What Is the Difference Between Sunflower and Safflower Oil?

Do you consider yourself an expert in the kitchen? Can you distinguish between sunflower and safflower oil?

Safflower oil and sunflower oil are quite similar, but recognizing the differences between them can help you prepare superior cuisine.

You’ll discover all you need to know about the properties of these cooking oils in the sections below. We describe their manufacturing method, the variety of alternatives accessible to you, their characteristics, and their nutritious content.

When all is said and done, you will be able to choose which is ideal for you. Let’s get started!

Difference Between Sunflower Oil and Safflower Oil

The primary distinction between sunflower and safflower oil is that they are derived from different plants. Sunflower oil (Helianthus annuus) is derived from the seeds of the sunflower plant, while safflower oil (Carthamus tinctorius) is derived from the seeds of the vibrant orange safflower plant.

Before we get into the various differences that result from the fact that they are taken from different plants, we’d like to discuss their commonalities. These two are similar in more ways than you might think, which is why they are commonly misunderstood!

Sunflower oil and safflower oil have the same characteristics:

  • Both are members of the plant family Asteraceae.
  • Both are vegetable oils extracted by steam from the seeds of flowers.
  • Both of the oils are yellow and have no flavor
  • They both include polyunsaturated fatty acids, a kind of fat that remains liquid at cold and room temperatures.
  • Both plants feature upright stalks, green foliage, and flowers that range in color from golden yellow to orange.

Let’s compare safflower and sunflower oil! The variations between oils are more crucial since they will assist you make a better cooking decision.

Flower: Safflower flowers have a spherical form and are significantly smaller than sunflower blooms, which have a disc look.

Sunflower seeds are white, but safflower seeds are black.

The smoke point is the temperature at which an oil stops shimmering and begins to smoke. Sunflower oil has a high smoke point of 450 degrees Fahrenheit (232 degrees Celsius), whereas safflower oil has a higher smoke point of about 510 degrees Fahrenheit (265 degrees Celsius).

Sunflower oil is classified into three types: linoleic, high-oleic, and mid-oleic. The three varieties vary not in taste or appearance, but in the proportion of linoleic and oleic acid they contain, as the names imply. The linoleic type is thought to be the least healthy, while the high oleic type is seen to be the healthiest.

Safflower oil, on the other hand, is only available in two varieties. Linoleic acid, which is high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, is one kind. The other is an oleic variety high in monounsaturated fatty acids. In both cases, the amount of saturated fat is fairly low.

Sunflower oil may be used as a salad dressing, as a butter substitute in baked products, to make mayonnaise and margarine, to pan fry and roast everything from vegetables to meat.

Safflower oil’s high smoke point makes it great for stir-frying, deep-frying, and searing. Safflower oil may also be used to produce butter or mayonnaise. This oil is fantastic for salad dressings and baking.

Sunflower Oil vs Safflower Oil Comparison Table

Category Sunflower Oil Safflower Oil
Type of plant Sunflower Safflower
Scientific name Helianthus annuus Carthamus tinctorius
Family of plants Asteraceae Asteraceae
Production Steam extraction from the flower’s seed Steam extraction from the flower’s seed
Plant straight stalks, green leaves straight stalks, green leaves
Flower Bigger, shaped like a disc Smaller, round shape
Petals Golden yellow to orange Golden yellow to orange
Seeds Black White
Smoke point 450°F (232°C) 510°F (265°C)
Oil color Yellow Yellow
Flavor No flavor No flavor
Oil varieties Linoleic, high oleic, and mid oleic Linoleic and oleic
Cooking usage Pan-frying and roasting, salad dressing, butter replacement in baked goods, making mayonnaise and margarine Deep frying, stir-frying, and searing, salad dressing, butter replacement in baked goods, making mayonnaise and butter

Nutritional Content Breakdown: Which One Is Healthier?

The nutritional data below shows how much healthier safflower oil is when compared to sunflower oil.

To begin with, safflower oil has less calories and fats. It is also high in protein, while sunflower oil contains none.

The same is true for minerals; safflower oil has more calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, and copper than sunflower oil.

Furthermore, safflower oil is high in vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B5, and folate, but sunflower oil has none of them.

Finally, safflower oil includes all of the necessary amino acids, including tryptophan, threonine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, valine, and histidine, but sunflower oil does not.

Sunflower oil has one important disadvantage in terms of health. When heated to high temperatures indefinitely, sunflower oil may develop compounds known as aldehydes, which may be harmful to human health.

Aldehydes are hazardous compounds that may cause DNA and cell damage, leading to diseases including Alzheimer’s and heart disease.

More aldehydes are released into the air when sunflower oil is heated for a longer amount of time. As a result, using sunflower oil for delicate, low-heat culinary methods such as stir-frying may be safer.

