Last Updated on September 18, 2021 by April
Coconut oil is a popular cooking ingredient that has gained widespread attention for its nutritional and health benefits. However, some people prefer to avoid coconut oil due to concerns about its high saturated fat content. Fortunately, there are many healthy substitutes available as alternatives for those who wish to cook without coconut oil.
What is Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil comes from the meat of coconuts. The coconuts are cut into two pieces and then the meat is scraped out for processing. It is edible food that provides a wide range of health benefits as well as being a popular cooking ingredient. Some people avoid coconut oil due to its high saturated fat content, but there are many healthy substitutes available as alternatives to those who want to cook without it.
Pros and Cons of Coconut Oil:
Coconut oil is a natural cooking ingredient that is calorie-dense and loaded with saturated fats. Despite its nutritional benefits, this makes it an extremely unhealthy option for people who are concerned about their cholesterol and heart health. This has led many people to look for healthier alternatives when possible.
From a cooking perspective, coconut oil is one of the most versatile ingredients because it is resistant to high temperatures and can be used for all types of dishes. Its unique texture makes it particularly suitable in certain baked goods, including bread and pastries. However, this same property is also one of the primary reasons why many people do not want to use coconut oil in their cooking.
Coconut oil substitutes are available that offer the same nutritional benefits as coconut oil but come with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. These cooking oils are still calorie-dense and should be used sparingly, but there is no need to worry about potential negative health effects.
Coconut Oil Substitutes
Here are the most popular substitutions people use whenever coconut oil isn’t an option.
Butter is a food that consists of butterfat. It’s typically made by churning fresh or fermented cream, which separates the butterfat from the buttermilk.
Butter has a slightly sweet taste that is pleasant for many people. It is also dense, which means that it is not likely to spread very well if you are looking for versatility in your cooking.
Butter is a naturally salty and sweet food ingredient with a lot of flavors. Coconut oil has a stronger flavor and can overpower the taste of most dishes if it is used in large quantities. Butter offers an alternative that will not overwhelm the other flavors in your recipe.
Baking is where butter tends to really shine. Since it isn’t too sweet, it acts as a nice balance to the sugary flavors that are often predominant in desserts.
As far as health concerns go, butter is best enjoyed in small amounts, just like coconut oil. If you are vegan, traditional butter won’t be your best option. However, there are many plant-based kinds of butter that are easily found at local groceries.
Olive oil is a fat that can be obtained from olives in two different ways: by producing it in the olive, and by extracting it in a press. The most common types of olive oil you will see in the grocery are virgin and extra virgin. Other types of olive oil include pure, refined, and olive pomace oil.
As far as cooking goes, it has a fairly high smoke point and can be used for all kinds of dishes. It is most commonly used in salad dressings and dips, but there are many other ways to use it in your cooking repertoire if you don’t like that option.
One of my favorite ways to use olive oil is when cooking breakfast. Fried eggs have such a wonderful flavor when you grease the pan with olive oil.
One option for a healthy substitute for coconut oil is grapeseed oil. The grapeseed oil has a higher smoke point than most other cooking oils so it can be used in a wider variety of dishes and heat techniques. It also has a neutral flavor that will not become too strong in the food when it is heated.
Grapeseed oil, or just grapeseed oil, is an edible vegetable oil made from pressing seeds from grapes. The fruity flavor of grapeseed oil comes from its proximity to the grape skins during processing. Grapeseed oil is not very common because it has many similar properties to sunflower or canola oils. Therefore, it doesn’t have too many uses in cooking dishes away from salads.
Grapeseed oil has a very high smoke point, so it can be used for all types of cooking. Additionally, it has no flavor so the taste of your dish will not change too drastically when you use grapeseed oil instead of coconut or another type of fat.
Sunflower oil is not very common in grocery stores, but it can be found easily online or at health food stores. The sunflower seed for this type of oil comes from pressing sunflower seeds after removing the shells. Sunflower seed oil has a high smoke point and can be used in a variety of dishes and for many different types of cooking methods.
Sunflower oil has a light flavor that is great if you don’t want to change the taste of your dish too much. It can also be purchased easily online or at health food stores, which makes it an easy substitute for coconut oil whenever you need one.
Safflower seeds are the source of one of the most popular types of cooking oils. Safflower oil is extremely high in Vitamin E, which makes it an excellent choice for people who want to start using plant-based fats or healthier cooking oils. The vitamin E content also gives safflower oil very long shelf life.
Safflower oil is great for frying or cooking your food, and it has a very high smoke point so you can use the safflower oil for almost any dish needing an oil substitute. It also has a neutral taste, so it won’t change the overall flavor of your recipe too much. Safflower oil works as an excellent substitute for coconut oil, and it can also be used as a salad dressing base.
Avocado oil is a great substitute for coconut oil because it has a neutral flavor and it does not have as high of a smoke point. This means that it can be used for many types of dishes without risking burning the oil. It also makes a great salad dressing base for those who like making their own dressings at home.
Hemp seed oil
Hemp seed oil is not as common as other types of cooking oils, but it’s gaining in popularity. It has a higher smoke point than coconut or other vegetable oils so it can be used for just about any recipe that needs an oil substitute. The flavor of the hemp seed oil is subtle so it won’t alter the taste of your food too much. Hemp seed oil can also be used for making salad dressings or even as a frying oil because it has a fairly high smoke point.
Almond oil has a high smoke point so it can be used for just about any type of cooking. This makes it a good substitute for coconut oil, especially if you are looking to switch up your diet and start eating more plant-based fats.
Almond oil also has a very neutral flavor, which means that it won’t change the taste of your dish too much. The only downside to almond oil is that it is quite expensive compared to other types of oils that can be used as substitutes for coconut oil like grapeseed or sunflower oils.
