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Substitute for Vegetable Oil in Brownies

Substitute for Vegetable Oil in Brownies

Tasty, filling, and easy to prepare, brownies are among the average baking enthusiast’s favorite pastime snacks. And regardless of where you go, the ingredients pretty much stay the same. And though we know how essential each component is to maintain the flavor, sometimes we have to take one out. And in many cases, it’s the vegetable oil.

Substitute for Vegetable Oil in Brownies

But what happens after we remove this item from the recipe list? What other element can we possibly use to replace vegetable oil in brownies? While many may fear such a feat is impossible, the reverse is the case. You can easily replace vegetable oil in your brownie recipe– if you know what to consider.

Though most replacements are oil, they may add their unique properties to your brownie recipes, like coconut and olive oil. Others, like butter, are a regular addition to brownies, so you may not notice any difference. But whether you’re preparing the batter from scratch or whipping up a box mix, it’s essential to know why you add vegetable oil to brownies and what happens when you take it off the list.

What Does Vegetable Oil Do in Brownies?

Brownies are a pastry set between a cake and cookie, so they encompass ingredients found in both types of batter. And among these items include baking soda and baking powder. These ingredients release carbon dioxide gases when they’re cooked, which forms gluten in the batter. And the more gluten is created by the process; the chewier and drier the baked goods would come out.

This reason is why vegetable oil is added to the brownie batter. The oil supplies a considerable amount of fat in liquid form, which combines with the dry ingredients and sticks to them. The fat from the oil slows down gluten formation, and at the end of the cooking process, the brownies are light and moist.

Vegetable Oil Nutrition Facts

Vegetable Oil Nutrition Facts

Vegetable Oil Substitutes in Brownies

Though vegetable oil is vital in making delicious brownies, you may have to do without it for specific reasons. Sometimes, you’re curious and wonder if anything else can take its place. Or you’ve run out of vegetable oil other times but need to make a tasty batch of your favorite flavored recipe. You may also be wary about cholesterol levels and saturated fats and feel the need to avoid vegetable oil. No matter, because in every case, there’s the perfect vegetable oil substitute for you.

Canola Oil

Crisco Pure Canola Oil, 127.8 Fl Oz


Canola oil has always excelled as a substitute for vegetable oil in every recipe, so it’s no shocker that it also does in brownies. It’s low in cholesterol, fat and comes with a neutral taste, so it offers you excellent benefits compared to vegetable oil. Plus,  canola oil is easy to find, and you stand a chance of having a bottle of it in the kitchen. It’s also a cheap, healthier alternative to vegetable oil and can be substituted in equal amounts.


Yogourmet 16 Pack Freeze Dried Yogurt Starter Value Pack, 1 Box Containing 16 Each 3 Grams Packets 1.7 Onces


Some people take out vegetable oil because of its fatty content, and for such situations, yogurt is a great alternative. Yogurt has always been recommended for a low-fat diet and is a sure way to add moisture and volume to your brownies. When using yogurt, you can also swap it at equal amounts as vegetable oil, but only if you’re making the brownie batter from scratch. For box recipes, you should substitute half a cup of vegetable oil and two eggs for each half cup of yogurt. Also, note that plain,  nonfat yogurt is the best variety to use in this option, cos it guarantees lesser fat and won’t add any extra flavors to your brownies.

Avocado Oil

La Tourangelle, Avocado Oil, All-Natural Handcrafted from Premium Avocados, Great for Cooking, as Butter Substitute, and for Skin and Hair, 16.9 fl oz


This substitute is tagged as one of the healthiest cooking oil you can ever find. Avocado oil gives you everything- a liquid base to mix the dry ingredients, a rich dose of good plant fat, and a rich, creamy, buttery taste. Avocado oil can be equally substituted for vegetable oil in brownies, and it will offer tons of health benefits to the recipe.  These perks include tons of antioxidants and nutrients that help improve heart health, lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels.

Melted Butter

Trader Joe's Clarified Butter (Ghee), 8oz.


Out of butter, but can’t pause that chocolate brownie recipe? Then, use butter instead. The traditional brownie mix also includes butter, so you’ll get more creaminess, moisture, and flakiness with this option. Butter will add more fat to your brownies, but it’s also great if you wish to cream the sugar first before mixing it in. And you can still use equal amounts of butter in place of vegetable oil without reducing the original butter amount previously in the recipe. Butter makes for brownies fudgy, and because you swapped it for oil, you’ll get an even richer flavor. But make sure to unsalted butter so as not to influence the taste of the batch.

Coconut Oil

Garden of Life Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil - Unrefined Cold Pressed Plant Based Oil for Hair, Skin & Cooking, 14 Oz


If you plan to make coconut-flavored brownies, then the default move is to use this substitute. But you’ll be glad to know it also works in other settings as well. Coconut is a fat-rich plant oil, a condition proven by its tendency to solidify at room temperature quickly. And this high-fat content means you get full creaminess in your brownies.

Still, you may not be fond of the tropical taste of coconut oil in brownies. If so, you can neutralize the flavor by adding a teaspoon of vanilla. You can use coconut oil in equal amounts in place of vegetable oil for brownie recipes. But you’ll have to melt it first before measuring it into the batter.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I use olive oil in place of vegetable oil for brownies?

Yes, you can. But note that olive oil has a distinct flavor that may surface in your brownie mix. If you must use olive oil as a vegetable oil substitute in brownies, go for the less flavored varieties like light or extra light olive oil.

Can you substitute bananas for oil in brownies?

Yes, you can, but this works best for brownie box mixes. Mash a very soft and ripe banana into a puree and use it in equal amounts to replace vegetable oil in the brownie mix.

What’s a good substitute for oil in brownies?

Besides the helpful options listed above, you can also try equal amounts of cornstarch/water mix, avocado, prune and pumpkin purees, shortening, and mayonnaise. You can also use unsweetened applesauce, but you’ll have to cut down the baking time by ten minutes. Also, consider a quarter cup of buttermilk for every half cup of oil. Note that you can adjust these quantities if you’re making your brownie batter from scratch since they’re mostly recommended for box brownie mixes.


Can’t get enough of brownies but can’t use vegetable oil? Then choose from any of these impressive substitutes, and your problem is solved. You don’t have to stop making your favorite baked treats because vegetable oil is out of the picture. All you need is to find a replacement that will add the same value to your recipe and sometimes even more.