Vegetable oil is a plant-based oil extracted from soybeans.
Vegetable oil is used for shallow and deep-fat frying, baking, roasting, and marinating, along with making dips, sauces, and dressings.
There are several oils and fats that can be used in place of vegetable oil in baking and cooking.
Replacing vegetable oil with substitutes is easy — replace vegetable oil with each substitute at a 1:1 ratio.
Vegetable Oil Substitutes for Baking
Vegetable oil is widely available, but everyone runs out of ingredients sometimes.
Some people may also wish to replace vegetable oil with a healthier alternative.
Vegetable oil contains fatty acids that degrade to form harmful compounds, and there are many oils and fats that are healthier than vegetable oil.
Sunflower oil is a kind of vegetable oil, but it’s often bottled and sold separately from soy-derived vegetable oil. Sunflower oil is made by pressing and extracting oil from sunflower seeds.
Vegetable and sunflower oils are both affordable and available in most supermarkets and are similar in inconsistency.
Like vegetable oil, sunflower oil can be used for sweet or savory baking recipes, including cakes, bread, pizzas, muffins, and cookies.
Because vegetable oil and sunflower oil are so similar, you should substitute using an equal ratio of sunflower oil to vegetable oil.
Sunflower oil has a more buttery taste than vegetable oil, with nutty undertones. These flavors make sunflower oil ideal for use in sweet bakes that require a smooth, buttery finish.
Melted Coconut Oil
Melted coconut oil is a healthier alternative to vegetable oil that can be used in both sweet and savory oven bakes.
Coconut oil is made from pressed fresh or dried coconut meat. The oil is considered a healthy oil because it contains nutrients like vitamin E and fatty acids.
Use 1 part melted coconut oil in place of 1 part vegetable oil in baking recipes. Make sure the coconut oil is melted to ensure it incorporates easily into doughs, batters, and mixes.
The taste of coconut oil depends on the type. Refined coconut oil has a sweet coconut aroma and adds a nutty taste to dishes, while unrefined coconut oil has no smell or flavor.
Butter is a popular baking fat that creates a light, tender texture in both sweet and savory bakes.
Because of its versatility, butter can be used as a vegetable oil substitute in a variety of bakes, including cookies, cakes, bread, and muffins.
Use the same quantity of butter as a vegetable oil in baking recipes. Melt the butter to achieve the desired liquid consistency before adding to mixes.
In recipes involving eggs, allow hot melted butter to cool before adding it to prevent the butter from partially cooking the eggs.
Butter is best used as a vegetable oil substitute in cookie and cake recipes. Butter helps cakes rise and gives cookies a fluffy, chewy texture.
If you follow a vegan diet, opt for non-animal-derived butter, like olive oil butter.
Applesauce is a sauce made from peeled or unpeeled apples and comes in several variations, including spiced, sweetened, and unsweetened.
Unsweetened applesauce works well as a vegetable oil substitute in baked goods because applesauce adds moisture and is lower in fat and calories than vegetable oil.
Use a 1:1 ratio when substituting vegetable oil with applesauce. Applesauce contains pectin, which inhibits gluten formation and allows for a light, fluffy bake.
Applesauce is ideal for use in cakes, bread, and muffins, and it adds a mild apple flavor to dishes.
Because of the natural sweetness of applesauce — even unsweetened applesauce — you should reduce the amount of sugar used in the recipe by 1 quarter when using applesauce as a vegetable oil replacement.
To reduce the fat content in bakes, substitute yogurt in place of vegetable oil. Yogurt, which is made by fermenting milk with yogurt cultures, is a good source of calcium and protein and increases healthy gut bacteria.
Yogurt is a healthy swap that adds flavor and moisture to baked goods. Substitute 1 tablespoon of yogurt for every 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil required.
Low-fat yogurt can also be used as a substitute, which will introduce a tangy flavor and a richness similar to buttermilk.
Alternatively, flavored low-fat yogurts like vanilla-flavored yogurt can add a kick of flavor.
Look for yogurt with a sugar content of no more than 18 grams per portion. Vegans can use dairy-free yogurt alternatives.
Banana Mash or Purée
Similar to applesauce, banana mash or purée can also be used as a vegetable oil substitute.
