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15 Substitutes for Vegetable Oil in Brownies & How to Use

Who’s in the mood for brownies?

While many brownie recipes call for vegetable oil, there’s no need to despair if you don’t have any in your cupboard or you’d prefer not to use it.

Many substitutes for vegetable oil in brownies are available—and the chances are good you have at least one in your kitchen right now!

Here’s a rundown of the best options.

What Can You Substitute for Vegetable Oil in Brownies

Whether you want to closest possible taste and texture or you’re looking to change up your brownies, here are the best vegetable oil replacements for brownies.

1. Canola Oil

canola oil

Canola oil is the simplest, most direct substitute for vegetable oil in brownies mix.

Like vegetable oil, canola oil has a neutral flavor that won’t affect the taste of your brownies. It also has a similar consistency to vegetable oil, so the texture of the brownies remains the same.

Many people prefer canola oil because it’s healthier than vegetable oil [1]. It helps lower cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease.  

Use canola oil as a 1:1 replacement. For example, you’ll use 1/2 of canola oil as a substitute for 1/2 cup of vegetable oil in brownies.

2. Olive Oil

olive oil splash

Not quite as popular as canola oil, olive oil is another widely used substitute.

While the texture of the two oil types is similar, some flavor differences are possible. For the best tasting brownies, choose light or extra light olive oil.

When substituting olive oil for vegetable oil, use a 1:1 replacement ratio.

3. Sunflower Oil

sunflower oil with seeds

Sunflower oil will also work as a vegetable oil alternative. While the flavor is still neutral, it’s a bit heavier and more robust than olive and canola oil.

Using sunflower oil shouldn’t interfere with the taste of your brownies. It’s also an excellent choice if you want to increase your Vitamin E and Vitamin K [2] intake.  

4. Coconut Oil

coconut oil with fresh coconut

Coconut oil isn’t just popular in baking; it’s also used to help treat damaged hair, dry skin, heart disease, and more. In addition, it works great as a vegetable oil substitute for brownies.

Coconut oil has a unique, nutty flavor. While some of these tastes are dampened during the baking process, your finished brownies will likely have at least a slight coconut taste.

5. Butter

butter curls

If you don’t want to use a different type of oil, try butter, one of the easiest and tastiest vegetable oil substitutions. It adds moisture and a rich, buttery flavor to your brownies.

Before adding the butter to the brownie mix, you want to melt it in the oven and then let it cool at room temperature. Also, add two minutes to the total recommended cooking time.

Use a 1:1 ratio of a cup of melted butter for a cup of oil.

6. Margarine

what is margarine

Instead of butter, you can also use margarine. You don’t need as much margarine as butter. Use one-half cup of margarine to replace one cup of oil.

7. Apple Sauce

homemade apple sauce

Yes, you can use apple sauce as a substitute for vegetable oil.

Aside from using apple sauce in brownies, it’s also commonly used when baking cookies, cakes, muffins, and similar desserts. It’s an effective moistening agent with a hint of natural sweetness.

Use three-quarters of a cup of apple sauce for every cup of vegetable oil required. Additionally, add less sugar than the recipe requires.

8. Peanut Oil

peanut oil

Peanut oil is one of the healthiest alternatives to vegetable oil. It contains monounsaturated fats [3] that help reduce cholesterol, plus antioxidants that promote cell health.

Peanut oil doesn’t add any significant flavor or alter its texture. When using it as a vegetable oil substitute in brownies, replace it in a 1:1 ratio.

Also, note that peanut oil thickens at room temperature, so you might need to warm it before using it.

9. Yogurt

raspberry with yogurt

If you want to increase the thickness and creaminess of your brownies, try yogurt. It also has many benefits in baking.

Just make sure you use unflavored yogurt as flavored kinds will interfere with the chocolate flavor.

The type of unflavored yogurt doesn’t particularly matter from a baking standpoint, but consider Greek yogurt if you’re looking to add an extra boost of nutrients.

10. Cornstarch

corn starch

Although cornstarch isn’t the most obvious choice, it works well as a vegetable oil substitute. It doesn’t alter either the flavor or the taste.

Using cornstarch does require a bit more preparation than many other substitutions.

You first need to mix it with water and heat it. Once cool, you can pour it into the brownie mixture using a 1:1 replacement ratio.

Other Substitutes

  • 11. Avocado oil (replace vegetable oil in a 1:1 ratio)
  • 12. Shortening (1:1 ratio)
  • 13. Fruit puree (1:1 ratio, reduce liquid ingredients by half)
  • 14. Vanilla extract (Start with a tiny amount until your favor)
  • 15. Buttermilk (1 tbsp of vegetable oil equals ½ tbsp of buttermilk)

FAQs About Vegetable Oil Substitute in Brownies

Here are the answers to common questions about the best substitutes for vegetable oil in brownies.

Can you substitute olive oil for vegetable oil in brownies?

Yes, olive oil is an effective vegetable oil substitution. However, when making brownies, use either light or extra light olive oil, as heavier types can interfere with the taste.

Can you substitute canola oil for vegetable oil in brownies?

Yes, canola oil is one of the best substitutions for vegetable oil. It has a neutral flavor that won’t affect the taste of your brownies.

When substituting canola for vegetable oil, use a 1:1 ratio.

Can I substitute peanut oil for vegetable oil in brownies?

Peanut oil is a popular and healthy alternative to vegetable oil. Use the same amount as the vegetable oil required in your recipe when using peanut oil.

Peanut oil can add a slight peanut taste to your brownies, but the texture will remain identical.  


If you’re looking for a substitute for vegetable oil in brownies, you’re in luck, as tons of great alternatives exist.

Canola, peanut, olive, and sunflower oil can all be used as a 1:1 replacement with minimal effects on the taste and texture of the brownies.

You can also use butter, yogurt, and other alternatives to increase your brownies’ richness and moisture.

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I’m Jennifer Schlette, a Registered Dietitian and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. I love cooking, reading, and my kids! Here you’ll find the healthiest recipes & substitutions for your cooking. Enjoy, and be well, friends!

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