What Can You Substitute For Vegetable Oil?

This brief article answers the question, “What Can You Substitute For Vegetable Oil?” with an in-depth analysis of vegetable oil, the substitutes for vegetable oil, how to use them, and important points to keep in mind while using them.

What Can You Substitute For Vegetable Oil?

Not all oil substitutes are fitting for a wide range of cooking and dishes. A few oils have more grounded flavors than others, which might change the flavor of your food. Different oils have different qualities, not all of them can be utilized for baking or high-heat cooking.

Although vegetable oils offer medical advantages, remember most choices are additionally high in fat and calories. Even oils that are considered unsaturated, might in any case lead to weight gain and fat storage.

 The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reports that global edible vegetable oil allocated to food uses increased by about 48% from 1995 to 2011 (1).

A Little about Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil is the name used to indicate the variety of oils that are obtained from plants, such as olive oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, soybean oil, and so on. You will likewise see products labeled “vegetable oil” on the racks of grocery stores.

This item is a mix of various vegetable oil including canola oil, sunflower oil, and soybean oil. It has a light, non-overpowering taste so it’s frequently used in baking for retaining the moisture of baked goods. Industry uses mostly oil blends and only occasionally pure vegetable oils (3).

Most vegetable oils are obtained from beans or seeds. Seed extraction is achieved by pressing and/or by solvent extraction. Oils such as palm and olive, on the other hand, are pressed out of the soft fruit (endosperm). Seeds give oils in different proportions (2).

Vegetable Oil And Health

Different vegetable oils have diverse effects on health. Vegetable oils are by and large safe sources of fat however a few health experts have highlighted some considerations with the consumption of vegetable oils.

These oils have a considerable amount of polyunsaturated omega-6 fats found in specific vegetable oils (like canola oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil, and rice grain oil). High levels of these fats have an impact on human health.

Vegetable oils are a source of edible fatty acids (FAs) (saturated, monounsaturated or polyunsaturated), which play an important role in cellular metabolism as a way to store energy and also by providing energy when required. FAs are known to play an important role in cell division and growth. They are an integral component of cell membranes, hormones, neurotransmitters etc. Intake of different fatty acids has a direct influence on human health. Oleic acid is converted into linolenic acid, omega-6, and this is then converted to alpha-linolenic acid, omega-3, by action of enzymes. However, the human body cannot synthesize these fatty acids de novo, that is, the synthesis of complex molecules from simple molecules such as sugars or amino acids. Thus, these are essential fatty acids that need to be supplemented regularly in diet (4).

Olive oil is frequently proclaimed as the most ideal form of oil as it has high omega-3s and low omega-6s. Be careful about hydrogenated vegetable oils, which are frequently found in processed food varieties and fast foods.

They are unquestionably unhealthy and bad for health as they contain trans fats, which have been found to increase the risk of hypertension, coronary diseases, and type 2 diabetes. Study of the cholesterol-raising effect of trans fatty acids showed that they raised total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol and lowered HDL-cholesterol compared with the cis isomers (2).

Substitutes For Vegetable Oil

There are various options in contrast to vegetable oil, some are best for baking cakes, biscuits, and brownies while others turn out better for frying. The fundamental thought while picking a vegetable oil substitute is flavor.

Vegetables have an exceptionally gentle taste so you have to replace them with something that has a mild flavor.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is perhaps the best oil you can purchase. It’s produced using the product of the olive tree. Olive oil contains generally monounsaturated fats that are healthy and might assist with bringing down your danger of heart diseases. It is also a source of vitamin E, carotenoids and polyphenols, which act as antioxidants (2).

These sorts of fats are good for controlling blood sugar levels and ultimately reduce the risk of diabetes type 2. Not all olive oil is made equivalent. As per a 2016 CBS News report, a large part of the Italian olive oil found on grocery store racks is inorganic and fake. The International Olive Council (IOC) has been working on methods of detection of adulterated oil since 1988 to detect the presence of seed oils such as sunflower, rapeseed and soybean as well as olive pomace oil (5).

The report proposes purchasing olive oil online directly from Italian makers. You should likewise go through labels cautiously to check whether the olive oil comes from Italian towns like Sicily or Puglia that produce olive oil.

