What Is Rapeseed Oil?

Here we explain where rapeseed oil comes from and how it's made

Where does rapeseed oil come from?

Rapeseed oil is from the third most important crop grown here in the UK after wheat and barley, and is the only commonly used culinary oil that can be widely found both grown and bottled in the UK. Other vegetable oils, such as olive or sunflower, are primarily imported from mainland Europe or further afield. Rapeseed oil is also produced in other countries, such as Ireland, France, Germany, Netherlands and Canada.

The oil comes from the black seeds of the oilseed rape plant, Brassica napus, from the same Brassica family as the vegetables broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. The plant produces sunny, yellow flowers around springtime, so look out for golden fields brightening our beautiful landscapes during these months.

How it’s made

Rapeseed oil is made by both small and large-scale producers and comes in two forms: artisan cold-pressed and refined. Cold-pressing simply involves using a press to squeeze the oil out of the seeds, retaining all its natural flavour, before being simply filtered and bottled. Refined oil on the other hand, is extracted from the seeds under high temperatures, before being cleaned to create a flavourless oil (allowing other ingredients, like spices, to really shine during cooking) with a high smoke point.

The many names for rapeseed oil:

  • Cold-pressed rapeseed oil
  • Vegetable oil (check the ingredients list; this is often 100% rapeseed oil!)
  • Refined rapeseed oil
  • Extra-virgin rapeseed oil
  • Premium rapeseed oil
  • Canola oil