The best substitute for corn oil if you’re frying foods is any other type of oil with a similar smoke point. For your baking needs, it’s best to replace it with coconut oil or another flavorless oil, but butter works too. For dressings, you’ll want to look for something with a similar texture.
Below, I’ll give you a list of the best substitutes for corn oil in every recipe. I’ll talk about the best frying, baking, and dressing substitutes.
The chart/table below lists the best substitutes for corn oil in each category.
|Substitutes for Frying
|Substitutes for Baking
|Substitutes for Dressings
|Cornstarch & water
|Arrowroot & water
As you can see, there are about seventeen different options for replacing your corn oil. Though many on the list are repeated in other categories, there are some you won’t want to cross over.
For example, apple sauce and mashed banana work great for baking because they bind the mixture as corn oil might have. However, frying anything in either of these substances will give you a different result than intended.
Best Substitutes for Frying
A high smoke point makes an oil suitable for frying, as you want your food to fry in the oil on high heat without burning it or causing a fire. As mentioned above, corn oil has a smoke point of 450°F (232.22°C). This means that your corn oil can reach 450°F (232.22°C) in the pan before it starts to smoke.
The best oils for frying to replace corn oil with are going to be:
- Olive oil
- Vegetable oil
- Peanut oil
- Coconut oil
- Sunflower oil
- Canola oil
However, suppose you want to avoid oil altogether. You might be better suited to use butter or find an alternative cooking method, such as baking or air frying.
Olive oil has a smoke point of around 400°F (204.44°C), and extra virgin olive oil has a smoke point of about 350°F (176.66°C). This is a little lower than the 450-degree baseline for corn oil, but it will still do the trick.
Olive oil has more flavor than corn oil, especially extra virgin olive oil, so be aware of this if you are using olive oil as your replacement. It might not make much difference if you’re frying meat or vegetables. Still, frying fruits or sweet foods will likely not be ideal with the robust flavor of olive oil (hence why it doesn’t make my baking list!). You can substitute this oil 1:1.
Vegetable oil is the most common oil for frying and an excellent replacement for corn oil. Vegetable oil has a smoke point of around 400°F (204.44°C), which is pretty close to corn oil.
Additionally, vegetable oil has a pretty mild taste, similar to corn oil. Vegetable oil and corn oil have about the same level of unhealthiness, but vegetable oil is also less expensive. You can substitute this oil 1:1.
Chick-Fil-A famously fries their chicken in peanut oil, which gives their chicken breasts a savory and slightly nutty taste. Peanut oil is an excellent replacement for corn oil, especially if you have a savory dish on deck. The smoke point is 450°F (232.22°C), the same as corn oil. Just be careful of peanut allergies! You can substitute this oil 1:1.
Coconut oil is a healthy alternative for frying and cooking. Though it usually comes in solid form, it liquidates immediately upon coming in contact with heat (its melting point is 78°F (25.55°C), which is why it turns to a liquid on the shelf in warmer climates). You can substitute this oil 1:1.
On the downside, coconut oil can sometimes add flavor to the dish you are cooking. The coconut oil may become overpowering if you’re making a fancy steak or a heavy flavor dish. Additionally, the smoke point of coconut oil is much lower than corn oil, just 350 degrees, so it won’t be able to fry your food for as long without smoking.
Sunflower oil is gaining popularity because of its high levels of vitamin E. Its smoke point is precisely the same as corn oils, a high 450°F (232.22°C). Additionally, it’s pretty mild in taste. It won’t add any extra flavors to your dish, which may make it an ideal replacement. You can substitute this oil 1:1.
Canola oil is a common type of vegetable oil that is easy to find in most grocery stores. The smoke point of this oil is 400°F (204.44°C), so be careful when substituting it for corn oil as it won’t be able to get as hot before smoking.
Like corn oil, canola oil also contains good fats, making it a good option if you don’t have corn oil. You can substitute this oil 1:1 in your recipes.
If you want to avoid oil altogether, butter can be a good substitute. However, butter has a pretty low smoke point, which makes your food likely to start smoking before it gets fried or cooked. Butter starts to smoke at around 302°F (150°C) and adds its signature butter flavor to most dishes. You can substitute this oil 1:1; just be mindful of the volume change once it melts.
Best Replacements for Baking
When baking, oil often liquifies your recipe and binds the dry ingredients together. If you leave the oil out of a recipe, your baked goods will likely come out more dry than intended, or the other ingredients (such as baking soda or baking powder) will react differently than expected. This could result in positive or negative effects, depending on how you like your dessert.
Many people choose to “forget” oil in their baking recipes because it can be unhealthy. Replacements such as extra butter, shortening, yogurt, apple sauce, or mashed banana do great at binding ingredients. Still, you may need to add a little extra water or milk.
Other mild-tasting oils will also be replaceable 1:1, just be sure that they’re mild in taste and not extra flavorful. The robust, expensive olive oil you purchased won’t taste good in cookies. Still, you can pivot your recipe if you have nothing but olive oil on hand and try to make an olive oil cake or olive oil bread.
Though you might have it in solid form, you can melt your coconut oil quickly by getting it just above room temperature. Then, swap it out for corn oil 1:1, meaning one tablespoon to one tablespoon, and so on. However, coconut oil may add flavor to the dish, so be careful when using this substitution.
