Best Substitute for Coconut Oil

There are lots of options if you don’t want to use coconut oil! Here are the best substitutes for coconut oil in recipes and baking.

Substitute for coconut oil

Looking for a substitute for coconut oil? Coconut oil is an oil that comes from the flesh of coconuts. It’s used in cooking, especially in vegan baking as a substitute for butter. It’s also used as a topical treatment for some skin conditions, and in some beauty products. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, making it’s a great replacement for butter because it has similar properties.

If you’re looking for a replacement for coconut oil because of an allergy, the flavor, or just because you don’t have it in your pantry: we’re here to help! Keep in mind that the best substitute depends on what type of recipe you’re making: baked recipes are different from cooking with coconut oil.

Best substitute for coconut oil

1. Butter or vegan butter (best for baking).

The very best substitute for coconut oil in baking is the same amount of butter! Because butter is also solid at room temperature, the properties are similar. Vegan butter works as a plant-based option, and there lots of great vegan butter brands on the market (Miyokos and others). Using butter will yield a more rich, savory flavor than coconut oil. It also gives a chewier, moister texture to baked goods like cookies.

2. Olive oil (non-baked).

Olive oil is a plant-based oil like coconut oil, and works well as a 1-for-1 replacement. We don’t recommend using olive oil in baked goods because the flavor can be strong and it is a liquid fat instead of solid. But it works well in soups, for sauteing, salad dressings, and so forth. (Olive oil is also healthier; read more at Coconut Oil vs Olive Oil.)

3. Neutral oil, like grapeseed oil or sunflower oil.

Neutral oils are a great choice as a 1-for-1 substitute for coconut oil. They’re also plant-based oils, but their flavor is milder than coconut oil. They work well in soups and sauteing, or for baked goods like quick breads and muffins.

4. Avocado oil.

Avocado oil can work as a 1-for-1 substitute for coconut oil. Avocado oil has a stronger flavor than coconut oil, which can adversely affect a recipe so be cautious when using this substitute. It can work well in soups or for sauteing, or in some baked goods like quick breads and muffins.

5. Ghee.

Ghee is clarified butter that is simmered slightly longer to tease out a rich, nutty flavor. It works as a 1:1 substitute for coconut oil. Because ghee is also solid at room temperature, the properties are similar to coconut oil and it is a good alternative.

Ghee is clarified so has very low levels of lactose, making it suitable for dairy-sensitive eaters. However, while ghee contains low levels of lactose, it is not dairy-free.

Here are some of our favorite recipes that use coconut oil: