Baking brownies only to find that your vegetable oil has gone rancid? Or you suddenly realized you used up your stock last night because your kids wanted fried chicken for dinner? Don't panic; the suitable substitute for vegetable oil in brownies will save the day!
So, what to substitute for vegetable oil in brownies? You have a lot of options, and the list I came up with can help narrow down your choices.
9 Best Substitutes for Vegetable Oil in Brownies
I have tried a few too many ingredients and found that the following are some of the best vegetable oil substitutes for brownies:
1. Canola Oil
One of the common ingredients in most vegetable oils is canola oil, so it isn't surprising that it's number one on my list. Canola oil also has a neutral flavor, so you won't have to worry about the balance in flavor or your brownies having an unusual taste.
When using canola oil to replace vegetable oil in your brownie recipe, use the same quantity as your recipe requires.
2. Sunflower Oil
Like canola oil, sunflower oil is one of the most common ingredients in vegetable oils. It has good amounts of vitamins, such as A, C, K, and E, making it one of the healthier oils you want to get your hands on when looking for a vegetable oil substitute. Plus, vegans and vegetarians can consume your homemade baked goods containing sunflower oil.
Another thing I love most about sunflower oil that some of you wouldn't probably agree on is its nutty aftertaste. This aftertaste will give us that nutty topping treat some of us love when eating brownies.
When you substitute vegetable oil in brownies with sunflower oil, simply follow a 1:1 ratio. A half cup of vegetable oil is equivalent to a half cup of sunflower oil.
3. Grapeseed Oil
Another common content of vegetable oil products that I love to use in my brownie recipes is grapeseed oil. It’s a healthy alternative to vegetable oil and is flavorless and light, so it won't overpower the cocoa powder or chocolate's flavor and aroma.
I also love that I don't have to do any maths when using grapeseed oil; one cup of vegetable oil is one cup of this substitute.
4. Olive Oil
A common question I hear is, "Can I substitute olive oil for vegetable oil in brownies?" This is understandable since olive oil has a distinct taste.
Well, yes, you can substitute the same amount of olive oil as what your brownie recipe calls for vegetable oil, especially if you're serving relatives or guests following a vegan, vegetarian, or keto diet.
It's also one of the healthiest oils on the market today because it has high levels of monounsaturated fats instead of saturated fat. Thus, olive oil is also perfect for those watching their calorie counts and heart health.
However, there is a "but" in the yes answer to "Can you substitute olive oil for vegetable oil in brownies?" Not every olive oil product is ideal for making brownies.
Thus, it's best to use either extra light olive oil or extra virgin olive oil to ensure it doesn't have an overpowering flavor or serve brownie with an odd aftertaste.
5. Untoasted Sesame Oil
Making brownies with the same amount of untoasted sesame oil as vegetable oil will give you some of the healthiest chocolatey goodies. This ingredient is rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and unsaturated fatty acids. Plus, it has a neutral taste.
While it has hints of nutty flavors that some sensitive taste buds might pick up, it won't affect your brownies' overall flavor. Like sunflower oil, the nutty flavor can remind you of your grandma's or mom's tasty recipes.
6. Coconut Oil
Whenever I'm in the mood to treat my guests' taste buds to a unique surprise with every bite of the brownie I make, I replace vegetable oil with coconut oil. While the aroma and flavor of coconut oil aren't subtle, they will mellow down once your brownies start to bake.
However, I suggest that you add a drop or two of vanilla extract if you find the coconut flavor too strong for your recipe. You can also use refined coconut oil, which has a neutral flavor and aroma. Either way, coconut oil will help you produce fudgy brownies with a moist texture and richer flavor.
Like olive oil, coconut oil is one of the best substitutes for vegetable oil in brownies if you're making vegan-, keto-, and vegetarian-friendly baked goods.
Measurement-wise, you don't have to make any adjustments when you substitute coconut oil for vegetable oil.
Just one thing I want you to note is that coconut oil is solid at room temperature. Make sure you melt it before measuring to ensure you add the right amount to your recipe. You can simply place a good amount of coconut oil on a preheated pan.
7. Avocado Oil
Rich in good fats and vitamin E, avocado oil is yet another option to consider when it comes to what to substitute for vegetable oil in brownies.
Avocado oil has a very mild flavor that won't affect the overall smell and taste of your brownies. You also won't need to adjust the amount of oil your recipe calls for when you swap vegetable oil with avocado oil.
The resulting batter is a bit creamier, but you'll surely have delicious, moist baked treats. Nonetheless, you can gradually add water to your brownie batter until you reach your desired consistency.
My only issues with avocado oil are it's quite expensive and challenging to find. I sometimes need to go to health stores just to purchase avocado oil.
8. Melted Butter
I'm sure butter is the first thing that comes to mind when seeking the answer to, "What can I substitute for vegetable oil in brownies?" It isn't surprising because it's a common ingredient used in baking cakes and cookies.
However, butter produces air pockets in your baked goods that help them rise. As such, when substituting butter for vegetable oil, you will have crumbly brownies instead of dense ones.
It's why I consider it an excellent substitute for vegetable oil in brownies mix. After all, the resulting baked treats have cake-like characteristics rather than fudgy and dense.
So how do you replace vegetable oil with butter in your brownie box recipe?
We all know that butter is solid, so you must melt it before adding it to your brownie mix. Allow it to cool at room temperature, and then measure the same amount of melted butter as what's indicated for vegetable oil.
Increasing the baking time to one or two minutes more is also advisable to ensure your brownies have the best texture.