Sunflower Oil vs Safflower Oil: Nutritional Profile

Category (100g) Sunflower Oil Safflower Oil
Calories 884 517
Carbs 0g 34.29g
Fat 100g 38.45g
Saturated fat 13g 3.6g
Monounsaturated fat 46.2g 4.8g
Polyunsaturated fat 36.4g 28.2g
Protein 0g 16.18g
Sodium 0mg 3mg
Potassium 0mg 687mg
Fiber 0g 0g
Sugar 0g 0g
Vitamins & Minerals
Calcium 0mg 78mg
Iron 0mg 4.9mg
Vitamin A 0IU 50IU
Vitamin B1 0mg 1.163mg
Vitamin B2 0mg 0.415mg
Vitamin B3 0mg 2.284mg
Vitamin B5 0mg 4.03mg
Vitamin B6 0mg 1.17mg
Magnesium 0mg 353mg
Phosphorus 0mg 644mg
Zinc 0mg 5.05mg
Copper 0mg 1.747mg
Folate 0µg 160µg
Tryptophan 0mg 0.183mg
Threonine 0mg 0.586mg
Isoleucine 0mg 0.717mg
Leucine 0mg 1.154mg
Lysine 0mg 0.534mg
Methionine 0mg 0.284mg
Phenylalanine 0mg 0.806mg
Valine 0mg 1.025mg
Histidine 0mg 0.452mg

Can I Substitute Sunflower Oil for Safflower Oil and Vice Versa?

If you’re seeking for a close alternative for safflower oil, sunflower seed oil is your best bet. This is true in both directions!

Sunflower oil and safflower oil are produced from distinct plants, yet they both belong to the same family.

It’s tough to tell the difference between the two oils. They are bright yellow and have no taste or color when added to foods! As a result, they are excellent replacements for one another.

Sunflower seed oil has a slightly lower smoke point than safflower oil at 450F (232C). Keep in mind that sunflower oil has a tendency to produce aldehydes at high temperatures.

As a consequence, when utilizing sunflower oil instead of safflower oil, adopting moderate, low-heat cooking methods, such as stir-frying, may be a safer alternative.

Best case scenario: for deep-frying, use other oils that can take high heat, such as sesame or canola oil, and substitute safflower oil with sunflower oil for raw meals, such as salads, where it will not be exposed to heat at all.


Many favorite dishes, such as homemade sunflower mayonnaise or vegan safflower butter, rely on safflower and sunflower oil.

Other recipes, on the other hand, do not specify which oil to use. And, contrary to common thought, experimenting with sunflower and safflower oil may sometimes result in a delectable meal!

Even little exploration, however, requires a fundamental grasp of these oils! And, happily, your knowledge has progressed from a fundamental understanding to an expert level.

If you’re wondering what oil to use for deep frying french fries or fish sticks, safflower oil is the way to go. It not only has a greater smoking point than sunflower, but it is also more healthier to eat! Sunflower oil is best used for cooking rice, baking pretzels, or creating a salad dressing!


Which is healthier sunflower or safflower?

Steam extraction is used to extract the oil from the seed. Sunflower oil has a delicate flavor and is suitable for frying and baking. Sunflower oil has the highest vitamin E level of any vegetable oil, including safflower oil.

Can I substitute sunflower oil for safflower oil?

Sunflower and safflower oils are quite similar; in fact, they are so close that they are often used interchangeably.

What is the difference between a sunflower and a safflower?

The form of the blossom is where these two blooms vary from one another. Safflowers have a compact green ball-shaped base topped with a tuft of multicolored petals, while sunflowers have an open disk-shaped bloom. Safflowers and sunflowers are both members of the Asteraceae (sunflower) family.

What type of sunflower oil is healthiest?

Because oleic acid accounts for 80% of its composition, high oleic sunflower oil is considered to be the healthiest variety of sunflower oil available. Linoleic acid and saturated fats account for the remaining 20% in equal parts.

What are the cons of safflower oil?

Diabetes: Safflower oil may raise blood sugar levels. Diabetes patients may find it more difficult to regulate their blood sugar levels as a result of this. During surgery, safflower oil may help to slow blood clotting. This raises the possibility of bleeding during and after surgery.

Is sunflower or safflower oil inflammatory?

When used topically, the anti-inflammatory qualities of safflower oil help soothe your skin.

Why not to use sunflower oil?

Cooking oil vapors are produced by fats used in frying. These vapors include hazardous aldehydes, which may raise one’s risk of cancer. Although deep frying creates the most aldehydes, sunflower oil produces more aldehydes than other oils regardless of cooking mode.

Is safflower oil good or bad for you?

Unsaturated fatty acids are beneficial lipids found in safflower oil. When ingested in moderation, it may provide health advantages such as blood sugar management, improved heart health, and decreased inflammatory levels. It may be used topically to dry skin and is safe to use while cooking at high heat.

What oil is better than safflower oil?

Extra virgin olive oil is strong in beneficial fats, particularly monounsaturated fats, while it also includes a considerable amount of polyunsaturated fats. Because olive oil contains more antioxidants, vitamins, and polyphenols than safflower oil, it provides somewhat higher health benefits.

Is sunflower oil inflammatory?

Is Sunflower Oil Causing Inflammation? Sunflower contains roughly 65-70% omega-6 linoleic acid, which, when ingested in excess, is inflammatory [*].

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