10 Substitutes for Vegetable Oil in Cake Baking


Cooking and baking with vegetable oil that comes from any type of seeds is common for most of us. You can choose between sunflower oil or pumpkin oil and other similar ones. But can you cook without vegetable oil or replace it with some other type of fat? Even if habits are hard to break, especially when we refer to baking, the truth is that you can use many other types of fat instead of vegetable oil.

What’s the Substitute for Vegetable Oil in Cake? Some of the most common substitutes for vegetable oil in cakes are smashed fruits, coconut oil, and other types of oil as well as butter.

Great substitutes of vegetable oil in cakes

Here is a useful selection of ten substitutes of vegetable oil that will work miracles for your cake.

1. Olive oil


You can use olive oil as a replacement for any vegetable oil when you are baking. You just have to choose a type of olive oil with a mild flavor that will not affect the final taste of your cake or muffins. On top of that, it also has a high smoke point. But you should be careful not to burn it. Once it surpasses the smoking point, it will no longer be a healthy option.

You can use olive oil just like you would use vegetable oil. Respect the proportions and the recipe of your cake, muffin, or cookies.

2. Coconut oil


You probably heard about all the benefits of coconut oil when it comes to your health. But did you know that it is a great substitute for vegetable oil too? This oil is rich in minerals, vitamins, and a lot of antioxidants. It will give a smooth taste to your cake without being too strong.

You should use coconut oil in a one for one ration when you replace your vegetable oil. On the other hand, you have to melt it before you measure it. Coconut oil comes in a solid form and it is easy to melt it either at room temperature or by using low heat. Once you have your coconut oil in the liquid form, start using it just like you use your regular baking oil.

3. Butter


Using butter is most likely the most common way to replace vegetable oil in cakes of all kinds. Butter is the perfect replacement for any type of oil when it comes to baking but it will work well for frying different foods as well.

Simply replace the same quantity of oil with butter and bake your cake, muffin, cookies, etc. You will notice that your cake is fluffier and tastier with butter than with any other type of oil. For a better taste, you can use a high-fat butter such as an 82% fat type. This will increase the number of calories but it will also add to the cake’s flavor.

4. Applesauce


This one might come as a surprise but it is a pleasant one nevertheless. Using applesauce as a substitute of vegetable oil is a genius trick. You can find applesauce already made in the stores or you can make it home from boiled apples. You can get sweetened as well as unsweetened applesauce according to your recipe. Consider that apples already have a natural sweet taste to them so you might want to watch your added sugar.

The replacement ration from vegetable oil to applesauce is 3/4 cup applesauce for one cup of vegetable oil. If you use applesauce to make brownies or muffins, they will be thinner and tastier. Even if you can successfully replace any type of vegetable oil with applesauce, you have to be ready for a different result. Your cake dough will have a slight apple taste so what type of cream you combine it with is very important. You can easily use applesauce in chocolate or vanilla cakes if you want to give them a taste of fruits for instance.

5. Mayonnaise


We know this might seem like a weird choice. But if you think about it, mayonnaise is one of the best vegetable oil substitutes for baking. However, you will need to get a plain mayonnaise, unflavored, and as tasteless as possible. Mayonnaise is a mix of eggs and oil and if you choose one without seasonings, that is all you will get. Both of these ingredients are perfect for any type of baking.

As for the ration, you should consider that mayonnaise can’t be diluted. So you will need to use it in the same ratio as you would use applesauce for instance. So, 3/4 cup of mayonnaise should be the replacement for one cup of vegetable oil.

6. Dried plums

Dried plums

If you are baking a chocolate cake, muffins, cookies, or brownies, you will be surprised by the way dried plums can work for your recipe. Besides the fact that they will add a unique taste to your cake, they will also replace vegetable oil successfully.

You will have to keep in mind that plums are also sweet. So, you don’t want to add a lot of sugar to your cake if you use them. As a matter of fact, if you replace vegetable oil with plums, you should reduce the sugar in your recipe by 25%.

When it comes to the ratio, 2/4 of cup plums, should replace one cup of vegetable oil. By experimenting you will see that you can increase this amount to 3/4 if needed. You have to pay attention to the fact that more plums also make the dough sweeter. So the more you increase the plum quantity, the more you should reduce your sugar in your cake mix.

