Can you substitute peanut oil for vegetable oil in brownies?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you substitute peanut oil for vegetable oil in brownies?”, and what are the other substitutes for vegetable oil in brownies?

Can you substitute peanut oil for vegetable oil in brownies?

Yes, you can substitute peanut oil for vegetable oil in brownies. Just like vegetable oil, peanut oil has a very neutral flavor and makes for a great swap. 

Moreover, peanut oil has a high smoke point of 230°C (3), a high content of omega 6 fatty acids and Vitamin E. But you do not want to excessively use peanut oil since it has a very unbalanced ratio of omega 6 and omega 3 fats. It also contains phytosterols, which can retard the development of atherosclerosis, lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, and reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, which is conducive to human health benefits (2).

Groundnut is the single largest source of edible oils in India and constitutes roughly 50% of the total oilseed production. India grows nine million tons of groundnut (1).

Other substitutes for vegetable oil in brownies

Butter or margarine 

Butter or melted margarine is an excellent alternative for vegetable oil in brownies. However, this substitute will result in more aery brownies. If you like cakey brownies, this option is the best. 

Butter is an animal fat made from churning milk or cream, contains 80–81% butter fat, 16–18% water and 1–1.5% curd (protein, lactose and minerals) and 0–1.5% salt. Butter is popular to use in cake products because of its sensory properties, nutrients value and naturalness of consumers’ mind. The creaming properties of butter are relatively poor and it may require the supplement with an emulsifier in order to get the best qualities. Margarine is made by partially hydrogenated soybean oil, has 79% fat, saturated fat and trans-fat content of 19.6% and 6.6% of total fat content, respectively. Margarine is water in oil emulsion with butter-like texture, adding salt, colorants and vitamins to provide sensory quality and nutritional value close to butter. The composition of margarine is similar to butter, but the mixture of oils, milk solid, water, salt and functionality of different margarine are various. Margarine may contain an emulsifier to aid the dispersion and stability of the water phase (4).

For fudgy and dense brownies, vegetable oil is usually preferred. Increase the baking time of the brownies by about 2 minutes if you opt for this substitute.

Canola oil 

Canola oil is extracted from genetically modified plants but it is said to protect your heart due to a high content of omega 3 fatty acids, a-linolenic acid (ALA), which may favor the cholesterol decrease and to reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality (5). 

The neutral flavor of canola oil makes it a good substitute for vegetable oil. Unlike peanut oil or olive oil, canola oil will not interfere with the flavor of your brownies.

Olive oil

Olive oil also makes for a good substitute for vegetable oil in brownies. But it is important which type of olive oil you use as a substitute. Virgin or extra virgin olive varieties won’t be a favorable option because both have a distinct flavor. 

Light or extra light versions of olive oil are highly processed, due to which they have a very neutral taste that will not meddle with the flavor profile of your brownies.

Apart from oleic acid, olive oil contains a number of bioactive compounds such as polyphenols which are especially prominent in virgin and extra-virgin olive oil and potent scavenger of superoxide radicals and inhibits LDL oxidation. Extra virgin olive oil is regarded to be the genuine driver of the Mediterranean diet and was found to be associated with a 26% reduced risk of all-cause mortality in Spanish study (9).


This sweet condiment adds moisture and tenderness to your brownies when used in place of vegetable oil. You can replace every cup of oil with a 3 quarter cup of applesauce and a slight reduction in the amount of sugar. 

This is because the applesauce contains added sugars and we do not want to make the brownies extra sweet.

In a study, applesauce was used as a fat replacer to produce cookies. The results  showed that applesauce can be a successful substitute of fat in chocolate chip cookies. Replacing butter with applesauce improves the nutritional value of chocolate chip cookies. Maintaining a proper balance between applesauce and fat is important for an acceptable cookie texture, because cookies tend to become softer in texture with an increase in applesauce (6).


This may sound like an unfit substitute but it is not. Plain yogurt added to brownies in place of vegetable oil provides the fat it needs for tenderness and moisture. 

Do not use flavored yogurt as it may disrupt the flavor profile of your brownies. Moreover, yogurt has enormous health benefits. It is a rich source of proteins, probiotics, and calcium.

Yogurt is the food produced by culturing cream, milk, partially skimmed milk, or skim milk alone or in combination with a bacterial culture that contains the lactic acid-producing bacteria Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. Optional ingredients such as Vitamin A and D, dairy ingredients, flavors, colors, stabilizers may be included. Before inclusion of bulky flavors, the yogurt contains not less than 3.25% milk fat, not less than 8.25% milk solids not fat, and has a titratable acidity of not less than 0.9% expressed as lactic acid (7).

Avocado oil 

Avocado oil is a bit expensive than any other substitute but it is worth it. Because avocado oil is a super healthy substitute for vegetable oil in brownies. 

Moreover, it is a rich source of healthy fats and vitamin E. Avocado oil can withstand high frying and baking temperatures without releasing any toxic substances due to its high smoke point of 250°C (8).

Last but not the least, avocado oil, unlike hazelnut or peanut oil, has a very neutral flavor profile that will not meddle with the chocolatey goddess of your brownies.

Sunflower oil 

Since vegetable oil is a blend of plant oils, sunflower oil is one of its major ingredients. It is a rich source of Vitamin E and has a neutral flavor profile. This makes sunflower oil a very suitable alternative to vegetable oil in brownies.

Sunflower oil serves as excellent phenolic antioxidants, which account for about 1%–4% of the total mass chlorogenic acid. It also contains phytosterols, which help in the alteration of cholesterol synthesis, thereby reducing the cholesterol level in the serum through cholesterol excretion (10).

Best vegetable oil substitutes for baked goods

The thermal stability of a vegetable oil could be defined as the ability of the oil to resist permanent changes due to the effects of heat. Depending on the environment, in the presence or absence of air, thermal oxidative or thermal degradation products may be distinguished. Different types of vegetable oils exhibit significant differences in the composition of the thermally decomposed oil. The main thermal degradation products of vegetable oils are straight chain alkanes and alkenes, carboxylic acids, aldehydes, alkenes and alkadienes, alcohols and aromatic compounds (11).

When you are frying food, you have to consider the smoke point of the frying oil. But baking does not involve exposing the oil at high temperatures as in frying. Therefore, our alternatives for vegetable oil in baked goods are plenty.

Canola oil, safflower oil, coconut oil, and olive oil are some of the best swaps for vegetable oil in baking. Melted butter or even butter, browned melted butter is another excellent choice. To make the low-fat baked items, use unsweetened applesauce instead of oil.

Best vegetable oil substitutes for dressings, vinaigrettes, and mayonnaise

Vegetable oil is a top pick for dressing, vinaigrettes, and mayonnaise due to its neutral flavor and excellent emulsifying properties. If you are making dressings or mayonnaise at home, no heat is involved and you have more control over what goes in the dressing or sauce. 

Try experimenting with a blend of canola and safflower oil. If you do not have a tight budget, you can also go with walnut oil, sesame oil, extra version olive oil or pistachio oil, etc.

Other FAQs about Oils that you may be interested in.

Can you burn olive oil?

Does extra-virgin olive oil expire?


In this article, we answered the question “Can you substitute peanut oil for vegetable oil in brownies?”, and what are the other substitutes for vegetable oil in brownies?


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  5. Stricker, Hans, et al. Canola oil decreases cholesterol and improves endothelial function in patients with peripheral arterial occlusive disease–a pilot study. Artery Res, 2008, 2, 67-73.
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