What Is Salad Oil? Answer And Much More


What Is Salad Oil

Salad oils are a type of oil used in making salad dressing. The term “salad oil” is a generic term that refers to different kinds of oils and how they are processed. Salad oils are easily combined with a few other ingredients to make a delicious dressing that can top off your salad and make it into something absolutely delicious. 

pouring oil on salad

Recipes Used to Call Salad Oil

Perhaps you are looking at a recipe that calls for salad oil and you are unsure what this means. We are going to look at all things related to salad oil, including what exactly this kind of oil is, some of the health benefits of using salad oil, as well as how you can make your own. Be sure to check out the details of what these are below.

Salad Oil is a Generic Term

When you hear the term salad oil in a recipe, or in reference to a salad, it is not talking about a specific kind of oil. Instead, it is a general term used for oils that are made into a dressing to top your salad off. There are several different kinds of oils that work well for salad oils; however, it is important that you know which ones specifically will work well, and also which types of oils you should avoid for salad oils. 

Salads Are A Healthy Meal Which We All Enjoy

Salads are a healthy meal that many people enjoy, for various reasons, but oftentimes because of their health benefits. Because salads are often eaten for their health benefits or nutritional value, sometimes adding a store-bought dressing defeats the purpose of eating healthy. This is where salad oils come in because they are a healthier option.

By replacing your typical dressing with the salad oil, you are adding a light flavor to your salad that helps enhance the overall flavorings. Salad oils should enhance the natural flavor, not dominate your salads. There are many common types of oils that salad oils can easily be made out of, and only include a couple of ingredients, and are very easy to make. 

Salad Oil is Another Term for Light Tasting Vegetable Oil

Term salad oil is one that has been used for many generations. However, when someone refers to “salad oil” they are typically referring to a type of oil that is mixed with a few other seasonings and used as a dressing on top of your salad. Types of salad oils are generally lightly flavored so that they don’t overpower the salad but serve to enhance the flavors. 

A few of the more common types of oils used when making salad oil, or oil-based salad dressing, include common oils such as vegetable, corn, canola, olive, and sometimes even peanut.  The best option when making your salad dressing is to use a type of oil that has a light flavor so that it enhances your dish, not overpowering it. Therefore, try to use oils that have a light flavor, instead of ones that have an overpowering flavor.

What Is Salad Oil And How Does It Differ From Other Oils In The Kitchen?

Salad oils are typically oils that have a light flavor and texture, instead of ones that have overpowering flavors to them. These oils are typically extracted from vegetables. Salad oils such as corn, vegetable, canola, and olive are most popular in oil-based salad dressings, however, any kind of vegetable oil that is lightly flavored can be considered a salad oil.

Benefits of Oils

One major benefit of using salad oil is that it is a much healthier option. Typically, the fats in salad oils come from plants and vegetables, which makes them much healthier than fats contained in other dressings. This is one of the main benefits, however, there are many others as well. 

Salad Oil vs Vegetable Oil

Salad oil and vegetable oils are very similar. Perhaps you might be confused about what the minor differences are between the oils. The main difference is in how the oils are extracted for dressings compared to cooking.

While salad oils are made from oils such as vegetable oils, they are typically processed as unsaturated oils. These oils that are primarily extracted from vegetables are canola, rice bran, soy, safflower, grape seed, peanut, sunflower, and other light flavored oils. These oils will run smoothly when poured. 

Cooking oils on the other hand have a longer shelf life and are less sensitive to heat. These oils are also made with a higher concentration of heavier long-chain triglycerides that are both saturated and unsaturated. 

Therefore, the main difference between salad oil and vegetable oil lies in how they are processed. While they are essentially the same, and sometimes can be substituted for the other, there may be minor differences in how they are processed that you will want to watch for. 

pouring oil

Notable Characteristics Of Salad Oil

There are a few notable characteristics that are specific to salad oil. Because oils used for salad dressings are often times processed slightly different than cooking oils, you will want to watch out for some of these characteristics. 

The first characteristic is that it has a limited shelf life. This means that it will not last as long as cooking oils may last. 

The salad oils should also not be used for frying but should be used for salad alone. They may contain an important difference in how they are made, which is why salad oils should not be used for frying. 

