8 Best Substitutes for Vegetable Oil in Brownies


Brownies on a Plate

Nothing is better than a fresh batch of warm brownies. But what if you want to make some and either don’t have any vegetable oil or can’t eat it for health reasons? Don’t fret, I am here to help! Here are 8 alternatives to vegetable oil so you can get back to cooking up that recipe.

Substitutes for vegetable oil in brownies include canola oil, sunflower oil, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, butter, avocado oil, applesauce, and mashed bananas. Each will give a slightly different flavor profile to your brownies, but all work very well as a replacement for vegetable oil.

Please read on to learn more detail on each recommended substitute.

8 Substitutes for Vegetable Oil in Brownies

RankSubstituteBest Feature
1.Canola OilNeutral taste and a healthy option
2.Sunflower OilNeutral taste and a healthy option
3.Extra Virgin Olive OilUse mild versions for best taste, most health option
4.Coconut OilUnique taste for certain brownie recipes
5.ButterEven moister brownies with a rich taste
6.Avocado OilRich and creamy brownies but the oil is a bit pricy
7.ApplesauceLow-fat and a natural sweetener
8.Mashed BananasIf you like banana flavor and brownies a bit heavier

1. Canola Oil

Since vegetable oil is a mix of oils made out of a high percentage of canola oil, you can use it as a substitute. It makes a great alternative because it has a neutral taste and won’t significantly alter the final product’s flavor. 

Canola oil got its name from “Canada” and “ola.” This is because scientists in Canada created an edible version of the rapeseed plant. Even though it looks like a rapeseed plant, its nutrients are different, and the oil is safe for humans. 

Replace vegetable oil with canola oil at a 1:1 ratio.

Since the canola plant was initially created, many other varieties have been developed. These varieties improved seed quality. A bit more than 90% of all canola crops in the United States are GMO. You can also use canola oil as a fuel alternative to diesel. 

Because of its low level of saturated fat, canola is believed to be one of the healthiest oils. The polyunsaturated fats are made out of 21% linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid, and 11% alpha-linolenic acid. Most people who follow a plant-based diet need sources of ALA in order to boost levels of omega-3 fats. These fats are essential for brain and heart health. 

2. Sunflower Oil

Sunflower oil is one of the most critical ingredients of vegetable oil, which is why it’s an excellent substitute. Similar to canola, it also doesn’t have any flavor. 

You can find 4 different types of sunflower oil in the United States. All these types are made out of sunflower seeds that produce 4 different fatty acid compositions. These types of sunflower oils are high linoleic, mid-oleic, high oleic, and high stearic. This means that some sunflower oils are higher in linoleic, while others are higher in oleic acid. 

Linoleic acid is also an omega-6 and a polyunsaturated fatty acid. Oleic acid is an omega-9. Both linoleic and oleic acids are excellent sources of energy, and they contribute to cell and tissue strength. 

Sunflower oils that are high in oleic acids have many benefits. It is believed that oleic acid helps reduce high cholesterol levels, which lowers the risk of heart disease. 

study was conducted where 15 healthy adults participated. When compared to those who ate a diet high in saturated fat, researchers discovered that the people who consumed a diet high in oleic sunflower oil for 10 weeks had much lower levels of bad cholesterol. 

Replace vegetable oil with sunflower oil at a 1:1 ratio.

3. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil is one of the healthiest substitutes for vegetable oil. This oil is extracted using only natural methods, and it is standardized for purity, taste, and smell. It has a lot of good fatty acids.

Extra virgin oil has a lot of antioxidants, which can help fight some diseases. The primary antioxidants in this type of oil are oleocanthal, oleuropein, and a substance that protects bad cholesterol from oxidizing. 

The most essential fatty acid in this oil is oleic acid, and it is believed to reduce inflammatory markers such as C-reactive protein. That being said, it seems that this oil has anti-inflammatory effects because of the antioxidants. The most important antioxidant is oleocanthal, which works similarly to ibuprofen, an anti-inflammatory drug.

Extra virgin olive oil is believed to help prevent low-inflammation from doing any damage. In fact, it is great at protecting against inflammation and heart disease since the former is the biggest reason why heart disease occurs in the first place. It also protects LDL particles from oxidation, improves blood vessel health, and lowers blood pressure. 

Because extra virgin olive oil is rich in antioxidants that reduce oxidative damage, it is believed to help prevent cancer because one contributor to cancer is oxidative damage.

Replace vegetable oil with olive oil at a 1:1 ratio.

4. Coconut oil

If you’re making brownies with coconut, you can use coconut oil as a substitute for vegetable oil.

Coconut oil will make your brownies taste great, but it also has a lot of health benefits. One of these benefits is that it contains fatty acids, which encourage the body to burn fat. These acids also provide energy for your brain and body. Another great thing they do is raise good cholesterol in your blood, which is believed to reduce the risk of heart disease. 

Replace vegetable oil with coconut oil at a 1:1 ratio.

Cool Coconut Oil Health Facts

  • Alzheimer’s disease is a condition that lowers your brain’s ability to use glucose for energy. Some researches suggest that ketones in coconut oil can provide an additional energy source for those brain cells that don’t work correctly. This reduces the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Visceral fat, which is also known as abdominal fat, sticks in your abdominal cavity as well as around your organs. A 12-week study has been conducted where 40 women who had abdominal obesity took 2 tablespoons of coconut oil a day. They have significantly reduced BMI and waist circumference. 
  • Around 50% of all fatty acids in coconut oil is lauric acid. When you digest this acid, it becomes monolaurin. Monolaurin and lauric acid are capable of killing harmful pathogens, for example, viruses, bacteria, and fungi. 

