If you do a lot of cooking, you’ve probably already got some avocado oil tucked away in your pantry somewhere. It’s quite versatile, and is an absolute staple ingredient in several marinades, salad dressings, and sauces. Avocado oil is such a popular cooking ingredient because of its delectable creamy texture and cool, nutty flavor. It’s also packed with antioxidants and monounsaturated fats, which means it’s super good for you!
The only bad thing about avocado oil is that you might, of course, run out of it eventually. You could always run to the grocery store and get some more, but let’s say it’s a major holiday — like Thanksgiving or Christmas — and all of the stores nearby are closed. Don’t fret! There are plenty of excellent avocado oil substitutes you can use instead.
Because avocado oil is so versatile, finding a suitable substitute for it is surprisingly easy. Extra virgin olive oil, for example, has a similar taste and texture to avocado oil. Coconut oil is a great alternative for those who are trying to be health-conscious, and you can never go wrong with using straight-up butter either! In this article, we’ll dive into the best substitutes for avocado oil, so stick around!
What is Avocado Oil?
Avocado oil is made from the flesh of ripe avocados, which, if you are an avocado, is slightly horrifying to think about. It sure is delicious, though, and many chefs and foodies have taken to using it as a regular cooking ingredient. This is a little-known fact, but there are actually two different types of avocado oil, namely refined and unrefined.
The main difference between refined avocado oil and unrefined avocado oil is their smoke points. Refined avocado oil has a much higher smoke point than unrefined avocado oil, which essentially means it won’t burn if you cook with it at especially high temperatures. Unrefined avocado oil, on the other hand, is more buttery in flavor and will likely give off burnt notes if you use too high of a temperature while cooking with it.
Avocado oil is commonly used as a healthy alternative to traditional cooking oils (like vegetable oil and butter). It’s especially great for sautéing and frying because of its high smoke point, and its mild, nutty flavor complements a broad range of both savory and sweet foods. Avocado oil is high in vitamins and healthy fats, which makes it an excellent addition to most dips and meat marinades. You can also use avocado oil to add a creamy richness to your soups and salad dressings.
Avocado oil can also be used as a skin-care product. You’ve probably heard of people using avocado face masks to pamper and nourish their skin. Avocado oil can be used in exactly the same way! You can use it on your face or body if your skin is feeling dry or tired, or you can add it to your bath and enjoy a glass of wine or some lemon water while you relax and renourish.
Why Substitute Avocado Oil?
You might be wondering: if avocado oil is so wonderful, why would I want to substitute it? Well, there are plenty of reasons someone might opt to use a substitute like extra virgin olive oil in the place of avocado oil. For example, some people may find that the flavor of avocado oil is too overpowering for the particular recipe they’re making.
Avocado oil is also considered to be a specialty ingredient, so it won’t necessarily be available everywhere. It can also be pretty expensive, meaning some chefs might opt to use an oil that better fits their budget. We also feel like not wanting to go to the store is a perfectly good reason to substitute avocado oil. If you run out of avocado oil in the middle of a snowstorm, for example, you’re probably not going to want to risk the icy drive to the grocery store.
Can You Substitute Avocado Oil for Olive Oil?
Most people associate avocado oil with olive oil, so some might wonder if you can substitute one for the other. The answer is yes — you can certainly substitute avocado oil for olive oil (and vice versa). Both oils are exceptionally rich in healthy fats, and have similar flavor profiles (though, avocado oil tends to be a tad nuttier).
It’s important to keep in mind that avocado oil has a much higher smoke point than olive oil, so if you’re cooking something that requires a high heat, you should try to use avocado oil if you have it on hand. Olive oil, however, has a more distinctive flavor, and a lot of people actually prefer it to avocado oil. The choice is up to you!
What is Most Similar to Avocado Oil?
When it comes to using substitutions in cooking, it’s always best to consider what is most similar to the ingredient you’re making a substitution for. Thankfully, avocado oil is pretty mild-tasting, so finding a suitable substitution for it shouldn’t be too difficult. We’ve compiled a hand-picked list of what we consider to be the 10 best substitutes for avocado oil below. Check it out!
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
We’ve already talked a little bit about using olive oil as a substitute for avocado oil (it is, after all, the most popular substitution option), but we just thought we should reiterate this point in a bit more detail.
Extra virgin olive oil is made by grinding olives into a paste and then pressing them into oil, which is quite similar to the process used to make avocado oil. Both oils have a distinct, fruity flavor, meaning they taste similar enough that they’re virtually interchangeable in most recipes. Extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil both contain plenty of monounsaturated fats, which are super healthy and can even reduce the risk of heart disease.
The only issue with substituting avocado oil for extra virgin olive oil is the fact that olive oil has a much lower smoke point, meaning it’s more likely to burn if you cook with it at a high heat. For this reason, it’s not a good oil for frying, so if you’re planning on making homemade tortilla chips or some pan-fried dumplings, you should opt to use avocado oil or canola oil instead.
Another popular substitute for avocado oil is coconut oil. Coconut oil is relatively mild-tasting, just like avocado oil. It’s a bit more sweet and coconutty, which some people might find overwhelming, but it can also complement dishes that include chicken and seafood quite well (which is why coconut oil is often used in curries).
Coconut oil also has a longer shelf life than avocado oil, and refined coconut oil in particular can be used to cook with at high heats. Coconut oil is also particularly great for baking. In fact, if you come across a brownie or cookie recipe that calls for avocado oil, we recommend using coconut oil instead. The main issue with coconut oil is that it has a high fat content, so it’s not the best choice for those who are trying to watch their health.
