The Ultimate Guide on What Can You Substitute For Vegetable Oil

The Ultimate Guide on What Can You Substitute For Vegetable Oil

What Can You Substitute For Vegetable Oil?

If you run out of oil while cooking, what can you substitute for vegetable oil? More consumers are becoming health conscious and are aware that what they eat impacts on their well-being. This includes how their food is prepared. Thus the shift to healthier oils.

What can you substitute for vegetable oil is often asked by end-users who know there are a variety of oils, each with their own benefits. Your choice should also be determined by what you intend to use them for.

Cooking spray is a smart alternative when pan-frying since its primary use is to lightly oil the pan’s surface to keep the food from sticking. The spray is ideal for those who want to cut down their fatty consumption.

With vegetable oils growing in popularity, there is a growing misconception that all of them are good for the body, particularly because they’re made of vegetables.

Bad News About Vegetable Oil

But here’s a news flash for those who swear by vegetable oils: they really are not healthy. Say what?

Just because it has the word “vegetable” in it, and the oil was likely extracted from a plant, does not automatically mean it’s healthy.

Many nutrition organizations encourage the use vegetable oil as a healthy alternative when cooking or creating dishes on the basis that unsaturated fats are healthier than saturated ones.

But studies are now revealing that such oils can actually be harmful to the body. Researchers are discovering that the composition of fatty acids in these vegetable oils can actually lead to physiological changes in the body and are likely causing a number of diseases.

So before pondering on what can you substitute for vegetable oil, it’s best to learn about these products touted as healthy oils and find out why they aren’t good for you at all.

Fats and their Bad Rep

The main issue about oils used in the kitchen is the fatty acid content. It turns out the fats in most vegetable oils could even be unsafe for the environment and not just on humans.

Blame it on commercialism and the power of advertising. There is a new catch-phrase – “heart healthy” – and manufacturers have jumped in on the bandwagon and are marketing vegetable oils as that.

Fats are said to be the culprit for many illnesses. The body’s inability to burn them, the inordinate amounts stored in cells because of too much intake, and the increased content in most processed food, which is becoming a staple for many, is the reason why fats have such a bad reputation.

Vegetable Oils 101

Vegetable oils are made from seeds, not actual vegetables.. There’s rapeseed (the end product of which is canola oil), soybean, corn, safflower, sunflower and peanut, which are popular especially among the healthy conscious. Before the 20th century they were not used as oils.

Aside from these oils not coming from vegetables, an even bigger issue is the manner by which the oils are extracted.

If you really want healthy vegetable oils, the only two that live up to that are olive oil and coconut oil. Even then, they are referred to as fruits rather than vegetables. Extracting oils from these two sources is done by pressing. This ensures their properties that impact on health, are sealed and locked in because they are not exposed to chemicals.. It’s a very different process for extracting “vegetable” oils.

Alas, vegetable oils need to be altered chemically so they’ll taste good when added to food. It also extends their shelf life. This makes them even more unnatural and therefore unhealthy.

Big business and billions of dollars in profit are behind the campaign to label vegetable oils as health oils. They use the monounsaturated fats and Omega 3 fatty acid content of these oils as selling point, since these are supposed to be good for the body.

The Bad Fats

Truth is vegetable oils contain high levels of polyunsaturated fats. These are unstable and oxidize easily. When fats are oxidized it causes mutation and inflammation of the cells. Oxidization is linked to all sorts of health issues like cancer, heart disease, endometriosis among others.

The human body is made of 97 percent saturated and monounsaturated fats. These are essential to rebuild cells and hormones and it must be provided from external sources because the body cannot produce them on their own.

However, if our system is full of polyunsaturated fats, these will instead be used for cell regeneration instead of the saturated and unsaturated fats it needs. They will then oxidize in the cell walls and cause diseases.

Balancing Omega Fats

Yes, the body needs Omega 3 fatty acids as well as Omega 6. Both are essential fatty acids, which must be supplied to the body through diet because aren’t produced by it unlike the other fatty acids it needs. However, there is a required ratio between Omega 3 and 6 for maximum efficacy.

Unfortunately, vegetable oils contain high concentrations of Omega 6 fatty acid. An imbalance between these two essential fatty acids will be hazardous to health. So consuming large amounts of vegetable oil will result to that imbalance that could lead to disease.

The Other Bad Stuff

As if high levels of polyunsaturated fat and Omega 6 are not enough to be concerned about when using vegetable oils, there’s a host of other unhealthy stuff included in the mix because of the processing method. There are chemicals in the form of pesticides and additives to ensure longer shelf life of processed foods. They may be antioxidants but are artificial and said to produce cancer cells that harm vital organs like the kidney..

So, sorry folks but vegetable oils really won’t do you good in the long run. They are unhealthy and have been linked to reproductive problems, hormonal issues, low birth date obesity, mental decline and liver problems. Cancer and heart disease, too.

Now that people are all scared of what they’ve been ingesting, the question remains what can you substitute for vegetable oil that still spells healthy?

Turning to nutritionists or reading up on the matter will help you understand which fats should best be used to stay healthy. In fact, history plays a role in this. Everything that our ancestors ate in their time were natural. There were no chemicals and there was industrialization to fast-track everything, including food.

