Alternatives to Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil refers to plant-based oils like sunflower and canola oil. It is often used, especially commercially, because of its low cost and high smoke point. However, that little extra money you saved is evident in vegetable oil’s lack of flavor. If you are trying to cut bad fats out of your diet due to your high cholesterol levels, substituting vegetable oil for healthier alternatives is a great start to lowering your cholesterol level. There are many substances you can use instead of vegetable oil, the alternative depends on the flavor outcome you want to achieve and the technique you want to use.

Vegetable Oil Alternatives

Salad Dressings

The lack of flavor in vegetable oil is most evident when it’s used in salad dressings. Easily achieve a fuller flavor profile by substituting it with corn, soybean, or my favorite, extra virgin olive oil. For a tasty nutty flavor, you can use sesame, walnut or flaxseed oil.

Sesame-Ginger Dressing

[column size=”1/2″]• ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
• ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
• 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
• 2 garlic cloves, chopped
[column size=”1/2″]• 2 tablespoons honey
• 2 tablespoons ginger, minced and peeled
• 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil[/column]


Put all ingredients into a blender and add 2 tablespoons of water. Process the mixture until smooth.


If you’re not worried about making the healthiest bread or dessert, butter and shortening give baked goods that addictive creamy taste. If you’re watching what you eat, olive oil gets you a nice fruity flavor with a nutty finish, but has less saturated fat than the previous alternatives. Vegan cooks often use apple sauce, mashed ripe bananas or cranberry juice when they bake to achieve a soft and moist texture.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

[column size=”1/2″]• 2 cups unbleached flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• ¾ cup vegan chocolate chips
[column size=”1/2″]• ¾ cup sugar
• ½ cup mashed ripe banana
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• ½ cup milk alternative (soy, almond, water, etc.)[/column]


[column size=”1/2″]• Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
• In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, chocolate chips and sugar) and make a deep hole in the middle.
• In a medium-sized bowl, mix the wet ingredients (banana, extract and milk alternative).
• Pour the wet ingredients into the hole of the dry ingredients’ large bowl.
• Mix well, but do not overwork the dough until it is thin in consistency.
[column size=”1/2″]• Spoon the dough onto ungreased baking sheets.
• Put the baking sheets into the oven for 5 minutes.
• Rotate the baking sheets 180 degrees and bake for another 4 minutes.
• Cool the cookies on a wire rack.


With sautéing, the objective is to cook aromatics or meats over high heat for a short period of time. Because of this, you must use another oil that has a similar high smoke point, like peanut or sesame oil. Again, if you’re not trying to be healthy, butter is another good alternative to vegetable oil.

Chinese-Style Green Beans

[column size=”1/2″]• 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
• 1 tablespoon honey
• 3 tablespoon peanut oil
• 12 ounces green beans, trimmed
• Kosher salt
• 1 tablespoon garlic, minced[/column]


[column size=”1/1″]• Mix together the soy sauce, honey and one tablespoon of water in a small bowl.
• In a saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add green beans and ½ tsp of salt and toss using tongs to coat the beans well. Cook until the beans are well-browned, shrunken and tender, turning often, about 7 minutes.
• Reduce the heat to low. Add garlic and cook, stirring often until the garlic is fragrant and soften, 15 seconds. Add the soy sauce mixture, stirring often, until the liquid turns into a glaze, 30 seconds.

Deep Frying

Deep-frying is used when you want to achieve a crisp and crunchy outside while the inside, be it vegetables, dough, poultry or seafood, to steam-cook. Like sautéing, deep frying requires an oil that has a high smoke point. Good alternatives to vegetable oil with this cooking technique are peanut oil, pure olive oil, melted shortening or lard.

Navajo Fry Bread

[column size=”1/2″]• 2 ½ cups unbleached flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 2 teaspoon sugar
• 1 teaspoon pure olive oil
[column size=”1/2″]• 1 cup milk alternative (soy, almond, water, etc), warmed
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 ¼ teaspoons fast rising yeast (1 packet)[/column]


  • Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  • In a large bowl, add the warm milk, then the dry ingredients, and warmed oil.
  • Mix the ingredients together into a ball of dough.
  • Wait 10 minutes for the dough to rise, then shape the dough into discs.
  • Fry until the dough is golden-brown.


Replacement Ratios for Vegetable Oil

If the recipe calls for 1 cup of vegetable oil…
• Use 1 cup of any other plant-based oil (corn, soybean, olive, sesame, walnut, flaxseed, etc.)
• Use 1 cup of butter
• Use 1 cup of shortening
• Use 1 cup of lard
• Use ¾ to 1 cup of applesauce
• Use ¾ cup of mashed ripe bananas
• Use 1 cup of cranberry juice