British Rapeseed oils go head to head – which is best?

If you have not tried rapeseed oil before please do give it a go but, … it is not like olive oil and therefore may well have a taste that you don’t expect. I know that was my first reaction when I tried some. Over time and many bottles later however, I have come to rely on it. It is just so versatile and out performs olive oil in so many ways.

To show you some of the differences that the same little seed can create James and I have done a very small scale and rather un-scientific test to come up with our recommendations on how to use some of our local Kent oils as well as some more national ones.

In the line up we created we tested;

  •   Pure Kent Oil
  •   Hill Farm Oil
  •   Quex Kentish Oil
  •   Waitrose Leckford Estate Oil
  •   Farrington’s Mellow Yellow Oil
  •   Waitrose Vegetable Oil

Many may be suprised to find Waitrose bog-standard veg oil in our list. However, did you know that your common vegatable oil is in fact made from rapeseeds? We wanted to see what the difference was from those oils which retail at between £3.50 – £5.50 per bottle (500ml) to one which is in essence from the same raw ingredient but is sold at £1.25 for a 1 litre bottle.

Anyway back to the unscientific test. The first thing we compared was the colour. Now you can see for yourself that between the cold pressed oils there was very little in it. However, from the line up we had we agreed that the richest egg yolk colour went to Pure Kent Oil. I will add a note here that the bottom right container had the vegetable oil in which had neither colour (of any real worth), aroma or flavour.

Next we moved on to aroma. Here there was a bit more to choose between as each brand really did have a unique scent. The strongest aroma was definitely from Farrington’s Mellow Yellow oil. The scent was clear and very reminiscent of the flowers that the seeds come from. A close second for strength of aroma was Hill Farm. The others were more subtle in their scent, not necessarily a bad thing if you don’t want it to overpower food.

Lastly it was on to taste. Now this is something very personal, and I accept that just as not everyone likes strong olive oil, not everyone will enjoy the taste of a strong rapeseed oil. However, not all the brands we tasted were equally strong in flavour and some were surprisingly creamy. The Pure Kent Oil was just this, very creamy and slightly nutty in flavour. In my opinion it would be a lovely salad oil as it is not overpowering and the creamy taste would work well with most salads. The Hill Farm oil was exactly as described on the bottle, subtle and nutty again this would make a good dressing as it’s flavour would compliment other ingredients. Next was the Waitrose Leckford Estate. This was a very mild and creamy taste that would make a good first try at a rapeseed oil as it is not too fierce. After this we came to Farrington’s which after winning hands down the aroma test delivered a real punch once again in the taste department. This one is not for the faint hearted but drizzled on steak or over cooked vegetables would give a wonderful nutty and pungent flavour. The last of the cold pressed oils was from Quex named Kentish Oil. This oil was a real surprise as it had a completely different and more ‘complex’ flavour than any of the others. This oil had a real peppery note and would be a great dipping oil.

Our conclusion:

  • Best colour: Pure Kent Oil
  • Best aroma: Farrington’s Mellow Yellow
  • Best for salads: Pure Kent Oil
  • Best for meat: Farrington’s Mellow Yellow
  • Best for dipping: Quex named Kentish Oil

So I suppose that the conclusion would have to be that all our British rapeseed oils are great and all have their uses and purposes. Even the vegetable oil could have uses for shallow and deep frying as it’s flavourless and colourless properties come into use. The health benefits are pretty great with all the cold pressed oils, as they offer good levels of Omega 3,6 & 9 and are a natural source of Vitamin E.

So if you are a rapeseed oil novice try one you will be astonished how good it is, or better still come to the British Family Fayre on 30th August at Squerryes Court, Westerham and try Farrington’s oils, vinegrettes and amazing mayonnaise!

If you have a favourite brand please let us know in the comments section below. 

– Emily



  1. Andrew Gilbert says

    I suppose it would be difficult to claim a favourite having only tasted one of them but I do like Farrington’s Mellow Yellow. I first came across this at Waitrose Food Festival at Leckfordmany years ago and was immediately converted (not that I’ve ever really liked olive oil) The bottle came with a recipe for Honey & Mustard Dressing which I used to make as a salad dressing quite frequently. Now they make their own, and while making your own isn’t difficult buying it already made is so much simpler. I would recommend it to everyone. I must make the effort to try the others at this years British Family Fayre.

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  2. I’m not sure I like the idea of encouraging companies to grow more rape in Britain when it’s so strongly linked to the development of Asthma. Do we really want to fill our countryside with this harmful crop?

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  3. I like Hemp oil called ‘ Good Oil ‘ made in North Devon, got it from Sainsbury. Rich in Omega 3 and has a nutty taste .

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  4. Elizabeth McClory says

    They didn’t leave a review on TASTE?

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