Corn Oil vs Vegetable Oil in Baking

Vegetable oil can be any oil made that has been derived from a plant. Usually, vegetable oil refers to canola oil, soybean oil, or a mix of various different oils. So, corn oil is a type of vegetable oil. Corn oil has been the most common type of cooking oil for generations. It provides a smoky, roasted flavor, while vegetable oil’s taste is almost nonexistent when baked into food.

Corn oil is a type of vegetable oil. But when you see a bottle labeled vegetable oil, it won’t be corn oil. It’s usually canola or soybean oil. Different oils can often be used interchangeably, but the difference is made when it comes to their smoke points.

Corn Oil

Corn oil is derived from the germ of corn (maze). It’s sometimes also called maze oil. It has a very high smoke point, making it ideal for foods that need to be fried. It contains very little cholesterol so it’s a good contender for salad oil as well as frying oil. Corn oil has essential fats and is easily digested.

While corn oil is used for baking foods, it’s also an essential ingredient in many types of margarine. Its high smoke point is useful inside the kitchen and out, and it’s also an ingredient in some soaps, inks, and candles. Corn oil can easily be found in grocery stores in the US and is very inexpensive.

Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil is an umbrella term for any type of oil that has been derived from seeds or other parts of vegetables and fruits. It is light in color, and often odorless and tasteless. It’s a good ingredient for foods that need more moisture but not necessarily more flavor. Like corn oil, it is also widely available and easy to find.

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One con with vegetable oil is that if you buy it, you don’t know exactly what’s in it. A bottle that’s labeled “vegetable oil” could be one oil, or it could be a mixture of different oils. This makes it hard to decipher its nutritional profile. It is known as an all-purpose oil, for anything from cooking, baking, to roasting.

Smoke Points

The smoke point of an oil can help you determine which oil is best for the task at hand. Some oils have higher smoke points than others. So, depending on the intensity of the heat for your recipe some oils will hold up better than other oils.

Corn Oil

The smoke point of corn oil is approximately 450 degrees Fahrenheit. It has one of the highest smoke points of any oil, making it a great option for when frying is involved. This is the reason corn oil is also used for purposes other than baking that involve high amounts of heat, like manufacturing soaps and candles.

Vegetable Oil

As previously mentioned, vegetable oil is an umbrella term. When you’re using vegetable oil, it’s most likely that you’re getting canola oil, whether it’s a small amount or entirely canola. Canola oil has one of the lower smoke points of cooking oils, which is why it’s a nice all-purpose oil for cooking, but its uses stop there.

Flavor and Appearance

In cooking and baking, corn oil is sometimes utilized for its flavor. It adds a roasted taste to recipes, enhancing your food. Vegetable oil is loved because it has virtually no taste, thus does not change how your food tastes. Both of them still help food to cook better.

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Corn oil is usually dark in appearance and vegetable oil is much lighter, almost clear, with a yellowish tint. Both of these oils can be stored at room temperature for several months, and up to a year if unopened.

Final Thoughts

Vegetable oil is an umbrella term for any oil that’s been derived from a seed. Oftentimes, when you buy vegetable oil, it’s a combination of different types of oil. Corn oil is one type of vegetable oil, but won’t be sold under the name of vegetable oil. This is because it has a more distinct taste and smoke point, while vegetable oil is mostly flavorless, and used as a moistening agent.

Corn oil does have more of a flavor than vegetable oil, so while it’s used for its moistening properties, it can also be used as a flavoring agent. Corn oil adds a slight roasted, smoky flavor to food. It is most ideal for frying because of its high smoke point. They may be used interchangeably but corn oil is better for higher temperatures. So, when deciding between corn oil and generic vegetable oil, consider if you want an added flavor and exactly what purposes you plan on using it for.