Vegetable Oils – Comparison, Cost, and Nutrition

As I was reaching for the canola oil in my cupboard last week while doing some baking, I got to looking at the different oils I have on hand. The canola oil and olive oil are at the front of the cupboard because those are the ones I use most often but I also have peanut oil and sesame oil. Some may wonder, like my husband, why I have four different kinds of oil. The kind of oil I use depends on what kind of food I’m preparing. For baking, I like to use canola oil but for roasting or sautéing vegetables, I use olive oil.

When deciding what kind of oil you are going to buy, consider three things 1) what it will be used for, 2) how much it costs, and 3) nutrition. Below is a comparison of commonly used oils. You’ll notice olive oil is more expensive than canola or vegetable oil, but keep in mind that typically recipes call for small amounts of olive oil so a bottle lasts a long time.

Type of Oil Uses Cost*** Unit price
(per fl oz)
(48 fluid oz)
Sautéing, baking, frying, marinating 3.59-4.59 .07-.09
(17 fl oz)
Grilling, sautéing, roasting, spreads for breads 7.69-7.99 .45-.47
(48 fl oz)
Sautéing, baking, frying, marinating 3.18-4.39 .06-.09
(24 fl oz)
Stir-frying, roasting, deep frying, baking 3.58-4.98 .15-.21
(8.45 fl oz)
(12.7 fl oz)
Stir-frying (light), dressings/sauces (dark) 5.89-7.89 .70-.62

*usually made from a combination of corn, soybeans, and/or sunflower seeds

**there are light and dark versions of sesame oil

***Costs were found at grocery stores in Central Iowa

Below is a chart that compares the nutritional value of different fats and oils. Saturated and trans fats raise cholesterol levels and are not heart-healthy. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated are considered the ‘good’ fats. Oils high in monounsaturated fats are particularly heart healthy because they lower LDL levels, the ‘bad’ kind of cholesterol. Replacing the fats and oils that are higher in saturated and trans fats with those higher in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats is good for your health.

oil comparison chart

I also noticed while in the grocery store a couple of new oil blends. There is a Natural Blend oil that is a combination of canola, sunflower, and soybean oil. It was $3.59 for a 48 fluid ounce bottle. The other new one I noticed was called Omega and was a combination of canola and extra virgin olive oil. It was $3.99 for a 48 fluid ounce bottle.

For best quality store your oil in a cool, dark place and replace it if it smells “bitter” or “off.”

Watch our recent ‘How To’ video and learn how to make your own salad dressing using the oils in your cupboard.

Jodi Signature

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood is a Registered Dietitian who enjoys spending time in the kitchen baking and preparing meals for her family. She does lots of meal planning to stay organized and feed her family nutritious meals.

More Posts

75 thoughts on “Vegetable Oils – Comparison, Cost, and Nutrition

  1. The fatty acid composition of rice oil is 25% saturated fat, 37% polyunsaturated fat, and 38% monounsaturated fat.

  2. HOW MUCH DOES A THIRD CUP OF VEGETABLE OIL COST?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!??!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!??!?!??!?!?!??!?!?!???!?!?!?!??!?!?!??!??!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!!

  3. Hi Jonathon
    This would vary significantly based on the type of oil you want to purchase and the size of the bottle. The store brand at a grocery store in my area would cost roughly 16 cents for 1/3 cup.

  4. This blog about Vegetable Oils – Comparison, Cost, and Nutrition • Spend Smart.
    Eat Smart. • Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has helped me a lot, is very well written.

  5. I understand that short chain saturated fats such as those found in coconut or palm oil are not so bad for health compared to their long chain cousins. Have I been deceived?
    Also, can you email me if there’s a reply?

  6. Scott-Thank you for your question regarding saturated fats. The American Heart Association (AHA) issued a scientific advisory statement in 2017 to replace saturated fats (including coconut and other tropical oils) with unsaturated fats. Based on a review of seven controlled trials, coconut oil was found to raise harmful LDL cholesterol levels. The AHA advised against the use of coconut oil, and suggested limiting all saturated fat.

  7. Here is an informative post. I use to go for just olive oil until I realized other healthy oils come with other nutrients which may not be available in olive oil. Then I started mixing coconut oil, sunflower oil, depending on what I was trying to achieve with the oil. Thanks for sharing

  8. Cooking oil is the most useful element in the kitchen. Cooking oil provides nutritional value to the body so it is most important to choose proper cooking oil which can provide required nutrition, vitamins, proteins, and fats etc. to the body. Thanks for writing on benefits of Rice bran oil, this oil is beneficial for everyone and we need to use this oil in the kitchen.

  9. Hi Joddy gatewood,
    I understand your table
    I am Charan from Chennai.
    Usually , I buy groceries online in chennai ,
    This article helped to take decision in my monthly grocery list

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join Our Mailing List

Enter your email address:


Recent Posts

Posts from the Past