Coconut oil is one of the most popular oils found in kitchen cupboards. The oil is gathered from mature coconuts, which can be found and grown virtually anywhere in the world through harvesting by hand.
As a result of the lack of chemicals and pesticides, coconut oil has a fairly low environmental impact. Coconut oil is most commonly used for cooking and healthcare purposes, making the jars incredibly versatile and worth the money.
As coconut oil melts quickly into a liquid-like texture, it’s most commonly used in replacement of olive oil or in vegan cooking as a substitute for butter. You’ve probably clicked on this article because you’ve started preparing a recipe, only to shortly realize you’re lacking in a key ingredient – coconut oil.
Alternatively, you might just be curious about other substitutes for the popular oil. Here are the best coconut oil substitutes ranked and reviewed!
Olive oil is probably the most commonly used substitute for coconut oil. It is probably the most accessible substitute for coconut oil as they are so easy to find in grocery stores, plus virtually everyone has a bottle of olive oil in their cupboards.
The best way to use olive oil as a substitute for coconut oil is in cooking. Olive oil mimics the same texture as melted coconut oil, providing a non-sticky base to a frying pan, skillet, baking tray, oven dish, and virtually any other kitchenware item.
Not only this, but olive oil adds a lovely splash of flavor to savory dishes, which is why it’s commonly used in pasta, drizzled over salads, or even mixed into soups. Plus, olive oil is said to have more nutritional value than coconut oil, as the latter is considerably higher in saturated fats.
However, olive oil isn’t a good substitute for coconut oil when it comes to baking. This is because olive oil is derived from olives, which have a pungent flavor, thus affecting the overall flavor of whatever you’re baking.
While butter isn’t vegan-friendly, it’s another simple substitute for coconut oil. This is because butter melts similarly to coconut oil when it interacts with heat, helping to resemble a similar texture to coconut oil.
Butter is also arguably more flavorsome than coconut oil, especially if you use salted butter in cooking. Unsalted butter is best for baking purposes as it doesn’t increase the salt levels in the baking mixture.
However, butter isn’t exactly the healthiest substitute for coconut oil. A little bit of butter is fine, but if you’re keeping an eye on your weight or your cholesterol levels, you might not want to use butter as frequently as coconut oil.
Almond oil is another great substitute for coconut oil in baking due to the unique nutty flavor and similar texture. It won’t make the baked goods overly nutty – instead, the almond flavor works to highlight the sweetness in baked goods.
Plus, if you’re baking a nutty cake anyway, why not push the boat out and use almond oil instead of coconut oil? Almond oil can also be used in some kinds of savory cooking, but just keep in mind the added nutty flavor that might not cooperate with some savory flavors.
However, if you’re making a satay curry, for example, a splash of almond oil can work well with the peanut flavor. Plus, almond oil is low in saturated fat, making it a healthier option to coconut oil.
Hemp Seed Oil
Interestingly, hemp seed oil is one of the most popular forms of oil for its array of health benefits. Not only is hemp seed oil filled with an abundance of amino acids, but it’s also said to relieve chronic pain, improve skin quality, improve sleep, aid anxiety, and works to prevent heart conditions.
However, keep in mind that these health benefits are only certain if you consume hemp seed oil orally rather than in cooking.
A single serving of hemp seed oil can contain 10 grams of protein, which is why those on a protein-based diet (such as keto) use hemp seed oil when cooking their food to keep them fuller for longer.
When met with heat, hemp seed oil does lose some of its nutritional and health properties. We recommend using hemp seed oil at room temperature or chilled drizzled over salads or pasta.
If you find the flavors of the other substitutes on this list far too potent to substitute coconut oil, check out grapeseed oil. Grapeseed oil is notoriously bland in flavor, meaning it won’t alter the overall flavors of the food you are making.
The main reason why grapeseed oil is an excellent substitute for coconut oil is because of its roasting abilities. Grapeseed oil has a high smoking point, which means that it’s less likely to cause food to burn, thus leaving food with a perfect crispy layer – ideal for making roast potatoes.
