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What is Corn Oil?

Nicole Madison
Updated May 16, 2024
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Corn oil is a type of oil made from corn germ, which is the embryo of the kernel. This type of oil is considered extremely suitable for frying foods, and it is often used in the production of margarine. It is also used in some soap and salve preparations as well as in some inks, insecticides, and even some products used in creating rustproof surfaces. This type of oil may even be used in some pharmaceutical processes.

One of the reasons this oil is considered so good for frying is that it is resistant to smoking. It has a very high smoke point, which essentially means that it is unlikely to smoke until it reaches an extremely high temperature. Likewise, corn oil is less prone to discoloration than some other types of oil.

Besides frying, there are numerous food uses for corn oil. For example, this type of oil is often used for salad oil and is sometimes blended with other types of vegetable oils. It can be one of the primary ingredients in margarine as well as an ingredient in butter blends, mayonnaise, and some types of salad dressings. It is often used in a wide range of prepared foods as well. For example, it can be an ingredient in everything from French fries and potato chips to baked goods and frosting.

Corn oil is extracted from corn germ. Each corn kernel is surrounded by a whitish, yellowish coating, which is referred to as the outer husk of the kernel. The corn germ is located near the end of the kernel and within a starchy substance called the endosperm. It is this part of the kernel that contains most of the oil, which is processed to make corn oil. There is, however, a smaller amount of oil in the endosperm as well.

The process used to produce corn oil is referred to as wet milling. It involves softening and separating the kernels. After being separated from the other parts of the kernel, the germ is dried and pressed to extract the oil. This gets most of the oil out, and then a solvent is employed to extract the rest of it. Finally, this crude oil goes through a refining process to prepare it for bottling and sale. There are a few steps to this process, which involves degumming, the removal of free fatty acids, wax removal, color lightening, and deodorization.

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Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a DelightedCooking writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.
Discussion Comments
By Potterspop — On Aug 05, 2011

@myharley - You have really made me hungry! I've never tried adding brown sugar to corn.

I like corn oil because it is high in vitamin E. If I'm a bit short of cash it's my first choice after olive oil.

Like everything high in fat, I try to watch how much I consume. Why do the best tasting things always seem to be bad for you?

By LisaLou — On Aug 05, 2011

I have a hard time passing up a piece of homemade pie that has been made with a real pie crust. I keep a bottle of Mazola corn oil on hand so I can make a quick pie crust.

Once you get used to it, it really does not take that long, and the taste is worth it. My mother always used Mazola corn oil and had the best pie, so that is what I use too. I don't think my pies are quite as good as hers yet, but I am working on getting a perfect, flaky pie crust.

By myharley — On Aug 04, 2011

I like to use corn oil when I am making my own popcorn. If I am in a hurry, it is easy to throw in a bag of microwave popcorn, but if I want really good popcorn, I will make it myself.

I have found that corn oil works really good for popping all of the kernels. If I want to have it taste like kettle corn, I will add some white sugar. If I want it to taste more like a caramel corn, I will add some brown sugar. Sometimes a mixture of both is really good too!

By julies — On Aug 04, 2011

I love to make my own quesadillas at home because I like to know exactly what I am putting in them. I like them with chicken, avocados and lots of cheese.

I will usually cook my tortillas in some Wesson corn oil. This works well because this oil does not smoke and will not turn brown.

I like to make sure the cheese is completely melted, yet don't want the tortilla to be soggy.

Many times I will eat these as a meal. They are quick to prepare and the corn oil helps keep the tortillas crisp - just the way I like them.

By Perdido — On Aug 03, 2011

I make a homemade Italian dressing using corn oil. I don’t like the taste and scent of vinegar, so I only use dressings that I make myself.

I start with a narrow-necked bottle. I pour it two-thirds full of corn oil. Then, I use a funnel to pour in lots of Italian seasoning. I like to add several squirts of lemon juice to make it tangy. I put the lid on tight and refrigerate it.

I use this dressing over salads made up of green leaf lettuce, cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, croutons, and broccoli. Sometimes, I use it to dress bare broccoli and make it more appetizing.

By wavy58 — On Aug 02, 2011

I make homemade potato chips using corn oil. I bake them at the high temperature of 450 degrees, so the high smoke point of corn oil keeps them from having a smoky taste.

First, I coat a baking sheet with corn oil. Then, I cut up a couple of potatoes into thin round slices. I place them on the oiled sheet and brush them with additional corn oil. Then, I season them with salt, pepper, and parsley.

After fifteen to twenty minutes in the oven, they start to brown on top and develop blisters. This means that they are ready.

By shell4life — On Aug 02, 2011

@seag47 - I love that corn oil does not smoke easily. I have fried chicken in other oils in the past, and the smoke that arises often sets off my fire alarm. It also makes the house smell bad, and it can ruin a meal.

I use corn oil for sauteeing vegetables. I like to cut up a zucchini, onion, and garlic and add them to a skillet with green beans, salt and pepper. I sautee them for about fifteen minutes, and the corn oil never produces smoke. The corn oil flavor goes great with vegetables, since it comes from one.

By seag47 — On Aug 01, 2011

I use corn oil when frying chicken. Since I like to sear the chicken, I need oil that can withstand a high temperature.

I cover the bottom of a skillet with corn oil. I turn the temperature to medium and let it heat up for a few minutes. While I wait, I dip raw chicken in a mixture of egg and milk. I roll it in flour seasoned with season-all, salt, and pepper. Next, I place the chicken into the oil.

When it hits the hot oil, it sizzles immediately, but it does not produce smoke. I only have to cook it this way for a couple of minutes on each side. Then, I turn the temperature down and slow cook the chicken until it is no longer pink in the middle.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a DelightedCooking writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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