What is an Oil can?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 02 April 2020
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Usually referred to as an oil dispenser, the oil can is a common container in many residential and commercial kitchens. Designed as a means of keeping oil products fresh and ready for use, the oil can is often constructed of lightweight metals like aluminum and stainless steel. Often manufactured with an air tight lid, the oil can is ideal for storing vegetable oil, olive oil or any other type of cooking oil.

Oil cans vary in other aspects of the design. Some versions are simple devices featuring a short spout near the top of a cylindrical body. Other designs include a handle and longer pouring spout. Those two features are especially helpful when measuring and pouring the oil.

The kitchen oil can is often designed to hold one to two cups of oil at a given time. This helps to make the device easy to manage while cooking. Along with the solid stainless steel models, some contemporary versions of the oil can feature a glass body with measurements embossed on the exterior of the can. The addition of the measurements can be very helpful when adding oil to recipes, or preparing a fresh salad dressing.


Commercial versions of the oil can are often much larger than their residential cousins. This is due to the fact that restaurant cooking is often conducted in bulk amounts of a given recipe. Just as some kitchen models include measurements on the outside of the can, many commercial models also offer the same feature.

Typically, a kitchen or commercial oil can is a relatively minor expense. Simple stainless steel models may be purchased for very little cost. Even the more feature rich versions that are created with a tempered glass body are usually very affordable. Most kitchen shops and restaurant supply stores will offer a selection of oil cans that range in size, features, and materials.


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