It works similarly well for frying foods to a crispy level. Grapeseed oil is also good for baking goods due to its minimal flavor, which doesn’t work to alter the taste of the food.
This means you can substitute the exact amount of coconut oil for grapeseed oil without tasting much of a difference.
Plus, grapeseed oil is mostly made of polyunsaturated fats, unlike most cooking oils. This means that grapeseed oil is high in omega-9 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are highly beneficial for the human body.
Hazelnut oil might seem like a niche oil for some, but it’s another cupboard essential for plant-based eaters in the same way that coconut oil is. Similarly to almond oil, hazelnut oil provides a nutty flavor to whatever you’re cooking, which helps to add a unique tone to both savory and sweet foods.
Despite the fact these tones are often on the sweet side, hazelnut oil is commonly used when roasting and frying savory foods due to its high smoking point. The high smoking point allows roasted foods to crisp effortlessly without burning, while adding a hint of nuttiness to the flavor.
Hazelnut oil is also considered to be a healthy cooking oil as it is high in monounsaturated fats, at least 80% of which are linked to lowering cholesterol levels and improving weight loss.
Sunflower oil is fairly similar to olive oil, in that it should only really be used to substitute coconut oil for cooking purposes rather than baking ones. This is because sunflower oil doesn’t perform as well as coconut oil in baked goods, but it does work nicely for savory baked foods like bread or muffins.
Due to its high smoking point, sunflower oil is great for frying foods without burning them. Fried chicken (or fried tofu for the non-meat eaters) is one of the most popular savory dishes made with sunflower oil.
While sunflower oil isn’t the healthiest substitute for coconut oil on our list, it is filled with vitamins and antioxidants – most notably vitamin E. Vitamin E is responsible for fighting bacteria and viruses, helping to keep the body healthy and safe.
Avocado oil is a rather niche cooking oil that only health enthusiasts generally know about, which is why we’re recommending it to spread awareness of this awesome cooking oil.
Extracted from the pulp of avocados, avocado oil is less flavorsome than coconut oil, making it an excellent substitute to use in cooking and baking.
The best thing about avocado oil is its high smoking point, allowing the cook to fry, grill, roast, or sauté foods without drizzling the food in fatty oils.
As avocado has become increasingly popular due to its health benefits, it only makes sense why people opt for avocado oil instead of other cooking oils.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Can I Use Instead Of Coconut Oil In Baking?
When it comes to baking, there are several substitutes to coconut oil that work similarly in terms of flavor and performance.
For the non-vegans, butter is often a good substitute for coconut oil as butter solidifies at room temperature before melting upon heat, just like coconut oil. Butter also provides a creamy texture to baked goods that coconut oil can’t always achieve.
However, butter isn’t the healthiest substitute for coconut oil, and can have a distinctive flavor.
Grapeseed oil is probably the best substitute for coconut oil when it comes to baking. This is because grapeseed oil doesn’t have a distinctive flavor and performs in the same way as coconut oil.
Other substitutes include hazelnut oil and almond oil for a nutty flavor.
Which Is Healthier, Coconut Oil Or Olive Oil?
Olive oil is healthier than coconut oil because of its fat content. While olive oil is high in good fats (polyunsaturated fat) and low in bad fats (saturated fats), coconut oil is the other way round, consisting of 80-90% saturated fats.
People who consume saturated fats are far more likely to have a high cholesterol level. Olive oil is also higher in antioxidants that provide useful health benefits such as skin and hair improvement, whereas coconut oil is more refined and contains fewer antioxidants.
Can You Substitute Vegan Butter For Coconut Oil?
To put it simply, yes, you can substitute vegan butter for coconut oil and vice versa! It all mostly comes down to trying to mimic the same consistency as vegan butter, which is why people will often combine coconut oil with canola oil or applesauce to create a similar texture.
On the other hand, vegan butter can be used to substitute for coconut oil in the same way regular butter can be used as a substitute.