A High Smoke Point, Polyunsaturated Oil.
Cottonseed Oil
Resources > Food > Cooking Oils > Seed Oils > Cottonseed Oil

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Because the cotton plant produces about twice as much seed as fiber, there was motivation as early as the late 18th Century to find a commercial use for cottonseeds. Around the end of the 1860s, a commercially viable method to extract oil from cottonseed kernels was invented and cottonseed oil has been in use continuously since then.

Nowadays, the U.S. annually produces over 1 billion pounds of cottonseed oil almost all of it is refined. In the early 20th Century, Cottonseed oil was hugely popular. Crisco, invented in 1911, stands for “crystallized cottonseed oil,” but World War II shortages of cottonseed oil lead to its general replacement by Soybean Oil.

Chilled cottonseed oil separates into a large clear phase and a smaller cloudy phase made up of higher melting point fats. The cloudy phase can be filtered out leaving the clear "winterized" fraction which is referred to as salad oil. Refined Cottonseed Salad Oil is perfect for mayonnaise where solidification would otherwise break the mayonnaise emulsion.


When purchasing Cottonseed Oil, check these items first.

1. Best by Date. Look at the bottles "Best Buy Date." Most Cottonseed Oils should have a shelf life of at least two years. How far away is the expiration of that period on the bottle you are considering? Better products may even have a "Date of Harvest." Do the math and find the freshest bottle. 

2. Country of Origin.  Does the bottle have a tag naming the Mill and country where the product was grown? Proud manufacturers trumpet their credentials. Less proud manufacturers play games. By the way, "Packed in Italy" or "Bottled in Italy" may not mean that the olives were grown in Italy, or that they were pressed in Italy. It only means that the bottles were filled there.   

3. Acidity. Look at the nutrition label and seek out brands with the lowest amount of acid. 

4. Dark Bottle. Most Oils that we have seen come in a clear glass bottle to show off the lighter color of the oil. Darker glass would be better because these light oils are still subject to being broken down by the sun or light in general. Dark glass helps prevent the problem.


Oxygen, heat, light and time cause Cottonseed Oil to Oxidize and become Rancid.

Oils should be tightly capped and kept in a cool dark place.  Monounsaturated Oilare less susceptible to going rancid than Polyunsaturated Oils due to temperature. Light is still a risk though, so dark colored bottles are helpful in protecting the Cottonseed Oil from light which will cause them to break down.  

If you do refrigerate your Cottonseed Oil it may become semi-solid in the cold. Just let it sit for 15-20 minutes at room temperature and it will return to liquid form. Cottonseed Oil should keep 6 months to a year in the refrigerator.

If over time, your oil gets “sticky” or has off flavors dispose of it. It has gone bad. 

Culinary Uses

Cotton Seed Oil is useful for Medium/High Heat with a Smoke Point of 421°F (216°C), a Flash Point of 600°F (315°C) and a Fire Point of 700°F (371°C).

Cotton Seed Oil is used for Margarine, Shortening, Salad Dressing and commercially fried products.

Nutritional Value USDA
Amount Per 100g
Calories 884
%Daily Value*
Total Fat 100g
Saturated Fat 25g
Polyunsaturated Fat 51g
Monounsaturated Fat 17g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 0mg
Potassium 0mg
Total Carbohydrate 0g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 0g
Protein 0g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Cotton Seed Oil is a polyunsaturated oil, with 24% Saturated Fat, 26% Monounsaturated Fat, and 50% Polyunsaturated Fat.

Gluten Free


Low Fat


Low Calorie