Neutral Oils – What are they?

Neutral Oils

What are they and what can they be used for?

Now if you, like me, assumed that the Extra Virgin Olive Oil you had in the house is the same as “Olive Oil” or any other type of neural oil, and could be use to make homemade mayonnaise. Let me tell you… was not the right oil, it tastes like creamy olive oil.

Now don’t get me wrong……making homemade mayo was an interesting venture and I will try it again….with the correct oil.

This experience got me thinking that I can’t be the only one out there who is unsure of what Neutral Oils are when to use them….and when not to use them.

With that said let’s dive in:

The basic definition of Neutral oils is: “A neutral oil is an oil that has very little or no flavor/aroma”

These types of oils are generally processed to remove strong flavors and scents, making them versatile for various culinary applications. They are commonly used in cooking and food preparation where you don’t want the oil to overpower the natural flavors of the ingredients you’re using.

1. Canola Oil:

This oil has a light flavor and a high smoke point, making it suitable for sautéing, frying, baking, and even salad dressings.

2. Grapeseed Oil

Made from the seeds of grapes, this oil has a mild flavor and a high smoke point. It’s often used for high-heat cooking methods and in making homemade mayonnaise.

3. Safflower Oil

This oil is extracted from the seeds of the safflower plant and has a light taste. It’s suitable for various cooking methods, including frying, roasting, and baking.

4. Sunflower Oil

Extracted from sunflower seeds, this oil has a neutral flavor and a high smoke point. It’s commonly used for frying, sautéing, and baking.

5. Vegetable Oil

A blend of various neutral oils, often including soybean, corn, and canola oils. It’s an all-purpose cooking oil suitable for a wide range of cooking techniques.

6. Peanut Oil:

This oil does have a mild flavor; however, peanut oil can still be considered neutral oil, especially when refined. It has a high smoke point and is often used for frying and deep-frying.

Neutral oils can be used for several purposes in cooking such as:

  1. Cooking: These oils are used as a cooking medium for sautéing, frying, stir-frying, and other high-heat cooking methods. Their high smoke points prevent them from breaking down and smoking at high temperatures.
  1. Baking: Neutral oils are often used in baking to add moisture to recipes and help create a tender texture in baked goods.
  1. Salad Dressings: These oils are sometimes used as a base for making salad dressings because of their mild flavor, which allows other ingredients like herbs, spices, and acids (such as vinegar or citrus juice) to shine.
  1. Marinades: Neutral oils can be used as a base for marinades, allowing the flavors of herbs and spices to infuse into meats, vegetables, or other ingredients.
  1. Mayonnaise and Emulsions: Neutral oils are commonly used to make mayonnaise and other emulsified sauces. Their mild flavor doesn’t interfere with the overall taste of the sauce.
  1. Greasing Pans: Neutral oils are used for greasing pans and baking sheets to prevent sticking during cooking or baking.


It’s important to note that while neutral oils have their advantages, they might lack some of the health benefits and distinct flavors that more flavorful oils like olive oil or coconut oil can offer. When choosing a cooking oil, it’s a good idea to consider the cooking method, flavor preferences, and nutritional aspects to determine the best oil for your needs.