What is the Best Coconut Oil Substitute?
A trendsetter in paleo and keto diets, coconut oil is rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids. It has a mildly nutty, deep flavor, with some floral and fruity undertones and sweet notes. It is solid at room temperature solid, and when it melts it gives a glossy finish and a creamy, light texture to your foods.
Refined or unrefined?
Refined coco-oil has a smoking point of 177°C. It’s ideal for baking and sautéing, but not for frying. Unrefined coconut oil has a higher smoking point of 200°C. It’s more intense in terms of flavor and packed with nutrients, and is a better choice for frying.
The big question is…
Can you substitute another oil for coconut oil? Luckily the answer is yes. While it is true that any type of vegetal oil can replace coconut oil, it is important to know what you’re giving up and gaining. So let’s explore all of the the best options out there, even some fat-free ones!
1. Almond oil
Almond oil is one of the best keto coconut oil alternatives, both in cooking and in baking. It has a nutty, earthy flavor, that differs from coconut oil. Its bittersweet aroma is quite subtle, and it’s one of the healthiest choices in terms of oil.
2. Avocado oil
Ah, yes, avo oil: the king of healthy fats! It has a high smoking point, so yes, you can add it to all dishes! It will provide a creamy consistency to sauce-based foods, adding richness and smoothness, and a hint of freshness. It will not have the same sweetness that coconut oil has, but it does come close. You’ll like it for its neutral flavor and your body will like it for its boost in antioxidants and cholesterol-reducing compounds.
3. Olive oil
If the recipe mentions coconut oil, but all you have is extra virgin olive oil, fear not; they can be interchanged. Use it for frying, dressings, sautéed foods. A splash of olive oil will add fragrance to your dish. Just make sure not to use it at high temperatures since it can turn bitter and unhealthy. Also, avoid using it in baked goods, since it will alter the flavor considerably.
For the baking queen inside you. While it may not be the healthiest option, if you’re not a vegan or dairy-free enthusiast, butter is a great sub for coconut oil. It adds the same creaminess when it comes to consistency, the same sweet taste, and the same richness in texture and flavor.
5. Sunflower oil
Plain sunflower oil is accessible, affordable and a healthy choice for cooking due to its high smoke point. It can be used in all recipes, frying included, but will not be the best choice for baked goods. Sunflower oil is also one of the best oils for emulsifying. Hello, mayo! Unlike coconut oil, sunflower oil will provide extra crispiness and crunchiness to all fried goods. However, it won’t bring that luscious sweetness and richness that coconut oil provides.
6. Grapeseed oil
If you’re looking for an oil that has a clean, neutral aroma, this is the one. Grapeseed oil is a subtle option, leaving space for all the other ingredients to shine. It has a high smoking point, which makes it ideal for all dishes. It’s also packed with nutrients, so next time you’re planning a rich, decadent roast, why not give grapeseed oil a go.
7. Hazelnut oil
For all the plant-based diet lovers that are not allergic to nuts, hazelnut oil will bring sweetness, richness, and plenty of fragrance to your dishes. While more aromatic than coconut oil, it can be a good alternative, especially in baking, frying, roasting, and grilling. It will bring the same sweetness and unctuous characteristics that coconut oil has to offer.
8. Hempseed oil
A healthy yet underused coconut oil substitute is hemp oil. It’s filled with essential amino acids and protein. You can use it in marinades, dips, salads, drizzled-over pasta, and pesto sauces. Make sure not to heat it since it will lose its nutritional value.
9. Walnut oil
Cold-pressed walnut oil has a thick, rich texture just like coconut. It also packed with earthy, nutty flavors. We advise you to use it in salads, dressings, and as a topping since it can go bitter when exposed to heat.
10. Safflower oil
Safflower oil is a great oil if you’re looking for untainted flavor, making it perfect for deep-frying. You can also add it to your dressings, emulsions, and sautées.
11. Canola oil
What to use instead of coconut oil if you want no flavor to alter or overpower the other ingredients? Canola oil can replace coconut richness and will not add any extra aroma.
If you want to leave out fat altogether from your recipes, applesauce, surprisingly perhaps, can be used instead of coconut oil in baking. A tip: It will provide the moisture but not the richness, so the dough may be rather spongy. But mix it with a little avo oil, for instance, and you’ll get a perfect balance.
And with that, we come to the end of our list. Without a doubt, coconut oil is a versatile and highly useful ingredient, used in countless dishes. But it’s comforting to know that there are many other oils that can be used if needs must. Happy experimenting!