Here's what you can substitute for vegetable oil

Vegetable oil has a lot of uses, and most of us are probably best accustomed to using it for baking — especially when it comes to baking with boxed mixes for things like brownies and cakes. Vegetable oil's light and subtle flavor just makes it work so well as a moistening agent in baking. There may be times, though, when you find your kitchen cupboard is missing vegetable oil or you're simply looking to try something else instead. 

If that's the case, there are a number of different alternatives you can swap for cooking with vegetable oil, but it really all depends on what you plan on doing with them and the flavor you're aiming for. 

Picking the right vegetable oil alternative

First off, let's go ahead and toss out the most obvious vegetable oil substitute that you might want to consider if you're baking up some boxed brownie mix — butter. Butter is going to be a substitute that you very likely already have in your kitchen, and Betty Crocker says that it makes a great vegetable oil substitute when baking. Just make sure you melt it down first and use the same measurement called for in the recipe. For example, if the recipe on the box calls for 1/3 cup of oil, measure out 5 1/3 tablespoons of butter.

If you don't see vegetable oil on the shelf at your local market and want something that's close, then sunflower oil or canola oil make great substitutes. Both of these oils are as common as vegetable oil and will do the trick if you need a flavorless oil for cooking (via Better Homes and Gardens). These two oils do contain a fair amount of fats though, so if you want a healthier substitute, they might not be the right match. 

Consider these healthier substitutes for vegetable oil

If you're in need of some fitting substitutes that are a little healthier than vegetable oil, there are several alternatives that work great for both baking and cooking. Coconut oil's lauric acid and fat content make it a healthy choice if you're trying to promote healthy cholesterol levels (via Healthline). You may need to melt the oil to get the right liquid measurements, however, as coconut oil on its own tends to be solid at room temp. Keep in mind that it can have a strong coconut flavor too, especially if you use virgin coconut oil — for a more neutral flavor, use refined coconut oil instead (via Nutria). 

Another vegetable oil substitute that might seem a little unconventional but is a great healthy alternative is applesauce (via Livestrong). It works especially well if your primary reason for using vegetable oil is to keep baked goods, like cakes and brownies, moist. It also has fewer calories than vegetable oil, and because of its natural sweetness, you may find yourself using less sugar in your baking.