Salad oils also possess a light texture and flavor so that it helps to enhance the natural flavors instead of overpowering the salad with other flavors. This is an important aspect to know when making any kind of salad dressing using salad oils as you will not want to overpower the flavors of your salad with flavors that may not be complementary to your salad. 

Can you use vegetable oil on a salad?

Salad dressing can be made from vegetable oil, however, it should be made from a specific type of vegetable oil that is made using mostly unsaturated oils. Oils that work well when making salad dressing, are typically oils that have a low viscosity. 

How Is Fry Oil Different Than Salad Oil?

Here are a couple of important differences between fry oil and salad oil. The differences come into play with how the oil is processed and can make a big difference if one is mistaken for the other. 

To Begin: Fry Oil Vs. Salad Oil

To start off, there are some differences between frying oil as compared to salad oil. Where frying oil is obviously used for frying foods, this is used to top off salads, and make dressings. In the processing of these different oils, there is often a difference and how each type of oil is made. 

While frying oil is produced with an anti-foaming agent, to help it not splatter as it heats up, salad oil is often not made with this anti-foaming agent. This makes it important to know the difference because if one is substituted for the other, there could potentially be big trouble if used for frying.  

The Differences

While frying oil and salad oil are essentially the same things, the main difference is that one contains the anti-foaming agent, while the other does not. This is the primary difference between the two types of oils which can be very important. 

Premium Vs. Economy Frying Oil

There are also differences in how premium oil as compared to economy frying oil is made. Economy oil contains an anti-foaming agent that is included in the process of making this type of oil. Premium oil, on the other hand, is made with monounsaturated fats. Although premium oil is produced the same way, it is made from high oleic versions of the oilseed which gives it a different fat makeup than economy frying oil. 

How to Select The Perfect Salad Oils

So how do you select the perfect salad oil? This will come down to a few basic criteria. First, the perfect kind to use, it should be processed as an unsaturated oil

Second, when the oil is poured, it should run smoothly from the bottle. 

Third, the perfect salad oils should possess a light texture and flavor to enhance the natural flavors. 

Fourth, a good one should not contain an anti-foaming agent, as frying oils do. 

Finally, the perfect salad oils should be made from high oleic oilseeds. 

Also, keep in mind that you can read the bottle and it will give you an indication as to whether it will make a good salad oil or dressing. Overall, you want to look for an oil that contains high levels of phytochemicals, monounsaturated fat, and alpha-linoleic acid to make the best salad dressings. Below are a few types of oils that make great salad oils. 

sunflower oil

Types of Salad Oils

Vegetable oil
Canola oil
Corn oil
Light olive oil
Flaxseed oil
Grapeseed oil
Walnut oil
Rice bran oil
Soybean oil 
Sunflower oil
Safflower oil
Light flavored oils
Or any other type of dry vegetable

What is the best kind of salad oil?

The best kind of salad oil is going to be one that helps to enhance the overall flavor of your dish, instead of one that overpowers your recipe. Olive oil is one of the favorite types of oil to use, however, others such as corn, canola, vegetable, and rice bran oil are also good options. 

How to Select

A good first step in selecting your type of oil is to see what is available at your local grocery stores. You will want a nice, healthy option. Then look at the most common types of salad oils above and take your pick. But what if you can’t find these options above? Below are some substitute ideas used to make your dressings. 

What is a substitute for salad oil?

There are several popular substitutes for salad oil. If you are not able to locate one of the above types, below are a few of the top substitute ideas for you. 

Best Substitutes For Salad Oil

Avocado Oil
Peanut Oil
Olive Oil
Macadamia Oil
Creamy crumbly cheese
Any nut butter

Avocado Vinaigrette: avocado vinaigrette can easily be made from scratch by taking a whole avocado and tossing it in the food processor along with a little bit of lime juice, and vinegar. Then blend it together to make a simple avocado vinaigrette. 

Tahini: to make tahini into a substitute, simply add water to your tahini, and add a drizzle of lemon juice before mixing and drizzling on top of your salad. 

Nut Butter: transform a nut butter such as peanut butter into a good substitute, mix your nut butter with some apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, minced garlic, white miso, and grated ginger. Mix in a food processor, then top your salad with this delicious combination. 

