Is canola oil the same as vegetable oil?

In this brief article we will answer the query,”Is canola oil the same as vegetable oil?” We will explain what canola oil is. We will discuss a step-by-step guide on the manufacturing process of canola oil.

Is canola oil the same as vegetable oil?

No, while canola oil is a type of vegetable oil the term vegetable oil refers to any processed oil that is obtained from plant based sources and remains liquid at ambient room temperatures. This therefore means that vegetable oils can be from other sources, for example  corn oil, rapeseed oil, grapeseed oil,cotton oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil etc and not exclusively canola oil.

What exactly is canola oil?

Canola oil is also referred to as rapeseed oil and it is a type of vegetable il as mentioned that is derived from the rape plant which is scientifically known as Brassica napus.

The name Canola is derived from the words ‘Canada’ and ‘Ola ‘ which translates to oil. This is because canola was created by scientists in Canada via a crossbreed of a type of edible rapeseed plant. 

When they were crossbreeding, they successfully removed toxic compounds namely glucosinolates and erucic acid. The canola plant is remarkably similar to the rapeseed plant although they do have different nutritional value and the canola plant has safe and edible oil.

Since the development of the canola plant, there have been a no. of different varieties developed which have better seed quality which has boosted the processing of canola oil.

A lot of canola crops are genetically modified so as to better the quality of the oil produced and also to enable them to have better tolerance to herbicides. In fact Genetically modified canola makes up to 95 percent of the canola that is planted in the US.

How is Canola oil manufactured?

There are various steps that go into the manufacturing of canola oil. Let us look at a step-by-step guide in how its done:

Step 1: Cleaning the seeds

Naturally, the process starts with cleaning of the seeds so as to rid them of any physical contaminants and also take out any pods, weed seeds, stems and other foreign materials.

Step 2: Heating and flaking

The cleaned and separated seeds are then heated  and flaked with machines before the extraction of the canola oil. This is done by raising the temperature (preheating) to about 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius) then using roller mills to flake by rupting the seed’s cell walls.

Step 3: Cooking

The seed flakes then go through a series of steam-heated cookers or heating drums. They are heated for about 15 to 20 minutes at temperatures of 176 to 221 degrees Fahrenheit (80 to 105 degrees Celsius)

This process aids in further rupturing of the cells and development of the correct viscosity and moisture levels that the subsequent steps require. 

Step 4: Pressing

The now heated flakes move to a series of expellers or pressers which gently press them. This helps in the extraction of a lot of the oil and also compresses the remainder of the seed into a solid cake.

Step 5: Extraction

The remaining oil from the seed is removed by use of an extractor from the now pressed cakes. To better extract oil, hexane is used as the solvent. The machine separates the oil and solids and the hexane is recycled for further utilization.

Step 6: Refining and processing

The extracted crude canola oil has to undergo a further series of steps so as to better improve its flavor, color and extend its shelf life. This is partially done by the use of water and organic acids which help to remove any fatty acids, meal particles and lipids.

The crude canola oil undergoes a process known as bleaching to remove any color pigments. This is done by filtering the oil through a clay filter and use of steam to distill the oil removing any foreign and unwanted odors.

At this point, the canola oil is fully processed and can be packaged and distributed to the consumers.

You can read about the health benefits of canola oil by clicking here.


In this brief article we have answered the query,”Is canola oil the same as vegetable oil?” We have explained what canola oil is. We have discussed a step-by-step guide on the manufacturing process of canola oil.


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