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Substitute For Vegetable Oil In Brownies: 14 Best Options


Are you making brownies and don’t have the right type of oil? No worries, you can still make that fudgy delicious treat using a substitute for vegetable oil in brownies. There are plenty of options for you, some you already have available in your kitchen.

Baking pan with baked brownies.

What Does Vegetable Oil Do in Baking?

You might be wondering why most baked goods call for vegetable oil. To understand its role in baking, we’d have first to discuss what vegetable oil is. 

Vegetable oil is extracted from different vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Depending on the brand, it can have corn, palm, and even sunflower oil as ingredients. 

Despite this, the vegetable oil has no distinct taste – it is neutral. For this reason, it makes a good ingredient in baking and cooking as it will not change the taste of your dish. 

But what does it do in baking? See, baking powder and soda mix with other ingredients in your batter; they form lots of bubbles. These bubbles produce gasses that make the baked goods rise. This is where vegetable oil comes in – it helps hold these gasses intact. 

In addition to that, oil acts as a shortener that prevents gluten from forming. The result? Fluffy and moist baked treats!

Why Should We Substitute Vegetable Oil?

If vegetable oil is that important in baking, why substitute it? First, the unsaturated fats in this kind of oil tend to oxidize when exposed to heat. When this happens, it can trigger inflammation, rendering it unhealthy. 

Second, vegetable oil can get rancid pretty quickly. This is especially true if you’ve stored it incorrectly or for an extended period. 

Lastly, you simply might have run out of it. Since it is a versatile oil, you might have used your stash and not even know it. Until you’re about to bake some brownies. 

Best Substitutes for Vegetable Oil in Brownies

Here are our top substitutes for vegetable oil in brownies.

1. Butter

Can I substitute butter for vegetable oil in brownies? Yes, you can! Butter gives your brownies a richer flavor, as expected. Since it is a common household item, you might already have it in your fridge. This makes it an easy swap. 

You’d need to melt it and let it cool to room temperature before using it. You should also bake your brownies longer to achieve the best texture. Because of this, expect an extension in your prep and baking time. 

Nevertheless, you’ll have great-tasting brownies if you use melted butter.

Tip.

Use a 1:1 substitution ratio for this alternative. 

2. Margarine

Another substitute for vegetable oil in brownies mix is margarine. Margarine is the by-product of processing vegetable oil. That said, you’ll not get a difference in flavor when using it. 

However, like butter, it is solid in solid blocks. You need to melt and cool it before use.

You need to extend your baking time to get a similar texture. This will make your cooking time longer, but it will be worth it. 

Tip.

Use 1 cup of melted margarine for every 1 cup of vegetable oil in your brownie mix. 

3. Canola Oil

Can you substitute canola oil for vegetable oil in brownies? Yes! Canola oil is a common ingredient in vegetable oils. This makes it a good substitute. 

It has the same neutral taste as vegetable oil. So, you can use it as a substitute without worrying that there will be a flavor shift. 

Tip.

It is a direct substitute for vegetable oil. You can have an equal amount of canola oil in your brownie recipe as vegetable oil. 

4. Applesauce

Surprisingly, applesauce can also be a good substitute for vegetable oil in brownies. It is a nutritious alternative, too, as it is made from apples. It also tastes subtle, so you don’t have to worry about overpowering other ingredients. 

Applesauce is also widely available and you can easily get it from stores. If going out is not an option, you can make it yourself. All this is to say that applesauce is not only healthy but also an accessible choice. 

Its unique texture also makes your brownies fudgier, which is good. The downside, though, is that you have to adjust your recipe. For instance, you should have less sugar as applesauce is already sweet. 

Tip.

Use the same amount of applesauce as the vegetable oil in your mix.

5. Yogurt

Although unconventional, yogurt also works as an alternative. It even improves the texture, giving you incredibly moist brownies to munch on. 

Plus, we all know that yogurt is full of probiotics and calcium. It is also low in fat. So, it is a healthy substitute for vegetable oil in brownies. 

Since it also a dairy product, which makes it a no-no for those with intolerance to lactose. 

Yogurt also often comes with flavors, so pick the plain ones. Or else, you’ll end up with an extra flavor on your brownies which might be unwelcome. 

Tip.

Use a 1:1 substitution ratio of yogurt to vegetable oil when making brownies from scratch. However, when using a pre-made mix, use 1 cup of yogurt plus 4 eggs to replace a cup of vegetable oil. 

6. Olive Oil

Can you substitute olive oil for vegetable oil in brownies? Yes, you can! Like vegetable oil, olive oil has the necessary properties to make your baked treat fudgy. It also keeps brownies moist and decadent. 

Olive oil also has various benefits, making it a healthy choice as well. 

However, olive oil is pricier, so it is not the most budget-friendly option. 

Plus, it has a distinct flavor that can affect the taste of your brownies. Cheaper ones have the strongest flavors, so high-quality oils are a must for a minimal effect on taste. 

Tip.

Use the same amount of olive oil as the vegetable oil listed in your recipe.

7. Avocado Oil

Avocado oil is the best substitute for vegetable oil in brownies. This is if you are looking for health benefits. It has oleic acid, lutein, and Vitamins A, D, and E. 

