What to Know about Rapeseed Oil

Medically Reviewed by Christine Mikstas, RD, LD on July 11, 2023
2 min read

There are two main types of rapeseed oil: culinary and industrial. The culinary version, also known as canola oil, is used in the kitchen for cooking. Industrial rapeseed oil is mostly used in the chemical and automotive industries.

Rapeseed oil is widely used around the world. It’s famous for its affordability and versatility as a cooking oil and is commonly found in salad dressings, fried foods, and baked goods.

Rapeseed oil is naturally low in saturated fat and high in unsaturated fat, which is excellent for your health.

It’s an excellent source of vitamin E — a strong antioxidant, which can support eye and skin health.

Rapeseed oil is also a great source of an omega-3 fat known as alpha-linolenic acid, which provides numerous heart health benefits like lower blood pressure and a decreased likelihood of heart attack.

High in omega-6 fats, rapeseed oil can also support overall health. However, an excess of omega-6 can lead to some inflammation in the body. Fortunately, you can find a balanced ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fats at a 1:2 ratio in rapeseed oil, which experts believe is ideal.

Versatility. You can use it for roasting, frying, deep-fat frying, baking, marinades, dipping, drizzling, and sauces.

High cooking temperature. Rapeseed oil has a high smoke point, which means it won't burn until about 400 degrees F. That makes it a good choice for frying mushrooms or roasting vegetables.

Low saturated fat. It has the lowest amount of saturated fat out of all the oils, making it a healthy option.

Vitamin E. Using rapeseed oil in cooking is a good way to get vitamin E in your diet.

Mild flavor. Because rapeseed oil is almost flavorless, you can use it in a variety of dishes. It works great in dips, salad dressings, baking, pan-frying, and deep-frying. You can serve it at room temperature or cook with it.

Affordability. You can often buy rapeseed oil for less than about half the price of olive oil.

Genetically modified. Most rapeseed oil sold in grocery stores is genetically modified. Growers genetically modify plants to produce higher yields and more affordable products.

There is some concern about genetically modified foods and their effect on antibiotic resistance, allergies, and cancer. However, most research does suggest that genetically modified products are generally safe.

If you want to avoid genetically modified foods, buy rapeseed oil that’s labeled as GMO-free or certified organic by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Highly processed. Rapeseed oil is heavily processed. Hexane, a chemical solvent, is added to “clean” the oil. Then, a water filtration process removes gums, free fatty acids, and unappealing colors. Although this is considered a safe process, it leads to lower contents of fatty acids and vitamin E, which may affect the health benefits of rapeseed oil.