Vegetable oil is traditionally used in baking recipes, so if by some off-chance your recipe has you adding corn oil, you won’t lose anything by switching this one out. This oil is much less expensive and easily accessible. You can go ahead and substitute this oil 1:1.
Be aware of the ingredients if allergies are why you’re staying away from corn oil, though. Vegetable oil usually consists of many veggies, and corn is often on that list.
Avocado oil will be more expensive than the other oils on this list, but it’s also considered much healthier. This oil has lots of vitamin E and has health benefits such as reducing LDL cholesterol. You’ll substitute this for your corn oil 1:1 in the recipe.
Many like to swap out corn oils and vegetable oils with butter in recipes because it gives a savory taste to their foods. Additionally, if you don’t have corn oil on hand, most of us usually have butter, making it a great substitute.
You can replace corn oil on a 1:1 ratio for butter. Melt the butter down like oil before adding, but let it cool so none of your dry ingredients start baking too soon!
Applesauce will bind your ingredients and liquify your recipe, but substituting it is more complicated. When you use applesauce, you’ll need to reduce the other liquids in your recipe. For every cup of oil you need, only use ¾ a cup of applesauce, and then check the texture before adding your liquid.
Greek yogurt is a healthy and protein-rich replacement for oil. In your recipe, cut the amount of oil you need in half and then use that much greek yogurt. For example, if you need 1 cup of oil, use instead ½ a cup of greek yogurt.
Be aware of the flavoring, too! Plain Greek yogurt has a somewhat sour taste, and vanilla might add a flavor you don’t want to your recipe.
Shortening is also a great substitute if you don’t have any corn oil on hand. Any fat that is solid at room temperature is considered shortening, so you may even have some on hand without realizing it!
With shortening, the texture of your recipe is going to change. However, if it’s what you have on hand, this may work perfectly for you! Use shortening 1:1 in place of oil.
Many modern recipes will already include mashed banana, an exceptionally healthy and plant-based alternative to oil. This alternative will get a little tricky because all bananas are different sizes.
Start with one banana and mash it up, looking for that 1:1 ratio for your recipe. Mashed banana works best if your bananas are ripe, but remember, this will add some extra sweetness.
Best Substitutes for Dressings
Oil’s are the base of most dressings, especially those with many seasonings and herbs. The other joint base for dressing is mayonnaise (used for things like ranch) or vinegar (used for things like vinaigrette). However, if your recipe calls for oil, it’s likely because you’re making a vinaigrette or a marinade.
The texture is an important consideration here, but so is flavor. Your flavor profile is personal, and switching out corn oil for olive oil, flaxseed oil, sesame oil, or avocado oil will likely be determined by your preference. These things have the texture of corn oil so that they can be substituted 1:1, but they all have unique tastes.
If oil is on the “do not consume” list for you, mixing either arrowroot or cornstarch with water makes for a great substitute.
Red wine, white wine, or rice vinegar can also work depending on your desired texture, but the dressing may be soupier than intended. I’ll explain how to best replace oil in a recipe with these substitutes below.
Olive Oil, Flaxseed Oil, Sesame Oil, or Avocado Oil
These oils have a similar texture to corn oil, so that they can be replaced 1:1 in your recipes. However, you’ll want to note the different tastes of each. Olive oil can have a robust flavor, especially if you have EVOO on hand.
Flaxseed oil is super healthy, but others try to avoid seed oils altogether. Sesame oil has a very distinct taste, and avocado oil is the mildest of these options.
Cornstarch or Arrowroot Mixed with Water
Arrowroot and cornstarch are two items worth getting if you want to replace oil in your life. You’re going to utilize a “slurry” technique to make this work. This video explains how to make one:
You’ll combine water and cornstarch (or arrowroot) in equal parts until it has the right consistency.
Vinegar can also be used in your favorite dressings, but it’ll make the texture different from what you intended. Use less vinegar than you’d use oil. Adding other, thicker things like honey or syrup might help make your dressing thicker, but it may also change the flavoring.
Helpful Cooking Oil Articles
Corn oil is a semi-flavorless, thick cooking substance with a smoke point of 450 degrees. Most recipes utilize corn oil to either fry another food, bind for baking, or as a base for dressings. Whether you’re allergic to corn oil, don’t like the taste, or don’t have it on hand, there’s always something else to replace it with.
You can substitute olive oil, vegetable oil, peanut oil, canola oil, or sunflower oil for corn oil in most recipes. What you replace the corn oil with will depend significantly on the purpose of the recipe.
The “best” substitute for your corn oil will be something that acts the same in your recipe as the corn oil might and covers the reason you don’t want to use corn oil in the first place.
You’ll likely want something that acts as a liquid base for the many herbs and flavorings you will add for dressings. For frying, you want something with a similar smoke point and a similar flavor. For baking, you want something that will add that same thick, liquid texture to keep everything together.
For more, don’t miss The Best Oil for Frying Fish | Advice From a 50-Year Cook.
Anne James has a wealth of expertise in a wide array of interests, including quilting, cooking, gardening, camping, and making jelly.
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