What is rice bran oil made out of?

Rice bran oil is made from the oily layer of bran that surrounds rice grains. During the milling process, brown rice is converted into white rice. The outer brown layer is removed to reveal the white rice grain inside. This brown layer is known as rice bran.

What is rice bran?

Rice bran is the hard outer layer of rice grains. It is removed during the milling process that converts brown rice into white rice. Rice bran contains various nutrients like proteins, fats, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. The oil content in rice bran ranges from 15-20%. This oil is extracted from rice bran to produce rice bran oil.

How is rice bran oil extracted?

Rice bran oil is extracted from rice bran using chemical solvent extraction methods. The typical steps are:

  1. Rice bran is obtained as a byproduct from rice milling units.
  2. The bran is stabilized through heat treatment to prevent the oil from getting rancid.
  3. The stabilized rice bran is fed into extraction units where chemical solvents like hexane are mixed with the bran.
  4. The oil dissolves in the hexane and separates from the bran.
  5. The solvent containing rice bran oil is distilled to recover the solvent for reuse.
  6. The crude rice bran oil is further refined to remove impurities and improve color, aroma, and stability.

The extracted oil goes through filtration and centrifugation processes to remove any remaining impurities. This refined and stabilized rice bran oil is then packaged and marketed as rice bran oil.

Composition of rice bran oil

Rice bran oil contains the following components:

  • Oryzanol: This is an antioxidant that is unique to rice bran oil. It comprises ferulic acid esters and sterols. Oryzanol has many potential health benefits.
  • Tocopherols: These are vitamin E compounds that act as antioxidants. Rice bran oil contains high levels of tocopherols.
  • Squalene: This triterpenoid compound has antioxidant properties. Rice bran oil is one of the richest sources of squalene.
  • Phytosterols: These compounds have structures similar to cholesterol and offer some health benefits.
  • Fatty acids: Rice bran oil predominantly contains monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. The main fatty acids are oleic acid, linoleic acid, and palmitic acid.

The unique nutrient profile of rice bran oil contributes to its stability and health benefits. The oil does not contain any trans fats or cholesterol. The fatty acid composition and antioxidant content make it a healthy cooking oil option.

Benefits of rice bran oil

Here are some key benefits of rice bran oil:

  • High smoke point: Rice bran oil has a high smoke point of 232°C. This makes it suitable for high-temperature cooking methods like deep frying.
  • Longer shelf life: The stability of rice bran oil allows it to be stored for longer without going rancid.
  • Vitamin E content: The high tocopherol levels add vitamin E to food cooked in this oil.
  • Lower cholesterol: Rice bran oil may help lower LDL or bad cholesterol due to its fatty acid profile.
  • Antioxidant activity: Compounds like oryzanol and squalene are powerful antioxidants.
  • Heart health: Rice bran oil improves cholesterol levels and lowers heart disease risk.

Overall, rice bran oil is a healthy cooking oil choice thanks to its light flavor, high smoke point, and antioxidant content. Its nutritional profile makes it beneficial for heart health.

Uses of rice bran oil

Some common uses of rice bran oil include:

  • Cooking oil for stir-frying, sautéing, etc.
  • Frying oil for deep frying foods
  • Salad dressings and dips
  • Baking cakes, cookies, and other recipes
  • Tempering oil for curries and daals
  • Oil for making popcorn
  • Massage oil blends

Rice bran oil has a mild flavor and high smoke point that make it suitable for all kinds of cooking and frying. Its versatility allows it to be used in both savory and sweet dishes. Rice bran oil can also be used for beauty and massage oil formulations.

Is rice bran oil healthy?

Yes, rice bran oil is considered a healthy cooking oil option for the following reasons:

  • It is low in saturated fat and free of trans fats and cholesterol.
  • Around 40% of rice bran oil consists of monounsaturated fats like oleic acid.
  • It contains omega-6 polyunsaturated fats like linoleic acid which have health benefits.
  • Rice bran oil is a source of vitamin E due to its tocopherol content.
  • It contains powerful antioxidant compounds like oryzanol and squalene.
  • Rice bran oil may help lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol.
  • It has a high smoke point making it suitable for high-heat cooking.

The nutritional profile of rice bran oil makes it a heart-healthy choice compared to oils high in saturated fat. Moderation is key, like with any cooking oil. But rice bran oil is considered among the healthier oil options.

Is rice bran oil keto?

Yes, rice bran oil is keto diet friendly. The keto or ketogenic diet involves following a very low carb, high fat meal plan. Dietary fats become the main source of calories rather than carbohydrates.

Rice bran oil contains no carbs or sugars. Around 78% of its calories come from fats making it suitable for keto. The monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat content is healthy for maintaining ketosis.

Rice bran oil has a high smoke point which is also useful for cooking keto recipes. Drizzling rice bran oil over keto vegetables, using it for cooking keto protein sources, and making keto fat bombs with rice bran oil are some ways to integrate it into a keto diet.

Is rice bran oil gluten-free?

Yes, rice bran oil is 100% gluten-free. Gluten refers to proteins found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye. It causes issues for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

Rice and rice-derived products are naturally gluten-free. Rice bran oil is extracted from the bran layer of rice grains. No gluten containing ingredients come in contact during the production process. So rice bran oil is considered gluten-free and safe for gluten-free diets.

Is rice bran oil paleo?

Rice bran oil is considered paleo diet compliant. The paleo or paleolithic diet involves eating whole, unprocessed foods that were consumed during the paleolithic era. This includes meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats like oils.

Vegetable oils were naturally available during the paleolithic times. So while refined vegetable oils are excluded, cold-pressed and virgin oils like rice bran oil are permitted. The nutrient profile of rice bran oil also fits within paleo guidelines. So it can be safely used for cooking paleo recipes.

