Coconut oil is extracted from the coconut’s flesh kernel or copra (the dried meat or kernel). It is a healthy edible oil with a relishing taste and flavor. It is a great oil for cooking and baking.
Depending on the ways of processing, there are two types of coconut oil: refined coconut oil and virgin (unrefined) coconut oil. In cooking, virgin coconut oil in a recipe tastes better.
It has medium-chain fatty acids, vitamin E, and anti-microbial properties. Coconut oil is widely used in several home remedies for treating various hair and skin conditions.
You will find several beauty products with homemade coconut oil as a base ingredient.
Need a substitute for coconut oil? I’ve researched and found the best substitutes that you can use.
The first and best replacement for coconut oil is extra virgin olive oil. And if you still want more, there are a couple of alternative oils like avocado, almond, walnut, sunflower, or hempseed that you can use in cooking.
When you’ve run out of coconut oil, you can use another oil in place of it. Choose the right substitute oil with similar nutritional value, health benefits, and saturated fat content. Of course, the flavor profiles of the oils must also appeal to your taste buds.
7 Healthy Substitutes For Coconut Oil
Most of the edible oils from nuts and seeds are decent replacements for coconut oil. However, the healthiest substitutes for coconut oil are olive oil, butter, avocado oil, grape seed oil, and canola oil.
Picking the right alternative to coconut oil for your recipe isn’t that simple. You’ve got to chew over what you’re concocting and the flavor you’re targeting. Imagine you’re baking cookies – you’ll want to nab an oil that mirrors coconut oil’s signature taste. However, if you’re spinning up a stir-fry, you’d be better off with a more subtle-tasting oil, like the good old grape seed oil.
After evaluating many studies and reviews, I have found 7 healthy oils you can use instead of coconut oil, both unrefined and refined.
1. Olive oil
Olive oil is a good substitute for virgin coconut oil. According to cooking experts, it is one of the most versatile and healthy oils to cook with and eat.
Extra virgin olive oil contains a lot of monounsaturated fats and some polyunsaturated fatty acids beneficial for heart health.
Use olive oil for coconut oil in baking and cooking in a 1:1 ratio.
Olive oil is excellent for hair and skin because of its antioxidants, minerals, and fatty acids.
Some of the chief benefits of olive oil include:
- Rich in healthy monounsaturated fats
- contain a lot of antioxidants.
- Has strong anti-inflammatory properties.
- Protective against heart disease.
- It may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease,
- diminishes the chances of type 2 diabetes risk,
- and helps to treat rheumatoid arthritis
- has antibacterial properties.
2. Almond oil
Almond oil is a great substitute for coconut oil.
Almond oil benefits heart health because it is low in saturated fats and rich in monounsaturated fats. It contains vitamins, including A, E, B, and D, and fatty acids that are excellent for skin, hair, and health.
The nutty taste of almond oil suits you well when making dishes with complementary flavors. This oil has a high smoke point, so it is more suitable for baked goods like cakes, muffins, and cookies.
Some of the main benefits you can achieve from almond oil are:
- It may help keep your heart healthy.
- High in antioxidants.
- Useful for blood sugar control.
- aids weight loss when paired with a reduced-calorie diet, highly beneficial for hair and skin
3. Avocado oil
Avocado oil is easy to use and rich in nutrients, vitamins, and healthy fats. It is an excellent substitute for coconut oil because of its comprehensive health benefits, such as:
- rich in oleic acid; a good fat
- reduces cholesterol
- helps to reduce the symptoms of arthritis.
- privets gum disease
- high in lutein that improves eye health
- boosts the absorption of nutrients
- heals wounds and improves skin health.
- neutralizes free radicals
- a good hair conditioner
Using avocado oil for cooking works well for baking, grilling, sautéing dishes, and dressing salads.
Related article: Best Cooking Oils: Healthiest and Safest For All
4. Sunflower Seed Oil
Oil from sunflower seeds is a great replacement for coconut oil. It is rich in fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins D, A, and E. For this reason, it is good for heart health and improving immunity.
The carotenoids in sunflower oil are beneficial for protecting the skin from sun damage and hair growth. You can use sunflower oil to replace coconut oil in a wide range of natural skin and hair care therapies.
Please be warned; sunflower oil contains many omega-6 fatty acids with pro-inflammatory properties. For this reason, you need to balance the excess omega-6 with omega-3s for anti-inflammatory benefits.
Related article: Benefits of Coconut Oil for Your Health and Weight Loss
5. Grapeseed Oil
Another good oil in place of coconut oil is grapeseed oil. It is a fat-soluble oil with a light flavor suitable for salad dressings, fried dishes, and sautéed dishes.