Oils That Are Poor Substitutes

Although there are many oils that are great for salad oils, there are a few that are not the best substitute for salad oil. Although they can be used to make your salad dressings, the main reason these oils are not good is that they have an overpowering flavor that overwhelms the whole salad. 

The two main oils, which do not make a good substitute for salad oil or extra-virgin olive, and peanut. In general, these two oils do not make for a good salad oil because of their strong flavor. However, please note that some people do prefer using extra-virgin olive oil, and peanut oil for their salad oils of choice. 

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO): Extra virgin olive oil contains a lot of extra flavors. Although it is some individual’s salad oil of choice, it can overpower your dish. If you would like a more traditional dressing, a more neutral oil such as nut oil, or vegetable oil is likely to work better. 

Peanut Oil: Peanut oil is another oil that can contain a lot of flavors in and of itself. Although this is another oil that some use as their oil of choice when picking a salad oil, it can also have a lot of flavors that overpower your salad. Again, if you want to use more traditional salad oil, try looking for an oil that has little to no flavor. However, if you so desire, peanut oil may be used as salad oil. 

Tips on Using Salad Oil

So you have your salad oil and hand, now what? Let’s take a look at some different tips on using your salad oil, and how to store it. 


In most cases, salad oil is going to be a vegetable-based oil that you will use as a base for salad dressings. Salad oil’s come in many different varieties and can be made into a wide array of salad dressings. 

Culinary Uses

The culinary use of salad oil is specifically to make a dressing. As mentioned above, salad oils typically do not make great baking oils. Although some oils can interchange, most have a different composition in how salad oils are made as compared to cooking oils. 

How to Store

Salad oils should be stored in a location away from their exposure to oxygen, light, and heat. Because of this, salad oils are best stored securely in a container in a dark, dry location. Places such as a dark pantry, or cupboard, where they are away from your appliances in any heat those appliances may give off. You might also consider storing your salad oils in the refrigerator once they have been opened. Because salad oils do not last as long as other oils, they will benefit from being kept in the refrigerator and may last longer because of this. 

Oil Storage and Use

Because salad oil has a shorter shelf life than other oils, it is best to store in a cool, dark location. If possible, storing it in your refrigerator is the best option, otherwise store your oil in the pantry, or cupboard if it is in a cool dark spot. 

How to Store Salad Oils

Salad oil tends to turn bad when exposed to heat and oxygen. Therefore, for best results, store in an airtight container, in the fridge. 

oil top down

Health Benefits of Salad Oil

Salad oil contains several health benefits. Because salad oils contain higher contents of monounsaturated fat and polyphenols, they are better for you. Salad oils also contain higher contents of antioxidants and oxidative stability than other oils, making them better for you in general. 

Salad & Cooking Oils

Although salad oils can vary slightly from cooking oils in the process of how they are made, they can also be very similar. Let’s turn our attention to some common questions regarding salad oil. 

Related Questions

Is salad oil the same as olive oil?

This name is a general term used for several different types of oils. Light olive oil is a type, and can be used in making salad dressings. 

What is the best oil for salads?

There are many different types of salad oils that are great oils for salads. While extra virgin olive oil is one of the common types of oils used, it can sometimes overpower your salad with its own flavor. Others such as vegetable, canola, light olive, corn, and rice bran are great options for salad oil to make salad dressing. 

Can you substitute olive oil for salad oil in baking?

When substituting baking oil for salad oil be very careful. There can be differences in how the oils are processed, which make them unable to be substituted. See the above to learn more. 

When it calls for salad oil?

Perhaps you are confused when a recipe calls for salad oil, and what exactly that means. This phrase is a general term used for oils that are most often extracted from vegetables. Some of the most common types of this include canola oil, vegetable oil, corn oil, rice bran oil, and many more. View the entire list above for details. 

Frequently asked questions

Is salad oil the same as cooking oil?

Although these types of oils are similar, they are not the same and should not be interchanged. Salad oils often have a higher sensitivity to heat than cooking oil and can have trouble if substituted for the other. 

What kind of oil is salad oil? I have never seen “salad oil”. I have seen sesame oil, olive oil, grape seed oil, canola oil, corn oil, soy oil and still have not seen what oil they use for cooking. Could someone share what is used?

