14 Best Vegetable Oil Substitutes In Brownies That You Can Try

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Just about to mix the brownie batter, and you see the oil dispenser is empty. Is this a baker’s nightmare or what! So, immediately you go on the internet to look for the best vegetable oil substitutes to use in brownies. The internet Gods brought you here, and I am here for the tell-all.


Vegetable oil is an indispensable ingredient, not just in brownies but in many baked goods. But vegetable oil also finds uses in marinating and frying food. So, it’s only a natural phenomenon that you run out of vegetable oil. But if you are a novice in baking, you might not know how you can fill these shoes.

You can easily use other alternatives for vegetable oil, simple. You just need to know what those are. Some of the best vegetable oil substitutes in brownies are butter, olive oil, avocado oil, margarine, applesauce, Greek yogurt, and buttermilk.

These were some and not all. I have a lot more alternatives that you can use in your brownie recipe, especially the one that calls for vegetable oil. This list of vegetable oil substitutes will always keep you ready for the ultimate bake-off. Before we start listing stuff, first, let’s understand the role and importance of vegetable oil in brownies.

Vegetable Oil And Its Role In Brownies

Brownies made with oil

You might know vegetable oil as your friendly neighborhood cooking oil, often just chilling on your kitchen shelf. Now it’s time to know more about it. Vegetable oil, sometimes also referred to as vegetable fat, is a plant-based oil. Contrary to its name, vegetables are not just extracted from vegetables. It can be made of fruits, nuts, seeds, etc.

The vegetable oil you pick from the market is not just one but a mix of a few oils. The common oils in regular vegetable oil bottles are canola, palm, sunflower, etc. Vegetable oil is a hit because it has a neutral flavor that doesn’t overpower the dish’s other flavors.

The oil is also fairly inexpensive and easily available, a quality appreciated by almost everyone. It has a low smoking point, making it a great option for stir-frying and grilling. Vegetable oil is also added to many baked goods, including but not limited to brownies. This brings us to the main query of today.

Vegetable oil plays a vital role in baked goods (read brownies here). The addition of vegetable oil to your brownies keeps them fluffy and moist. Are you ready for some baking chemistry? Well, vegetable oil helps retain the gasses in the brownies after the chemical reaction of baking soda and baking powder.

As vegetable oil is high in fat (it’s an oil, literally liquid fat), it prevents gluten-formation in the brownies. That’s a lot of benefits. Thus, finding an alternative to retaining all these properties for your delicious brownies is mandatory.

Vegetable Oil On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope

Vegetable oil is known to have many health benefits. It is rich in fats and thus is a great energy source. It also contains many vital nutrients that aid metabolism and improve overall growth. Vegetable oil helps your nervous system by protecting your brain cells. Some studies suggest that it also reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Why Should We Substitute Vegetable Oil?

The answer to this one is simple. As vegetable oil finds uses in so many recipes, it’s natural that you’ll run out of it at one point. In that case, it’s better to be prepared with an army of substitutes that you can use easily.

Thus, its unavailability becomes a great reason to look for its substitutes. Another reason could be curiosity to experiment with new flavors and textures, but that’s a story for another day. Let’s just go with this one for now.

14 Best Vegetable Oil Substitutes In Brownie

Now that all that’s said and done, we can peacefully move to vegetable oil substitutes in the brownie. We’ll start with oil-based substitutes and then gradually move towards non-oil-based substitutes. Let’s go!

Other Food Substitutes You Can Try

Oil-Based Substitutes

Let’s start with the oil based substitutes that are easier to substitute. These will give you an array of oil options to use in your brownies.

1. Margarine


Margarine is the best vegetable oil substitute because it is a by-product. Even though it is a by-product of vegetable oil, its taste resembles butter. That’s why many people also use margarine as a vegan butter alternative.

It offers your brownies the same sweet taste and fluffy texture as vegetable oil. Margarine usually is solid. So, in order to use it, you need to melt it. Once melted, you can use margarine in a 1:1 ratio.

2. Olive Oil

Olive Oil

Another substitute that you can use for vegetable oil in brownies is olive oil. Olive oil is usually used in salad dressings and pasta dishes. But many people also use it in brownies. Olive oil also helps retain moisture in brownies and keeps them fluffy and moist.

