Is Vegetable Oil Vegan?

The short answer is yes. Most vegetable oils are, in fact, vegan in the sense that they are not made from animal products. But if you feel a vegan lifestyle is more than just having a vegan diet, the question of “Is vegetable oil vegan?” might be a little more complicated. Allow me to elaborate.

All vegetable oils are not created equal. While most cooking oils extracted are straight from their source, be it avocado, coconut, canola oil, etc., how some vegetable oil is harvested can be a big problem. Palm oil harvesting, for example, can lead to deforestation and poor working conditions, while other vegetable oils, like canola oil, can have processing issues.

This can cause many to feel that some oils may not be worth their cost or their vegan label. So, for example, is an oil that causes an animal to lose its home considered vegan? You can be the judge.

Is Soybean Oil Vegan?

Soybean oil is vegan and comes right from the soybean, as its name would imply.

With a high smoking point, it is also fairly versatile and can be used for many types of cooking and a variety of recipes. It is low in trans fats and saturated fats while being high in omega-3 fatty acids. It sounds good so far!

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However, the problem with soybean oil mainly lies in its production. Many soybean crops are genetically modified due to their high vulnerability to pests. While soybean oil contains no animal fats it could contain harmful chemicals from growth and production or contain genetically modified materials. But there is no need to write soybean oil off your list completely just yet; a quick label check can ensure the soybeans are organically grown and harvested.

Is Olive Oil Vegan?

As far as cooking oils go, vegan olive oil is your go-to guy or gal. With a high smoking point, this oil can be your deep-frying friend or your pasta partner. And yes, it is totally vegan.

It is made from cold-pressed olives; the first extraction is extra virgin olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is the elite of olive oils.

Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids and is low in saturated fat content. It’s one of the healthiest oils you will come across, and its high smoke point makes it very versatile. It shows up in lots of vegan recipes, and with good reason! As oils go, it’s a great go-to.

So whether you are looking to fry foods or make a culinary Mediterranean masterpiece, the olive oil vegan variety is the way to go.

Is Canola Oil Vegan?

Canola oil can be a bit of a mixed bag as far as vegetable oils go. While the oil is vegan, it can have some trouble in the realm of production and can tend to be genetically modified.

“Is canola oil vegan?” is a big question as some restaurants use it in their frying process, and sometimes canola oil can be lumped in with refined oil due to the way it is made.

Canola oil is made by extracting rapeseed oil from rapeseed, which is part of the mustard family. In the extraction process, unlike the cold-pressed process of olive oil, most canola oil producers use a hexane solvent to extract the rapeseed oil. There is a lot of debate over whether this process is safe, but organic canola oil is expeller-pressed, which dissolves the need for hexane solvent to get the rapeseed oil.

On the plus side, canola oil is high in monounsaturated fats (the good stuff) and low in saturated fats (the bad stuff) and can definitely take the heat in the kitchen, so as cooking oils go, it’s a great choice.

So, is canola oil vegan? Yes, it is considered vegan as there are no animal products present. But buyers should beware and be sure to check the label and make sure it has gained an organic and non-GMO rating before buying.

Is Avocado Oil Vegan?

Is Avocado Oil Vegan

Avocado oil is actually one of the most popular vegan oils on the market. With good reason, its health benefits are through the roof! It is one of the healthiest oils out there; it’s completely vegan; it has one of the healthiest fats around; and it tastes great.

The only drawback is that it does have a low smoke point, which means shallow frying may not be your best bet. It’s not quite as versatile as olive oil or canola oil, so you may have to cook your fried foods in a more flexible oil. But as far as adding plant-based oil to salad dressings and other recipes, look no further!

Avocado oil is made from pressed avocados, similar to olive oil, so there is nothing sketchy in the process here. It shows up in the top “Is this Oil Vegan” lists all over because of how cleanly it is made and all the health benefits it possesses. It can tend to be a little more expensive than some others, but with this oil, it is definitely a get-what-you-pay-for scenario.

Is Palm Oil Vegan?

Technically…yes. But palm oil is a real bad boy in the vegan community due to environmental concerns. Palm oil plantations are a huge cause of deforestation, causing many animals to lose their homes. They can also result in the use of child labor and generally poor working conditions for all.

Palm oil production is a matter of great debate as far as what makes up vegan diets, and generally, you will not see it appear in many vegan recipes because of this. Many feel the health benefits of palm oil are outweighed by its cost to workers and the environment.

So yes, palm oil is vegan in the sense it contains no animal fat or by-products, but as far as being ethically vegan, that is another matter.

Is Sunflower Oil Vegan?

