Skip to Content

Switch It Up: 6 Creative Substitutes for Coconut Oil in Your Cooking and Baking Recipes

Switch It Up: 6 Creative Substitutes for Coconut Oil in Your Cooking and Baking Recipes

This article discusses everything you need to know to easily substitute coconut oil in baking or cooking, from recommended substitutes to measurements, intent, ratios and guidelines. 

Sometimes coconut oil is used as a solid, and other times coconut oil is fully liquid (“refined” for example), so you may want to use a replacement (or two) that uses the same texture/state. For example, melted butter may be the better replacement for refined liquid coconut oil; soft butter for semi-solid coconut oil that appears more like a paste.

It’s also good to note special diets, since coconut oil is a vegan, plant-based ingredient. So if you’re taking a dish to a friend’s with dietary needs, you may want to confirm that the substitute meets that need. (Butter and dairy Greek yogurt, for example, are animal by-products; check labels in this case.)

A clear glass bottle labeled "ORGANIC Coconut OIL" sits on a wooden table next to a whole brown coconut.

Substitutes For Coconut Oil In Baking

1. Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil is a neutral-flavored alternative to coconut oil. 

Use vegetable oil in equal amounts (1:1) to replace coconut oil.

Flavor Profile: Vegetable oil has a mild and neutral taste, making it an excellent choice when you don’t want to alter the flavor of your baked foods.

Best Dishes: It works well in cakes, muffins, and quick breads, where you want the focus to be on other ingredients.

2. Olive Oil

Olive oil is a healthy and flavorful coconut oil substitute. Extra-virgin olive oil brings a rich, fruity flavor, while light olive oil offers a milder taste. 

Use a 1:1 ratio to replace coconut oil.

Flavor Profile: Extra-virgin olive oil adds a robust, fruity flavor, while light olive oil provides a subtler taste. Both options are great for different types of baking.

Best Dishes: Use extra-virgin olive oil in recipes whose bold flavor complements the ingredients, like olive oil cake. Light olive oil is suitable for more delicate recipes.

3. Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is a creamy and tangy alternative to coconut oil. It adds a unique flavor and moisture to your baked goods. 

Substitute coconut oil with Greek yogurt in a 1:1 ratio.

Flavor Profile: Greek yogurt offers a tangy, creamy taste that pairs well with various baked treats.

Best Dishes: Add Greek yogurt into muffins, pancakes, and coffee cakes for a moist and tangy twist.

4. Avocado

Avocado is a healthy fat substitute for coconut oil, adding a creamy texture and a mild, nutty flavor. 

Replace coconut oil with mashed avocado in a 1:1 ratio.

Flavor Profile: Avocado brings a subtle nuttiness and creaminess to your baked treats without an overwhelming avocado taste.

Best Dishes: Use mashed avocado in chocolate dessert recipes, whose mild flavor complements the cocoa.

5. Unsweetened Applesauce

Unsweetened applesauce is a relatively healthful option as a coconut oil substitute. It does not add fat, but it does add moisture and density, the same way coconut oil can.

Use applesauce as a 1:1 replacement for coconut oil in your recipes.

Flavor Profile: Applesauce adds a mild, slightly sweet apple flavor. It’s an ideal choice when you want to reduce fat content.

Best Dishes: Include applesauce in recipes for muffins, quick bread, and oatmeal cookies for added moisture and a hint of apple goodness.

6. Coconut Cream

Coconut cream is an excellent coconut oil replacement, preserving the coconut flavor while providing a creamy, dense texture. Coconut cream is usually available in cans in the international foods aisle (not the beverage aisle), and it’s important to note that it’s different than cream of coconut, which is a sweetened, thickened concoction often used as a mixer in piña coladas. 

Use coconut cream in a 1:1 ratio to replace coconut oil.

Flavor Profile: Coconut cream maintains the delightful coconut flavor in your baked goods. It’s perfect for coconut enthusiasts!

Best Dishes: Use coconut cream in coconut-based recipes like coconut macaroons, cakes, and cream pies for an authentic coconut experience.

7. Sour Cream

Sour cream is a versatile and tangy alternative to coconut oil in baking.

Use sour cream as a 1:1 replacement for coconut oil in your baking recipes.

Flavor Profile: Sour cream brings a tangy and slightly creamy taste to your baked treats. Its tanginess complements both sweet and savory recipes, making it a flexible choice. Note: when substituting sour cream for coconut oil, remember to maintain the same quantity to ensure your recipes turn out as intended. Sour cream has a higher moisture content and the flavor differs.

Best Dishes: Sour cream works well in recipes for coffee cake, muffins, pancakes, and even some bread recipes. It not only adds moisture but also a delightful tang that elevates the overall flavor of your baked goodies.

Sour cream’s unique flavor and creamy texture offers a pleasant surprise in your baking expeditions. Give it a try and discover how it can enhance your favorite recipes!

Bonus idea: While butter has a low point of heat until it burns, it can add good flavor to baked goods especially. Use butter in a 1:1 ratio to replace coconut oil in recipes. Melt butter first then measure it out to substitute for refined coconut oil.

A collage of coconut oil alternatives, includes vegetable oil, olive oil, applesauce, avocado, sour cream and greek yogurt.

How to Substitute Coconut Oil In Baking Recipes

Substituting coconut oil in baking is straightforward. Here’s how:

  1. Choose Your Substitute: Pick a substitute that matches your desired flavor profile or suits your dietary preferences. I like to add a little of different substitutes when I am learning a new recipe and unsure of the outcome. That might mean ½ T sour cream, ½ T vegetable oil to substitute for 1 T of coconut oil, instead of a full 1-to-1 replacement.
  2. Determine the Quantity: Use the substitute in the same quantity as the original coconut oil called for in your recipe. If you are melting or hardening your substitute to better match the use in your recipe, measure it out cup-for-cup after it’s been melted.
  3. Adjust to Taste: Taste your batter as you mix. Add more of the substitute or other liquids to reach the desired consistency if needed.

Adjustments to Consider

Here are some adjustments to keep in mind when using coconut oil substitutes:

  1. Flavor: Butter and olive oil can add unique flavors, so ensure they complement your recipe.
  2. Texture: Greek yogurt and avocado can add moisture, which may require slight adjustments in your recipe’s liquid content.
  3. Intent: Is it okay for your new recipe to no longer have the light coconut flavor that’s in coconut oil? Will it be odd to suddenly take on the tangy touch of sour cream? Does your replacement need to have the fat or is just the moisture okay? Should your replacement be plant-based the way coconut oil is, or is it okay if it’s an animal by-product?

The bottom line

These coconut oil substitutes offer flexibility in baking to suit your tastes. Feel free to explore and find your preferred alternatives. 

For a seamless swap, remember you can use unsweetened applesauce in a 1:1 ratio to achieve a moist and delightful twist in your recipes. Or try the two-for-one deal: applesauce + vegetable oil = coconut oil replacement.

Happy baking!

Keep This List Handy: 6+ Substitutes for Coconut Oil

Keep This List Handy: 6+ Substitutes for Coconut Oil

Not a fan of coconut oil or simply ran out? No worries! Check out our list of more than 6 incredible substitutes that work perfectly in any recipe. 🍰🍳


  • Butter
  • Avocado
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Unsweetened Applesauce
  • Coconut Cream
  • Olive Oil
  • Sour Cream


  1. You can substitute most of these replacements for coconut oil in a 1:1 ratio, but keep its texture in mind. If you are melting butter to match the texture of liquid-state refined cooking oil, measure it out after it’s melted, for example.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Skip to Recipe