When there is a worldwide shortage of oil, cook with less


How to reduce your use of cooking oil in the face of a worldwide oil scarcity and possible substitutes

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Because of Russia’s invasion on Ukraine, the globe is running low on sunflower oil. Customers are panic-buying in droves, and major UK retailers have been forced to restrict sales to just two bottles because of the short supply of this popular cooking oil. Some German eateries have reportedly ceased serving French fries because of a lack of oil.

So, what’s the deal with the scarcity of sunflower oil? In terms of edible oil exports, Russia and Ukraine account for over 80% of sunflower oil exports. There has been a shortage of cooking oils since the conflict because of the Black Sea tensions. In addition, the cost of cooking oils was already sky-high before the conflict, and demand for alternative oils like rapeseed, palm, and soybean has pushed the price even higher.


What can you do to limit your use of sunflower oil given that we don’t know how long the scarcity will last? In addition, what other oils may you use in their place?

To what extent may I cut down on the amount of sunflower oil I use?

You can grill or buy an air fryer if you want to reduce the amount of oil you use when sautéing food. In only a few short minutes, these tiny convection ovens can turn out perfectly cooked food. The main benefit of this method is that it uses a spray of oil instead of traditional deep-fat frying to prepare meals.

Ghee butter in pan (Image credit: Shutterstock)

It’s easy to get started with air frying if you use these recipes, but remember to avoid these frequent blunders and the items you should never use an air fryer to make before you do. Use Teflon-coated frying pans to minimise the quantity of oil you use while cooking.


What can I use instead of oil in my cooking?

There are a variety of oils that may be used for high-temperature cooking, including sunflower oil.

High-heat cooking is best done using vegetable oil, which is the most similar to sunflower oil. It has a higher smoke point than sunflower oil, therefore it won’t burn until it reaches 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Among its many ingredients are canola, grapeseed, and peanut oils, and it has a mild flavour that goes well with a wide variety of foods. Vegetable oil’s sole drawback is that it includes unsaturated fats, which, when heated, may cause health issues.

Olive oil has a lower smoke point than most other oils, making it a healthful substitute. While olive oil may be used in pan-frying and sautéing, deep-frying is not suggested. A healthy choice for baking, olive oil is ideal for low- to medium-heat cooking. Keep in mind that it has a rich, fruity taste that may not go well with many recipes. For salad dressings, sauces, and dips, extra-virgin olive oil is the best choice.


When cooking at high temperatures, you may also use rapeseed oil as an alternative. Roasting, frying, deep-fat frying, baking, marinades, dips, and sauces may all be made using this oil. It has a mellow taste that goes well with most foods and includes Vitamin E as well.

Saturated lipids in coconut oil make it a good choice for cooking at high temperatures. Despite its versatility as a cooking medium, it should not be used in a deep fryer. However, it’s best to cook using coconut oil at a medium temperature.

The versatility of ghee (clarified butter) comes from its suitability for use in high-heat cookery. Because it contains a lot of saturated fat, butter is not the healthiest option. Cooks in India often use ghee or ghee oil.


Oil of sesame — Sesame oil has a rich, nutty flavour and is often used in Asian cooking. It is best utilised in stir-fried meals or salad dressings. Cooking at high temperatures is difficult due to the oil’s light composition, making it less useful than other of the more versatile oils available. Sesame oil, on the other hand, should be used sparingly because of its strong taste.

Avocado oil and avocados (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Avocado oil – Avocado oil, which has a high smoke point, is a popular option for cooking. Because avocado oil is strong in monounsaturated fat (the ‘good fat,’) it’s also one of the healthiest cooking oils on the market. In comparison to other oils, its sole drawback is its high price.

Flaxseed oil (also known as linseed oil) has a low smoke point and is readily burned when used in cooking. However, pouring it over dishes and delectable dips like extra virgin olive oil is the ideal application for it.


Using an air fryer to cook something new is a great option if you’re looking for something a bit out of the ordinary. However, you must avoid the TikTok air fryer trick at all costs.

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