9. Liquid or Melted Margarine
Margarine is a healthier alternative to vegetable oil than butter because it's a byproduct of vegetable oil processing. It's one of the best vegetable oil substitutes when baking brownies for those watching their saturated fat intakes and calorie counts.
However, for the same reason as using butter, melted margarine is only a great substitute for vegetable oil in brownies mix. Like when using butter, you must add one or two more minutes to the original baking time.
If you have solid margarine rather than liquid type, make sure you melt it and allow it to cool at room temperature before using it. The amount you should use is the same as vegetable oil.
6 Unusual but Healthy Vegetable Oil Substitutes for Brownies
Other oils are usually suggested when you ask, "What can you substitute for vegetable oil in brownies?" Yes, that is understandable, but you have other options.
Remember that vegetable oil's main purpose in your brownie recipes is to bind solid ingredients, such as flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder. That said, I have tried the following unpopular vegetable oil substitutes, and they have worked well:
Cornstarch is not just a baking staple but a common thickening agent in cooking soups, sauces, and gravies. So why not put it to good use when you need a binding agent in a rush? That is, of course, unless you're serving someone with corn allergies.
To use, you will need to measure the same amount of cornstarch as the vegetable oil in your recipe. Dissolve it in water and heat it in your microwave or hot pan. Allow to cool for a bit, and add it to your brownie batter.
2. Peanut Butter
We love to pair PB with jelly, but this spread is another one of my favorites when it comes to what to substitute for vegetable oil in brownies. Not only does it produce chewier and thicker brownies, but it also adds a delicious flavor and twist.
However, remember that there are individuals allergic to peanuts. Make sure all your guests can eat peanuts before using this substitute.
Also, reduce the amount of sweetened cocoa powder, chocolate, sugar, or any sweeteners in your recipe since PB is already sweet unless you'll use the unsweetened variety.
Ratio-wise, you can use half the amount of or the same amount as the vegetable oil required in your recipe, depending on how chewy and peanut buttery you want your brownies to be.
Among the common ingredients used in making this kitchen staple are eggs and oil, which are also used in baking brownies, cookies, cakes, and more. Its neutral taste won't throw off your brownie's balance of flavor, while its creamy texture makes it a perfect binding agent.
Since it's thicker than vegetable oil, you might have a creamier brownie batter, which is perfectly fine. Still, you can always adjust it by adding water to it.
Ratio-wise, use the same amount of mayonnaise as the vegetable oil needed in your brownie recipe.
Now, what can you substitute for vegetable oil in brownies if you want a healthier option than mayonnaise? Yogurt! That is unless you're cooking for someone vegan or lactose intolerant.
Yogurt is known for its many health benefits. It has high levels of probiotics for better digestion and immune system, vitamins for overall health and well-being, and more. Low-fat and nonfat yogurt are also great options for vegetable oil substitutes for brownies if you are or you're serving someone trying to lose weight.
Using the same amount of plain yogurt or Greek yogurt as the vegetable oil in your brownie recipes produces delectable, chocolatey treats with a moist texture.
While grabbing flavorless regular, low-fat, or nonfat yogurt is advisable, I sometimes use flavored yogurt to give my brownies additional flavor.
Who could resist low-calorie strawberry, raspberry, or mango-flavored brownies? It's like having two desserts in one bite!
5. Unsweetened Applesauce
Applesauce is another option when it comes to "What is a substitute for vegetable oil in brownies?" if you're looking for a low-calorie, healthier alternative. Not only does it make brownies moist and fudgy, but it's also one of the most easily accessible and affordable substitutes for vegetable oil.
You can opt for any applesauce product, but I prefer and highly suggest the unsweetened variety to avoid serving too sweet brownies.
Remember that apple in itself contains sugar. That's why, whether you're using sweetened or unsweetened applesauce, you must reduce the amount of sugar required in your brownie recipe. I even sometimes completely eliminate the sugar.
Also, when you substitute vegetable oil in brownies with applesauce, use ¾ cup of applesauce for every cup of vegetable oil called for in your recipe.
6. Mashed Bananas
Another surprising answer to "What is a substitute for vegetable oil in brownies if I want to serve healthier brownies?" is mashed bananas. This ingredient binds the other ingredients well and produces moist brownies with a touch of a unique banana flavor.
One thing I want you to note is you must be careful when using this substitute if your brownie recipe already includes bananas. Too much banana will make your brownies soggy. Yikes!
When using this substitute for vegetable oil in brownies, follow a 1:2 ratio (mashed bananas:vegetable oil). For instance, swap a half cup of mashed bananas for every cup of vegetable oil called for in your brownie recipe.
There's Always a Great Substitute for Vegetable Oil in Brownies
Every time you find yourself asking, "What can I substitute for vegetable oil in brownies?", browse through my list. From the most common oil products and baking ingredients to unconventional but common kitchen staples, I have got you covered.
Just make sure you consider your guests' dietary restrictions before using any of the substitutes, and use the right amount of your chosen ingredient.
Homemade Vegetable Oil Substitute Recipe
- Chopping board
- Measuring cup
- Food processor
- 2 cups cauliflower florets
- Cut your cauliflower into mid-sized florets until you have at least one cup.
- Wash the florets.
- Fill your saucepan with four cups of water and allow to boil.
- Once boiling, lower the heat and place the cauliflower florets.
- Allow the florets to cook for about 5 to 6 minutes.
- Once soft, remove the pan from the heat and pour the content into a colander to drain the water.
- Transfer the cooked florets to your food processor and pulse until you have a smooth puree.
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