Olive oil, unlike vegetable oil, doesn’t have a neutral taste. It has a distinctive aroma of its own. That distinctive aroma and taste can sometimes overpower the taste of your dish. So, using a very mild olive oil with as little aroma as possible is also advisable.

The taste and aroma of olive oil also depend on the quality and age of the olive oil. The good quality ones have a pleasant taste while the cheaper ones have an oilier taste. Use your olive oil in your brownie recipe in a 1:1 ratio.

3. Canola Oil

Canola Oil

Canola oil might not be the number one choice for many people when considering substituting vegetable oil in brownies. It is often labeled toxic, but the fact is once it is refined and processed, you can easily use it for consumption. Canola oil has a neutral taste and is low in saturated fats, making it a great vegetable oil substitute for brownies.

Canola oil is also rich in many essential nutrients. It also has a higher smoking point. Another great thing is that you don’t have to change your recipe to accommodate this oil; it fits right in. You can use canola oil in a 1:1 ratio in your brownie recipe.

4. Avocado Oil

Avocado Oil

If we talk about substitutes that have great health benefits, avocado oil tops the category. Avocado oil is generally used in stir-fry and pan-fry recipes. But you’ll also find baked goodies and even barbecued meats and veggies. It is versatile, but it is also healthy.

Avocado oil helps reduce the bad cholesterol in your body. It also improves your visual health and aids in better healing of your wounds. Besides, its taste is gentle and not overpowering, which is a great need, especially when we talk about brownies. It adds a sweet taste and buttery and moist texture to your brownies. Add it in a 1:1 ratio as well.

5. Sunflower Oil

Sunflower Oil

If you like brownies with a slightly nutty flavor, sunflower oil should be your pick for a vegetable oil substitute. We all know sunflower oil to be the good guy for better skin and hair. It is also known to prevent cardiovascular diseases and improve heart health.

But it is also a great oil for frying your food due to its high smoking point. When added to brownies, it makes them fluffy and gooey, just as they should, while adding some sweet, earthy, and nutty undertones. Its taste is not overpowering, so you can easily use it as much as your vegetable oil. So, add it in a 1:1 ratio.

6. Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is the star of versatility. You can add it to hair products, your beauty products, and your food. It’ll make everything better. The case for the brownies is no different. Coconut oil has a sweet and nutty (coconutty) aroma.

But the aroma becomes milder when you bake them. Also, some people don’t mind the aroma; some like it even. It makes your brownies fudgy and delicious. You can use it in a 1:1 substitution ratio. 

7. Shortening


You’d think that shortening, made with vegetable fat, will be an ideal substitute for vegetable oil, but that’s not the case. Shortening doesn’t give that amazing texture to brownies as vegetable oil.

Shortening, solid fat doesn’t properly mix with the brownie batter. Hence, it leaves open spaces when baked, and the texture of the brownie becomes cakey. Nevertheless, you can still use it as a last resort. Just use melted shortening in a 1:1 ratio. 

Non-Oil-Based Substitutes

Now, let’s see some of the lesser explored options by seeing the non-oil based substitutes of vegetable oil in brownies.

1. Butter


Butter is the preferred addition to desserts and baked goods to make them richer. You can easily use butter as a vegetable oil substitute if you are not vegan.

Butter, however, strengthens the flour making the brownie a little less fluffy than vegetable oil. Nevertheless, there won’t be any complaints about the taste. If you’re out of vegetable oil, use melted butter in a 1:1 ratio. 

2. Applesauce


Applesauce is one of the most unconventional yet best substitutes for vegetable oil in brownies. I know it sounds a bit weird, but it’s true. If you’re worried that the fruity taste of applesauce will hijack the chocolaty brownie notes, you’re wrong.

Applesauce’s flavor mellows in the brownie, and it only adds richness to your chocolate treat. Applesauce leaves your brownie richer and fudgier than ever. You can use a 1:1 ratio of applesauce in the recipe, but you need to lessen the amount of sugar. Also, if you think it will overpower the taste, you can test by adding ¼ cup of applesauce instead of one. 

3. Fruit Puree

Mashed Banana

As we know, applesauce is also fruit puree. So, if you can use applesauce, why not experiment with other fruits. Fruit puree adds the same moisture and richness to your brownies as vegetable oil.

It doesn’t mean you can all add all kinds of fruits. The fruits recommended for such a task would be bananas and avocados. Mashed bananas are known to be a vegan substitute to make your baked goods moist and fluffy. 

