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Best substitutes for canola oil | 10 great alternatives for cooking

by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  July 8, 2022

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Canola oil is a vegetable oil that is made from the seeds of the canola plant which are crushed to release the oil.

It is one of the most popular and commonly used oils because it is suitable for a variety of cooking methods and so it has become a staple in many home kitchens.

But sometimes, we need a substitute for canola oil.

Best substitutes for canola oil | 10 great alternatives for cooking

Sunflower oil is one of the best substitutes for canola oil as it is just as versatile when it comes to both cooking and baking. It is very similar to canola oil in terms of its smoke point, taste and color and can be used to replace canola oil in most recipes.

There are other great options though, including grapeseed oil, safflower oil, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, peanut oil, soybean oil. Butter and applesauce can also be used!

I’ll explain how to find the best canola oil replacement for your recipe.

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What to look for in a canola oil substitute

Canola oil is an extremely versatile oil. It has a high smoke point, a neutral taste, and a non-greasy texture which make it ideal for both cooking and baking.

The high smoke point makes it ideal for deep and pan-frying because you can heat it to a high temperature, and it will maintain this temperature without burning.

Its light texture and neutral flavor make it the perfect oil for baking. It adds texture and richness to baked goods without overpowering any delicate flavors.

Canola oil is less greasy than some other cooking oils because of its low level of saturated fats. This also makes it one of the healthier oils.

It is cholesterol-free and contains Omega 3 fatty acids which are good for heart health.

When looking for an alternative to canola oil it is important to choose an oil that has a complimentary flavor profile as well as similar cooking traits.

Your choice will also depend on how you plan to use it – whether for baking or for frying and sauteing.

What are the best substitutes for canola oil?

I’ve put together some of the top substitutes for canola oil below.

I’ve outlined their benefits and their similarities to canola oil, and the best use of each type.

Sunflower oil: best substitute for canola oil overall

Sunflower oil is one of the best substitutes for canola oil as it is equally versatile when it comes to both baking and cooking.

Sunflower oil is a good substitute for canola oil

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In terms of its smoke point, taste and color, it is very similar to canola oil.

It can be used as a direct substitute for canola oil in all types of cooking and baking. It can be used as a substitute for canola oil in pancakes.

It works well for deep and shallow frying and is a healthy and neutral option.

Use in a 1:1 ratio as a canola oil alternative.

I like this organic option from Spectrum.

Learn more about the different types of cooking oils and how they work:

Grapeseed oil: best healthy substitute for canola oil

Grapeseed oil is also very similar to canola oil, but it is minimally processed and offers a healthier alternative to other vegetable oils which can be highly processed.

It is also a neutral oil which provides the right amount of moisture in baking without overpowering the flavors.

Expeller expressed grapeseed oil as a substitute for canola oil

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It can be used as a substitute for canola oil in muffins.

Its high smoke point means it is good for stir-frying, deep frying and sauteing.

Use in a 1:1 ratio to replace canola oil.

La Tourangelle has a quality expeller expressed grapeseed oil for your cooking.

Safflower oil: best substitute for canola oil when baking bread

Colorless and flavorless, with a high smoke point, safflower oil is another ideal substitute for canola oil.

Safflower oil has a similar nutrition profile to canola oil.

Safflower oil- best substitute for canola oil when baking bread

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It can be used successfully for baking. It is a good substitute for canola oil in baking bread.

It is suitable for high-heat cooking, like sauteing or frying. Oléico offers affordable and high oleic safflower oil.

Olive oil: best substitute for canola oil in salads

Olive oil is one of the more natural, healthy oils and has a delicious floral flavor of its own.

It is not ideal for deep frying because it has a lower smoke point than the other oils and cannot be heated to a very high temperature.

Olive oil- best substitute for canola oil in salads

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Olive oil should also be avoided in baking because of its strong flavor which will influence the flavor of the baked goods.

It can be a good substitute for canola oil when used for salad dressings, marinades, or for sauteing.

Use in a 1:1 ratio to replace canola oil.

Try the organic extra virgin olive oil from Bono Val di Mazara Sicilian PDO.

