Vegetable Oil Substitutes for Brownies

When it comes to baking brownies, vegetable oil is often called for as an essential ingredient that contributes to their moist and fudgy texture. However, numerous reasons, such as dietary restrictions or the pursuit of healthier options, may prompt bakers to seek out alternatives to this commonly used fat. Luckily, there are plenty of vegetable oil substitutes available that can still yield delicious brownies.

One prominent substitute for vegetable oil in brownie recipes is unsweetened applesauce. The moisture content and natural sweetness of applesauce make it an ideal replacement while reducing the overall fat content of the brownies. Another popular alternative is melted butter, which lends a rich and satisfying taste to the final product. In addition to these options, some bakers experiment with using fruit purees, yogurt, or even avocado as health-conscious alternatives.

Selecting a suitable substitute for vegetable oil in brownies ultimately depends on personal preferences and dietary goals. Each option offers unique characteristics that can affect the taste, texture, and nutrient profile of the final product. By exploring these various substitutes, bakers can create delectable brownies that meet their specific needs without compromising on flavor or quality.

Have You Tried These 7 Vegetable Oil Substitutes For Brownies

Why Substitute Vegetable Oil

When baking brownies, some people might choose to substitute vegetable oil for various reasons. One of the main factors is the potential health benefits attributed to alternative oils. Vegetable oil is often high in calories and unsaturated fats which can contribute to an unhealthy diet if consumed in large quantities. Replacing it with healthier alternatives can help reduce the intake of these undesirable elements.

For instance, using coconut oil, olive oil, or even applesauce can provide a more nutritious choice. These alternatives usually contain fewer calories and a better nutrient profile, which can lead to weight management and improved overall health. Moreover, these options can help decrease cholesterol levels, as they contain a higher percentage of unsaturated fats compared to vegetable oil.

In addition to health benefits, another reason to consider vegetable oil substitutes is the impact on a brownie’s texture and flavor. Different ingredients contribute unique characteristics to the final product, and experimenting with oil substitutes can lead to a more personalized taste preference. For example, using applesauce creates a more cake-like texture, while utilizing nut-based oils adds a subtle nutty flavor to the brownies.

Lastly, environmental concerns can also influence the choice to substitute vegetable oil. The production of some vegetable oils has been associated with deforestation and habitat destruction. Choosing alternative ingredients and supporting sustainable farming practices contributes to the conservation of the environment.

In summary, considerations for substituting vegetable oil in brownie recipes include health benefits, calories, unsaturated fats, cholesterol, texture and flavor, as well as environmental concerns. By choosing alternative oil substitutes, individuals can make more informed decisions about their diets and personal preferences while baking this beloved treat.


Butter as a Vegetable Oil Substitute

Flavor and Texture

Butter is a popular substitute for vegetable oil in brownie recipes. It adds a rich and creamy flavor, which enhances the overall taste of the brownies. When used in the right ratio, butter also helps maintain a moist and tender texture in brownies. This is due to its higher fat content and water content, which creates steam during baking and contributes to a soft, moist crumb.

Health Benefits and Nutrition

While butter is higher in saturated fats compared to vegetable oil, it does contain nutrients that may not be present in some vegetable oils. Butter is a source of vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as small amounts of minerals like calcium and selenium. However, butter is not a health food and should be used in moderation. When substituting butter for vegetable oil, it is essential to be mindful of the overall fat content of the recipe and consider the nutritional needs of those consuming the brownies.

Ratio and Baking Tips

When substituting butter for vegetable oil in a brownie recipe, use the following guidelines:

  • For every 1 cup of vegetable oil, use 1 cup of melted butter.

To make the most of butter as a substitute, consider these baking tips:

  • Melt the butter before incorporating it into the recipe to ensure an even distribution of fat throughout the batter.
  • When using unsalted butter, slightly increase the salt content of the recipe to enhance the brownie’s flavor.
  • Keep an eye on the baking time, as brownies made with butter may brown more quickly than those made with vegetable oil. Adjust the baking time accordingly, checking the brownies for doneness to prevent overbaking.

Other Dairy-Based Substitutes


Yogurt is an excellent dairy-based substitute for vegetable oil in brownies. It can provide a moist and tender texture, while also offering a healthier option with its calcium and protein content. To use yogurt as a substitute, replace the vegetable oil with the same amount of plain yogurt.

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt, with its thicker consistency and higher protein content, can also be used as a vegetable oil substitute in brownies. It adds a rich, creamy texture and contributes nutrients like calcium. To replace the vegetable oil, use a 1:1 ratio of Greek yogurt to the amount of oil listed in the recipe.