Is rice bran oil vegan?

Yes, rice bran oil is 100% vegan. Vegans do not consume animal-derived products for ethical, health or environmental reasons. Rice bran oil only contains plant-based ingredients.

It is extracted from the bran layer of rice grains. No animal products or byproducts are used during growing, harvesting, milling or processing of rice and its bran. So rice bran oil fits into a vegan diet and lifestyle.

Is rice bran oil non-GMO?

Rice bran oil is typically non-GMO. GMO stands for genetically modified organism. Most rice bran oil is extracted from non-GMO rice grain varieties. No GMO processes are used during the production of rice bran oil.

Some brands explicitly state their rice bran oil is non-GMO or GMO-free on the product label. Organic rice bran oils also guarantee the use of non-GMO rice grains. Checking the label can help identify non-GMO sources of rice bran oil.

Is rice bran oil refined or unrefined?

Rice bran oil is available in both refined and unrefined forms:

  • Refined rice bran oil: This type undergoes processing to remove impurities, odor, and free fatty acids. It has a higher smoke point and longer shelf life. But some nutrients may be lost during refinement.
  • Unrefined rice bran oil: This is sometimes labeled as virgin or cold-pressed rice bran oil. It retains more natural nutrients but has a lower smoke point and shorter shelf life.

Unrefined rice bran oil has a dark golden color and distinctive nutty aroma. Refined rice bran oil is lighter with a neutral flavor profile. Choose based on your cooking needs and preferences.

Rice bran oil vs. olive oil

Parameter Rice bran oil Olive oil
Fat composition High in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats like oleic acid and linoleic acid. High in monounsaturated fats, especially oleic acid.
Smoke point 232°C, suitable for frying and deep frying. 160 to 190°C, suitable only for light sautéing or baking.
Flavor Neutral flavor. Fruity, grassy olive flavor.
Antioxidant content High antioxidants like oryzanol, tocopherols, and squalene. Moderate antioxidants.
Shelf life 1-2 years due to antioxidants. 6 months to 1 year.
Price Lower cost Higher cost

In summary, rice bran oil has a high smoke point and neutral taste while olive oil has a lower smoke point and distinct flavor. Rice bran oil also contains unique antioxidants like oryzanol while olive oil does not.

Rice bran oil vs. vegetable oil

Parameter Rice bran oil Vegetable oil
Source Made from the bran layer of rice grains. Made from seeds like soy, canola, sunflower, safflower, etc.
Fat composition High in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. High in polyunsaturated fats.
Smoke point 232°C, suitable for frying. Varies from 160 to 230°C based on oil type.
Flavor Neutral light flavor. Neutral but can vary.
Nutritional value Rich in antioxidants like oryzanol, tocopherols, and squalene. Less antioxidant content.
Cost Affordable price. Low cost.

Rice bran oil stands out from generic vegetable oils due to its high smoke point, light flavor, and antioxidant content. Vegetable oils can vary widely in properties depending on the exact oil source. Rice bran oil provides consistent benefits.

Where to buy rice bran oil

Rice bran oil can be purchased from the following places:

  • Grocery stores like Walmart, Kroger, Whole Foods, etc.
  • Online shopping sites like Amazon, Vitacost, Instacart, Thrive Market, etc.
  • Asian grocery stores and Indian specialty stores.
  • Health food stores like Sprouts, Earth Fare, etc.
  • Directly from manufacturers’ websites.
  • Big box stores like Costco and Sam’s Club.

Leading rice bran oil brands to look for include Ava, California Rice Oil, Orient Express, RiceBran Technologies, and Roland.

Buy rice bran oil in glass bottles to prevent any potential chemicals from leaching from plastic containers. Look for organic, non-GMO sources of rice bran oil whenever possible.

How to store rice bran oil

To properly store rice bran oil:

  • Keep rice bran oil bottles away from direct light and heat.
  • Store in a cool, dark place like a kitchen cabinet away from the stove.
  • Refrigerate after opening for prolonged freshness.
  • Ensure bottle lid is tightly closed to prevent oxidation.
  • Transfer to smaller bottles if not using frequently.
  • Use within 1-2 years for best quality and freshness.

Proper storage helps retain the flavor and nutritional value of rice bran oil. Keeping rice bran oil in the fridge ensures it does not go rancid or oxidize quickly after opening.

Risks and side effects

Rice bran oil is generally safe to consume with minimal risks or side effects. However, some things to be aware of include:

  • Allergies: Those allergic to rice should avoid rice bran oil.
  • Aflatoxins: Improperly stored rice bran may contain aflatoxin molds, leading to contamination risks.
  • Hexane: Traces of the chemical solvent hexane may be present in some refined rice bran oils.
  • Overheating: Cooking rice bran oil on very high heat can destroy nutrients and produce harmful compounds.
  • GMO oils: Some rice bran oils may be made from GMO rice so choose non-GMO if concerned.

When consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet, rice bran oil is unlikely to cause any significant side effects. But those with rice allergies or aflatoxin concerns may wish to avoid it.


Rice bran oil is extracted from the nutrient-rich outer layer of the rice grain removed during milling. It undergoes solvent extraction and is further refined to create a versatile cooking oil.

Rice bran oil is valued for its high smoke point, neutral taste, and antioxidant content. It contains beneficial compounds like oryzanol, tocopherols, and squalene. Rice bran oil is considered a healthy oil due to its heart-healthy fats and lack of trans fats or cholesterol.

Rice bran oil has many culinary uses from frying to sautéing to baking. It can also be used in dressings and dips. Rice bran oil is suitable for various diets from gluten-free to vegan. Overall, rice bran oil is a nourishing, affordable, and healthy cooking oil option.

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