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What are Alternatives to Cooking Oil?

Exploring alternatives to cooking oil can revolutionize your culinary experience. From applesauce in baking to yogurt for marinades, these substitutes not only enhance flavors but also offer healthier options. Avocado puree and mashed bananas provide moisture and richness, while broth or stock can sauté without added fats. Curious about how these swaps can elevate your dishes? Let's dive deeper into the possibilities.
Shannon Kietzman
Shannon Kietzman
Cooking oil is an important addition to many recipes. Many baking recipes require this ingredient, while several other recipes call for using it in the pan that will be used for cooking. Unfortunately, this material is high in fat and is not the healthiest ingredient to add to a recipe. Thankfully, there are many available alternatives to it.

When baking muffins or cakes, mashed bananas, applesauce, prunes, and plain yogurt can each be an excellent alternative for cooking oil. It may also be beneficial to add a bit of skim milk to the fruit in order to liquefy it if the oil needs to be liquid for the recipe. Not only does this replacement reduce the amount of fat in the recipe, but it also adds a bit of flavor and a healthy component to these otherwise unhealthy foods.

Pureed fruit can be used to replace cooking oil in an equal substitution. If the recipe calls for ¼ cup of oil, for example, ¼ cup of applesauce can be used as a replacement. This provides the baked good with the necessary moisture. It is also acceptable to replace only a portion of the cooking oil with a fruit puree substitute.

Meats can also be cooked without using cooking oil. In order to eliminate the need for oil altogether, the meat can be wrapped in foil and cooked on a grill. By adding some vegetables inside the foil, the meat can get a little extra flavor while an entire meal is cooked.

Many recipes, particularly baking recipes, require adding baking oil to the pan in order to prevent sticking. In order to avoid adding this extra fat to the dish, a non-stick cooking spray is an excellent alternative. It prevents sticking, yet eliminates the unwanted fat and calories associated with cooking oil. Care must be taken, however, to avoid using too much of this spray on a pan. Otherwise, non-stick cooking sprays can add more fat to the recipe than using traditional cooking oil. Only a thin layer of non-stick cooking spray is necessary.

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Discussion Comments


Vegetable oils like corn, canola and soybean are genetically modified and treated with "Round Up" herbicide made by the same jerks who made Agent Orange in 'Nam: Monsanto.

Canola (Rapeseed ) oil is used for lubrication for turbine engines in ocean liners. I only use olive or coconut for frying and sauteeing.


After reading this article and the comments posted, I realize there are a lot of changes I can make. One thing I have done recently is use peanut oil instead of vegetable oil when making popcorn. This is healthier for you and also doesn't leave a residue on the popper like vegetable oil does.

I am going to try substituting yogurt or pureed fruit in some of my recipes. It sounds like this is a great way to cut down on extra calories and add some good nutrition at the same time.


When I am hungry for fried chicken, I like to use an electric skillet. This doesn't require any oil at all and the chicken turns out very moist and good. Chicken has its own natural oil and when it is heated up in the electric skillet, there is enough moisture there so you don't need to add any extra oil.


Once I began substituting applesauce for cooking oil when making cakes and brownies I have never used anything else. This not only makes the baked product a little bit better for you, but I think it also keeps it moist longer.

I have never used mashed bananas for this before. I might have to give this a try as well. Depending on what you are making it could add some good flavor. I think mashed bananas would go great with chocolate cake, apple muffins or even a batch of brownies.


@anon138367-- I think there are cooking oils that are much healthier for you than others. I would much prefer to use olive oil over something like vegetable oil any day. I would stay away from the cheap cooking oil that you find on the supermarket shelves. Coconut oil is also something that might be a good alternative depending on how high the heat will be.


In practice, any monounsaturated fat heated to smoking point turns into a trans fat, which is worse for you than all other fats put together.


Actually, #8, contrary to popular belief, olive oil raises LDL and lowers HDL. Nuts, seeds, unprocessed olives, and avocado are examples of healthy fats that lower bad cholesterol and raise HDL, but no oil is a healthy fat. Olive oil is one of the better oils to cook with if you must use oil, but it is better to saute food in water or vegetable stock than in olive oil. See the work of Dr. Joel Fuhrman or Dr. John McDougall for clarification.


Number 6's response is totally wrong. As a matter of fact, everything said is the opposite.

The beneficial health effects of olive oil are due to both its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids and its high content of antioxidative substances. Studies have shown that olive oil offers protection against heart disease by controlling LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels while raising HDL (the "good" cholesterol) levels. (1-3) No other naturally produced oil has as large an amount of monounsaturated as olive oil -mainly oleic acid.


is vegetable oil still unhealthy because that's what I usually use when cooking. -Morgan


I wish olive oil were a healthy fat but it isn't. Besides the high fat, it weakens blood vessels and contributes to cardiovascular problems. Fruit works for baking and water or wine for sauteeing. None of them taste as good but what's more important, a tasty meal or living longer. Any processed fat is unhealthy.


Oil is indispensable. Period.


i don't have olive oil and this is a great site to help me cook healthier. plus most cakes and meat usually need oil so this is a great place to find a substitute!


Can chicken broth be substituted (successfully) for oil in recipes calling for deep frying?


i love cooking with olive oil too! i've just recently heard, however, that you have to be very careful when cooking with it, not to overheat it in the pan. this damages the antioxidants and nutrients in the olive oil. it's best to coat the food with the olive oil, then add to a hot pan, rather than heating it up, then adding the food.


Olive oil is a healthy fat, however, it has a lot of calories. As a matter of fact 1 tablespoon contains 120 calories. For sauteing I use as little oil as I can get away with, than saute whatever I am preparing for a few minutes, than add chicken or vegetable broth and continue cooking. Broth adds flavor at a fraction of calories of oil.

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    • Cooking oils.
      Cooking oils.
    • Plain yogurt can be used instead of cooking oil when baking muffins or cakes.
      Plain yogurt can be used instead of cooking oil when baking muffins or cakes.
    • Prunes can be used as an alternative to cooking oil.
      Prunes can be used as an alternative to cooking oil.
    • Glasses of skim milk, which can sometimes be substituted for oil.
      By: chris32m
      Glasses of skim milk, which can sometimes be substituted for oil.
    • Applesauce.
      By: rimglow
    • Bananas can be used to substitute cooking oil in baking.
      By: Nikolai Sorokin
      Bananas can be used to substitute cooking oil in baking.