Top 8 Healthy Vegetable Oil Substitutes

Ask no more about what you can substitute for vegetable oil. Here’s a list of what to use to still make a delicious meal but definitely with the healthy twist:

1. Olive Oil

Olive oil is the more popular alternative to vegetable oils although the extra virgin variety really does not hold up with the heat and most of its antioxidants are destroyed that way. So they’re best added to dishes after they’ve been cooked.

Uses: Cooking, Salad dressings

Storage Tip: Store tightly in the bottle in a cupboard to avoid light and heat.

2. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is on the sweet side, and would be ideal for use with recipes that require a hint of sweetness. It is perfect for baking sweets.

It has a sweet taste, thus it is great to use in meals that need a dose of sweetness, or when baking sweets.

3. Grape Seed Oil

Grape seed oil is perhaps the most healthy vegetable oil substitute because it is very light and it has been shown to be beneficial to those who have high cholesterol or blood pressure issues. The clean flavor to the oil is going to come across in the food to make the food taste better.

Uses: Sautéing, Frying

Storage Tip: Keep for up to one year in a cool, dry cabinet after being opened.

4. Sesame Oil

Want nutty flavor to your food? Sesame oil is often used as a glaze or sauce over certain foods, especially if the taste can be a bit overpowering.

Uses: Sauce over foods

Storage Tip: Put into the refrigeration or ensure that place is cool and dry.

5. Avocado Oil

Don’t be afraid to cook with avocado oil even in high heat. The fruit’s health benefits will remain intact even under high temperatures.

Uses: High heat cooking, or as drizzles or sauces

Storage Tip: Keep in a dry and cool cabinet; if refrigerated, this oil will become solid.

6. Flaxseed Oil

For cold dishes, turn to flaxseed oil, which is not for high heat cooking. The flavor is somewhat nutty, thus it can also be used in cold desserts.

Uses: Dressings or other cold dishes

Storage Tip: Has to be put into the refrigerator and used quickly before it goes bad.

7. Hemp Oil

Often used with cold dishes, hemp oil is a great option especially for vegans as the process of growing hemp seeds is very environmentally friendly. This oil will not hold up in heat at all.

Uses: Dressings or in cold foods

Storage Tip: Has to be stored in the refrigerator and used within 3 months of opening.

8. Peanut Oil

Peanut oil is a great substitute for vegetable oil as it can handle most any form of heat cooking. In addition, it has a unique oily flavor that can actually help to boost some dishes.

Uses: Sautéing, or other high heat cooking

Storage Tip: Can be stored in a cool, dry cabinet.

What Can You Substitute For Vegetable Oil–Other Healthy Options


Palm Oil

Another vegetable oil substitute is palm oil. Palm oil accounts for approximately 30 percent of the world’s fats and oil supply. It is not only rich in unsaturated fats, but also in vitamin A and E. However, it is important to note that the USDA warns against using palm oil (an especially palm kernel oil) for cooking because it can significantly increase your LDL cholesterol levels and risk of heart attacks, strokes and/or heart disease.

Required Vegetable Oil: 1 cup
Replace with: 1 cup
Taste: This alternative provides a strong, sweet taste to your dishes.
Best Use: This substitute for vegetable oil is best used for frying, but it can also be used to make cakes, donuts, candies, cookies, pastries, biscuits and sauces.

Canola Oil

Canola oil is considered a healthy substitute for vegetable oil because it lacks corn and soy, two food products that can cause allergies for many people. It is likewise rich in unsaturated fats and fatty acids like (omega-3 and omega-6). This vegetable oil substitute not only helps reduce your LDL cholesterol, it also aids in blood clot formation, therefore reducing your risk of a heart attack and/or stroke.

Required Vegetable Oil: 1 cup
Replace with: 1 cup
Vegetable Oil Substitute: Canola oil can go rancid fairly easily so if you decide to use it in your baked goods it is important that you refrigerate your dish immediately as to avoid spoiling and molding.
Taste: Canola oil can give fried foods a fishy taste, but there is no difference in taste or texture in baked goods.
Best Use: This substitute for vegetable oil is best used in baked goods like cakes, cupcakes, breads.

More Healthy Vegetable Oil Substitute Options

There are many oils that qualify as a vegetable oil substitute, with the most popular listed above. However, there are several others that can be used in particular situations or when you simply want something different.

Cranberry Juice or Apple Sauce

This is great for baking, as this can help give a nice, fluffy flavor without the fat that is often found in vegetable oil. It can be a great alternative if you run out of oil to use.

Mashed Apples, Bananas or Pears

Want to pack more nutrition into your baking or cooking? These make wonderful substitutes for vegetable oils although you’ll need more water or milk because of the drier consistency.

Plain Yogurt

You can eat them plain or mixed with a variety of dishes, including baked goods. You might want to adjust the amount of liquid added because yogurt tends to add more water to the food.


To add a rich taste to a variety of foods, both savory and sweet, mayonnaise is the perfect alternative whether cooking with meats or vegetables.

Shortening, Butter or Lard

Animal-based fats. these are popular alternatives to vegetable oil and can be used either for frying and baking.

What can you use substitute for vegetable oil? Plenty. You just have to learn which are the real healthy ones and can boost your well-being.


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