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There are a lot of cooking oils to choose from, and each has certain benefits and reasons for using them. One of the major appeals of peanut oil is that it has a higher smoke point than others. This means you can use it for high-heat cooking and deep-frying without worrying about the oil smoking and burning.
In addition to its high smoke point, peanut oil has a neutral flavor, making it very versatile and a great multipurpose oil to keep in the kitchen. To make choosing a peanut oil easier, we created this list, outlining the best peanut oils for cooking, baking, deep-frying, and even popcorn-making.
Best Overall: Nature Mills Natural Peanut Oil, 1 Liter
Nature Mills peanut oil wins the top spot simply because of its taste. It starts with fresh, high-quality peanuts, which really make a big difference in the finished product. Nature Mills uses a traditional extracting process that involves cold-pressing the oil in a machine called a wooden Ghani. Although a wooden Ghani can only process about half as much oil as other extracting methods, the oil that does come out tastes better. There are no additives or filler oils—just pure peanut oil.
This brand comes in two sizes—just about 34 ounces and 68 ounces—so you can stock up if you use peanut oil regularly.
Best Organic: Spectrum Naturals High Heat Organic Peanut Oil
Because of its superior taste and quality, this peanut oil is our pick for the best organic. It’s made with 100 percent organic peanuts, and it's certified non-GMO and kosher. Because it’s refined, it can withstand even higher heats (up to 460 degrees Fahrenheit) than regular peanut oil and has a more neutral taste that really goes well with any dish. This oil is processed mechanically, meaning you get a pure oil that’s perfect for all kitchen applications, from marinating to flash-frying.
Best Unrefined: Napa Valley Naturals Peanut Oil
If you’re looking for an unrefined peanut oil with a more peanut-y taste, this bottle from Napa Valley Naturals, a company owned by Stonewall Kitchen, is a great choice. The company starts by slow-roasting USA-grown peanuts and then using a machine to press the nuts, extracting the oil—a process called expeller-pressing—in small batches.
The end result is an extremely heat-stable, highly aromatic, unrefined peanut oil that lends a traditional Asian flair to any dish. For the finishing touch, the oil is poured into a wine bottle, so it looks as high quality as it tastes.
Best Roasted: La Tourangelle Roasted Peanut Oil
There’s just something about the La Tourangelle Roasted Peanut Oil that feels fancy. It may be the French name, or the attractive packaging, but more likely it's the taste; La Tourangelle uses slow-roasted peanuts that are grown in the USA to create an artisanal oil that pairs well with any dish.
The delicate, nutty taste of this peanut oil is ideal for high-heat cooking and baking as well as for making homemade peanut butter. Because it has a rich, roasted flavor, it’s also a great option for drizzling over roasted vegetables or as a finishing oil on any dish.
Best Budget: Happy Belly Peanut Oil, 1 Gallon
Amazon has officially entered the food production world with its brand Happy Belly. And in true Amazon fashion, this peanut oil comes at a price that’s unmatched by its competitors. There are no frills, like organic peanuts or special cold-pressing techniques, but if you’re looking for a good-tasting peanut oil without any fillers, this is it.
Because it’s refined, Happy Belly Peanut Oil has a neutral taste and stands up really well to high heat, making it a great multipurpose cooking oil. And it comes in a convenient 1-gallon size, so you can stock up at a great price.
Best for Frying a Turkey: LouAna Peanut Oil, 3 Gallons
If you haven’t yet tried deep-frying a turkey, LouAna Peanut Oil is the standout choice to get you started. The non-GMO oil was specifically formulated for really high-heat cooking. Unlike the other options on this list, it does have additional ingredients, namely an anti-foaming agent that the company claims helps keep the oil from bubbling over and spilling out of the pot and onto the burner. Because of this, it’s not the ideal choice for everyday cooking, but it's helpful for when you're frying a turkey. And with its 3-gallon size, there’s no need to buy multiple bottles to get the job done.
Best for Popcorn: Snappy Popcorn Snappy Pure Peanut Oil, 1 Gallon
Most movie theaters have ditched using peanut oil for their popcorn. But if you want a truly decadent, theater-like popcorn experience, try the Snappy Popcorn Pure Peanut Oil next time you’re making popcorn at home.
This refined peanut oil has a slightly nutty flavor that expertly complements the popcorn without being totally overpowering. Of course, this oil isn't limited to popcorn; you can use it for just about anything, from stir-fries to marinades to baked goods.
The NatureMills Peanut Oil (view at Amazon) is a great all-around choice. It's made with fresh, high-quality peanuts, something you can taste in the finished product. If you're looking for a cheaper option, consider Happy Belly Peanut Oil (view at Amazon). It's a solid oil that tastes great and has no additives or fillers.
What to Look for When Buying Peanut Oil
There are several varieties of peanut oil, and each has a different use. Refined peanut oil is the most common. The refining process creates a more neutral taste, removes allergens, and has the highest smoke point (averaging 450 F), making it ideal for high-heat cooking. Unrefined (or virgin) peanut oil has a nuttier flavor and lower smoke point. Similar to olive oil, it's best for medium heat, up to 350 F. For even more taste and low-heat uses, roasted peanut oil is a good option for dressings, sauces, or drizzling over foods. Cheaper peanut oil may be blended with other types of oil.
For the purest option, look for 100% peanut oil on the label. Some peanut oil includes preservatives, such as TBHQ (tertiary butylhydroquinone) and citric acid. Others may also have an antifoaming agent, which can make deep-frying cleaner because the oil won't bubble as much as regular peanut oil.
Peanut oil can be purchased in large or small containers. Refined peanut oil is often sold in larger quantities, which makes it an economical choice for frying. The gourmet peanut oils—virgin and roasted—are typically available in smaller bottles, some of which look great sitting on the countertop.
How is peanut oil made?
Peanut oil is also called groundnut oil because the peanut is a variety of groundnut and member of the legume family. After harvest, peanuts intended for peanut oil are sent to special manufacturing plants where they're shelled and prepared for pressing. In the press, the peanuts undergo extreme pressure to extract the oils. Cold-pressed peanut oil is produced at low temperatures to retain more flavor and nutrients. Most refined peanut oil is hot-pressed at very high temperatures. This increases the amount of extracted oil and produces oil that can withstand higher cooking temperatures.
What is the shelf life of peanut oil?
Unopened peanut oil has a shelf life of up to two years when stored in a cool, dark place. Once you open the container, plan to use it within six months for the best results. You can also reuse deep-frying peanut oil as long as it doesn't get heated above the oil's smoke point. Be sure to filter out any food particles. Keep it in a sealed container, preferably in the refrigerator, for up to six months.
What's a good substitute for peanut oil?
How you intend to use the peanut oil determines what type of oil works best as a substitute. You want a similar neutral-tasting oil with a high smoke point for deep-frying, such as refined canola oil. High-temp oils like avocado or sunflower oils will work, but they're more expensive and not very economical. Peanut oil is popular in Asian cuisine, and for stir-frying, vegetable or canola oil are both suitable substitutes. If you want to replace peanut oil in low-heat, small-volume applications, you might try avocado, coconut, or olive oil. These will change the taste of your food, and olive oil is the most neutral of the three.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Lindsay Boyers is a certified holistic nutritionist with extensive nutrition knowledge and food and beverage-testing experience. She’s developed over 1,000 original recipes and is constantly on a mission to find the healthiest, best-tasting options and ingredients across all food and drink categories.