Banana purée is a healthier alternative to vegetable oil because bananas are rich in vitamin C, folate, and potassium.
Like applesauce, banana purée contains pectin, which prevents gluten from forming, ensuring bakes are light and fluffy.
Banana purée is a good vegetable oil substitute for bread, cakes, and muffins.
To make a banana purée, mash a banana with the back of a fork or put the banana in a blender. Substitute banana purée for vegetable oil using a 1:1 ratio.
Banana purée adds a creamy, mild banana flavor to bakes. Due to the natural sugar content of bananas, reduce the sugar in a recipe by 1 quarter when using banana purée.
Vegetable Oil Substitutes for Frying
Vegetable oil is an effective, affordable frying oil, but it has a low smoke point, meaning that it spoils quickly when exposed to lower temperatures compared to other oils and fats.
The best vegetable oil substitutes for frying are:
Avocado oil is a natural oil extracted from the pulp of the avocado fruit.
Avocado oil is a good substitute for vegetable oil for frying because avocado oil has a high smoke point, so it doesn’t spoil easily when introduced to high heat.
Avocado oil is healthier than vegetable oil because avocado oil contains heart-healthy fats and antioxidants.
Use a 1:1 ratio of avocado oil to vegetable oil when frying. Avocado oil is expensive, so it’s best used for shallow frying rather than deep-fat frying, which requires a lot of oil.
When used in place of vegetable oil, avocado oil adds a mild avocado flavor that is slightly nutty and slightly grassy to fried foods.
Like avocado oil, coconut oil has a high smoke point, meaning you can heat the oil to high temperatures without it breaking down and releasing free radicals.
This makes coconut oil a healthy vegetable oil alternative for frying.
When frying foods, substitute 1 part coconut oil for 1 part vegetable oil.
Coconut oil is better for shallow frying than deep-fat frying because it costs more money than most oils, and shallow frying requires less oil than deep-fat frying.
Use refined, flavorless coconut oil to avoid infusing a nutty flavor into savory foods.
There’s no need to melt the coconut oil before adding it to the frying pan. The heat from the pan will melt the oil within a minute.
Ghee is a class of clarified butter that’s made by skimming the milk solids from melted butter.
Ghee tastes richer and cleaner than regular butter. When used in place of vegetable oil for frying, ghee introduces roasted, nutty background notes to the fried food.
Ghee is good for frying because it adds crispness to food and also resists damage from high temperatures.
Substitute one cup of ghee for one cup of vegetable oil when frying. Allow the ghee to melt before adding the food.
Ghee isn’t suitable for vegans, and vegan-friendly butter can be used as an effective ghee alternative for frying
Vegetable Oil Substitutes for Roasting
Roasting often involves a lot of oil, and vegetable oil is a budget-friendly roasting ingredient. However, vegetable oil is a neutral oil that doesn’t impart much flavor to roasted foods.
The best vegetable oil substitutes for roasting impart their own flavors into the foods they’re roasting and give the food the same crispy texture.
Try these vegetable oil substitutes for roasting:
Goose fat is a classic roasting fat that’s an ideal replacement for vegetable oil.
There are several ways to obtain goose fat, including draining off a roasted goose or trimming and rendering fat from whole birds.
Goose fat is considered the best roasting fat for vegetables like potatoes and parsnips because the oil gives foods a rich, delicious flavor.
Goose fat also has a high smoke point, meaning you won’t spoil the fat by preheating it in the roasting tin before adding the roasting ingredients, allowing for a crisper finish.
Use goose fat as a vegetable oil substitute at a 1:1 ratio for roasting. Goose fat has a subtle, savory flavor, which it infuses into roasted foods.
Goose fat isn’t suitable for vegetarian or vegan diets.
If you need a vegan-friendly neutral oil that won’t introduce flavors to roasts, canola oil is a good choice.
Canola oil is similar to vegetable oil, and canola oil is actually classed as a vegetable oil because it is derived from the rapeseed plant.
Like vegetable oil, canola oil has a low-to-medium smoke point of 400°F, so canola oil is better for medium-temperature roasts than high-temperature roasts.
Use the same amount of canola oil as vegetable oil in your roast dishes.
