There are plenty of options if you don’t want to use vegetable oil! Here are the best substitutes for vegetable oil in recipes and baking.
Looking for a substitute for vegetable oil? Vegetable oil is a neutral oil used in cooking. It’s made from extracting oils from various types of seeds, grains, fruits and nuts. What makes vegetable oil unique is its neutral flavor. It’s often used in baked goods to add texture and richness. If you’re looking to avoid vegetable oil for health reasons or have just run out, here are the best ways to replace it!
Best substitutes for vegetable oil
1. Organic grapeseed oil, canola oil, or sunflower oil.
The best oil substitute? Another neutral oil! Try grapeseed oil, canola oil, or sunflower oil as a 1 for 1 substitute for vegetable oil. Find organic versions of these oils if you can. They all have a neutral flavor and are pretty interchangeable with vegetable oil.
2. Olive oil (for dressings or sauteing).
If you’re making something savory like a salad dressing or sauteing, you can use olive oil as a 1 for 1 substitute for vegetable oil. Olive oil is known as a healthy oil, and it cooks similarly to vegetable oil. Avoid using olive oil in baking, because it can add a strong floral flavor.
3. Melted coconut oil or butter (for baking).
Can you substitute butter for oil in baking? Yes! You can use melted coconut oil or butter as a 1-for-1 substitute for vegetable oil in baked goods like muffins, cakes and cookies. The resulting texture will be very similar, though it may have a subtly different flavor. Coconut oil is the best choice for vegan and plant based diets.
4. Applesauce (for baking).
Looking for a healthy oil substitute? If you’re looking to cut calories in baked goods, you can use applesauce or another fruit puree like mashed bananas as a substitute for vegetable oil. But beware: while using applesauce cuts calories, the texture of the baked good become much softer if you replace all of the oil. For this reason, we recommend to sub half the oil with applesauce, then use an alternate oil (above) for the remaining half.
Here are some of our favorite recipes where you could use an oil substitute:
- How to Make Popcorn on the Stove
- Healthy Zucchini Muffins
- Healthy Banana Bread
- Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes (Vegan Version)
- Best Zucchini Bread or (Vegan Version)
- Healthy Granola Recipe
Last updated: November 2020
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.