7 Best Olive Oil Substitutes

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

When people look for a healthy olive oil substitute, it can often be confusing because there are so many different oil options to choose from. Although olive oil is widely considered one of the healthiest cooking oils you can use, there are many alternatives that may provide slightly different tastes or nutritional benefits that may fit your needs.

Olive Oil Substitutes

The most obvious and effective olive oil substitutes include avocado oil, grapeseed oil, coconut oil, and palm oil, among others.

Palm Oil

This oil substitute comes from the date palm, and if you have a pure and unprocessed form of this oil, it will be packed with vitamin E and shouldn’t have too many trans fats. This oil tends to have an earthy flavor, which makes it a popular addition to certain meals instead of olive oil, such as curries and stews. Due to its high level of saturated fat, in comparison to olive oil, some people worry about the long-term safety of using palm oil, but as an occasional olive oil substitute, it can help calm digestion, improve skin health and add its unique flavor to a wide variety of recipes. [1]

Bowl of olives, a sunflower, oil bottles and a cracked coconut at the back.

Check different types and brands of oils. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Peanut Oil

This particular oil is derived from peanuts, and the best method is through expeller-pressing. Known as one of the healthiest oils, it has a great balance of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, as well as a number of other antioxidants. The peanut flavor of this oil can vary from extremely mild to very strong and is praised as a cooking oil because of its high smoke point. This means that it will retain the majority of its critical nutrients even when you cook with the oil, unlike many other olive oil substitutes. [2]

Avocado Oil

Packed with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, avocado oil is excellent if you want to balance your cholesterol levels and improve heart health. This will also help you cut down your blood pressure and reduce your risk of atherosclerosis and heart attacks. Avocado oil is popularly blended into salad dressings or soups and can be a great oil for frying vegetables. [3]

Sesame Oil

This dark oil is very popular in Asian cuisine, and since the flavor is much stronger than olive oil, it is recommended for drying dishes that have a very potent taste. There are a number of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in this oil, making it good for heart health, along with a notable amount of vitamin E. This oil can be used topically and for culinary purposes, as it can help prevent oxidative stress and eliminate inflammation throughout the body. [4]

Grapeseed Oil

The vast majority of the fats in this oil are polyunsaturated in nature, making it one of the best for controlling “bad” cholesterol levels in the body and protecting cardiovascular health as a whole. Also, due to the fact that this oil is extracted from grapes, there are quite a few antioxidants that provide varying health benefits throughout the body. [5]

Coconut Oil

Perhaps the most famous olive oil substitute, coconut oil is packed with beneficial nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, as well as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. This oil also has a mild and sweet taste, making it a popular oil for both medicinal and culinary applications. [6]

Sunflower Oil

This particular oil is rich in antioxidants and vitamin E, as well as valuable monounsaturated fats. This oil has a mild flavor and doesn’t overpower the food you’re frying. In addition, the smoke point of sunflower oil is relatively high, so it can be used to sauté foods without burning. [7]

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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