Peanut oil, also known as groundnut oil or Arachis oil, is a vegetable oil derived from peanuts. The oil usually has a mild or neutral flavor but, if made with roasted peanuts, has a stronger peanut flavor and aroma. It is often used in American, Chinese, Indian, African, and Southeast Asian cuisine, both for general cooking, and in the case of roasted oil, for added flavor.
Peanut oil is high in monounsaturated fats (oleic acid) and has a good amount of polyunsaturated fats (linoleic acid), so it has favorable amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. It also contains phytosterols which can help reduce cholesterol levels.
Peanut oil is roughly 40% more saturated than olive oil and may turn solid at room temperature in colder climates, but it keeps a liquid form even in low temperatures. The flash point of peanut oil is around. Peanut oil is common cooking oil and is favored for its neutral flavor and high smoke point. Its major component fatty acids are oleic acid (53%), linoleic acid (24%), and palmitic acid (11%). The oil also contains some stearic, arachidic, myristic, and lignoceric acids.
Peanut oil, like other vegetable oils, can be used to make soap by the process of saponification. The oil is safe for use as a massage oil. In particular, it is used for dry skin and eczema. It is also suitable for use in babies and for those with sensitive skin or allergies. Peanut oil is used in the manufacturing of soaps, skincare products, candles, hair care products, and other cosmetics. Peanut oil is edible and has a neutral flavor. It also resists turning more rancid than many other oils. Due to these attributes, it is often used as an ingredient in mass-produced foodstuffs.
Peanut oil has a relatively low smoke point, so it is not often used in cooking, but rather as a finishing oil or for deep frying. Peanut oil contains significant amounts of B-complex vitamins and vitamin E. Peanut oil is used in the production of cosmetics, soaps, candles, hair care products.
Peanut oil also has natural antioxidants that slow rancidification. Peanut oil's major fatty acids are oleic acid, omega 6 linoleic acid, and alpha-linolenic acid. Peanut oil is 40% more saturated than olive oil. Peanut oil has a flash point of approximately . It has smoke points between and .
Peanut oil is refined by vacuum distillation of the crude oil at 300–310 °C (572–587 °F). The oil extracted from this process is a stable liquid at room temperature and contains a minimum of 0.9% of methyl and propyl butyl-ketones as antioxidants against rancidity