For many consumers, golden corn oil serves as one of the most visible signs of the corn refining industry. Although corn oil represents a relatively modest share of the ingredients produced by corn refiners, its household uses illustrate the vast array of food and other products derived from our nation’s most abundant crop.

By removing free fatty acids and phospholipids from crude corn oil, the oil refining process gives corn oil one of the qualities cooks value most: Its excellent frying quality and resistance to smoking or discoloration. Corn oil is regarded highly for its functionality, exceptional flavor, affordability, and health benefits. It is high in energy, easily digestible, provides Vitamin E, and is a rich source of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which help regulate blood cholesterol levels and lower elevated blood pressure.

corn oil is regarded highly for its functionality, exceptional flavor, affordability, and health benefits.

In fact, corn oil has already replaced a significant amount of saturated fat in many food products, and it serves as a top choice for trans fat reduction in our favorite snack foods.  It can also be an effective component in reducing trans fats in restaurant settings. Laboratory frying tests show that corn oil performed almost identically to cottonseed oil when used to fry frozen potatoes and can be combined with fully hydrogenated vegetable oil to produce trans fat free margarines.

Corn oil’s unique chemistry also makes it an important ingredient in a range of products not associated with cooking. For example, corn oil, sometimes called “zea mays oil,” is often found in soaps, shampoos, household cleaners, and personal care products, such as cosmetics.

Abundant American corn oil is not just available to discerning cooks here at home, it also contributes to U.S. exports.

Examples of Corn Oil


Cornstarch is found in body powders, skin care, lipsticks, and eye and facial makeup. Corn oil can be found in skin care products. Xanthan gum is a makeup stabilizer & thickener.

Liquid Hand Soap

In many cases, one-quarter of soap’s ingredients are corn-based, including corn oil and products made from bioprocessing. For example, xanthan gum thickens and stabilizes soap.

Shampoos and Conditioners

Cornstarch helps to strengthen hair, while corn oil acts as a conditioner. Xanthan gum, made from corn bioprocessing, is a stabilizer and thickener.

Examples of Food Corn Oil

Salad Dressing

A variety of salad dressings use corn oil for its clean flavor and polyunsaturated fats, which help lower cholesterol.

Tortilla Chips

Corn oil is used in frying tortilla and other snack chips, reducing both saturated fat and trans fat.

Corn Oil for Cooking

Corn oil is made from the germ of the corn kernel and is a favorite among cooks because it is high in mono and poly unsaturated fat.