Everything You Need to Know About Grapeseed Oil
This multi-purpose oil plays well with others and has a decent nutritional value.
You've probably seen grapeseed oil on the supermarket shelf, but maybe you've breezed right by it in favor of more familiar—and, let's face it, more popular-olive oil. Grapeseed oil definitely warrants your attention, though, because it's extremely versatile, reasonably priced, and doesn't overshadow the flavor of a dish's other ingredients. Most grapeseed oils come from France, Italy, or Switzerland, with a few sources now in the United States; and a 17-ounce bottle typically costs under $10.
What is grapeseed oil?
Grapeseed oil comes from—you guessed it—grape seeds. The tiny seeds inside certain varieties of grapes can be pressed, yet the extracted liquid, which is a byproduct of winemaking, doesn't usually taste like grapes or wine. Actually, grapeseed oil is surprisingly neutral in taste. It doesn't have any of the floral or nutty taste you find in many other oils, so you probably wouldn't use it to drizzle over a just-out-of-the-oven pizza or to dip bread in during cocktail hour.
Why is it a cooking staple?
On the flip side, grapeseed oil's uncomplicated, clean flavor makes it an all-around MVP in the kitchen, letting the taste of whatever you're cooking with it shine through. It's great in vinaigrettes, especially ones that also include herbs and/or small amounts of more pricey specialty oils. Another reason grapeseed oil could become your new go-to: It has a relatively high smoke point, which means you can get it fairly hot (425 degrees, which is about the temperature a pan reaches when placed over medium-high heat), so food gets nice and crispy without you having to worry that the oil will burn and take on an acrid taste (nor will it release toxic fumes or harmful free radicals). From high-heat sautéing to stir-frying to baking, grapeseed oil is an excellent everyday oil; it's especially useful in pasta sauces, soups, and dressings. And you can use it as a substitute for olive oil in cooking. It should be stored for up to six months in a cool, dark place or in the refrigerator.
Is grapeseed oil healthy?
"Grapeseed oil is healthy—if we want to compare to olive oil, grapeseed oil is 120 calories and 13.6 grams of fat where olive oil is 119 calories and 13.5 grams of fat per one tablespoon," says Vanessa Risseto, MS, RD, CDN. "So, the difference is negligible." Since the oil is used in recipes from salad dressings to baked goods, it can be easy to get carried away. One way to ensure you're not using it too much is to stick to the serving size. "As far as grapeseed oil goes, it's pretty good [health-wise]," she says. "Always keep in mind the serving size of oils should remain about one tablespoon, that way you aren't overdoing it."