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Weeknight Cooking

What Exactly Is "Vegetable Oil" (And How Do I Clean It Up)?

Olive oil comes from olives. Peanut oil from peanuts. What about that other stuff?
By Published May 13, 2019

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Usually, a product marketed as “vegetable oil” is made with oil extracted from soybeans. But it’s sometimes made with canola or corn oil, or a blend that may also include other oils such as sunflower or flaxseed. These oils are, for the most part, interchangeable for everyday use.

The differences in flavor between these oil varieties are mostly undetectable in quick-cooking recipes such as our Tomatillo Chicken Tostadas recipe. But once you subject the oil to a significant amount of sustained heat, like you would while deep frying, you’ll start to notice new flavors. The same is true for recipes in which the oil is a main component, such as mayonnaise or a vinaigrette. We don’t recommend using corn oil for these applications since it has a distinct and unpleasant flavor when used in large quantities. Instead, opt for canola, soybean, or a blend.

Have you ever accidentally spilled cooking oil on the kitchen floor? I have. The best way to get it up is to sprinkle the oil with flour or baking soda, let it sit for a minute, and then sweep it up. Follow that with a quick wipe with glass cleaner or soapy water. No trace left behind.


Tomatillo Chicken Tostadas

By using jarred tomatillo (green) salsa, you can put this satisfying supper together in minutes.
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