Vegetable Oil Substitutes

The lack of vegetable oil when baking, frying or making salads should not be a cause for panic. There are many vegetable oil substitutes out there which you can choose from to achieve the same result.

When you are in the middle of making a dish and realize, too late that you do not have vegetable oil, what do you do? Do not panic. There are many alternatives for vegetable oil out there. Your vegetable oil substitutes depend on what you intend to use the oil for. In addition, you need to consider the health aspect of your substitute too. Your best and healthiest way to substitute vegetable oil is by using cooking spray if the need is for pan frying or slightly oiling the surface. However, there are many more substitutes available.

Good Substitutes for Vegetable Oil

There are many different types of vegetable oil substitutes and the choices you make will depend upon the dish you are going to be substituting this ingredient in. For some dishes, the vegetable oil is used as a frying while for others, it is for baking. A large number of optional items are available and will give completely different textures. The surprising news is that these substitutes come from different food origins, yet deliver same or similar end results. For frying purposes, the substitute will need to be an ingredient which has similarly high lipid properties. Here are some to consider.

1. Fruit Juices and Sauce - Applesauce or Cranberry Juice

  • Quantity - Quarter to full cup
  • This is an excellent option as it is low in fat and will give your baked product a soft, moist effect.
  •  Can be used in baking cookies and cakes, muffins and a range of other baked goods that use chocolate as a main ingredient.

2. Mashed Fruits - Bananas, Pear or Apple Butter

  • Quantity - Quarter cup
  • Ideal for farm fresh fall baking when you are using a range of natural ingredients as fruits, seeds and vegetables in your baking. Spice breads, zucchini loaves and onion buns will taste great with this substitute. Bananas go well with baked chocolate dessert while fruits as pear and apple will be very versatile.
  • Ideal for baked goods with added natural flavors.

3. Fruit and Vege Purees - Prune, Pineapple, Pumpkin

  • Quantity - Quarter to full cup
  • This substitute will yield baked items that are dark and rich in color but should adjust the sugar quantities to avoid over sweetening. An increase in fat-free milk can counter the dry texture which results from prune. The pineapple will be a great substitute for cooking oil when making cookies and short cakes.
  • Ideal for baked goods such as spiced bread and buns.

4. Yogurt - Plan/Non-fat/Flavoured

  • Quantity - One cup
  • This is a good substitute as it also contains fatty lipids to give similar texture to dishes. However, other fluids or liquids in the baked product will have to be reduced as yoghurt adds water.
  • Can be used in quick breads, such as cranberry, banana, or zucchini breads.

5. Oils - Coconut Oil / Olive Oils

  • Quantity - One cup
  • These substitutes are close substitutes and can be used for health reasons or availability. For example, coconut oil contains capric acid, caprylic acid, lauric acid (44%), and myristic acid (16.8%) that makes it identical in consistency to vegetable oil which is in fact palm oil. The olive oil, rich in HDL lipids is certainly healthier than using vegetable oil. 
  • Ideal to be used when substituting for cooking and frying purposes.

6. Molten Mayonnaise

  • Quantity - One cup
  • Mayonnaise with its fatty ingredients can be used in substituting cooking oil, especially of pan frying or baking meat items or fish. The vegetable stir fries will also get a delectable flavour from this substitute.
  • Best used in pan frying of meats, fish and vegetable.

7. Molten Fats - Butter /Shortening / Lard

  • Quantity - One cup
  • Butter, shortening and lard are direct substitutes for vegetable oil as these when heated up will provide liquid fat that will have similar lipid compositions as vegetable oils. In addition these choices will give the dish a richer texture and taste. It is important to adjust salt quantities if using salted molten butter.
  • Can be used in baking or frying. Brownies or any other baking product as well as fish, meat, vegetable and staple dishes as pasta, rice and noodles.

As you can see, the substitutes are ample, but depend on the dish you are making. When baking, there are many other non-fat based substitutes to cooking oil that can yield similar textures. When frying, you will need to find more close substitutes with fat content to achieve similar textures of finished products.


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