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Substitutes for Coconut Oil

Substitutes for Coconut Oil

Last Updated on 25th July 2023 by

Are you looking for substitutes for coconut oil?

Coconut oil is a popular choice in cooking, especially vegan baking, as a butter substitute. 

Its solid state at room temperature makes it an excellent butter replacement, given their similar properties. 

When Do You Need a Substitute?

However, whether due to allergies, taste preferences, or not having a jar in your cupboards, you might need an alternative to coconut oil. 

The substitute choice will depend on the recipe, as baked and cooked recipes have different cooking methods.

Substitutes for Different Types of Recipes

We have put together a list of suitable coconut oil substitutes based on different types of recipes:

1. Butter or Vegan Butter (ideal for baking)

Arguably, the top substitute for coconut oil in baking is an equal amount of butter due to its similarity. 

Vegan butter is also a suitable alternative for those on plant-based diets. Using butter imparts a richer, savoury flavour than coconut oil, offering a chewier, moist texture to baked goods such as cookies.

Substitutes for Coconut Oil

2. Olive Oil (best for non-baked dishes)

As a plant-based oil like coconut oil, olive oil is a 1-for-1 substitute. However, due to its strong flavour, it is not recommended for baked goods. 

Instead, it is well-suited to soups, sautés, salad dressings and more. Olive oil is also sometimes considered a healthier option.

3. Neutral oils (like Grapeseed or Sunflower Oil)

These plant-based oils are excellent 1-for-1 substitutes for coconut oil, given their softer flavours. They are particularly good in quick breads and muffins.

4. Avocado Oil (best for healthy, all-around use)

This neutral-flavoured cooking oil is an excellent coconut oil substitute due to its high smoke point. It is especially good for stir-frying, roasting, and frying recipes. 

Avocado oil also boasts health benefits like cholesterol reduction and a good source of antioxidants. 

5. Vegetable Oil (affordable, great for sautéing, stir-frying, and deep frying)

Most of the time, vegetable oil can be a viable coconut oil substitute. Its neutral flavour won’t interrupt other tastes in your cooking, and it’s more affordable than avocado oil.

6. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (best for low or no heat cooking)

If your recipe requires low or no-heat cooking, extra virgin olive oil is a suitable substitute. It has health benefits and can be used in non-food-related recipes like hair and face masks.

7. Applesauce (better for health & vegan baking)

Yes, you can substitute applesauce for coconut oil! Unsweetened applesauce might be just right if you are searching for a vegan baking substitute. As applesauce is high in moisture, you should use half applesauce and half alternative oil to achieve a consistency similar to coconut oil.

Substitutes for Coconut Oil

Final Thoughts on Substitutes for Coconut Oil

When considering which oil is most similar to coconut oil, any neutral flavour, plant-based oil such as avocado, grapeseed, vegetable, or sunflower oil could be a suitable replacement. 

For baking, it’s not recommended to substitute olive oil due to its strong flavour profile that might change the taste of your baked goods. Instead, use neutral-tasting oils like vegetable or avocado oil.

Remember, each substitute will lend a unique flavour difference and may change the recipe’s taste. Select your replacement mindfully and experiment until you find the perfect fit for your culinary needs.

Feel free to leave a comment or drop me an email if you’d like to share your experiences or ask any questions.


What are some healthy substitutes for coconut oil in cooking and baking?

There are many healthy alternatives to coconut oil. Olive oil is one of the most common substitutions due to its health benefits, including heart-healthy fats. Avocado oil is another healthy option, as it contains monounsaturated fats and is also suitable for high heat cooking. For baking, unsweetened applesauce or vegan butter can be used as a substitute.

Can butter or margarine be used as a direct substitute for coconut oil?

Yes, butter and margarine can generally be used as a 1:1 substitute for coconut oil in most recipes. However, keep in mind that the flavour profile may change slightly, and the health benefits will differ. Butter has a rich flavour that works well in many baked goods, but it contains more saturated fat. Margarine varies in healthiness depending on the type you choose, with some varieties containing trans fats, which are considered unhealthy.

Does substituting coconut oil in a recipe affect the taste or texture of the food?

Substituting coconut oil can slightly change the taste and texture of the dish, but the overall impact will depend on the substitute you’re using and the other ingredients in the recipe. For example, butter can add a rich, creamy flavour, while olive oil might add a slightly fruity or peppery note. In terms of texture, substitutes like applesauce or Greek yogurt might make baked goods more moist compared to coconut oil.

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Pauline Loughlin
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I'm Pauline, a mother of four grown children, my passion for cooking stemmed from the joy i get cooking for my family. I love to try new dishes, especially when dining out but creating and sharing my own recipes is my favourite thing to do!


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