Buttermilk is a versatile dairy-based substitute that can be used in place of vegetable oil in brownie recipes. Its high acidity level helps to maintain a moist texture while reducing the greasiness that oil can sometimes add. Replace the vegetable oil with the same amount of buttermilk, and adjust the baking soda or powder in your recipe as needed to account for the acidity.


Margarine is a popular alternative to vegetable oil in brownies due to its similar composition and texture. This substitute is especially useful for those looking for a dairy-free option. To use margarine in your brownie recipe, simply measure out the same amount as the vegetable oil and melt before incorporating.

When substituting vegetable oil in brownies with a dairy-based option, it’s essential to consider the specific properties of the chosen substitute, such as texture or acidity level, to ensure that the finished product maintains the desired qualities.

Fruit-Based Substitutes


Applesauce is a common fruit-based substitute for vegetable oil in brownie recipes. It can help maintain the moist texture of brownies without the added fats from oil. It is best to use unsweetened applesauce to avoid adding extra sugar to the recipe. To substitute applesauce for oil, use a 1:1 ratio – for example, replace 1/2 cup of oil with 1/2 cup of applesauce. Keep in mind that applesauce might give a slight apple flavor to the brownies, which can be desirable or not, depending on personal preference.

Mashed Banana

Mashed bananas can also be used as a substitute for vegetable oil in brownie recipes. They are able to provide a moist texture similar to oil while adding natural sweetness and flavor. To use mashed bananas as a substitute, use a 1:1 ratio, replacing the amount of oil with an equal amount of mashed bananas. For example, if a recipe calls for 1/2 cup of oil, use 1/2 cup of mashed bananas instead. Be aware that using bananas will result in a subtle banana flavor in the brownies.

Prune Puree

Prune puree is another fruit-based option for replacing vegetable oil in brownies. It can be made by mixing equal parts prunes and water and then blending until smooth. Like other fruit-based substitutes, prune puree helps to maintain a moist texture in the finished product. To use prune puree as a substitute, replace the oil in the recipe with an equal amount of puree. It’s important to note that using prune puree can impart a subtle prune flavor to the brownies, which some may find enjoyable.

Other Fruit Purees

In addition to the above options, there are various other fruit purees that can be used as oil substitutes in brownie recipes. Some of these include:

  • Pear puree: Made by cooking and blending pears, this puree can be used in a 1:1 ratio to replace oil in brownies, providing a moist texture and mild pear flavor.
  • Pumpkin puree: Made from cooked and blended pumpkin, this puree can be used in a 1:1 ratio to replace oil in brownies, offering a moist texture along with a mild pumpkin flavor.
  • Avocado puree: Made by blending ripe avocados, this puree can also be used in a 1:1 ratio to replace oil in brownies; it adds a moist texture and mild avocado flavor.

Remember that using fruit purees as oil substitutes can result in slight alterations to the flavor and texture of your brownies. Experiment to find the substitution that works best for your personal taste and preferences.

Oil Alternatives

Canola Oil

Canola oil is a popular substitute for vegetable oil in brownie recipes. It has a neutral flavor and a similar fat profile, enabling it to maintain the texture and moisture of the brownies. To substitute canola oil, use the same amount specified for vegetable oil in your recipe.

Olive Oil

Olive oil can also be used as a vegetable oil substitute in brownie recipes. Use light or extra light olive oil for a more neutral taste, as regular olive oil may impart a stronger flavor. The substitution ratio is 1:1, meaning for every cup of vegetable oil, you can use a cup of olive oil.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is another excellent substitute for vegetable oil in brownies. The 1:1 substitution ratio makes it simple to adapt your recipe. Melt the coconut oil to a liquid state and measure it out like any other oil. Coconut oil can contribute to a slightly different texture, but it often enhances the flavor of chocolate brownies.

Sunflower Oil

Sunflower oil can be used as an effective vegetable oil substitute for brownies. It has a light and mild flavor that won’t overpower the taste of your dessert. Use the same quantity of sunflower oil as you would vegetable oil in your recipe.

Peanut Oil

Peanut oil is an option for substituting vegetable oil in brownies, especially if you seek a nuttier flavor. Be aware that the distinct taste might not suit all palates. Since peanut oil has a higher smoke point, your brownies may cook quicker than with other oils. Substitute at a 1:1 ratio as with other oils.

Avocado Oil

Avocado oil is a unique vegetable oil substitute for brownies, offering a subtle flavor and added nutritional value. This oil is high in monounsaturated fats and vitamin E. Be cautious of the slightly nutty taste created by avocado oil in your brownies. Substitute using a 1:1 ratio, retaining the same measurements in your recipe.