While using fruit puree in brownies, you need to be very careful as they have a high water content that can leave your brownies soggy. So, when using a 1:1 ratio for fruit puree, reduce the amount of other liquid ingredients by half. 

4. Vanilla Extract

Vanilla Extract

Another surprising choice for a vegetable oil substitute in a brownie is vanilla extract. Vanilla extract always adds richness and delectable taste to baked goods and even beverages like smoothies and milkshakes. 

The vanilla extract might not make it exactly rich like vegetable oil, but it is always a considerable option when you have nothing else. Vanilla extract adds sweet vanilla notes to your brownie but makes sure you don’t add too much and adjust the sugar in the recipe. 

5. Greek Yogurt

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is a viable option for making fluffy cakes and also a great one to add to your brownie mix as a vegetable oil alternative. Normally, one would expect the tart flavor of yogurt to clash with the brownie flavors. 

But that’s far from the truth. Greek yogurt enhances the brownie’s flavor, making it rich, moist, and fluffy. It merges with batter beautifully, giving a great brownie. If cooking brownies from scratch, use them in a 1:1 ratio. If using a box recipe, mix ½ a cup of yogurt with ½ cup of eggs and use them to make amazing recipes. 

6. Buttermilk


You might know buttermilk as a great addition to make cakes rise, but did you know that it also helps make your brownies fluffier. Buttermilk, like yogurt, has a tart flavor but doesn’t clash with the brownie flavors.

Before adding buttermilk, you need to dilute it a little. Add buttermilk in a 1:1 substitution ratio but make sure you reduce the baking time of the brownies by 10 minutes so that they don’t dry out. 

7. Cornstarch


In a surprising turn of events, cornstarch is also a replacement for vegetable oil in brownies. Cornstarch is also present in the brownie-box mix. Cornstarch makes your brown fudgier from the inside and crispy from the outside. 

Mix cornstarch with water and then heat it to a desirable consistency. Then, add this cornstarch mixture to the batter in a 1:1 substitution ratio to make soft and fluffy brownies. 

Short Recap Of The Best Vegetable Oil Substitutes In Brownies

Here is a short recap of the best vegetable oil substitutes you can use in your recipes.

Best Vegetable Oil Substitutes Based On Flavor and Texture-

  1. Margarine
  2. Olive Oil
  3. Coconut Oil

Best Fruit-Based Vegetable Oil Substitutes-

  1. Applesauce
  2. Fruit Puree

Best Dairy-Based Vegetable Oil Substitutes-

  1. Butter
  2. Greek Yogurt
  3. Buttermilk

How To Use Vegetable Oil Substitutes In Brownie Recipes


Vegetable Oil Substitutes In Brownie

Some of the best vegetable oil substitutes in brownies are butter, olive oil, avocado oil, margarine, applesauce, Greek yogurt, and buttermilk.
5 from 1 vote


  • Margarine
  • Olive Oil
  • Canola Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Shortening
  • Butter
  • Applesauce
  • Fruit Puree
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Buttermilk
  • Cornstarch


  • Go through the substitutes and see which one seems fit for the recipe.
  • Collect your ingredients and use your preferred substitute.
  • Use the substitute in the required amount and proceed to make the dish according to the recipe.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Final Word

So, these were some of the best vegetable oil substitutes in brownies that you can use. You have a wide variety of options to choose from. You can decide whether you want another oil to replace it or you want to take a completely different route. All these options are meant to facilitate you and not confuse you.

It’s so that you can choose which one you find best according to taste, ease, and availability. Do you agree with our choice of substitutes? Let me know in the comment section. We are open to critique, suggestions, and whole-hearted discussions. This was all from me. See you another time. Until then, happy cooking!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is margarine a good substitute for vegetable oil in brownies?

Yes, margarine is a vegetable oil by-product, hence a good vegetable oil substitute.

How can I use cornstarch as a vegetable oil substitute in my brownies?

Mix cornstarch with water and heat it until a desirable thick consistency. Then, add equal parts of cornstarch mixture to the brownie batter as you would add vegetable oil.

What are some of the dairy-based vegetable oil substitutes in a brownie?

Butter, Greek yogurt, and buttermilk are great dairy-based substitutes for vegetable oil in a brownie. 

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