If you’re looking to find the best substitutes for vegetable oil, then this list of 19 easy alternatives should help.
Vegetable oil is typically used in baking and cooking as well as many other recipes that call for an all-purpose oil.
But what can you do if you don’t have any vegetable oil on hand or your grocery store just ran out? Or if you’re simply looking for a healthier substitute?
Today, I’ll share 19 easy vegetable oil substitutes that work equally well or even better for some recipes.
The list of substitutes for vegetable oil includes coconut oil, olive oil, flaxseed oil, butter, applesauce, ghee, shortening, and yogurt among others.
Keep on reading to understand how you can use these handy ingredients in place of vegetable oil in cooking and baking.
- What is Vegetable Oil?
- 19 Best Substitutes for Vegetable Oil To Use in Cooking or Baking
- 1. Coconut Oil
- 2. Olive Oil
- 3. Flaxseed Oil
- 4. Ghee (Clarified Butter)
- 5. Avocado Oil
- 6. Hempseed Oil
- 7. Butter
- 8. Applesauce
- 9. Pumpkin Seed Oil
- 10. Sesame Seed Oil
- 11. Almond Oil
- 12. Peanut Oil (High Oleic)
- 13. Yogurt
- 14. Canola Oil
- 15. Sunflower Oil
- 16. Palm Oil
- 17. Shortening
- 18. Safflower Oil
- 19. Mashed Fruit or Fruit Puree
- What Does Vegetable Oil Taste Like?
- Vegetable Oil Uses
- Can I Use Olive Oil Instead of Vegetable Oil?
- Can I Use Canola Oil in Place of Vegetable Oil?
- Which Vegetable Oil Is The Healthiest?
- Final Words
What is Vegetable Oil?
Vegetable oil is a cooking oil that comes from the fatty portion of plants. It’s extracted from plants that are high in triglycerides, which is a type of fat or lipid.
Since vegetable oil contains liquid fats, it’s oftentimes not good for high-heat cooking, but ideal for baking at room temperature and lower temperatures. Also, it has a neutral flavor, making it ideal for most recipes.
The biggest reason behind its popularity though is that vegetable oil is affordable, convenient to use, and readily available in stores.
19 Best Substitutes for Vegetable Oil To Use in Cooking or Baking
You can use the below replacements in a 1:1 ratio for cooking, baking, saute, dips, sauces, salad dressing, and drizzling.
1. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is made from coconut meat through a process called “traction” (basically the meat is placed under high pressure), which extracts the oil and turns it into a white solid.
It has a very long shelf life, but if you keep it in a hot place, there’s a good chance that its flavor and health benefits will be compromised.
Coconut oil is one of my favorite substitutes for vegetable oil due to its high smoke point (between 350°F – 400°F) which makes it ideal for baking and frying.
When cooking with it, remember to keep the heat low and use it a little bit at a time. The reason behind this is that coconut oil becomes unstable when heated excessively (this is true for all oils though).
Coconut oil has almost double the amount of saturated fatty acids as most other oils, which makes it a solid choice for people who are looking to beef up their diets with healthy fats.
It also has many nutritional benefits like boosting metabolism and improving digestion as well as reducing inflammation, weight gain, heart disease, and depression.
2. Olive Oil
Olive oil is made by crushing fruits of olives and extracting the oil. It is one of the healthiest oils around and should be part of any healthy diet.
It’s a great substitute for vegetable oil if you’re making salad dressings, dips, or drizzling over vegetables because it has a low smoke point (around 320°F).
However, you can also use olive oil for baking at a low temperature if you wish. The flavor will just change slightly, but it’ll still be just as healthy.
Olive oil is packed with antioxidants (especially Vitamin E) and also contains polyphenols, which are compounds that provide powerful anti-inflammatory effects.
Extra virgin olive oil is obtained from the first cold press of olives, and unlike other oils does not undergo any processing which retains its nutritional benefits and flavor.
It also contains oleocanthal, which is an anti-inflammatory compound that has been known to help reduce the risk of heart disease.
However, extra virgin olive oil on its own can be bitter because of its polyphenols, so I would recommend mixing it with other oils when using it for cooking.
3. Flaxseed Oil
Flaxseed oil is produced from pressed flax seeds and works well as a replacement for vegetable oil.
It has one of the lowest smoking points of any oil (just 225°F) meaning it shouldn’t be used in a recipe that calls for cooking.
However, it’s perfect for marinade and salad dressing. It can also be drizzled over grilled vegetables right before serving.
But like other oils, keep an eye on how much you use because its fat content can sometimes overpower a recipe.