Coconut oil: best substitute for canola oil in baking muffins

Coconut oil is a great option if you are looking for a substitute for canola oil.

Coconut oil: best substitute for canola oil in baking

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Coconut oil is less suited to high temperature frying and sauteing because it has a lower smoke point and burns easily.

It is particularly suited to baking, especially cakes, muffins and cookies where you can count on the resulting texture being very similar.

It gives the right amount of moisture, with none of the strong coconut flavor that one might expect.

It can be directly substituted in the same quantity, but the coconut oil may need to be melted before it can be used.

Garden of Life offers a very popular and versatile extra virgin coconut oil.

Avocado oil: best substitute for canola oil for frying

Avocado oil is a very healthy oil and has a flavor of its own, but it is not quite as strong as olive oil. The only drawback is that it is expensive and not easily available.

It is considered one of the substitutes for canola oil for frying.

Avocado oil- best substitute for canola oil for frying

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It is also good for salad dressings and for roast vegetables and works surprisingly well in baking.

It can be used as a direct substitute for canola oil when baking, for a healthy and tasty alternative.

The refined avocado oil from BetterBody Foods has a neutral taste and is a great all-purpose cooking oil

Peanut oil: best substitute for canola oil in Asian dishes and pancakes

Peanut oil has a strong nutty flavor which will most certainly influence the taste of any dish in which it is used.

Something to keep in mind when considering this as an alternative to canola oil is that many people are allergic to peanuts and thus the oil.

Peanut oil- best substitute for canola oil in Asian dishes

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It has a high smoke point and is especially suited to Asian dishes and stir- fries, but the natural nut flavor may overpower dishes with delicate flavors.

It’s a great substitute for canola oil for frying. I like the roasted peanut oil from La Tourangelle for extra flavor.

Soybean oil: best substitute for canola oil in high-heat cooking

Soybean oil might be one of the more unusual substitutes for canola oil, but if it is readily available, it’s one of the very best alternatives.

Soybean oil- best substitute for canola oil in high-heat cooking

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Like peanut oil, soybean oil has a high smoke point, so you can use it for frying and cooking at high temperatures without the risk of burning the oil.

It’s also great for other cooking methods like sautéing and drizzling over vegetables before roasting or baking in the oven.

It is also the better option compared to canola oil when you are cooking teppanyaki.

Its neutral flavor means you can also use soybean oil in baking as well as in salad dressings and sauces.

Also read: Is rice bran oil good for cooking? Read about its high smoke point

Butter

It’s not technically an ‘oil’, but butter is used a lot in baking. It gives baked goods a silky, buttery texture and a delicious, rich flavor.

Kerry gold butter as a substitute for canola oil

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Butter is typically melted before being added to a recipe and it can be a good baking substitute for canola oil in most instances, especially for pancakes, muffins and scones.

The only drawback is that butter is high in fats and in calories, making it a less healthy option.

Usually, half a cup of canola oil is substituted with 2/3 cup of melted butter.

For butter, I like the Kerry Gold sticks from green Irish pastures.

Apple sauce: best non-oil substitute for canola oil

If you are looking for a healthy substitute and perhaps want to cut down on the calories in baked goods, apple sauce is a great substitute for canola oil.

It provides the moisture needed for baking and adds a delicious flavor.

Unsweetened apple sauce as a substitute for canola oil in baking

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The texture of the baked goods will be a little denser if you use applesauce alone, so it is better to substitute half the canola oil with applesauce and use an alternate oil for the other half.

Also make sure to purchase unsweetened, and smooth (not chunky) applesauce so it incorporates more easy in your batter.

As apples are naturally sweet, you might want to adjust the amount of sugar you add to the recipe as well.

Takeaway

As you can see, if you run out of canola oil at home, or want to experiment with alternative ingredients, there are a number of options available.

As always, with substitution, you may find that the final product does not turn out exactly the same as the original, especially in baking.

The texture and flavors may be slightly different – but you may find that they taste even better!

Also learn what the best substitutes for sesame seed oil are, since it’s not always available

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.