Sunflower oil is made from sunflower seeds and is not to be confused with safflower oil. At the same time, safflower oil may have a similar-sounding name because it is made from two very different plants.

Sunflower oil is low in saturated fats and high in vitamin E. It’s also colorless and flavorless, making it a fan favorite in the culinary world, as it can be added to many dishes without changing the flavor. Sunflower oil is very versatile and can be used in deep frying as well as baking. In fact, many fast-food restaurants are switching from refined oil and vegetable oil to sunflower oil in an attempt to be more health-conscious.

Is Safflower Oil Vegan?

While we are on the topic of safflower oil, let’s talk about if it’s vegan? Yes, yes, and yes. It is made from the safflower plant as the name would imply and it is similar to its phonetical brother of sunflower oil in its uses. While it isn’t quite as versatile as olive oil or as full of healthy fats as peanut oil it still holds its own against canola oil and other similar oils.

It’s not quite as popular as some of the others, but for no specific reason. It seems like it just hasn’t caught up in the oil game quite yet or perhaps because it is often confused with the similar-sounding sunflower oil.

It has no real color or recognizable flavor so it can be used in recipes for all sorts of things. There are no issues in production or its harvest so if you are feeling like trying something new in your diet, full steam ahead on this oil!

Is Coconut Oil Vegan?

Is Coconut Oil Vegan

Coconut oil is a big one as it is often used as a butter replacement, it shows up in a lot of vegan recipes and cookbooks. It is also helps cut calories and encourages weight loss so it makes an appearance in lots of healthy living and weight loss cookbooks as well. So what’s the skinny on this skinny-making oil?

Coconut oil is made from none other than..coconuts! Growing coconuts has a low impact on the environment, they don’t require pesticides and they are often picked by hand instead of using large equipment. There is some debate over whether the wages and working conditions for those who pick the coconuts are acceptable, but it like many other harvesting industries, is at least being looked at.

It’s also ironic that coconut oil is so helpful in weight loss as it is so high in fats, the good kind anyway! It even tops canola oil, olive oil, and rice bran oil in being the reigning champ of healthy fats. It’s also incredibly versatile and can be used for everything from cooking delicious desserts, to sweetening your coffee in the morning.

It has a distinct aroma and flavor however so while it is delicious and super healthy it may not be as versatile as canola oil for your french fries or taste as good as olive oil in your pasta.

But for turning almost any recipe from butter filled to vegan clean, coconut oil will be your new best friend.

Is Sesame Oil Vegan?

Sesame Oil is made guessed it! Sesame seeds! Which makes it definitely vegan.

Sesame oil is definitely not your typical vegetable oil. It is not as versatile as olive oil or canola oil and has a very distinct nutty(but delicious) taste. But it is high in antioxidants and incredibly healthy. It is delicious on salads and Asian-themed dishes, especially since it originates from Asia. It is loaded with a healthy pure fat content that is similar to its nutty neighbors of pecan oil and peanut oil.

It is made from pressed sesame seeds so there are no issues with harvesting or processing and no refined oils here. And is sesame oil vegan? It is! And vastly underrated in my opinion.

Is Almond Oil Vegan?

Last but certainly not least is almond oil! Almond oil, like most oils, is named for what it comes from..which is almonds! No guesswork there. It’s definitely vegan and is made from pressing raw almonds, similar to how olive, and avocado oil are made. It is a very simple process as compared to how canola oil or rice bran oil is made.

It is similar to coconut oil in that it is the oil of 1000 uses. You can use it on your face, hair, or in your salad. It has a mild taste, slightly sweet so it is great for baking and dessert recipes.

But, as the almond increases in popularity both as an oil and as a milk substitute, it does have a greater impact on the environment as it takes an immense amount of water for the deshelling process. So its environmental footprint is slightly higher than some of its oil buddies.

But in moderation, and with an eye on the environment, this oil is a great choice both for its health benefits and its flexibility.

The Final Oil Verdict And Closing Remarks

So to wrap things up and fully answer the “Is This Oil Vegan” question:

Palm oil, soybean oil, and canola oil while vegan, require a thorough label check, and your opinion on if they are vegan vegetable oils may vary depending on your definition of vegan(and vegetable.)

Sunflower, safflower, sesame, avocado, coconut, almond, and olive oil also pass this “Is This Oil Vegan” background check and are all great oil options that may not come with the worries of palm oil or canola oil.

So that’s the vegan oil lineup and the verdict. Most oils are technically vegan, depending on your definition of it. But which one is the best choice for you and your vegan diet, is up to you. But now you are at least armed with all the information you need to make an informed decision that is right for you. So check out your local options and remember to read those labels. Happy hunting friends!


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