Can you use canola oil instead of vegetable oil for brownies?

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

Can you use canola oil instead of vegetable oil for brownies?

Yes, you can use canola oil instead of vegetable oil for brownies. 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. Canola oil is a source of a-linolenic acid (ALA), which may favor the cholesterol decrease and to reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality (1).

Nowadays, transportation is the most consumer of energy amongst all sectors of society. According to the International Energy Agency, 64.8% of the world’s total oil consumption in 2017 is consumed by the transportation sector (2).

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.

Whatever type of oil you use to make brownies, make sure it has not gone rancid. Rancid oil will ruin the flavor of our brownies. Therefore, it is always best to err on the side of caution.

Difference between canola oil and vegetable oil

Vegetable oil is a general term and canola oil comes under its umbrella. Oils derived from plant sources like Avocado, maize, safflower, peanuts, sunflower olive oil, etc are all termed vegetable oils.

Usually, the vegetable oil that is sold in most grocery stores contains soybean or maize oil. The stability of an oil is gauged by its smoke point. The higher the smoke point, the more stable it is at high temperatures. 

The smoke point of canola oil is 430450℉, which is higher than the smoke point of the vegetable oil. Smoke point is the temperature at which a fat or oil produces a continuous wisp of smoke when heated. For frying purposes, the smoke point should be above 392°F. This provides a useful characterization of its suitability for frying (3). Both the vegetable oil and canola oil can be used for deep frying, sauteing, or roasting, etc.

Canola oil comes from the rapeseed plant, from which several inedible oils are also derived. The high erucic acid and omega-6 fatty acid content of the rapeseed oil can be deemed dangerous for children up to the age of 10. However, more scientific research needs to be done to confirm this claim. Nonetheless, in 1976, Canadian scientists were able to improve the quality of previous cultivars of rapeseed through traditional plant breeding, which led to a conversion to commercially consumable canola cultivars and Canada registered the word “canola” to describe a new seed found to be oil, which was low in erucic acid and low in glucosinolates. The low-erucic acid rapeseed oil containing <5% erucic acid and low glucosinolates was introduced as an edible oil in Europe (4).

The selectively bred canola plant is made to retain a high proportion of beneficial nutrients like omega-6 and omega-3 fats and a low amount of erucic acid and saturated fats.

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. 

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.

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. 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 (5).

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.

In a study, olive oil was used in the place of margarine for cake baking. The substitution of margarine by extra virgin olive oil increased batter density of cakes suggesting that less air was incorporated into the batter. This increase in density with extra virgin olive oil addition could be attributed to inferior ability of the extra virgin olive oil containing batter to entrap air in comparison to margarine containing batter. In addition , cakes prepared with extra virgin olive oil or extra virgin olive oil/margarine mixture showed higher hardness (6).


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.

 A study 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 (7).


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. 

Yogurt is a very popular fermented milk product produced by lactic acid fermentation of milk by addition of starter culture containing Streptococcus Salivarius ssp. thermophilus and Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus, which confers the property of being a probiotic. Yogurt contains casein. Sodium caseinate is a valuable food ingredient with its high protein content and functional properties of emulsification, water binding, and texture improvement (8).

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.

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. Cold-pressed avocado oil has chemical properties similar to olive oil. At least 60% of the fatty acids are monounsaturated, and approximately 10% are polyunsaturated.(9).

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.

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. Sunflower oil contains almost 90 percent unsaturated fat (10). This makes sunflower oil a very suitable alternative to vegetable oil in brownies.

Other FAQs about Oils that you may be interested in.

Can you substitute vegetable oil for coconut oil?

Can you use canola oil in a deep fryer?

Can you use oil in an instant pot?

Can you eat thc oil?


In this article, we answered the question “Can you use canola oil instead of vegetable oil for brownies?”, and what are the other substitutes for vegetable oil in brownies?


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  2. Gholami, Ali, Fathollah Pourfayaz, and Akbar Maleki. Techno-economic assessment of biodiesel production from canola oil through ultrasonic cavitation. Energy Rep, 2021, 7, 266-277. 
  3. Przybylski, Roman, et al. Canola oil. Bailey’s industrial oil and fat products, 2005, 2, 61-122.  
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  5. Pancharoen, S., Leelawat, B. & Vattanakul, S. Using texture properties for clustering butter cake from various ratios of ingredient combinations. Food Meas, 2019, 13, 34–42. 
  6. Matsakidou, Anthia, Georgios Blekas, and Adamantini Paraskevopoulou. Aroma and physical characteristics of cakes prepared by replacing margarine with extra virgin olive oil. LWT-Food Sci Technol, 2010, 43, 949-957.
  7. Hayek, Saeed A., and Salam A. Ibrahim. Consumer acceptability of chocolate chip cookies using applesauce as a fat (butter) substitute. Emir J Food Agri, 2013, 159-168.
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  9. Woolf, Allan, et al. Avocado oil. Gourmet and health-promoting specialty oils. AOCS Press, 2009. 73-125.
  10. Anjum, Faqir Muhammad, et al. Nutritional and therapeutic potential of sunflower seeds: a review. British Food J, 2012.