Other Unusual Substitutes


Mayonnaise can be an interesting substitute for vegetable oil in brownie recipes. It may seem unusual, but it can provide a similar texture and moisture to your brownies. To use mayonnaise as a substitute, simply replace the vegetable oil with the same amount of mayonnaise. Keep in mind that mayonnaise contains egg and vinegar, so it may slightly alter the taste of your brownies.

Vegan-Friendly Options

For those who adhere to a vegan diet, there are other alternatives to vegetable oil for brownie recipes. Some vegan-friendly substitutes include:

  • Applesauce: This fruit puree can be used in a 1:1 ratio to replace vegetable oil. It adds moisture and a slightly sweet flavor.
  • Coconut oil: With its high-fat content, coconut oil can create a similar texture to vegetable oil. Be aware that it may add a slight coconut flavor to your brownies.
  • Mashed avocado: This option can add creaminess and healthy fats to your brownies. Replace the vegetable oil with an equal amount of mashed avocado.

Cauliflower Puree

Another unique option for replacing vegetable oil in brownie recipes is cauliflower puree. While it may sound surprising, it can be an excellent way to add a healthier substitute for moisture in baked goods. To use cauliflower puree, steam or boil cauliflower florets until tender, and then blend them into a fine puree. You can substitute vegetable oil with an equal amount of cauliflower puree to maintain the desired texture without compromising the finished product’s moistness. However, you might need to adjust the sweetness level in your brownie recipe as cauliflower has a mild, slightly nutty flavor.

FAQs and Baking Tips

Common Substitution Mistakes

When choosing a vegetable oil substitute for brownies, it’s important to be aware of common mistakes. Using oils with strong flavors or low smoke points can lead to undesirable results. To avoid these issues, always choose an oil with a neutral flavor and an appropriate smoke point.

Understanding Smoke Points

Smoke points refer to the temperature at which an oil breaks down and starts to smoke. Oils with high smoke points are ideal for baking because they can withstand higher temperatures without breaking down. Some examples of high smoke point oils are:

  • Grapeseed oil: 420°F
  • Canola oil: 400°F
  • Refined coconut oil: 385°F

Be sure to select an oil with a smoke point higher than the baking temperature for your brownies.

Refined vs Unrefined Oils

Both refined and unrefined oils can be used as vegetable oil substitutes in brownies, but they differ in terms of flavor and smoke points. Refined oils have undergone further processing, resulting in a more neutral flavor and a higher smoke point. Unrefined oils, on the other hand, may possess stronger flavors and lower smoke points. For a more versatile substitute, refined oils are generally recommended.

Altering Texture and Flavor

Different oil substitutes can affect the texture and flavor of your brownies in various ways. To achieve a tender texture, consider using oils that are good moistening agents, such as coconut oil or canola oil. These oils will help give your brownies a fluffy and moist texture. Be cautious of oils with strong flavors, as they may mask or overpower the chocolatey goodness of your brownies. Stick with neutral-flavored oils for best results.

Remember these tips and make informed decisions when selecting a vegetable oil substitute for brownies. Happy baking!

Final Thoughts

Vegetable oil substitutes can provide a healthier option for those looking to enjoy brownies without compromising on taste or texture. Experimenting with different substitutes can lead to delightful brownie recipes that suit individual preferences and dietary needs.

Applesauce, mashed bananas, and yogurt are popular choices for replacing vegetable oil in brownie recipes. Each offers unique health benefits, while maintaining the moist, fudgy qualities that many dessert-lovers desire. Choosing to use these substitutes can be a step towards creating a healthier dessert without sacrificing flavor.

ApplesauceLow in fat, added vitamins
Mashed bananasAdds natural sweetness, potassium boost
YogurtAdds creaminess, potential probiotic benefits

Incorporating different combinations of these substitutes allows for a variety of textures and flavors. It opens the door for creativity and experimentation in the kitchen, giving bakers the opportunity to create unique and delicious brownie recipes.

By making these simple ingredient swaps, one can vastly improve the nutritional value of their favorite dessert while still indulging in a delectable treat. This mindful approach to dessert-making encourages better eating habits and serves as a reminder that healthier options can be both enjoyable and satisfying.

Have You Tried These 7 Vegetable Oil Substitutes For Brownies

7 Best Vegetable Oil Substitutes For Brownies and Other Recipes

These options are sure to be a hit. So, gather your family and friends and enjoy. Let us know your thoughts!
4.84 from 6 votes
Total Time 9 minutes
Course Substitute
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 125 kcal


  • Butter or margarine (melted butter)
  • Canola oil
  • Olive oil
  • Applesauce
  • Yogurt
  • Avocado oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Mashed banana


  • Choose one of our vegetable oil substitutes for brownies.


Select your option.
Use in or with your favorite recipe.


Calories: 125kcal
Keyword vegetable oil substitute for brownies
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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
Cassie Marshall
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