Vegetable oil is a must-have for many recipes, whether you’re cooking or baking, thanks to its neutral flavor and high smoke point. But if you’re fresh out of the pantry staple, don’t panic. There are plenty of vegetable oil substitutes that may be in your kitchen right now (if not, check out the
best coconut oils to stock up on!). Let’s discuss the best substitutes for vegetable oil and when — and why — you should rely on them.
One benefit of vegetable oil is that it boasts a high smoke point — approximately 450°F — so it can reach a high temp, perfect for frying before it starts to pump out smoke like a tiny chimney. If you let any cooking fat (like olive oil or butter) simmer at high heat for too long, the oil (and any food cooked in it) can taste bitter and unpleasant. Since vegetable oil is able to withstand higher temperatures without smoking, it’s ideal for deep frying everything from crispy chicken to Cinnamon Churros.
Vegetable oil can also be a main ingredient in baked goods — try it in banana bread!— since it has a really mellow flavor and adds moisture and fat to a baked good. It can also be great if you’re looking for a vegan baking substitute for your next project (just make sure you read the recipe first)! Here’s the difference: Butter solidifies at room temp while vegetable oil stays liquid both at room temp and if refrigerated, maintaining the moisture of baked goods for days.
So is vegetable oil the only swap for butter? Nope! Vegetable oil can be substituted for another healthy cooking oil like canola, sunflower, peanut or grapeseed oil in a pinch. From frying to baking, these alternatives can be easily swapped in (like many other simple ingredient substitutions). In certain circumstances, you can also use coconut oil, olive oil or even applesauce! Read on to learn how to swap in, so you have the perfect dish, from the ultimate baked good to the crispiest of homemade fries. So whether you’re frying up some chicken wings or whisking together a cake recipe, these simple alternatives will not only work … but make your meal taste amazing.