Best Substitutes For Canola Oil

best substitutes for canola oil

Canola oil is a popular cooking oil known for its versatility and mild flavor. However, there may be times when you run out of this staple ingredient or you have dietary restrictions that prevent you from using it. In such situations, it’s helpful to know about the best substitutes for canola oil.

In this article, we’ll explore various alternatives to canola oil, their characteristics, and how to use them in cooking. We’ll also discuss the factors to consider when choosing a substitute and provide some delicious recipes to try.

Key Takeaways

  • Canola oil is a versatile and mild-flavored cooking oil.
  • It might be necessary to find substitutes for canola oil due to unavailability or dietary restrictions.
  • The best substitutes for canola oil include olive oil, vegetable oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, and grapeseed oil.
  • Consider the smoke point, flavor, and nutritional profile when selecting a substitute.

Why You Need A Substitute For Canola Oil

There are several reasons why you might need to find a substitute for canola oil:

  1. Unavailability: You may find yourself in a situation where you don’t have canola oil on hand and need a suitable alternative for your recipe.

  2. Dietary restrictions: Some individuals follow specific diets or have dietary restrictions that prohibit the use of certain oils, including canola oil.

  3. Flavor preferences: Canola oil has a mild flavor, but if you prefer a different taste profile in your dishes, using a substitute can provide a fresh twist.

By having knowledge of the available substitutes for canola oil, you’ll be well-equipped to handle any cooking scenario.

Types Of Substitutes For Canola Oil

A bottle of canola oil

When searching for alternatives to canola oil, it’s essential to consider other cooking oils that serve a similar purpose. Here are some of the most popular substitutes:

  1. Olive Oil: Known for its distinct flavor and health benefits, olive oil is an excellent substitute for canola oil. Extra virgin olive oil works well for dressings, marinades, and lower heat cooking, while regular olive oil can handle higher heat.

  2. Vegetable Oil: Vegetable oil, usually made from a blend of various plant-based oils, is a versatile substitute for canola oil. It has a mild flavor, making it suitable for frying, sautéing, and baking.

  3. Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is a healthy and flavorful alternative to canola oil. It provides a hint of coconut flavor and is ideal for baking, stir-frying, and sautéing. Use melted coconut oil for liquid consistency or solid coconut oil for a buttery texture.

  4. Avocado Oil: Avocado oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, making it a heart-healthy option. It has a mild flavor and a high smoke point, making it suitable for high-heat cooking methods such as grilling and roasting.

  5. Grapeseed Oil: Grapeseed oil is extracted from grape seeds and has a light, neutral flavor. It has a high smoke point, making it suitable for frying, baking, and salad dressings.

These substitutes offer similar properties to canola oil and can be used in a wide range of recipes.

Best Substitutes For Canola Oil

A bottle of canola oil

Let’s dive deeper into the best substitutes for canola oil and discuss their unique characteristics and how to use them:

1. Olive Oil

  • Characteristic: Known for its rich flavor and versatility, olive oil is a staple in Mediterranean cuisine and offers health benefits due to its monounsaturated fats.
  • Uses: Extra virgin olive oil is excellent for dressings, marinades, and low-heat cooking, such as sautéing and roasting. Regular olive oil, with its higher smoke point, is suitable for frying and baking.
  • Pro Tip: When using olive oil in baking recipes, consider that it imparts a distinct flavor. If you’re aiming for a neutral taste, opt for light olive oil instead.

2. Vegetable Oil

  • Characteristic: Vegetable oil is made from a variety of plant-based oils, such as soybean, corn, and sunflower. It has a mild flavor and a neutral profile, making it a versatile substitute for canola oil.
  • Uses: Vegetable oil is suitable for frying, sautéing, baking, and dressings. It performs well in recipes that require a neutral-tasting oil.
  • Pro Tip: To maintain the nutritional value of vegetable oil, choose cold-pressed or unrefined options whenever possible.