Hazelnut oil is, unsurprisingly, made from hazelnuts. It has a relatively high smoke point and can be used for just about any type of cooking. Hazelnut oil also has a very neutral flavor, which means that it won’t change the taste of your dish too much; the only downside to hazelnut oil is that it is quite expensive compared to other types of oils like grapeseed or sunflower oils.
Want more food substitution ideas? Check out these delicious maple syrup substitution ideas.
Refined Vs. Unrefined Coconut Oil
Coconut oil can be either refined or unrefined. Refined coconut oil is heated to remove the taste of coconut.
Refined coconut oil is great for certain dishes and recipes while unrefined coconut oil has a more natural flavor that may or may not fit into your dish. You can use refined and unrefined oils interchangeably, depending on which you prefer and what you’re cooking.
Overall, refined coconut oil is used in cooking and skincare, while unrefined is typically used in just cooking. If you are planning on frying your food with oil, opt for unrefined coconut oil since it has a higher smoke point.
FAQ About Coconut Oil Substitutions
What is the best coconut oil substitute for hair?
The best coconut oil substitutes for hair are hemp seed oil, avocado oil, hazelnut oil, and argan oil. The best of these three would be hazelnut oil, which is the most expensive of the three options. Avocado and hemp seed oils also work well as a substitute for coconut oil in your hair because they all have similar textures and can be used to make a pre-shampoo treatment or as a leave-in conditioner.
Hazelnut oil also makes an excellent hair mask because it penetrates the hair shaft very quickly and can help restore damaged hair, which is especially important for those who use heat tools on their hair like flat irons or curling wands.
What is the best coconut oil substitute for chocolate?
The best coconut oil substitutes for chocolate are cocoa butter, avocado oil, and coconut oil. The best of these three will depend on if you want to keep the flavor of your chocolate or remove it.
If you are trying to get rid of the coconut taste in your chocolates then avocado oil is a good option because it has a similar texture to coconut oil. If you are trying to keep the flavor of your chocolate, cocoa butter is the best choice.
Cocoa butter is what they make most high-quality dark chocolates with, so it’s no surprise that it works well in recipes calling for coconut oil.
Is applesauce a good coconut oil cooking alternative?
No, applesauce is not a good substitute for coconut oil in cooking because it doesn’t have the same properties. Applesauce is better suited for recipes that don’t require coconut oil to solidify like quick bread and muffins.
However, if you like to experiment in the kitchen, some have found success in using applesauce instead of coconut oil. This is typically in baked goods and the applesauce needs to be unsweetened.
What are some healthy substitutes for coconut oil in baking?
Some healthy substitutes for coconut oil in baking are applesauce, mashed bananas, banana puree, honey, molasses, and maple syrup.
All of these options will change the flavor of your baked goods so they are typically best used in cakes or cupcakes that have light flavors that won’t be overpowered by the other ingredients.
What are the best coconut oil substitutes for skin?
The best coconut oil substitutes for skin are shea butter, avocado oil, and argan oil. The best of these three would be argan oil because it is also cold-pressed like virgin coconut oil and absorbs quickly into the skin.
Shea butter is another good choice as a substitute for coconut oil and it has a long-standing history of use in skin care recipes. Avocado oil is also similar to coconut oil and can be used to make a pre-shampoo treatment or as a leave-in conditioner, which makes it great for your skin, especially if you often dye your hair.
What are the best coconut oil substitutes for granola?
The best coconut oil substitutes for granola are butter, olive oil, and canola oil.
Butter is a great choice as a substitute because it will have the same flavor as using coconut oil and it doesn’t have to be solidified. Olive or canola oils would also work well in granolas as long as they’re cold-pressed.
What are the best coconut oil substitutes for coffee?
The best coconut oil substitutes for coffee are butter, ghee, and any other nut oils like almond or hazelnut. Butter is a good choice as a substitute because it will have the same flavor as using coconut oil and doesn’t have to be solidified. Almond or hazelnut oils would also work well in coffee as long as they’re cold-pressed.
What is the best coconut oil substitute for cookies?
The best coconut oil substitute for cookies is butter or canola oil. Butter would be the best choice as a substitute because it will have a similar flavor as using coconut oil and doesn’t have to be solidified. Canola oil, which is another type of vegetable oil, would also work well in cookies as long as it’s cold-pressed.
Can I swap out vegetable oil instead of coconut?
You can swap out vegetable oil instead of coconut when baking muffins, cakes, and cupcakes. Just make sure that the vegetable oil is cold-pressed like canola or grapeseed.
Keep in mind that vegetable oil might not taste as flavorful as coconut oil would.
Coconut oil is a healthy cooking ingredient with many health benefits and uses in the kitchen. However, its saturated fat content and low smoke points can be a concern for some people. Luckily, there are many alternatives that can be used in most dishes with similar nutritional properties and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
Some people believe sunflower oil or safflower oil are the best options if you need a good substitute for coconut oil. They will give you similar benefits and cooking properties without too much change in your final dish. If you want to use something different than butter or margarine, olive oil might be a good option for you.
Olive oil has a high smoke point and can be used to cook almost anything. Some people swear by grapeseed oil, but it is usually harder to find than the other options. Just remember that when choosing your substitute for coconut oil in cooking, always choose oils with higher smoke points and that do not have strong flavors of their own. This way you can best preserve the flavor of your meal and avoid needing to change your cooking method too much.
I hope you found this list of coconut oil alternatives helpful. If you have any substitutes for coconut oil that haven’t been listed in the article, please let us all know in the comments. Your input is very useful for us all!