Substitute For Coconut Oil: Oil And Non-Oil Alternatives For Your Cooking

What can you use as a substitute for coconut oil?

Coconut oil is a healthier alternative to many high-cholesterol oils out there, and it has a rich flavor too.

Replicating its flavor is not very easy but some stand-ins will give you something near close. The good thing is you can substitute any of them in an equal ratio.

Also, they will provide the coconut oil consistency in every recipe that requires coconut oil. So, whether you are out of fresh coconut oil or just want to try something different in your cakes, cookies, or any other recipe, you will something on this list.

What is coconut oil?

Coconut oil is a vegan oil derived from the meat or milk of coconuts. The oil comes in refined and unrefined varieties and has uses that cut across culinary and beauty.

Coconut oil has a rich tropical flavor that is rare in find. It is an excellent cooking fat that contains high amounts of saturated fat.

At room temperature or in cold environments, it becomes a solid. However, it melts easily when the temperature rises.

Uses of coconut oil

Coconut oil is widely used in the world of beauty as a standalone skin oil and in the production of many beauty products. Coconut oil is also used for cooking, baking, searing, and frying – stir-frying, deep frying, sautéing, and pan frying.

Oil substitutes for coconut oil

1. Avocado oil

Avocado oil - millenora

Avocado oil has the closest similarity to coconut oil and that is why it is the first oil substitute on this list. It has the same consistency and a high smoke point as coconut oil but is a little higher (530°F).

It can be used in a 1:1 substitution for baking, roasting, and stir-frying. It is low in cholesterol and rich in antioxidants. However, it is more expensive than coconut oil. But, if you don’t mind the cost, why not?

2. Olive oil

Olive oil as coconut oil substitute - millenora

When choosing olive oil as a coconut oil substitute, go for extra-virgin olive oil. This oil has a moderate smoke point like coconut oil which makes it suitable for low-heat cooking.

It is also a good alternative for no-heat recipes like salad dressing, marinades, and pesto.

Olive oil is rich in oleic acid and antioxidants that are necessary for the prevention of heart diseases. Use olive oil in a ratio 1:1 substitution for sautéing, grilling, and cooking.

3. Vegetable oil

Vegetable oil as coconut oil substitute - millenora

If you are up for a more affordable option, go for vegetable oil. Vegetable oil has a high smoke point like refined coconut oil, which makes it ideal for cooking. It also has a neutral flavor and is not likely to overpower other flavors in your recipe.

This substitute is not without its but. Vegetable oil is not as nutritious as coconut oil, but with moderate intake, you have nothing to worry about.

It works well in a 1:1 substitution for deep frying, stir-frying, sautéing, and baking if you love your baked goods moist.

4. Butter

block of butter - millenora

If you want an oil substitute but do not want to use oil, there’s butter. Butter is a lot like coconut oil, especially at room temperature. It also melts at high temperatures, giving a similar consistency.

With butter, it is always a win-win situation. If your recipe calls for melted coconut oil, you can melt your butter. If it calls for cold coconut oil, use the solid butter.

Either way, you can make a 1:1 substitution. Butter is even fattier and has a richer flavor than coconut oil. Butter is a perfect coconut oil substitute for cooking, sautéing, and baking muffins, brownies, and cookies.

5. Ghee

ghee - millenora

Ghee is clarified butter. It is made by simmering butter and removing the water and milk solids to make it dairy-free. It can give you the coconut oil consistency but with a richer flavor and nutty hints.

It also has a high smoke point (482°F/250°C). Plus, it has a long shelf life. You can make ghee yourself or buy it from the stores. It is another perfect substitute for sautéing, frying, roasting, and baking. Remember to use it in a cup-for-cup ratio.

6. Canola oil

Canola oil as coconut oil substitute - millenora

Canola is a healthy vegan oil. It is low in saturated fat and has a neutral flavor like coconut oil. It has a smoke point of 400°F (205°C) and is suitable for deep-frying, grilling, sautéing, roasting, and baking.

It also works with a 1:1 substitution in any recipe that requires coconut oil.

7. Sunflower oil

Sunflower oil - millenora

If you can find sunflower oil around, it is a good alternative too. It has a mild nutty flavor that is almost neutral. You can be sure that it is not going to overshadow other flavors in your recipe.

Sunflower oil is good for baking savory items, frying, grilling, sautéing, dressing, and making marinades. It has a smoke point of 450°F (232°C). So, you can use it for your high-heat cooking in a 1:1 substitution.

8. Grapeseed oil

Grapeseed oil - millenora

Grapeseed oil is an all-purpose cooking oil you can use in place of coconut oil when making dressings and marinades and for frying, sautéing, roasting, and baking. When using grapeseed oil, use as much of it as you would with coconut oil.

Additionally, grapeseed oil is rich in vitamin A and omega fatty acids, which makes it a healthy alternative.

9. Lard

lard - millenora

If you can find lard and don’t mind pork, good for you. Lard is quite ancient, but it was cherished. Its neutral flavor makes it a good substitute for coconut oil. It has a smoke point of 370°F (188°C) and is suitable for frying, roasting, sautéing and baking.

You should also use lard in a 1:1 substitution.