3. Coconut Oil

  • Characteristic: Coconut oil is a tropical oil known for its delightful aroma and flavor. It solidifies at room temperature and liquifies with heat.
  • Uses: Coconut oil is versatile and works well in baking, stir-frying, sautéing, and as a butter replacement. Use melted coconut oil for liquid consistency or solid coconut oil for a buttery texture in recipes.
  • Pro Tip: Since coconut oil has a distinct flavor, it’s best suited for dishes that pair well with its tropical taste. It may not be ideal for recipes where you want a milder taste.

4. Avocado Oil

  • Characteristic: Avocado oil is a rich source of monounsaturated fats and has a mild, buttery flavor. It has a high smoke point, making it suitable for various cooking methods.
  • Uses: Avocado oil is excellent for high-heat cooking, such as grilling, roasting, stir-frying, and sautéing. It can also be used as a substitute for canola oil in baking recipes.
  • Pro Tip: Avocado oil can be quite expensive, so consider using it sparingly or mixing it with another oil to stretch your supply.

5. Grapeseed Oil

  • Characteristic: Grapeseed oil is extracted from grape seeds and has a light, neutral flavor. It is a byproduct of the winemaking process.
  • Uses: Grapeseed oil has a high smoke point and is suitable for frying, baking, and making salad dressings. Its mild taste allows the flavors of other ingredients to shine.
  • Pro Tip: Grapeseed oil is an excellent choice for deep frying due to its high smoke point and light flavor.

By understanding the characteristics and uses of these substitutes, you can choose the most suitable option based on your recipe and personal preferences.

Choosing The Right Substitute For Canola Oil

A bottle of canola oil liquid gold

When selecting a substitute for canola oil, consider the following factors:

  1. Smoke Point: The smoke point is the temperature at which an oil starts to break down and produce smoke. Choose a substitute with a smoke point appropriate for your cooking method. For example, if you’re deep frying, select an oil with a high smoke point like grapeseed or avocado oil.

  2. Flavor: Consider the flavor profile of the substitute oil. While canola oil has a mild taste, other substitutes like olive oil and coconut oil have distinct flavors that can influence the final taste of your dish. Match the flavor of the substitute to the recipe you’re preparing.

  3. Health Considerations: Different oils have varying nutritional profiles. If you’re looking for heart-healthy alternatives to canola oil, options like olive oil and avocado oil are excellent choices due to their high levels of monounsaturated fats.

  4. Recipe Compatibility: Some recipes require specific types of oils for optimal results. For instance, in baking, certain oils may affect the texture or rise of the final product. Consider the demands of your recipe and select a substitute that complements its requirements.

By taking these factors into account, you can choose a suitable substitute that enhances your recipe while accommodating your dietary needs.

Cooking With Substitutes For Canola Oil

canola oil

Now that you have selected a substitute for canola oil, here are some tips to ensure successful cooking:

  1. Conversion Ratio: To substitute canola oil with another type of oil, use a 1:1 ratio. Measure the same amount of substitute oil as you would use for canola oil.

  2. Adjusting Flavors: Be aware that different oils have different taste profiles. Adjust the seasoning or other ingredients in your recipe accordingly to balance any changes in flavor.

  3. Consider Texture: Certain oils may alter the texture of your dish. For example, coconut oil can solidify at cooler temperatures, so you may need to melt it before using in certain recipes. Consider how the oil’s consistency can affect the end result and make any necessary adjustments.

  4. Baking Tips: When substituting canola oil in baking, keep in mind that some oils may result in a denser texture or alter the rise of baked goods. Experiment with different oils and adjust the baking temperature and time if needed.

  5. Taste Testing: Before adding the substitute oil to your dish, taste a small amount to familiarize yourself with its flavor profile. This can help you determine if any adjustments need to be made to the other ingredients.

By understanding these cooking considerations, you can successfully incorporate substitutes for canola oil into your favorite recipes.

Recipes Using Substitutes For Canola Oil

canola oil

Here are a few delicious recipes that showcase the versatility of different substitutes for canola oil:

  1. Olive Oil Vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons of vinegar (such as balsamic, red wine, or apple cider), 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper to taste. Drizzle over mixed salad greens or your favorite vegetables.

  2. Vegetable Oil Stir-Fry: Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a pan over high heat. Add sliced bell peppers, broccoli florets, and thinly sliced mushrooms. Cook for 5-7 minutes until tender-crisp. Stir in soy sauce, garlic, and ginger for added flavor.