Grapeseed oil is made mostly of polyunsaturated fat. It’s a healthy oil for baking; a good replacement for refined coconut oil.
You can use it instead of coconut oil in skin treatments, as it contains astringent and anti-inflammatory properties. Like coconut oil, it can moisturize your skin well and reduce wrinkles and blemishes.
This oil also contains healthy fatty acids like myristic, oleic, stearic, linoleic, and lauric, which are good for heart health and cholesterol balance.
6. Hemp Seed Oil
You can comfortably replace coconut oil with hemp oil for many purposes. Similar to coconut oil, this oil is also rich in several amino acids.
This oil’s astringent properties improve the skin’s elasticity and reduce wrinkles.
It is an excellent oil for cooking because of its healthy fatty acids, including omega-3. As a cooking oil, it helps to improve energy production, improve brain function, and boost the immune system.
Please note that overheating this oil can result in a loss of nutritional value.
Hemp seed oil tastes great and gives a relishing flavor when used in salad dressing.
7. Walnut oil
Cold-pressed oil from dried and ground walnuts is a nice substitute for coconut oil.
Poly and monounsaturated fats, omega-3s, astringents, and antioxidants in this oil make it good cooking oil.
Regularly applying this oil to the skin helps treat wrinkles and fine lines and makes your skin look younger. Like coconut oil, it works great for fungal infections and inflammation on the skin.
Some studies suggest that the potassium in walnut oil may help in the regeneration of hair follicles and may accelerate hair growth.
It has a nutty taste and a thick texture suitable for salad dressings and dips. Importantly, overheating can make this oil taste bitter.
Other Easy Alternatives
Vegetable oils are easy alternatives to coconut oil for cooking. Vegetable oils have lower costs which makes them affordable for all. Their neutral flavor makes them suitable for a wide range of vegan baking and cooking. They are neutral oils and have higher smoke points suitable for deep-frying. Vegetable oils are widely available in most grocery stores, while coconut oil may be harder to find in some areas.
Hazelnut oil can be used as a substitute oil for coconut oil in some recipes, but it may not work well in all cases. Hazelnut oil has a strong nutty flavor and aroma, which may not be suitable for certain dishes that require the neutral taste of coconut oil.
Canola oil can be used in place of coconut oil in many recipes. Canola oil is a neutral-tasting oil that is commonly used as a cooking oil. It has a high smoke point, making it suitable for high-heat cooking methods like frying.
Safflower oil is one good alternative to coconut oil in cooking or baking. However, it is important to note that safflower oil has a different flavor profile and smoke point than coconut oil. So it may not work well in all recipes.
When you urgently need a substitute for coconut oil in recipes, you can substitute butter for coconut oil for baking. Incorporate melted butter if the recipe asks for melted coconut oil, and cold butter in place of cold coconut oil.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you substitute coconut oil for vegetable oil?
Absolutely, coconut oil can swap in for vegetable oil in most dishes. Remember though, it melts quicker, has a unique taste, and a higher smoke point. So, if you're planning on frying or high-heat cooking, it might be wise to pick another oil.
Can butter be a substitute for coconut oil?
Certainly, you can swap butter for coconut oil in most culinary endeavors. Do note, it's more velvety, it has a lower smoke limit, and it brings milk proteins to the table. If your cooking plans involve high heat or frying, you're better off choosing a different oil.
Can coconut milk be substituted for coconut oil?
Coconut milk can't stand in for coconut oil—they're simply too different. Coconut milk's high water content and liquid state contrast with coconut oil's solid fat nature. Plus, they taste different, so swapping them will alter your dish's flavor.
What can I substitute for coconut oil in chocolate?
You can substitute coconut in your chocolate recipe with butter, vegetable oil, cocoa butter, or shortening. Remember though, each of these alternatives will impact the flavor, melting, and smoke points differently.
What can I substitute for melted coconut oil in baking?
Out of melted coconut oil? No sweat! Butter, veggie oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil, or olive oil can sub in baking. Just keep in mind the flavor, melt, and smoke points.
Can I use shortening as an alternative to coconut oil?
Shortening can sub for coconut oil in most recipes, but keep in mind the smoke point. Shortening has a higher smoke point than coconut oil, so you may need to adjust your cooking times.
- PubMed – Polyphenols of virgin coconut oil prevent pro-oxidant mediated cell death.
- PubMed – The uses and properties of almond oil.
- PubMed Council: Grape Seed Oil Compounds: Biological and Chemical Actions for Health
- European Journal of Clinical Investigation: International conference on the healthy effect of virgin olive oil