Coconut oil tends to be in a league of its own; its slightly sweet, coconutty flavor, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory benefits make it the oil many reach for when trying to replace other oils for cooking or baking. Whether you’re using refined coconut oil (lower smoke point but still suitable for sauteing and baking) or unrefined coconut oil (higher smoke point making it suitable for frying but has a shorter shelf-life and can be more expensive) in your daily life, it’s entirely doable to replace it for any cooking or baking without sacrificing flavor in the likely scenario that you do run out.
While many coconut oil replacements differ when it comes to their flavors, they can still stand up in sauteed, roasted, or fried dishes, as well as in salad dressings, sauces, and baked goods. Check out our guide for 6 substitutes for coconut oil, some of which are probably in your pantry right now, and never find yourself unable to finish that dinner or dessert ever again.
1. Almond Oil
Almond oil is a great dietary source of vitamin E, is low in saturated fat, and has been linked to improved heart health, but when it comes to cooking and baking, it’s also a terrific stand-in for coconut oil. While coconut oil has a more subtle flavor, almond oil is nuttier and provides complementary flavors to items such as cookies, cakes, and muffins. Its high smoke point also makes it great for pan-frying.
2. Avocado Oil
Another healthy stand-in for coconut oil is avocado oil, which has a grassier flavor and more buttery texture that becomes neutral once used in cooking or baking. Avocado oil also has a high smoke point and works best in grilling, baked goods, salad dressings, soups, and curries.
3. Hazelnut Oil
The intense flavor and fragrance of hazelnut oil makes it a fantastic stand-in for coconut oil in sweets, baked goods, spreads, and sauces. While it is an unrefined oil, it still has a high smoke point making it suitable for frying, roasting, and grilling. It’s also a great source of potassium and calcium, and it can help with lowering cholesterol, reducing fat deposits, and aiding weight loss.
4. Grapeseed Oil
The clean, light flavor of grapeseed oil works best in making mayonnaise and salad dressings, and because of its high smoke point can be a great choice for fried dishes or roasted vegetables. Grapeseed oil is fat-soluble meaning it won’t separate when chilled, and it can help lower cholesterol and improve heart health.
5. Olive Oil
A staple in most kitchens, olive oil is packed with antioxidants, is versatile and rich in monosaturated fatty acids, and is ideal for virtually any dish, sweet or savory. Virgin olive oil has a lighter color and lighter flavor than extra virgin olive oil, making it a suitable choice in baked goods or salad dressings where the oil flavor is not important to the flavor of the dish.
6. Sunflower Oil
Made from pressed sunflower seeds, sunflower oil has a light flavor and a light amber color, and works best for frying, sauces, and salad dressings that require an emulsifier. Sunflower oil is also low in cholesterol and because of its high smoke point, it can withstand high temperatures for your favorite fried, sauteed, and roasted dishes.