What is Salad Oil? Different Types, Culinary & Health Benefits, and Tips for Home Cooks

Without a doubt, salads are favored by many people for a healthier diet. They aren’t just low in calories and carbohydrates, they are also packed with vitamins and minerals. You can enjoy salads in a variety of ways, depending on your personal preference. For instance, you can do pure veggie salads, mix them with fruits and nuts, or even add pieces of seafood or meat.


Another way to make a salad pop is through the dressing or oil that you use. If you want to cut down on calories, it is better to use salad oils instead of dressings. And on that note, let’s talk more about salad oil.

Salad oil is the term used for the light oil used when tossing a salad. It is a general term that actually encompasses many varieties of oils. The biggest rule is to keep the oil light so that it does not overpower the salad itself. It should be a complementary taste that makes the ingredients stand out on their own. It should be like an adhesive that makes the vegetables and fruits work together as one unit without masking their true flavor.

There is a common misconception that any kind of oil can be used to toss a salad. This cannot be farther from the truth. For instance, extra virgin olive oil is quite a popular choice, mainly because it’s often already available in every home’s cupboard.

However, experts will tell you that while it gives off a unique flavor, it can downplay the real flavor of the ingredients - which should always be the main hero of the salad. Nut oils are also used by several restaurants and cafes, but the reality is that they are usually too strong.

Different Kinds of Salad Oil

As mentioned, here are a variety of oils that can be used as salad oils. Make sure you pick out the right one!

1. Vegetable Oil

This is one of the most conveniently available oils, often found in supermarkets everywhere. It is made from a mixture of various oils. It has a neutral taste and scent.

2. Corn Oil

This is a refined oil that is quite cheaper than the other options here. It also has a neutral flavor that won’t interfere much on the salad’s true taste.

3. Canola Oil

Canola oil comes from the rapeseed plant, which is the third biggest source of oil in the entire planet. It also dons a neutral scent and taste.

4. Light Olive Oil

Light olive oil has a refined flavor. As its name suggests, its flavor and scent is lighter than the more famous extra virgin olive oil. You can use it in many types of salad, but be sure to only use small amounts of it at a time.

5. Sunflower Oil

Sunflower oil has a neutral flavor, too. If you are looking for a healthier oil, this one might be ideal for you. It is high in oleic (monounsaturated) acid and is free from trans fat. However, it does tend to turn quicker than other salad oils, so make sure to store it in a cool and dry area.

6. Corn Oil

Another affordable option, corn oil is refined and has a neutral taste. Corn oil is rich in Vitamin E, a natural antioxidant, and can help your body in getting rid of free radicals and other harmful substances.

7. Grapeseed Oil

Grapeseed oil is affordable, too, and makes great vinaigrettes. It has a clean flavor, but it isn’t the healthiest of the oils listed here. It is high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, so if you are monitoring your lipid profile, you might be better off with another type of oil.

8. Avocado Oil

Avocado oil is quite the underdog in the salad oil world. But it is one that you should definitely give it a try. Its flavor is one of the most unique ones you can ever experience. Depending on where you use it, its taste can be peppery, bright, or even buttery and mellow. This is also a nice option for those following strict keto diets. Avocados are known for being rich in healthy fats.

Plus, it is rich in unsaturated fat and Vitamin E. Compared to any fruit out there, it contains more protein and potassium. Talk about a healthy salad oil!

9. Safflower Seed Oil

Safflower oil is another lesser-known salad oil, which is a true crime, since it is very good for you. It is rich in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid. It is a great choice for those who are keeping a close watch on their heart health. It’s also high in Vitamin E, so you know you are getting a full nutritional bump on top of enjoying a good salad.

10. Sesame Oil

Sesame oil has been used in Asian and Asian-fusion cooking for a while now. Sometimes, it is overlooked as a salad oil because of its complex taste. If you are looking for a rich add-on to your usual salad, then this is one oil you should definitely try.

It is also rich in antioxidants, particularly phytate, which can help protect your body’s cells from genetic and cellular damage.

11. Walnut Oil

Walnut oil makes for a great salad dressing, and can also be used for other sauce-type preparations. It contains ideal amounts of Vitamins C and E, zinc, magnesium, potassium, selenium, copper, and phosphorous! Now that is one healthy salad oil!

There you go - a whole list of salad oils for you to check out and try for a healthier diet and lifestyle!

What did you think of this article? Ready to enjoy your next salad with these salad oils yet? Let us know if we missed any good oils for salad making, and tell us which one is your favorite, in the comments below!

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