The Healthy Alternatives for Vegetable Oil

Updated on February 25th, 2020
substitute for vegetable oil

The vegetable fat is an amalgamation of other plant-based fats. Vegetable oil is generally extracted from seeds, grains, fruits, and nuts of various plants. As per a report published by the United Nations(1), the global vegetable oil production is expected to witness steady growth, with Indonesia and Malaysia dominating the market.

Despite the widespread prevalence of the commodity, the health benefits (or lack thereof) of vegetable oil has been highly debated. The primary cause of concern is the presence of unhealthy trans fats and high concentrations of polyunsaturated omega-6 fats. The usage of chemical solvents for oil processing is another cause for concern.

If you too seek to switch from vegetable oil, we have compiled a list of substitutes for vegetable oil.

Smoke Point

The smoke point, also known as the burning point of the oil is the temperature at which it starts to smoke and burn. It may also be denoted by a ratio of saturated fats to unsaturated fats. Overheating oil beyond its smoke point creates harmful free radicals. The smoking point of oil varies on the basis of its type. Hence, we have also indicated the smoking point for the substitutes for vegetable oil.

List of Healthy Substitutes for Vegetable Oil

So what’s a good substitute for vegetable oil? Check this list out!

1. Olive Oil

Olive Oil Uses

Is olive oil a substitute for vegetable oil? Absolutely! Olive oil is extracted from olives, a fruit of the olive tree. It is considered to be the healthiest oils that you can use. You can use it for sauteing vegetables over low heat and also in dressings and marinades.

Can you substitute olive oil for vegetable oil in brownies? YES! Olive oil adds moistness in baked goods, which makes it perfect for cakes and brownies. However, due to its strong flavor, olive oil is not preferred in baked items.

Smoking Point

When you substitute olive oil for vegetable oil, you make a trade-off in the smoking point. The smoking point of extra virgin olive oil is 191 degrees, making it unsuitable for recipes that require high heat. On the other hand, virgin olive oil and extra light olive oil have a smoking point of 199 and 242 degrees, respectively.

Fat Composition

Olive oil contains oleic acid, linoleic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid, and alpha-linoleic acid.

Health Benefits

The health benefits of olive oil include:

  • Presence of antioxidants that can undo the damage caused by free radicals
  • Has strong anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties
  • Can prevent strokes, heart diseases, cancer, and diabetes
  • Helps maintain a healthy weight
  • May fight Alzheimer’s Disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis

[ Read: Olive Oil for Hair ]

2. Coconut Oil

coconut oil

You may also substitute coconut oil for vegetable oil. It is derived from coconut meat or copra and can be solid at room temperature. It possesses a hint of vanilla flavor, which makes it ideal for certain kinds of baking.

Smoking Point

The smoking point of extra virgin coconut oil is 177 degrees, and refined coconut oil is 232 degrees. Given the high smoking point of refined coconut oil, it can be used to cook over high heat.

Fat Composition

While coconut oil(2) mainly contains saturated fats, these are healthy fatty chains. The most prominent fatty acid present in coconut oil is lauric acid. Other fats include monolaurin, myristic, and palmitic acid.

Health Benefits

The health benefits of coconut oil include:

  • Possesses strong anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties
  • Can increase satiety and help with weight loss
  • Promotes skin, hair, and dental health

[ Read: Benefits of Coconut Oil ]

3. Canola Oil

Canola Oil

Canola oil is extracted from rapeseed. Vegetable oil mainly contains canola oil. Hence, you can substitute pure canola oil for vegetable oil! Given that canola oil has a neutral flavor, you will hardly notice the difference when you switch over.

Smoking Point

Refined canola oil has a smoke point of 204 degrees. However, since refined canola oil has several processes, it may rob it of its health benefits.

Fat Composition

Canola oil contains linoleic acid, alpha-linolenic acid, and traces of trans fats.

Health Benefits

The health benefits of canola are:

  • Helps protect the heart from diseases
  • Aids weight loss and helps lose belly fat
  • The vitamin E and K boost skin rejuvenation
  • Prevents joint stiffness and helps reduce inflammation

[ Read: Benefits of SIBO Diet ]

Substitute for Vegetable Oil in Baking

Normally, vegetable oil is added to baked goods to offer moistness to the batters. Here is what you can substitute for vegetable oil in baking:

1. Applesauce

A cup of vegetable oil can be substituted by a cup of unsweetened applesauce.

As the name suggests, applesauce is a sauce prepared from apples. It contains a dash of spices like cinnamon. Applesauce offers a tender, crumbly texture paired with a slightly sweet flavor.

2. Butter


You can substitute a cup of butter for a cup of vegetable oil.

Butter is a dairy product prepared by churning cream. It is normally high on calories but makes an excellent substitute for vegetable oil. Baked goods, especially cakes, prepared using butter turn out denser and richer.

[ Read: Coconut Butter Benefits ]

3. Mayonnaise

You can substitute a cup of mayonnaise for a cup of vegetable oil.

Since mayonnaise basically consists of eggs and oil, it is a no-brainer to substitute vegetable oil with mayonnaise. While it does offer a great flavor and texture to cakes, it may bear a slight sourness if you make use of store-bought mayo.

4. Nut Butter

To substitute vegetable oil with nut butter, use an equal quantity of nut butter as vegetable oil. In case you find the nut butter to be hard, you can stir in some milk or soy milk to loosen it and measure it. You can also add it to a food processor or blender to form a creamy texture.

Nut butter is prepared by blending nuts or seeds until their natural oils transform it into a buttery texture. It offers a nutty flavor to the finished baked goods and is loaded with protein.

[ Read: Mango Butter Benefits ]

Bottom Line

If you wish to opt-out of vegetable oil, it is important to know about the healthier substitutes that you can switch to. When choosing the oils listed above, choose the organic, cold-pressed, extra virgin variants as they are the healthiest. You can even stock up on various oil variations.


1. What can I substitute for vegetable oil in a cake mix?

You can try substituting vegetable oil with Olive, Coconut or Avocado Oil

You can also include canola and grapeseed oils in a cake mix.

2. Can I substitute corn oil for vegetable oil?

You may substitute corn oil for vegetable oil. Do note that it is high in polyunsaturated fat, making it ideal for deep-frying.

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