10. Almond oil

Almond oil - millenora

Almond oil is well-known in the beauty industry, but it is also used for cooking. It has a mild nutty flavor and is suitable for baking, sautéing, frying, and making dressings.

However, many people do not cook with this oil because it is expensive. If you can make the cost, it can be used for any cooking method. It has a smoke point of 450°F (232°C).

11. Peanut oil

Peanut oil as coconut oil substitute - millenora

Peanut oil is not for everyone because it is an allergen. But if you are not allergic to peanuts, you can switch up your recipe with a subtle nutty flavor. It has a mild aroma that won’t overpower your dish. Use as much peanut oil as you would coconut oil.

It has a smoke point of 450°F (232°C) and is suitable for stir-frying, deep-frying, baking, and roasting.

12. Red palm oil

Red palm oil - millenora

Red palm oil is also very much like coconut oil. It has a similar taste profile and smoke point. It is also a rich source of vitamins and antioxidants. If you can’t find butter or margarine, red palm oil is a good alternative.

It is good for sautéing vegetables and other high-heat cooking. It has a smoke point of 450°F (232°C) and can be used in a ratio of 1:1.

13. Margarine

Margarine as coconut oil substitute - millenora

Margarine has a higher smoke point than coconut oil. Therefore, it is suitable for high-heat cooking. To substitute coconut oil with margarine, follow a 1:1 ratio.

It is low in saturated fat and cholesterol which makes it a healthy choice. But margarine tends to burn fast so you should keep an eye on your cooking to avoid ending up with a burnt meal.

14. Vegetable shortening

Vegetable shortening as coconut oil substitute - millenora

Vegetable shortening is made from soybean, cottonseed, and palm oil. It is a vegetable oil that has gone through hydrogenation. It has the consistency of soft butter and can be used in a cup for cup substitution.

To reduce your fat intake, use 2/3 cup of vegetable shortening for every one cup of coconut oil. Vegetable shortening has a high heat point, an excellent choice for frying without smoking.

Non-oil substitutes for coconut oil

Team non-oil substitutes? Here you go:

1. Applesauce

applesauce - millenora

Applesauce is a non-oil coconut oil substitute you should try. It is perfect for wet batters that need a matching apple flavor. However, it could add too much moisture to your batter. But you can work it out.

Mix equal amounts of vegan oil and applesauce and make a 1:1 substitution. You can use this to replace coconut oil in sweet bread, pancakes, waffles, sponge cakes, and muffins.

2. Beef tallow

Beef tallow - millenora

Beef tallow is a dairy-free cooking fat, but it is not vegan. It works in a 1:1 substitute for cooking and baking, especially if you want your baked goods to come out flaky. It also works for sautéing veggies and frying eggs.

In addition, it has a smoke point of 420°F (215°C) which makes it suitable for high-heat cooking, frying, and baking.

3. Yogurt

Yogurt - millenora

Yogurt for coconut oil is great in sponge cake, waffles, muffins, and pancakes. This substitution can work in a 1:1.

If you are eating vegan, go for vegan yogurt. If you are considering yogurt as a coconut oil substitute, you must be sure that your recipe won’t mind the tanginess of yogurt.

However, you should watch the level of other liquids you add to your recipe because yogurt contains a lot of water already.

4. Mashed bananas

Mashed bananas - millenora

Mashed bananas will give you the consistency of cold coconut oil but with more moisture. Moreover, it is easy to pair mashed bananas with fruits and chocolate.

This substitution is perfect in sweet breads, waffles, pancakes, and muffins.

5. Pumpkin puree

Pumpkin puree - millenora

Pumpkin puree may be too much for some people, but if you don’t mind a complete switch in flavor, this will work just fine in baked goods.

This substitute is perfect in pancakes, cookies, waffles, sweet bread, and pie recipes that also require nutmeg, cloves, brown sugar, and cinnamon.


What is the best coconut oil substitute for baking?

The best coconut oil substitutes for baking are extra-virgin olive oil and butter. These can be used in a ratio of 1:1 to substitute coconut oil when baking cookies, muffins, cornbread, apple pie, and pie crusts.

What is the difference between virgin coconut oil and extra virgin coconut oil?

There is no difference between virgin coconut oil and extra virgin coconut oil. Both varieties of coconut oil are unrefined and made from fresh coconut meat.

“Extra-virgin” may be used by brands to emphasize their dedication to providing the best quality of oil.

Is coconut oil for skincare the same as cooking coconut oil?

Coconut oil used for cooking and baking is usually refined oil, while the variety used for skin and hair care is unrefined.

The refined coconut oil has gone through rigorous processing and has a neutral taste, aroma, and a high smoke point. In contrast, the unrefined version has not undergone processing and is mild and better for the skin and hair.


Cooking with coconut oil is great. It is highly nutritious and low in cholesterol. If it has always been your kitchen wonder, I hope you have found something else that works just like coconut oil.

These substitutes won’t give you the coconut flavor, but they won’t ruin your recipe either. Moreover, they are easy to use. Use as much of any of these stand-ins in your recipe as you would with coconut oil.

So, when you are shopping for coconut oil, buy some of these substitutes also.

Also, find out if you can substitute canola oil for olive oil in your recipes.

Thanks for reading.