Vegetable Oil Substitutes for Marinating
Vegetable oil is a low-cost marinating oil, but there are other oils that can be used to marinate, many of which introduce delicious flavors into tender foods.
The best vegetable oil marinating substitutes absorb into foods and protect them during cooking.
Replace vegetable oil with these substitutes for marinating:
Olive oil is a liquid fat made from pressing whole olives and extracting the oil. Olive oil is a healthy source of antioxidants, monounsaturated fats, and anti-inflammatory compounds.
When using olive oil in place of vegetable oil for marinating, use 1 part olive oil for 1 part vegetable oil.
Many olive oils contain natural emulsifiers known as monoglycerides or diglycerides, which penetrate meats quicker than other oils — making them ideal for marinating.
Olive oil reduces moisture loss in cooking by holding the moisture in meats.
Olive oil adds a fresh, slightly bitter taste to marinated foods that can’t be achieved with vegetable oil.
Peanut oil is a vegetable oil made from raw or roasted peanuts. Peanut oil from roasted peanuts has a strong peanut flavor and aroma that complements most marinating liquids and seasonings.
Substitute equal parts peanut oil for vegetable oil when marinating.
Peanut oil is a good vegetable oil substitute because peanut oil has a higher smoke point than vegetable oil.
This means you can grill marinated food at high temperatures without causing the oil to burn.
Peanut oil isn’t suitable for people with nut allergies.
Vegetable Oil Substitutes for Dips, Sauces, and Dressings
Vegetable oil is fine to use for dips, sauces, and dressings, but there are several vegetable oil substitutes that have exciting flavor profiles and make tastier dips and sauces than vegetable oil.
The best vegetable oil substitutes for dips are:
Sesame oil is an oil made from raw or toasted sesame seeds and is popular in Japanese, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cuisines. Sesame oil is healthier than vegetable oil because sesame oil is high in proteins, antioxidants, B-vitamins, and vitamin E.
Sesame oil is a good ingredient for vinaigrettes and Asian-inspired sauces and dips, such as sesame, honey, and soy dipping sauce. Use an equal amount of sesame oil in place of vegetable oil in dips and sauces.
The flavor of toasted sesame oil is rich and nutty. Meanwhile, light, untoasted sesame oil has no flavor. Particularly in sauces, toasted sesame oil is good for adding a flavor that can’t be achieved with neutral-tasting vegetable oil.
Walnut oil is an oil made from pressed walnuts. Walnut oil is a healthy alternative to vegetable oil that contains many nutrients and antioxidants, some of which can improve concentration and memory.
Use walnut oil to make a balsamic vinaigrette, roasted vegetable dips, and cold sauces. Walnut oil is best used in cold recipes because the oil becomes bitter when heated.
Use equal parts walnut oil when substituting for vegetable oil. Walnut oil introduces a rich, nutty flavor to dishes.
Walnut oil isn’t suitable as a vegetable oil substitute for people with nut allergies.
Flaxseed oil is obtained from the ripened, dried seeds of the flax plant. Flaxseed oil is another healthy vegetable oil substitute that works well in salad dressings.
There are several important nutrients in flaxseed oil, including protein, fiber, minerals like calcium and magnesium, and phenolic compounds (which have anti-cancer properties).
Use 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil for every 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in dressings and dips, including flaxseed vinaigrette, hummus, and cream cheese flaxseed dip. Flaxseed oil has a mildly bitter, nutty flavor.
Because flaxseed oil isn’t heat-stable, it shouldn’t be used for cooking or baking.
Grapeseed oil is a byproduct of the winemaking industry. Grape seeds are left behind after wine is made by pressing grapes, and the seeds are pressed to extract their oils.
Grapeseed oil is healthier than vegetable oil because grapeseed oil has a high vitamin E content, which has antioxidant properties.
Grapeseed oil is a good alternative to vegetable oil in salad dressings and vinaigrettes. Grapeseed oil can also be used as an ingredient in homemade mayonnaise.
Use 1 part grapeseed oil for 1 part vegetable oil. Grapeseed oil is a good choice for those looking for a healthy oil that has the same neutral flavor as vegetable oil.
Because grapeseed oil is sensitive to high heat, this oil shouldn’t be used for frying or roasting.