Flaxseed oil is also one of the richest sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids (specifically alpha-linolenic acid), which helps lower cholesterol levels.
It also contains a large number of lignans, which are plant compounds that have anti-cancer properties.
4. Ghee (Clarified Butter)
Ghee is just regular butter that has been melted and then strained in order to remove all milk solids and other impurities.
The result is a very pure butter made primarily of butterfat, which gives it a high smoke point (around 450°F).
Ghee has been used in Indian cooking for centuries because the process of making it improves its flavor and texture, giving it a slightly nutty taste that’s a bit more complex.
It also contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) which are easier to digest than the long-chain triglycerides found in other fats.
Because ghee lasts for months on end without refrigeration, it’s a great choice if you’re looking for a vegetable oil substitute with a long shelf life.
5. Avocado Oil
Like olive oil, avocado oil is made by extracting the oil from the pulp of avocado fruits. Experts say (by that I mean myself), if you start using this substitute, you might never look back at vegetable oil.
It has a slightly higher smoke point than extra virgin olive oil (325°F), which makes it ideal for sautéing and frying.
Avocado oil also contains oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid that’s been linked to lower cholesterol levels.
It has a rich, nutty flavor that makes it an excellent choice for baking or using with herbs in sautéed dishes.
6. Hempseed Oil
Hempseed oil is also pressed from seeds, but instead of coming from the pulp of fruits, it comes directly from the hemp plant. It’s another healthy vegetable oil substitute that is very easy to find at your local health food store.
Hempseed oil has a high smoke point (415°F), which makes it an excellent choice for sautéing or frying, but also makes it a bit expensive because you use it much more quickly than other oils.
Nutritionally, hempseed oil is loaded with healthy fats and is one of the best plant-based sources of essential fatty acids.
Some people even drink it to improve their overall health, claiming that it can treat a wide range of conditions like depression and chronic pain.
Butter is sometimes called “nature’s vegetable oil” because its flavor and texture are so similar to vegetable oil.
Like all the other substitutes on this list, it has a high smoke point (around 400°F), which makes it very easy to use for pan-frying, sautéeing, and roasting.
Moreover, butter is a staple in baking and is hard to replace with another ingredient. You can use melted butter for any baking recipe such as bread, cookies, muffins, etc.
Butter does contain saturated fat, which raises cholesterol levels, but moderate portions of it (like what you’d find in one stick of butter or margarine) won’t have any adverse effects on your health.
Applesauce is often used in baking recipes that call for vegetable oil. It doesn’t have the same texture or flavor as oil, but it can be used easily and works well in many recipes, including fruitcakes and muffins.
It adds moisture to your baked goods and surprisingly has fewer calories than vegetable oil.
In terms of taste, applesauce is very mild and adds a slightly sweet taste to your food, making it ideal for delicate baked goods like cakes and cookies.
9. Pumpkin Seed Oil
Another healthy alternative to vegetable oil, pumpkin seed oil has a very high smoke point (440°F), making it an excellent choice for deep-frying or sautéeing foods.
It also contains lots of healthful fats, including omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E.
The best part is that pumpkin seeds are very inexpensive so you can use pumpkin seed oil to give your food a unique flavor and still keep the costs low.
10. Sesame Seed Oil
Sesame seed oil has an intense nutty flavor making it a delicious substitute for vegetable oil when used in Asian-inspired dishes. But it might be too overpowering for people who prefer less flavorful foods.
The good news is that sesame seed oil also contains lots of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, magnesium, iron, and copper.
The bad news is that the high levels of polyunsaturated fats can become rancid quickly if exposed to light or heat, so sesame seed oil should only be kept in dark bottles and refrigerated after opening.
11. Almond Oil
If you want to try nut oil for your next cooking project, you should definitely consider almond oil. It has a lighter flavor than other nut oils and the texture is similar to that of vegetable oil.
Unlike other oils, it doesn’t have a high smoke point making it unsuitable for high-temperature cooking. However, it is an excellent vegetable oil replacement for salad dressing and cold applications.
But the best part is that it’s rich in vitamin E and contains lots of monounsaturated fats, which have been linked to healthy hearts.
12. Peanut Oil (High Oleic)
Peanut oil may be one of our favorite peanut-based foods because it’s so delicious and it can also be used as an alternative to vegetable oil.
The problem with most edible peanut products is that they contain saturated fat, which can interfere with your heart health if consumed in large amounts.
But there is another variety called “high oleic” that’s been bred to have only unsaturated fats.
Peanut oil has a high smoke point (450°F) and can easily be used for deep-frying, sautéeing, or roasting.
