Using coconut oil is a common thing for some people, but it is high in fat and calories, so you may want to know about other choices. However, what to pick can be very confusing, as every option brings a different flavor, aroma, and in some cases, texture.
What Is Coconut Oil?
Before we get into what to use in each recipe, you must know exactly what coconut oil is.
Coconut oil is extracted from the flesh of the coconut, also called kernel after they are harvested from the palm tree. There are two types of coconut oil—refined or unrefined.
The refined oil is made after the coconuts have been baked and bleached to remove impurities. The resulting oil is clear and has a mild flavor and aroma.
On the other hand, unrefined or virgin coconut oil is less processed. This oil is extracted from young coconuts and doesn’t undergo bleaching. This oil is much richer in nutrients and flavor, but it also doesn’t last as long and is more expensive.
Coconut oil is used in cooking, but it has also become popular as a health item due to its fatty acid content. You can use not just in baking, frying, sauteing, but also as a moisturizer, face mask, or nutritional supplement.
Do not confuse coconut oil with coconut milk, they are two very different things. Read our article to learn more about coconut milk and coconut cream.
What Can I Replace Coconut Oil With?
If you need a healthier choice or can’t find any around, these are the best coconut oil replacements:
Best For Baking Granola, Cookies, and Muffins
Though it isn’t the healthiest choice, butter is a great substitute for coconut oil in baking all sorts of products, including cookies, muffins, brownies, and even granola.
Using butter adds dairy to your dishes, so you should consider this if you or anyone else has a casein allergy or lactose intolerance.
You probably already have butter in your fridge, but if you don’t, you can find it easily in any grocery or convenience store. You can use the same amount of butter as you would coconut oil. This option will give your baked goods more moisture and a chewy texture.
See More: Best Butter Substitutes
#2. Canola Oil
This oil is a good choice because it has a neutral flavor and monounsaturated fat, which makes it a healthier option.
You can use it in making brownies, muffins, cookies, and baking granola. Use canola oil in a 1:1 ratio, but consider that this is more liquid, so you may need to adjust the other liquids as well.
If you don’t have canola oil at home, make sure you check your local grocery or convenience store. This oil is a good choice because it can withstand very high temperatures.
See More: Best Canola Oil Alternatives
While this is not a source of fat, it is a very healthy option for baking. You can buy commercial applesauce anywhere, but make sure it is the soft kind and not chunky.
If you want, you can also make applesauce at home easily by boiling down apples until they are soft, using some sweetener and maybe cinnamon.
To replace coconut oil with applesauce, use the same amount that the recipe indicates, but consider that you are adding more sweetness and liquid. You can use applesauce instead of coconut oil in baking brownies, muffins, banana bread, and cookies.
See More: Applesauce Shelf Life
#4. Almond Oil
Even if you have never tried it, almond oil is a great choice because it is low in saturated fats and high in monounsaturated fats.
You can use this oil in baking cakes, cookies, muffins, and even granola. Finding almond oil may prove to be a little more difficult, but a health store or organic market surely has it.
Remember that almond oil has a nutty taste, so it may not be suitable for recipes that don’t mix well with this flavor. Use the same amount of almond oil as you would coconut oil.
Best For Cooking Eggs, Meat, and Chocolate
#5. Olive Oil
This is probably the healthiest oil out there, as it is monounsaturated but also contains a high amount of essential fatty acids.
For cooking, we recommend you use virgin olive oil and not the extra virgin one, as the latter can’t withstand heat. You probably already have olive oil, but if you don’t, surely, your local grocery store has it.
Olive oil goes well in cooking eggs, meat, and even in some baked goods. You can replace coconut oil for the same amount of olive oil, but consider that it does have a distinct flavor.
See More: Does Olive Oil Go Bad?
#6. Sunflower Oil
Sunflower oil works well in many dishes because it also has a neutral flavor, but it is also monounsaturated fat.
You can find sunflower oil in any grocery or organic store, as it is very popular in frying, baking, or sauteing. You can use the same amount of sunflower oil that the recipe indicates.
This choice is great in cooking all sorts of things, including eggs, meat, vegetables, and also in making chocolate, as the flavor is not recognizable. This oil is also a great option for when you have to use high temperatures, as it can withstand very high ones.
See more: Does vegetable oil go bad?
#7. Avocado Oil
This type of oil is a result of pressing the pulp of the avocado fruit, and it is almost entirely made up of oleic acid. It also contains a great number of nutrients, so it is considered a healthy fat.
You can use avocado oil in cooking savory dishes, including eggs and meat, but some people like to use it in sweets as well.
Finding avocado oil may be a bit harder to find, but you can try your local grocery store or an organic supermarket. This oil does have a distinct avocado flavor that some may not find appealing, but if you do, add the same amount as you would coconut oil.
In terms of consistency and nutrient profile, the best choices are almond oil and avocado oil. However, all the substitutes here work well in place of coconut oil, so you may try them first.
Yes, you can use applesauce in place of coconut oil and vice versa. If you want to add a bit of fat to the recipe, consider adding ½ cup of butter along with ½ cup of applesauce for every cup of coconut oil.
In terms of saturated fat, olive oil is better for you, as it contains monounsaturated fat and a high number of essential fatty acids. Coconut oil is high in saturated fat, so the amount you consume should be limited.
If you love cooking with coconut oil, it can be hard to realize that you have run out of it, or that it isn’t the healthiest choice. Instead, use any of these alternatives for any of the recipes you like to prepare. Make sure you try the flavor first, but they should all result in a tasty dish.
Up Next: How Long Does Coconut Oil Last?
*Photo by AndreySt/depositphotos