A lot of chefs choose to use sesame oil in the place of avocado oil because it has a high smoke point. For this reason, it works especially well for dishes that require roasting or shallow frying. This is also why sesame oil is commonly used in stir-fry recipes. It should be noted that there are two different varieties of sesame oil: toasted and raw.
If you’re cooking with high heat, using raw sesame oil is the way to go, as toasted sesame oil has a more bitter flavor to it. Because of this, using toasted sesame oil as a frying oil can end up making your food taste rather bitter and burnt. You can, however, use toasted sesame oil as a yummy garnish for salads instead of avocado oil. It’s quite delicious if you use it correctly!
Grapeseed oil makes an excellent avocado oil substitute because it’s relatively neutral in taste. Most other oils have a distinct flavor to them, which means they might be overpowering in some dishes. Grapeseed oil tastes great in stir-fries and vinaigrettes because it doesn’t disrupt the seasonings used to flavor these cuisines.
Grapeseed oil — like avocado oil — also has a high smoke point. Its light and mild texture makes it ideal for recipes that involve frying or roasting. It also has a high content of polyunsaturated fats and antioxidants, which means it’s good for your heart. The other great thing about grapeseed oil is that it’s much more available than avocado oil tends to be. It’s also much less expensive, which is always a plus!
Peanut oil also makes a great substitute for avocado oil. It’s nutty in flavor and has a high smoke point! Peanut oil is super versatile, so you can use it for frying, roasting, and sautéing. You can also make a nice, flavorful curry, as peanut oil accentuates spices like chili powder and cumin. Many chefs also choose to use a peanut oil-based dressing to dress their salads. Peanut oil also has a slightly milder flavor profile than avocado oil, so it’s ideal for dishes where you don’t want the oil to be overpowering.
It’s worth noting that peanut oil has a rather strong and pungent smell, which might some people off from trying your cooking. Most people like peanuts, but some really don’t, so it’s important to take that factor into account when choosing your avocado oil substitute. It’s also not recommended to use peanut oil in all recipes that require avocado oil, just because its odor is so strong.
Canola oil is widely available, which is why it’s such a popular substitute for avocado oil. Like vegetable oil, it has a light and neutral taste, so it’s not at all overpowering and is especially perfect for baking cakes and brownies. Canola oil is also great for frying, as it has a high smoke point. In fact, it has an even higher smoke point than avocado oil, so it’s a fantastic choice for high-heat cooking methods.
Canola oil is also quite inexpensive in comparison to avocado oil, so if you’re looking to save money, grab a container of canola oil off the grocery store shelf and be on your way. Unfortunately, however, canola oil does not offer the same nutritional benefits as avocado oil does. You probably shouldn’t use it if you’re trying to be health-conscious, however, it’s still a healthier option than vegetable oil.
Sunflower oil, like avocado oil, has a somewhat nutty undertone. The similarities in taste between these two types of oils make sunflower oil a great substitute, especially in recipes for marinades, dressings, and dips. The smoke point of sunflower oil is quite high, so it won’t burn if you’re trying to grill or fry chicken in a skillet.
The flavor of sunflower oil is relatively neutral while still being comparable to avocado oil. It’s able to remain stable under the stress of high heat for long periods of time, meaning it works well for recipes that require deep frying. Sunflower oil, like canola oil, is also pretty inexpensive, so it’s great for those who are trying to stick to a budget.
Alright, so butter is obviously not the best choice if you’re trying to be health-conscious, but it’s so darn delicious that you can’t really say anything bad about it. Because butter is a highly saturated fat, it stays solid when at room temperature. Avocado oil, on the other hand, remains in a liquid state if stored at room temperature.
The reason butter is typically used in baking is that its fat content affects the texture and density of whatever food it’s in — especially pastries. Using melted butter as a frying oil is not especially easy as it tends to splatter, however, the umami flavor that butter adds to most dishes is definitely worth it. It’s important to note that butter probably shouldn’t be used in avocado oil recipes where the texture is detrimental, as that’s something it can heavily affect.
Macadamia Nut Oil
Macadamia nut oil makes a great avocado oil substitute because it has an exceptionally high smoke point and lasts for quite a long time on the shelf. Like avocado oil, macadamia nut oil works well for recipes that involve frying and pan-searing. The flavor of macadamia nut oil is also not too overpowering, so you won’t have to worry about it disrupting the other flavors in whatever dish you’re making.
Like avocado oil, macadamia nut oil is also pretty healthy for you. It’s rich in healthy fats, and is an excellent source of antioxidants. The main downside of macadamia nut oil is that it’s usually more expensive than avocado oil. It’s also a relatively uncommon cooking ingredient, so if you want to use it, you might have to purchase it from a specialty store.
Ghee is clarified butter, which means it’s been heated and filtered to remove all of the water and milk solids from it. You can make it at home by straining melted butter through a cheesecloth. This type of butter is traditionally used in Indian cooking, and it makes a great substitute for avocado oil. Like avocado oil, ghee butter has a high smoke point. Use it in your next stir fry, or slap a chunk of it into your skillet the next time you make fried eggs.
Ghee butter is very rich and flavorful, and it’s more stable as a cooking oil than regular butter is because it lacks milk solids. Just keep in mind that ghee butter is not vegan, and it has a high content of saturated fat. Remember, it’s still butter, so if you’re going to use it as a substitute for avocado oil, just make sure to cook responsibly!
Avocado oil is both delicious and nutritious, but chances are, you won’t always have it on hand. If a recipe you’re interested in making calls for avocado oil, there are thankfully a number of ingredients you can use as a substitute for it. Some of the best avocado oil substitutes include coconut oil, canola oil, grapeseed oil, and peanut oil. No matter what you decide to use, your avocado oil-based dish is sure to turn heads and have your dinner guests asking for seconds.