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There are lots of options if you don’t want to use coconut oil! Here are the best substitutes for coconut oil in recipes and baking.

Substitute for coconut oil

Looking for a substitute for coconut oil? Coconut oil is an oil that comes from the flesh of coconuts. It’s used in cooking, especially in vegan baking as a substitute for butter. It’s also used as a topical treatment for some skin conditions, and in some beauty products. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, making it’s a great replacement for butter because it has similar properties.

If you’re looking for a replacement for coconut oil because of an allergy, the flavor, or just because you don’t have it in your pantry: we’re here to help! Keep in mind that the best substitute depends on what type of recipe you’re making: baked recipes are different from cooking with coconut oil.

Best substitute for coconut oil

1. Butter or vegan butter (best for baking).

The very best substitute for coconut oil in baking is the same amount of butter! Because butter is also solid at room temperature, the properties are similar. Vegan butter works as a plant-based option, and there lots of great vegan butter brands on the market (Miyokos and others). Using butter will yield a more rich, savory flavor than coconut oil. It also gives a chewier, moister texture to baked goods like cookies.

2. Olive oil (non-baked).

Olive oil is a plant-based oil like coconut oil, and works well as a 1-for-1 replacement. We don’t recommend using olive oil in baked goods because the flavor can be strong and it is a liquid fat instead of solid. But it works well in soups, for sauteing, salad dressings, and so forth. (Olive oil is also healthier; read more at Coconut Oil vs Olive Oil.)

3. Neutral oil, like grapeseed oil or sunflower oil.

Neutral oils are a great choice as a 1-for-1 substitute for coconut oil. They’re also plant-based oils, but their flavor is milder than coconut oil. They work well in soups and sauteing, or for baked goods like quick breads and muffins.

4. Avocado oil.

Avocado oil can work as a 1-for-1 substitute for coconut oil. Avocado oil has a stronger flavor than coconut oil, which can adversely affect a recipe so be cautious when using this substitute. It can work well in soups or for sauteing, or in some baked goods like quick breads and muffins.

5. Ghee.

Ghee is clarified butter that is simmered slightly longer to tease out a rich, nutty flavor. It works as a 1:1 substitute for coconut oil. Because ghee is also solid at room temperature, the properties are similar to coconut oil and it is a good alternative.

Ghee is clarified so has very low levels of lactose, making it suitable for dairy-sensitive eaters. However, while ghee contains low levels of lactose, it is not dairy-free.

Here are some of our favorite recipes that use coconut oil:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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27 Comments

  1. Hi! I am making honey and I am supposed to use coconut oil to add to my flower could I substitute for olive oil

  2. Yes looking to go with health benefits to improve my high cholesterol. Baking without coconut oil and avoiding bad sugars in recipes. I see I can use veg based butter here for say brownies as an example. Wondering about coconut sugar? Will research this! Thank you! Dori

    1. You say cholesterol and it makes me think you may have a heart issue or could possibly in the future. Beware coconut oil is not good for that

  3. Hi, from Argentina. In a recipe for a White chocolate cold snap topping for a pie, what sub. would use for coconut oil? Thanks!!!

  4. I’m looking for allergen free butter substutes. In that search I found your site. I have the craziest allergies and it’s really hard to find pre made subtitles that don’t have “something” I’m allergic or very sensitive too. So, I’m allergic to coconut and cashews too..so I can’t use them as substitutes. I can use avocado and sunflower though. Your site says sunflower oil can be substituted for coconut oil. I found one recipe that had bot coconut and sunflower oil. Do you have a recipe for a butter substitute with sunflower oil? Thank you so much!

    1. We don’t have a recipe for vegan butter with sunflower oil. Purchased vegan butter would be a great substitute — as long as it doesn’t have coconut for your allergy. I found a few brands online that don’t have coconut, so they are out there! I’d check your local supermarket or online for a vegan butter with no coconut oil. Good luck!

  5. When I use coconut oil in a recipe, I itch all over. But many new recipes use it, what can I use for a substitute for coconut oil or solid coconut. And what would be the difference in the measurements?
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you,
    Maxine

    1. Hi! I would substitute butter for coconut oil, since it is a fat that is solid at room temperature.

      For solid coconut, you can usually just omit it, depending on the recipe!

    1. Vegan butter usually has coconut oil in it. Be careful just because it says vegan doesn’t mean it doesn’t have ingredients that are not good for you.For me one of those ingredients is coconut oil because I need a heart-healthy diet

  6. How about avocado oil? Can it be a sub to coconut oil for baking? Can’t use many other vegetable oils or dairy

    1. Avocado oil has a stronger flavor so we typically don’t recommend it in baking, but you could try it. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, so it’s used more like butter in recipes — versus a liquid oil like avocado. You could possibly substitute it in baking recipes that call for melted coconut oil, though!

    1. Hi! Unfortunately you probably need the thickness of coconut oil for a no bake to set up properly. Butter would work best.

      1. I need a substitute for coconut oil that I can use in making a butter spread. I cannot use coconut oil because it’s not heart healthy. Help?! Soy is a no-no, too.

      1. I’m trying to make a vegan cheesecake. It calls for coconut oil and may I ask you what is your recommended substitute instead of the half cup of coconut oil the recipe calls for? And thank you so much.

        1. Hi! You could use a store-bought vegan butter (though many have coconut oil). You’ll need something that’s solid at room temperature for a substitute.

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