Substitute for Oil in Cake Mix

Substitute for Oil in Cake Mix

Using a cake mix gives you a quick-fix option when baking. And not only that, but it’s also quite easy to use and only requires the addition of a few other ingredients- one of them usually being oil. But what happens if, for some reason, you can’t use that? Well, you can still find some excellent substitutes that would serve the same purpose as oil does in cake mix.

Cake Mix- What is it?

Every baking enthusiast would tell you about the intricacies involved in making the cake batter. But sometimes, whipping this up from scratch can be quite tedious, especially if you’re a newbie. This is where a cake mix comes in. It’s a ready-made mixture of ingredients for the cake, and all you have to do is add perhaps two or three more ingredients- usually eggs, water, and oil- to finish the job.

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Cake mixes are very convenient to use. They’re a faster way to get a large batch done for veterans, especially when you’re on a tight schedule. And if you’re new to homemade baking, a cake mix lets you work around the processes easier than making batter from scratch. Cake mixes come in varying combinations, all available for pickup at baking shops and grocery stores. And some don’t contain sugar, allowing you to add as much as you’d prefer.

What Does Oil Do in Baking?

Two things make a cake good; texture and moisture. The texture is considered superior when the cake can hold shape for a long time and cut easily without crumbling. And the moisture content makes sure you get a creamy, yummy sensation when you eat it. To emphasize, less texture will cause the cake to crumble, and less moisture constitutes that undesirable dryness you usually get when you make a batch out of terribly proportioned batter.

This is where oil comes in. Its compounds trap water molecules between the flour mix when whipped. This constitutes a spongier, loftier texture that keeps well after baking the cake. And because of the trapped moisture, the cake becomes wetter, more tender, and easier on the palate. And it holds this form for even longer than expected, so you can store the cake up without worrying about it drying out.

Oil has been commonly used in baking recipes all over the world and is a popular addition to regular recipes and baked goods like;

  • Pies
  • Chocolate cake
  • Brown rice bread
  • Cupcakes
  • Vanilla cake
  • Pizzas
  • Garlic bread
  • Sponge cake
  • Croissants
  • Muffins
  • Brownies
  • Carrot cake
  • Scones
  • Wheat bread
  • Bundt cake
  • Sausages

Oil Substitutes in Cake Mix

Different reasons may push you to consider a substitute for oil in the cake mix. Perhaps you wish to cut down calories in your diet or are concerned about reducing fat. Or maybe you simply ran out of oil and can’t rush down to the grocery store because you’ve already mixed the other ingredients. Whichever the case, you’ll find that these substitutes are great replacements for oil in the cake mix, and some even come with additional advantages.

Unsweetened Applesauce

Motts Inc Apple Sauce


Perhaps the most versatile substitute option for oil in cake mix, unsweetened applesauce adds all the perks you’re looking for in oil to your finished recipe. Its mild flavor isn’t overwhelming, so you get more flexibility on how you want the flavor to come out. It’s also a sure way to add that much-needed moisture and tenderness to the cake. And you probably have a jar of it in your pantry, so it’s very convenient. Unsweetened applesauce can be used in equal quantities as oil in cake mix. But you should reduce the quantity of water called for in the cake mix recipe to maintain the consistency of the batter.



If your hiccup is running out of oil and not avoiding its consumption altogether, then butter is your best bet. With any type of butter, you can easily substitute for oil in a cake mix. By melting some butter to the amount the recipe calls for, you can replace it with oil and barely notice the difference. Plus, butter adds an even richer flavor to the cake and gives it a yummier, creamier taste. Note, though, that butter wouldn’t hold texture as well as oil would, but if you melt it before using, you’d still end up making a great cake.


Hellmann's Mayonnaise


Most people don’t realize how useful mayonnaise is in baking, so they’ll barely consider it a substitute for oil in the cake mix. But the reverse is the case, which is owed to its two chief ingredients; eggs and, well, oil! With these, you get more richness in flavor and an easy oil substitute if you don’t mind consuming the calories. Plus, it’s so convenient to use since almost everyone has a jar of mayonnaise sitting in their fridge all year long! You can use mayonnaise in equal quantities as oil in cake mix, but avoid jars that already contain salt; they’ll ruin your cake!

Sour Cream

Doritos Sour Cream Chive Dip


Like yogurt, sour cream is another convenient substitute for oil in a cake mix. It’s also a great source of moisture and adds extra fluff to the batter and tenderness to the cake after baking. Sour cream is a good option if you don’t mind its high-fat content and can be substituted for oil in cake mix in equal quantities. And if the cake mix doesn’t contain sugar, you may want to consider adding some to taste, as sour cream is, well, sour.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What can you add to the cake mix to make it moist?

You can make your cake mix moister by adding extra eggs. Stir in two extra egg yolks to the eggs the recipe calls for. This doesn’t only add extra tenderness to the cake mix but also richness as well.

How much butter is 1/2 cup of oil?

If your cake mix calls for 1/2 cup of oil and you only have butter, substitute by melting 2/3 cup of butter in a heated pan. This gives you an approximate amount as the requirement for oil in the recipe.

Can I use milk instead of oil in the cake mix?

Though milk is usually an essential ingredient in a boxed cake mix, it’s not suitable for oil. Milk tends to act as a solvent base for the ingredients and an extra source of flavor. It’s usually interchangeable with water, not oil. If you use milk, you’ll still have to use oil or any of its suitable substitutes like butter, applesauce, yogurt, sour cream, and mayonnaise.


Out of oil and need to bake a cake mix? Well, worry not because any of these substitutes will make a great replacement. Whether you’re an expert baking chef or an avid home baker, each of these substitutes offers you extra perks in addition to moisture and tenderness. And since they’re usually at arm’s length, you’re sure to have them around to save the day whenever you run out of oil.