Olive oil can be replaced for vegetable oil in dressings or marinades, and sautéed over low to medium flame. Olive oil shows remarkable stability during domestic deep-frying of potatoes or in other uses requiring frying temperatures. When compared to other vegetable oils such as sunflower, cottonseed, corn, and soybean oil, olive oil has a significantly lower rate of alteration. This increased stability to thermal oxidation explains why the oil can be used for repeated frying. The reason for the resistance of olive oil to rapid deterioration at elevated temperatures is its fatty acid composition and the presence of natural antioxidants, such as tocopherols and squalene (2).

Olive oil is certifiably not a great choice for baking because of its overpowering flavor. In a study, cakes prepared with olive oil in substitution to butter were considered harder. The extra virgin olive oil addition has an inferior ability to entrap air into the batter in comparison to margarine containing batter (6).

Canola Oil

Canola oil produced in Canada is obtained from genetically modified seeds of Brassica napus and Brassica rapa (campestris). These cultivars, low in erucic acid and glucosinolates, are quite different in chemical, physical and nutritional characteristics from high-erucic acid rapeseed oil (2).

The vegetable oil you find on shop racks already consists of a high level of canola oil so utilizing canola oil is rather better. Canola oil is essentially flavorless so you will not see the difference in your food. Canola oil is obtained from rapeseed and contains a nice measure of monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and a lower level of saturated fats as compared to different oils. In any case, it is generally a processed oil so contains low levels of essential nutrients.

The flash point of canola oil is 275-290°C. The smoke point is the temperature at which a fat or oil produces a continuous wisp of smoke. This provides a useful indicator of its suitability for frying and 200◦C is often specified as the minimum by regulations. The flash point defines the temperature at which the decomposition products formed in heated frying oils can be ignited. This temperature ranges from 275–330°C for different oils and fats (2).

Sunflower oil

The sunflower is the fourth largest oil source in the world, after soybean, palm, and canola. Demand for sunflower oil increased sharply in the mid-eighties when high polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) margarine became the desired table margarine for health reasons. The flash point of sunflower oil is 121°C (2).

Sunflower oil is additionally a significant ingredient used in most vegetable oils so it makes an appropriate, flavorless substitute in any dish. Sunflower oil is high in nutrient E but it also contains a great deal of omega-6 unsaturated fats, which are thought to prompt inflammation in the body.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is derived from copra, which is the dried kernel or ‘meat’ of coconuts. The coconut palm is the species Cocos nucifera. Coconut oil is characterized by the high level of the shorter and medium fatty acid chain lengths (C6–C14). These reach about 80%, while in the non-lauric vegetable oils they are below 2%. The major fatty acids are lauric (12:0) and myristic (14:0), at about 48% and 18% respectively, while no other fatty acid is present at more than about 8%. It is this heavy preponderance of lauric acid that gives CNO its sharp melting properties, meaning hardness at room temperature (20°C), combined with a low melting point (24–29°C) (2).

Coconut oil is the best substitute for vegetable oil in dishes where a mild coconut flavor is required such as biscuits, cakes, treats, and brownies. It is additionally extraordinary for frying as it has a high smoke point. There are many arguments on the medical advantages of coconut oil – a few specialists emphasize that it’s not healthy while others recommend that it can lower blood cholesterol.


This brief article answered the question, “What Can You Substitute For Vegetable Oil?” with an in-depth analysis of vegetable oil, the substitutes for vegetable oil, how to use them, and important points to keep in mind while using them.

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!



Parcell, Joe, et al. Global edible vegetable oil market trends. Biom J Scient Technic Res, 2018, 2, 2282-2291.


GUNSTONE, FRANK D. VEGETABLE OILS IN FOOD TECHNOLOGY: Composition, Properties and Uses. John Wiley & Sons, 2011.


Koidis, Anastasios, and Maria Teresa Osorio Argüello. Identification of oil mixtures in extracted and refined vegetable oils. Lipid Technol, 2013, 25, 247-250.


Kumar, Aruna, Aarti Sharma, and Kailash C Upadhyaya. Vegetable oil: nutritional and industrial perspective. Current genomics, 2016, 17, 230-240. 


Cryan, Karen. Quality Regaining Power: How the Olive Oil Sector is Striving to Give Us Its Best. Dublin Gastronomy Symposium. 2018.  


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.