7. Fruit puree

Fruit puree

Using fruit pure can be a very useful trick when you don’t have vegetable oil in the house or any other replacements. You can use any type of fruit from citrus ones to berries. And all you have to do is boil them and blend them like you would prepare a fruit puree. Using a fruit pure will work even better if you are baking a fruit cake.

As for the ration, you will use the same strategy as you would with applesauce. Go for 3/4 cup of fruit pure for every cup of vegetable oil you would use. Also, you will have to reduce the sugar by at least 25 percent. This depends on your taste as well as the type of fruits you use and how sweet they are.

8. Black beans

Black beans

As weird as it might seem, black beans can really replace vegetable oils in any type of cake. Many Asian deserts use black beans instead of vegetable oil and they turn out delicious.

You will have to blend the beans before adding them to your cake mix. If you want to obtain the texture of butter, you can mix one part beans with one part yogurt of high fat. As far as the ratio for this. You will use a 2/4 cup of beans or beans mix for every cup of vegetable oil. An important aspect you should keep in mind is that black beans might modify the color of your dough as well. It could turn out slightly darker than you anticipate and this might have an impact on the aesthetic aspect. But other than that, this is a great replacement for vegetable oil of all kinds.

9. Dairy products

Dairy products

Dairy products can also replace vegetable oil. You can use low-fat dairy products if you want to reduce calories or high fat for a better and fuller taste. Either way, you will have to go for a ratio of 3/4 cup of dairy for one cup of vegetable oil. If you want your cake to be fluffier and have more moisture, you should add one or two tablespoons more of dairy.

Dairy products could be anything from cheese to yogurt or milk. But it is recommended to stay away from watery products with very low-fat levels. These will not work as well at keeping your dough together.

10. Bananas


The last great replacement that you can use instead of vegetable oil is bananas. Bananas are great if you simply smash them and add the pure into your cake mix. They will increase the flavor of your cake as well.

Use the banana pure in your cake mix just like you use your vegetable oil. However, since this pure tends to be denser you will need to keep a ratio of 2/4 cups for each cup of vegetable oil you would normally use.


Can I use butter instead of vegetable oil for cake?

Butter is one of the ten alternatives we listed in this guide thanks to many attributes it has. It is only a problem to use butter as a vegetable oil replacement if you are a vegan. But other than that, butter could be a great substitute. It will give you a fluffy and very tasty dough. You can use butter if you are baking a cake, muffin, doughnuts or any other delicious desert.

Can I use olive oil instead of vegetable oil in a cake?

Olive oil is a good option but not the best one when it comes to baking. It depends on the type of olive oil you use as well. If you use concentrated olive oil, you might alter the sweet flavor of your cake or anything else you are baking.

If you are baking unsweetened dishes such as bread, olive oil could turn out to be a great choice. With a high smoking point, it will make it easier for you to use it in various recipes. Using olive oil instead of vegetable oil is not coming with any changes to your recipe. As a matter of fact, you will cook what you want in the same way, without any alterations.

Can you make a cake without vegetable oil?

If you are going to bake a cake without using vegetable oil, you will have to choose one of the options above. Not using any form of substitute for your vegetable oil will not give you a great dough. But you can make plenty of vegan cakes with more cream and a thinner dough.

For cakes with no vegetable oil or no other oil at all, you should use caju and other seeds as a dough. All you have to do is smash such seeds into a powder and give it some hours to cool down in the fridge or freezer. After your seed dough is cold enough and firm, you can add cream of your choice and put your cake together. If you don’t want this kind of cake, you can replace your vegetable oil with any of the substitutes above.

Is cake better with oil or butter?

Your cake will turn out well regardless of what you use in terms of oil or butter. However, there will be differences when it comes to the texture of your dough.

If you use butter, for instance, your dough will turn out more fluffy and will look like a sponge. It will also have a buttery taste that you might prefer in certain cakes. On the other hand, if you use oil for your cake mix, it will not make a difference in terms of flavor. The oil will just create a more plain dough, that is thicker and it doesn’t have the fluff of the butter dough.

So, the bottom line is that you can use any type of fat in your cake mix according to your taste and preferences regarding the dough texture.


As you can see, you have plenty of options to use instead of the classic vegetable oil. Basically you can get any cake recipe and replace this ingredient with one of the ten alternatives in this guide. Keep in mind that your cake might turn out different as far as how it tastes and even how it looks, according to your vegetable oil replacement.

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