5. Butter

Fats are used for a few purposes when making brownies. It makes them tender and adds richness to the brownies. It also makes them feel moist. Since vegetable oil has a neutral flavor and is used to make the cake’s crumb softer and moist, butter is one of the best choices for substituting it.

Keep in mind that butter will make your brownies moist since it contains both fats and water. It will also add some flavor to them. When using butter as a substitute, melt it in the microwave and allow it to cool down to room temperature. Once the butter is just warm, you can add it to your mix. 

Butter is made out of about 80% fats and water. It has more than 400 different fatty acids. Many people are concerned about dairy trans fats, but they are actually healthy. 

There are a lot of vitamins in butter. The most abundant vitamin is vitamin A. You can also find vitamins D, E, B12, and K2 in butter. 

Replace 1 cup of vegetable oil with 1 cup of melted butter.

6. Avocado Oil 

Avocado oil is made out of the pressed avocado pulp and is an excellent source of oleic acid and antioxidants, which help fight free radicals in the body. As a replacement for vegetable oil, it makes ultra-rich and creamy brownies. This is one you definitely have to try! I would probably always use this except the cost is really high usually.

Replace vegetable oil with avocado oil at a 1:1 ratio.

About 70% of avocado oil is made out of oleic acid. It is a heart-healthy acid that is also known as omega-9. This fatty acid is found in olive oil as well, and it is believed to be the reason olive oil has so many health benefits. 

Avocado oil has lutein, which is a carotenoid that is found in your eyes. It works as an antioxidant, and it is beneficial for your eye health.  

Some studies showed that extracts from avocado oil might possibly reduce the pain and stiffness caused by arthritis, which is a painful inflammation of the joints. 

There is also some evidence that avocado oil might help fight against gum disease. This disease causes red and bleeding gums, bad breath, and a breakdown of bone and tissue around teeth. It can also cause tooth loss. 

Avocado oil has a lot of antioxidants, which fight cellular damage that is caused by free radicals. High levels of free radicals lead to oxidative stress, which is believed to contribute to type 2 diabetes and heart disease development. A study was conducted with diabetic rats, where they concluded that avocado oil protects against free radicals. 

7. Applesauce

Applesauce is one of the most versatile cooking ingredients and can even replace many oils, including vegetable oil. Just keep in mind that your brownies will taste a bit fruity. Some people actually enjoy this altered flavor, while some don’t. I recommend that you try a 1/4 or 1/2 batch and see how you like it before substituting it in an entire batch.

You also may notice that it is more “caky” and might fall apart more than you are used to once cooked. You may want to offset the dryness by adding in a quarter cup of healthy oil along with the applesauce.

When substituting vegetable oil with applesauce, you can use the same amount. If your recipe tells you to add one cup of oil, add one cup of applesauce. Sometimes applesauce can be too moist, so make sure you drain it first before adding it to the mix. 

Pro Tip: Applesauce doesn’t have any fats, so if you want to keep some, you can mix half the amount of applesauce and half the amount of coconut oil or avocado oil. 

It’s better to get unsweetened applesauce because apples already have natural sugars that will make your brownies sweeter. 

Because applesauce is lower in fat, it is also lower in calories. This means that applesauce is a great choice when you want to cut down on calories in your brownies. 

Applesauce is made out of apples, which are very beneficial to human health. Studies show that they may even protect against some types of cancer, such as breast, digestive tract, and colorectal cancer.

Replace 1 cup of vegetable oil with 3/4 cup of applesauce.

8. Mashed Bananas

If you’re making brownies and don’t mind them tasting a bit like bananas, you can mash them and use them as a substitute. Of course, if your recipe already has added bananas, you won’t want to use this alternative. That is because this “doubling down” on bananas this way can make your brownies soggy and heavy.

You should use ¾ the amount of pureed bananas to the required amount of vegetable oil if you’re making dense brownies. In case you want to make lighter brownies substitute only half the amount of oil with banana puree. 

Sometimes your brownies can end up tough and rubbery if you use bananas instead of oil because oil interferes with the formation of gluten, which makes the end product fluffy and light. To avoid this, make sure you use low-gluten flour, for example, whole wheat pastry flour, and reduce mixing and baking time by 25%.

Cool tip: It’s best to use banana as a substitution for oil in chocolate brownies. You can also use it in brownies that have a lot of spice, dried fruits, and nuts. In fact, bananas go great with brownies that have blueberries or almost any other fruit in them.

Final Thoughts

Vegetable oil is a type of oil made out of different fruits, seeds, nuts, and grains. Store-bought bottles of oil labeled as “vegetable oil” are typically a mix of multiple oils. This oil has a light and subtle flavor that is used in baking as a moistening agent. 

Not all vegetable oil brands are equally healthy. Experts are generally most concerned about the high levels of polyunsaturated omega-6 fats found in vegetable oil. These polyunsaturated omega-6 fats are known to have a negative effect on human health. Therefore, it is best to avoid hydrogenated vegetable oils because they contain trans fats, which are the most unhealthy. Trans fats are proven to contribute to obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.

There are many substitutes for vegetable oil you can use when making brownies. However, it would be best if you kept in mind that vegetable oil has a mild flavor, and you don’t want to use a substitute that will overpower the taste of your brownies. Therefore, my recommendation is to use canola, sunflower, or avocado oil first if you have it on hand. Otherwise, butter is probably your best option.

I hope this article has been helpful.

Thanks for stoppin’ by!

Jelly Grandma

Anne James

Hi, I'm Anne but my grandchildren call me Jelly Grandma. I hope your visit here has been a sweet one.

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