Salad oil is a common phrase that is used as a general term to refer to oils that are high in monounsaturated fat, phytochemicals, and alpha-linoleic acid making them ideal for salad dressings. For the full list of the types, please see the above list. 

Can salad oil be used for cooking?

Although salad oils are similar to cooking oils, salad oils should not be used for cooking as they are often processed slightly different than cooking oils are processed. 

What’s the healthiest oil for salad dressings?

Some of the healthiest oils for salad dressings are those that contain high amounts of phytochemicals, monounsaturated fat, and alpha linolenic acid.

Let’s Refresh On What Is Salad Oil Exactly 

Salad oil is a general term used to describe oils that are used to make salad dressings. These oils are typically high in monounsaturated fat, phytochemicals, and alpha-linoleic acid making them ideal for salad dressings. There is no such thing as oil extracted from salad, instead this oil is often made from oils extracted from vegetables. 

Yet making your own salad dressing is incredibly easy!

Now that you know all about what is salad oil, let’s turn our attention to making salad dressing using salad oils. The process of making your own salad dressing using salad oil is incredibly easy to do. 

How to Make a Simple Salad Dressing

Making your own salad dressing using salad oil is surprisingly simple. Below are a few easy salad dressing ideas using just a few ingredients. 

Salad Oil Recipes

Olive Oil/Lemon Dressing

¾ cup light olive oil, or any oil
¼ cup lemon juice
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
2 pinch garlic powder
1 tsp sugar, (optional)
Parsley, to taste (optional)

Simple White Wine Vinegar Dressing

¾ cup salad oil of your choice
¼ cup white wine vinegar
1 tsp salt, to taste
½ tsp pepper, to taste

Walnut Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

¾ cup walnut oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp mustard (Dijon works best)
Red Wine Vinegar Dressing
½ cup salad oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp garlic salt, to taste

Steps to Make It

To make any of the above dressing recipes, simply combine all the ingredients for your preferred recipe in a jar. Place the lid on and shake vigorously for approximately 10-30 seconds, or until everything is combined. 

Once combined, let the dressing stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving alongside your salad. Enjoy! 

filled bottles

The Bottom Line

What is salad oil? The bottom line is that salad oil is a generic term used to describe oil that is used to make homemade salad dressings. There are a variety of oils that can be termed “salad oil”, for an entire list, check out the types of oil listed above. 


In conclusion, salad oil is various types of oil that are used to make salad dressing. Some common types of salad oil include vegetable oil, canola oil, corn oil, and many more. For details see the list of salad oil types above. These kinds of oils are used to make oil-based dressing for your salad, which are much healthier than other types of salad dressings. 

What is Salad Oil? 

Salad oil is a general name used to refer to oils used to make salad dressing. Salad oils are unique in how they are processed in comparison to cooking oils. Basic salad oils help to enhance the overall flavorings of your salad and vary in their fat content compared to cooking oils. To transform a salad oil into a salad dressing is quite simple, simply pair your oil with another juice such as lemon, or a type of vinegar, and add some seasonings to make a delicious salad dressing. It’s just that simple to get delicious goodness which helps to make your salad amazing. 

Kinds of Salad Oils

There are many different kinds of salad oils. These oils are edible oils, that have a primary use of making them into a delicious salad dressing. These different types of oils often have a nutty flavor. the specific types of salad oils include corn oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, canola oil, peanut oil, light olive oil, flax oil (also known as linseed oil), and coconut oil. There are other types of edible oil options that make delicious salad dressings in addition to these named ones as well.  

Although these different types of oils are used to make salad dressings, there are many different uses for some of them. Some oil types with a higher smoke point make a good choice for deep frying due to this high smoke point. Meaning that it won’t catch on fire as easily. Others have a low smoke point and are best used as salad oils or for low-temperature cooking.

What is considered a salad oil?

There are several different types of healthy fats used as salad oil. These oils usually have mild flavors and a neutral taste. The delicate flavor of these oils helps to make them into the perfect salad oil. 

Is salad oil and vegetable oil the same?

Edible vegetable oil can be a type of oil that can be enjoyed for salad dressing use. The term vegetable oils used for salad oils usually refers to a kind of oil that is mild and light tasting. These types of oils make for good salad dressing use. 

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Faith Has been cooking and baking for many years! she loves to share her recipes with the world, and hopes you will enjoy them too!

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