Avocado oil also tastes very subtle, so it will not interfere with the flavor of your brownies. It also makes your baked goods develop a creamy and moist texture.

The biggest disadvantage of avocado oil is that it is quite expensive. Plus, it is not easy to find. Small retailers do not carry avocado oil on their shelves. 

Tip.

You can also use a 1:1 ratio of this oil to vegetable oil in brownie recipes.

8. Sunflower Oil

As mentioned, sunflower oil is also a common ingredient in vegetable oil. This makes it an excellent substitute for it. 

In addition to that, sunflower oil is rich in Vitamins A, C, D, E, and K. Sunflower oil makes your brownies extra fudgy. 

Yet, sunflower oil is known for its nutty aftertaste, so it may alter the flavor of your brownies. However, if you’re like most people who love nuts in their brownies, then this is a plus. 

Tip.

Use 1 cup of sunflower oil per cup of vegetable oil in your brownie recipe. 

9. Coconut Oil

Yes, you can also substitute coconut oil for vegetable oil in brownies. In fact, it is a healthier option because it comes with extra health benefits. Coconut oil is a good vitamin E source, promoting better skin and hair health. 

This oil also helps in achieving that coveted moist and fudgy finish. It has a distinct coconut flavor and aroma but gets mellow once baked. 

That said, you can still get some hints of the coconut taste in your brownies. However, it is unlikely to overpower the original brownie flavor. If any, it will just make it richer. 

Tip.

Use an equal amount of coconut oil as a replacement for vegetable oil. 

10. Mashed Bananas

Like applesauce, mashed bananas can also take the place of vegetable oil in a brownie recipe. This option acts as a great binder and gives you moist brownies, too. It also provides nutritional benefits, as bananas are good sources of vitamins. 

The flavor of bananas is also not overpowering. You can rest assured that your brownies will not taste entirely like bananas. 

Tip.

Using a 1:1 will not work without adjustments in the recipe. You might need to adjust the liquid ingredients in your recipe.

11. Mayonnaise

While it may sound crazy, you can actually use mayonnaise in a brownie recipe. After all, mayonnaise is just eggs and oil. It lends its creamy texture to baked goods, creating a pleasant texture you’ll enjoy.

This is also another common household item. So, this makes it an easy swap, especially if you are short on a time. 

Tip.

Use the same amount of mayonnaise as the amount of vegetable oil called for in your brownie recipe. 

12. Cauliflower

Pureed cauliflower is also one of the healthiest vegetable oil substitutes in brownies.

Yet, using cauliflower in brownies requires additional prep time. You first must cook or steam the cauliflower and then toss it into a food processor. 

Also, a minimal change in texture and flavor is to be expected. Don’t worry, though; your brownies will stay brown. 

Tip.

Use a 1:1 substitution ratio when opting for pureed cauliflower to replace vegetable oil. 

13. Cornstarch

A cornstarch mixture is a known thickener for cooking. But did you know that you can also use it in a brownie mix? 

Cornstarch has a neutral flavor, so it will not affect the taste of your brownies in any way. 

Plus, it is a household staple, so finding it easy. The nearest store probably sells it if you don’t have it already. 

Using cornstarch, though, is not straightforward. You’d have to mix it with water and heat it until it thickens. Only then can you include it in the batter. 

Tip.

Use the same amount, the ratio is 1:1. 

14. Shortening

Shortening is solid vegetable fat. In a pinch, it can work as a substitute for vegetable oil in brownies. 

Yet, it also needs to be melted, and even after that, it doesn’t integrate well into the batter. 

As a result, you won’t get a perfect texture in your brownies. Because of this, you should only opt for shortening only as a last resort. 

Tip.

Use 1 cup of melted shortening per 1 cup of vegetable oil in your recipes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Happens If You Make Brownies Without Vegetable Oil?

Vegetable oil is what gives brownies their lovely texture. Brownies will crumble without vegetable oil because it acts as the binder in the recipe. It is responsible for creating the batter; without it, the dry ingredients will not blend.

Which Vegetable Oil Substitute Is The Healthiest?

It is difficult to say which vegetable oil substitute is the healthiest. This is impossible to do without nitpicking on the nutrients each option provides. However, it is safe to say that avocado oil and mashed bananas are among the healthiest ones. 

How Do You Store Vegetable Oil Properly?

Vegetable oil goes rancid if left exposed to heat and sun. That said, you should store it away from heat sources and sunlight. 

Can I substitute butter for oil in brownies?

Yes, you can substitute butter for oil in brownies. However, this will affect the texture of the finished product. Substituting butter for oil can create a denser and chewier brownie with a deeper flavor.

can you use olive oil for brownies?

Yes, you can definitely use olive oil for brownies! Be sure to choose an extra-virgin olive oil with a mild flavor for the best results.

can you use canola oil for brownies?

Yes, you can use canola oil for brownies. Canola oil is a neutral-flavored cooking oil that won’t overpower the taste of your brownies.

Summary

Finding a substitute for vegetable oil in brownies is easy. All you have to do is pick among the options on this list. For a quick replacement, butter and margarine are top choices. The healthiest ones are avocado oil and applesauce. The best alternative will always be the one you prefer, so take a close look and decide.

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Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!

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