It tastes great on chicken, vegetables, and other lean proteins because it doesn’t interfere with their natural flavors.
In terms of cooking, yogurt is an indispensable ingredient. Most Indian dishes call for yogurt because it gives them a tangy flavor without interfering with the other ingredients.
Moreover, since most yogurt contains healthy bacteria, you can use it as a substitute for vegetable oil in many recipes and still keep the health benefits intact.
You can also use yogurt as a substitute for vegetable oil in baking recipes, which has the added benefit of adding more probiotic benefits.
Another great thing about yogurt is that it’s inexpensive and you can use it to make other dairy products like cheese or sour cream.
14. Canola Oil
Canola oil is one of the few vegetable oils that’s low in saturated fats, which makes it a healthier alternative to most other cooking oils.
Although its smoke point (450°F) isn’t as high as some other higher-temperature alternatives, canola oil retains its nutritional content at normal frying temperatures.
15. Sunflower Oil
Sunflower oil is made from pressed sunflower seeds and has a pleasant nutty taste that’s similar to that of peanut oil.
It is a great substitute for people who don’t have enough time to plan their meals ahead of time.
Sunflower oil keeps well at room temperature for several months and only needs to be refrigerated after opening.
The high smoke point also makes it suitable for deep-frying, pan-frying, roasting or sautéeing.
16. Palm Oil
Palm oil is the tropical equivalent of canola oil. It doesn’t spoil quickly and has a high smoke point (450°F).
It is also high in antioxidants that can prevent the formation of free radicals, which might be involved in cancer and heart disease.
However, palm oil production has been controversial because it’s gained negative attention due to large-scale deforestation in Malaysia and Indonesia.
Vegetable shortening is made from hydrogenated vegetable oils, which means that they don’t contain any trans fats. It also has a high smoke point (450°F)
It’s a good substitute for vegetable oil and can be used for baking, sautéeing, or frying sweet and savory foods.
Vegetable shortening makes a great substitute for vegetable oil in baking because it is solid at room temperature and can be used in pound cake recipes. It also makes an excellent spread for low-carb bread.
It’s comparable to butter in terms of nutritional value and is high in saturated fats.
18. Safflower Oil
Safflower oil tastes like sunflower oil, but it’s higher in linoleic acid (omega 6) than the latter. It has a slightly lower smoke point (400°F) than other comparable oils, but can be used for deep-frying.
It’s a popular alternative in Europe and makes an excellent substitute for vegetable oil, butter, or other spreads like cream cheese if you don’t have the time to plan ahead of time.
19. Mashed Fruit or Fruit Puree
Mashed fruit or pureed solid fruits like apples, apricots, or prunes are excellent substitutes for vegetable oil in baking.
Since they already have a high amount of natural sugar and fiber, you can use them to make low-sugar cakes.
The only drawback is that you need to plan ahead of time because mashed fruit doesn’t keep very well if it’s not refrigerated.
What Does Vegetable Oil Taste Like?
Most vegetable oils have a pleasant nutty taste and can be used interchangeably when baking or cooking. They don’t usually cause any off-tastes unless you use too much or burn them.
Vegetable Oil Uses
Vegetable oil is used for sauteing meat, frying potatoes, or making salad dressing. It’s also one of the most popular choices when making low-carb pancakes and other low-sugar snacks.
Some vegetable oils are also used to make skincare products that contain high amounts of antioxidants.
Can I Use Olive Oil Instead of Vegetable Oil?
Yes, you can use olive oil in place of vegetable oil. Olive oil, in fact, is better than other cooking oils because it’s monounsaturated fat.
This means that it lowers the total number of bad cholesterol in your bloodstream while increasing the good cholesterol.
Can I Use Canola Oil in Place of Vegetable Oil?
Canola oil and vegetable oils are a lot alike, so yes, you can replace vegetable oil with it.
It’s a very healthy fat that helps lower your overall cholesterol and contains monounsaturated fats.
Because canola oil has a higher burning point, it’s better for deep-frying than other oils.
Canola oil is also one of the lowest-cost cooking oils, so it’s a popular choice among frugal shoppers.
Which Vegetable Oil Is The Healthiest?
Olive oil is also one of the healthiest oils that you can purchase in the supermarket. Other options are avocado oil and sunflower oil.
If you are trying to lose weight or eat a healthy diet, using these vegetable oil substitutes will help you achieve your goals.
Remember, vegetable oils are fats that come from a variety of plants and when used in moderation, can be beneficial for your health while satisfying your hunger cravings.