  3. Coconut Oil Granola: In a large bowl, mix 2 cups of rolled oats, 1/2 cup of melted coconut oil, 1/4 cup of honey or maple syrup, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 cup of your favorite mix-ins (such as nuts, dried fruits, or seeds). Spread the mixture evenly on a baking sheet and bake at 325°F (165°C) for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Allow to cool before storing in an airtight container.

  4. Avocado Oil Grilled Chicken: Rub chicken breasts with a mixture of 2 tablespoons of avocado oil, minced garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper. Grill the chicken over medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).

  5. Grapeseed Oil Dressing: In a blender or mason jar, combine 1/4 cup of grapeseed oil, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of honey, 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Blend or shake until well combined. Drizzle over your favorite salad greens.

These recipes offer a taste of the possibilities when using substitutes for canola oil in your cooking.

Storage And Shelf Life Of Substitutes

To ensure the longevity and quality of your substitute oils, follow these storage guidelines:

  • Olive Oil: Store olive oil in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight. It can be stored at room temperature, but if you live in a hot climate, it’s best to refrigerate it to prevent rancidity. Properly stored, olive oil can last up to two years.

  • Vegetable Oil: Vegetable oil should be stored in a cool, dark place away from heat and sunlight. It does not need refrigeration and can last for about a year if stored properly.

  • Coconut Oil: Store coconut oil in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. While it can solidify and liquefy with temperature changes, this does not affect its quality. Coconut oil has a long shelf life and can last up to two years.

  • Avocado Oil: Avocado oil should be stored in a cool, dark place away from heat and sunlight. It can last up to a year if stored properly.

  • Grapeseed Oil: Store grapeseed oil in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight. It can last up to a year if stored properly.

Remember to check the expiration date and trust your senses if the oil starts to smell off or develops a rancid taste. Always discard any oil that shows signs of spoilage.


When you find yourself in need of a substitute for canola oil, there are several excellent options available. By considering the characteristics, uses, and cooking considerations of each substitute, you can choose the best alternative for your recipe. Whether you opt for olive oil, vegetable oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, or grapeseed oil, these substitutes provide a suitable replacement for canola oil in various dishes.

Experiment with different substitutes, adjust the flavors and textures as needed, and enjoy the endless possibilities that come with exploring new cooking oils.


What Are Some Healthier Alternatives To Canola Oil?

Some of the best alternatives to canola oil include olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil, and sunflower oil. Each of these oils has unique health benefits and can be used in a variety of cooking methods.

Why Is Canola Oil Considered Unhealthy?

Canola oil is often refined, which strips it of many of its nutrients and can leave harmful chemicals behind. Additionally, canola oil is high in omega-6 fatty acids, which can lead to inflammation in the body when consumed in excess.

Is Coconut Oil A Good Substitute For Canola Oil?

Yes, coconut oil is a great substitute for canola oil. It is high in healthy saturated fats and can be used in cooking and baking. However, it does have a distinct coconut flavor that may not be desired in all dishes.

Can I Use Grapeseed Oil Instead Of Canola Oil?

Yes, grapeseed oil is a good substitute for canola oil. It is high in polyunsaturated fats and has a mild flavor that won’t overpower other ingredients in your dish. However, it is important to note that grapeseed oil is not as heat-stable as other oils, so it should only be used for low-heat cooking or as a finishing oil.

What Are The Benefits Of Using Olive Oil Instead Of Canola Oil?

Olive oil is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats and has been linked to numerous health benefits, including a lower risk of heart disease and improved brain function. It also has a delicious flavor that works well in a variety of dishes, making it a versatile and healthy substitute for canola oil.

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  • About the Author Jenny

    I'm Jenny, a housewife with an unwavering passion for food. My culinary journey began with my grandmother's kitchen, and it's now a full-fledged food blog. I've turned my love for cooking into a creative outlet, sharing recipes and stories with a global community of fellow food enthusiasts. It's proof that being a housewife can also mean pursuing your passions and savoring life's delectable moments.