or boil and spit, is because every oil has a smoking point, also known as a burning point. When oil reaches its burning point it will begin to smoke and smell. Not only will this create highly flammable cooking conditions and make your kitchen stink, it will also destroy phytochemicals and any nutritional benefits in both the oil and the food, ruining the taste and the goodness of your meal and can actually make it dangerous to eat. Because of this, mixing oils may be unsafe. The burning point of one oil may not be the same as another, so it is important to check the back of the bottle and work with the lowest burning point of any of the oils being used, and ensure you do not exceed this. For example, if your vegetable oil burns at 400 degrees, and your peanut oil burns at 450 degrees, you must ensure that you do not exceed 400 degrees, as this will be the point in which your oil starts to smoke, regardless of whether it is mixed with an oil that has a higher smoking point. It is also important to note that anyone with a nut allergy should not be mixing peanut oil (or any other nut oils) with other oils, even in small quantities, as the nut will come through regardless, and would of course be unsafe for anyone with an allergy to consume.
Will mixing oils impact my cooking process?
Smoking point aside, mixing your oils should not have much impact on the food you are making or how it will cook. Of course, using an oil with a higher burning point means that the food can cook at a higher temperature without smoking up the house, so it may be worth considering this when deciding which oils to use. As a result, a lot of people use less-refined oils, like olive oil, to shallow fry their food, and oils like peanut oil to deep fry. The question of “can you mix oils for frying”, really depends on the oils you are planning to mix. Many oils, particularly your vegetable oils, are already a mix of a few different oils. It is worth checking the back of your bottles, but unless the oil states that it is 100% (more common with your expensive oils, like extra virgin olive oil), it is more common than not that it will be a mix. Because of this, mixing vegetable oil and peanut oil for both shallow frying and deep frying should be okay to do. You should keep in mind however, that these mixes in vegetable oils have been trialled and tested hundreds of times before but on shelves, and usually the mix consists of oils that have similar smoking points. So, in simple terms, oils are often already a mix, and have no impact on your cooking process, but if you are going to mix them yourself then make sure you understand the smoking point, and whether it will be suitable for whatever you are cooking.
Will mixing oils impact the flavour?
In most cases, you would be mixing your oils in small amounts due to running out of one, and so in these cases the oil flavour will not be impacting the food anyway. Most vegetable oils have a very neutral taste, and so mixing oils like sunflower and vegetable oil will not impact the flavour. However, peanut oil does have quite a strong flavour, and so if you are mixing this in with your vegetable oil, particularly if it is in large quantities, then you should prepare for a peanut infusion through your food. Similarly, people cook with less-refined oils, such as olive oil, because the strong flavour can really add to the meal, so it would not be recommended to mix other oils in with this, particularly if you are using heat as the smoking point will also be very different. If you are using raw oil in a dressing, for example, the flavour will be a lot more potent. In these instances, it would not be recommended to use peanut oil mixed with vegetable oil, as the neutral taste of the vegetable oil will take away from the delicious, nutty taste that peanut oil can provide for a dressing. People often use particular oils to flavour their cuisines, like olive oil in italian food, and peanut oil through thai food, and so mixing in other oils may take away from the impact a particular oil can have on a meal. When using oil in recipes such as cake, mixing oils of a similar burning point will not be an issue, as the oil does not usually provide much addition to the cake, which is why cakes usually call for vegetable oil. In this instance, mixing some peanut oil in with the vegetable oil may add a slightly nutty flavour, but should not alter your recipe too much (it may actually improve the flavour of your cake).
Can I mix oils for cooking?
So, to round things up, yes. However, you need to put a lot of focus on ensuring you are not mixing oils that have a low burning point with those that have a high burning point, and that you always work with the lowest burning point in use. Further to this, depending on the oils, they may slightly alter the flavour of your foods. In small quantities, you probably won’t notice a difference, but in high quantities you will. When using oil raw – not adding any heat – the flavour stays a lot stronger, and so in these cases it is really important to consider the change in taste that may come with a change in oil. Mixing peanut oil and vegetable oil should be okay if you stick to the lower burning point (vegetable oil), and consider the taste in flavour. Overall, your vegetable-based oils are all quite neutral and similar, but your less-refined oils have both a different taste and a lower burning point, so keep away from mixing any of these and you should be good to go ahead and use up those leftovers!
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Can I mix oils when frying?
Yes, but ensure the smoking point, or burning point, is similar, and that you always work with the lowest burning point that you are using.
Can you mix peanut oil with vegetable oil to fry a turkey?
As peanut oil and vegetable oil are of a reasonably similar burning point, you can mix them when frying anything, including a turkey, but you should work with the burning point of the vegetable oil, as this will be lower. You should also consider that if you are using a lot of peanut oil in the mix, this may give a slightly nutty infusion.
Can I use peanut oil for deep frying?
Peanut oil is ideal for deep frying. It has a high burning point which means you can really heat and crisp up your food without smoking up the kitchen and ruining the oil, and ultimately the food as well.
What happens when you mix vegetable oil and canola oil?
Canola oil and peanut oil both have high burning points, and so combining them would not cause any problems. However, be cautious to keep in mind that peanut oil will provide a nuttier flavour that you wouldn’t have with canola oil alone. Both are ideal for deep frying, and combined together would also work well.