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What Is Pecan Oil?

By J. Airman
Updated May 16, 2024
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Pecan oil is refined oil that comes from the pecan nut. It is considered to be a healthy oil because it is low in saturated fat compared to other pressed oils. Some types smell and taste like pecans, while other pecan oil is treated to remove the taste and scent. Like other cooking oils, this oil can be used in cold applications, like salad dressings and marinades, in baked goods or for light frying.

Oil from pecans has a naturally nutty flavor similar to that of the nut. It can be extracted from raw or cooked pecans, which are usually roasted; deeply roasted pecans often make a smoky-scented oil. Some pecan oil has been deodorized, so it has no pecan flavor or scent properties. Since its flavor is neutral, it can be used in place of other cooking oils, including butter.

Many people choose to avoid oils extracted using chemical processes, often using a solvent called hexane, favoring those made using a chemical-free process called crushing. Of the oils that do not require chemical processes to extract them from the plant material, oil from pecans contains the lowest levels of saturated fat. Like olive oil, pecan oil is expeller pressed, an extraction process that does not involve chemicals. Common oils that use chemical processes to extract the oil include the low saturated fat oils grapeseed and canola.

The way pecan oil is used in cooking depends on whether it is pecan flavored oil or oil that has had its flavor and scent removed. The latter type can be used in the same ways as many other oils. Pecan-flavored oil can be used in many of the same ways as unflavored oils, but the cook must decide whether the flavor goes well with other flavors in the dish.

This oil is considered to be a specialty oil, so it is not always easy to acquire in stores. It is not common in most home kitchens, and many small markets do not carry pecan oil in favor of other cheaper and more popular oils. In addition to its use in food, this oil is also used for other applications, such as massage oil and cosmetics. Pecan oil used in cosmetics most often appears in soaps and perfumes, or in lotions made to prevent or treat chapped skin.

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Discussion Comments

By bear78 — On Jun 16, 2014

There is also something called roasted pecan oil, made from roasted pecans. This is the best oil to add to pecan sandies! The only downside is that pecan oil goes rancid quickly so it has to be kept in the fridge and used fast.

By donasmrs — On Jun 15, 2014

@turquoise-- I wonder if it was the particular brand or type of pecan oil you used. I actually find the taste of pecan oil very light. have deep fried foods with it and they turned out great. Pecan oil has a high smoking point, so it's a good oil for frying because it won't burn.

I've also used pecan oil for salads and condiments. I highly recommend this oil for homemade mayonnaise and salad dressings. It's actually a very versatile oil. And the fact that it's even healthier than olive oil has made it a staple oil in my kitchen.

By turquoise — On Jun 15, 2014

I don't recommend pecan oil that tastes like pecans for frying. Natural nut oils like pecan and walnut have distinct flavors that affect the foods that are fried in them. I sauteed vegetables in pecan oil once and the taste was very different. I didn't like it.

So I think either unflavored pecan oil should be use or the oil should only be used in baking and perhaps some salads.

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