Difference between Safflower Oil and Olive Oil

Key difference: The key difference between the two oils is based on their extraction from their respective seeds, wherein safflower oil is obtained from safflower seeds and olive oil is obtained from pure olive seeds or olive fruits.

Oil is considered indispensable when it comes to cooking and there are very few dishes that can be cooked without oil or fat of some form. There are so many varieties of cooking oil available such as sunflower oil, coconut oil, canola oil, etc. So, choosing the right oil for the kitchen is very important and can have a huge impact on the health. Also, these oils add a certain distinct taste, flavor and aroma to the dish.

Safflower oil and Olive oil are two of the many oils that fill the criteria of healthy cooking oils. Both these cooking oils have high levels of mono-unsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Often, olive oil is compared with safflower oil because of their similar nutritional values, and very nearly same health benefits. However, other factors such as smoking point of the oil, its viscosity, aroma and taste, etc help in differentiate between the two oils.

Though, there is a common method of extraction that affects the nutritional value of the oil, wherein the safflower oil is extracted mechanically without any heat or chemical treatment, and olive oil too is extracted by a raw mechanical process by simple pressing of the respective, safflower and olive seeds.

As mentioned earlier, safflower oil is rich in polyunsaturated fat, which includes lots of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids. These fatty acids have been known to help boost the immunity system against illnesses, and also help in regulate the mental health. This oil is ideal for cooking in medium to medium high-heat, which means sautéing and stir-fry can be easily done in safflower oil. This oil also works as a good, smart and healthy substitute for sesame oil. Safflower oil can also be used for baking; as the understated taste of the oil helps the other ingredients shine through beautifully.

On the other hand, olive oil is not only low in calories and poly-saturated fat; it is full of Omgea-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, which is great for the body. Olive oil is ideal for low heat cooking, and for no-heat dishes. It is considered as an ideal dressing in green salads, cold dishes and other oil less foods. And, since there are many dishes based on this cooking oil, it does not require substitution. Also, because of olive oil’s distinct flavor it easily blends with the rest of the dish and adds a certain depth and taste to anything from a three bean salad to a traditional pasta sauce to a simple omelet.

Thus, from the above explanations, it is pretty evident that both the cooking oils are healthy, beneficial, nutritional and important in their individual ways. And, any further differences between the two oils can be read in the table below.

Comparison between Safflower Oil and Olive Oil:


Safflower Oil

Olive Oil

Obtained from

Safflower seeds.

Olive seeds.

High level

It contains high levels of poly-unsaturated fats.

It contains high levels of mono-unsaturated fats.

Smoke point

  • It has high smoking point.
  • It is 490° F.
  • It has low smoking point.
  • It is 391° F.


There are two types of safflower oils:

  • Oleic acid.
  • Linoleic acid.

There are three types of olive oils:

  • Light olive oil.
  • Virgin olive oil.
  • Extra virgin olive oil.


It contains only Omega-6 Fatty acids.

It contains both Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids.


It contains high amount of Vitamin E.

It contains high amount of Vitamin K.

Used in

It is used in cooking, salad dressing and in the production of margarine.

It can be used as cold or raw; it is widely used for salad dressing, light and quick sautéing and frying.

Best for

It is best when cooked in medium to medium high heat.

It is best cooked on low or no heat.


It is cheaper than olive oil.

It is costlier than safflower oil.

Health benefits

  • Reduces Issues like:
  • Deficiency (fatty acid)
  • Angina pectoris / coronary artery disease
  • Atherosclerosis (lipid peroxidation)
  • Cardiovascular disorders
  • Chronic hepatitis (hepatitis C)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Diabetes mellitus type 2
  • Familial hyperlipidemia
  • Friedreich's ataxia
  • Hypercholesterolemia
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Kidney disorders
  • Malnutrition (protein-energy)
  • Nutritional supplement (infant formula)
  • Skin conditions (phrynoderma)
  • Total parenteral nutrition
  • Toxicity (lithium)
  • It helps in reducing Breast Cancer Risk.
  • It maintains a healthy cholesterol level.
  • The Extra Virgin Olive Oil is used for protection against Alzheimer's Disease.
  • It helps prevent Acute Pancreatitis.
  • It protects the Liver.
  • Protects from Ulcerative Colitis
  • Helps Prevent Stroke

Image Courtesy: gnet.org, oowithoutborders.org

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