It is not one size fits all when it comes to what is the best substitute for avocado oil.
Depending on your intended use, will determine which substitute you will use.
The type of oil used will be contingent on the smoke point, use, taste, and nutritional value.
If health is in fact what you have in mind, there may be an overall best oil to use.
In my experience as a Registered Dietitian and culinarian, oils can make or break a dish if chosen incorrectly.
Not to mention determine if the additional calories added will be beneficial to your health or detrimental.
So how do we figure out which is the best substitute for avocado oil?
First we need to understand the characteristics of avocado oil and it’s uses in order to find substitutes for it.
Avocado oil is made by pressing the pits and flesh of the avocado fruit. It does have a slight hint of that earthy buttery delicious avocado taste.
The oil typically has a deeper yellow-greenish color to it.
If wondering how to store avocado oil, it’s no different than any other oil.
That is in a cool, dark, dry place, preferably out of direct sunlight.
Avocado oil is unique as it’s at the top of the charts for one of the highest smoke points for oils.
Smoke point is simply when the temperature at which the oil will start to smoke. This is something you want to avoid.
At the smoke point, oil starts breaking down. Creating a very bitter taste and not to mention, fill your kitchen with smoke. As is true for all oils.
A broken oil like this and any food cooking in it, just go ahead and slide it all into the garbage can.
As you can see whether making a vinaigrette or pan-frying, you need to take the smoke point into consideration.
So what is the smoke point of avocado oil? A whooping 520°F (271°C)!
This makes avocado oil a great option for high-heat cooking such as grilling or even deep frying.
However, because of the slight avocado taste and price, you do not see avocado oil in a deep fryer.
Avocado oil actually gets it’s most use in “cold cooking,” even with such a high smoke point.
Such as a drizzle over various salads, hummus, or cold soups. Other uses are homemade mayonnaise, dressings, marinades, and baking.
Overall, the nutritional value is the reason for the use of avocado oil. While the taste is the second reason.
Nutritional Profile of Avocado Oil
So is avocado oil nutritionally superior to its counterparts? Let’s break it down.
All fats have a ratio of 9 calories per gram, avocado oil is no different.
It’s the types of fat that determine the oil’s nutritional worth.
Avocado oil is largely made up of monounsaturated and some polyunsaturated fats. AKA the best fats or the “healthy fats.”
Compared to saturated fats; unsaturated fats are good for heart health. They help lower your bad cholesterol, and increase your good cholesterol.
These are the main reasons that avocado oil is the choice for recipes. But luckily this is why it’s pretty simple to determine a substitute for it.
Substitutions for Avocado Oil
We’ll analyze each oil by description, smoke point, purpose, taste, and nutrition to determine which will be your best substitute.
Olive oil is made by pressing olives to extract their oil. The difference between virgin and extra virgin olive oil, is that extra virgin is a more delicate mild tasting oil.
The smoke point of virgin olive oil is 420°F (216°C) while extra virgin’s is only 320°F (160°C).
It’s for this reason that virgin (or regular) olive oil makes for a good high-heat cooking oil such as for sautéing, roasting, or grilling.
Because of extra virgin’s lower smoke point, it is good at medium-heat or cold-cooking such as a drizzle over a salad or hummus dip or if making a homemade dressing.
Both extra virgin and virgin olive oil provide healthy fats, antioxidants, and polyphenols (a type of powerful plant-derived antioxidant).
So if your avocado oil recipe is for heat cooking, regular olive oil is a great substitute.
If your recipe is for cold-cooking, then extra virgin olive oil would be the best substitute for avocado oil.
Canola oil, or rapeseed oil, is generally a neutral-flavored oil which companies make by crushing and pressing rapeseeds.
The smoke point of canola oil is 400°F (204°C) making this a good all-purpose oil for frying, sautéing, and especially baking as it has practically no flavor to taint your baked goods with.
Canola oil has less saturated fat (bad fat) than avocado oil, but avocado oil still has more monounsaturated fats than canola.
This is kind of a catch-all term for this classification. Vegetable oil is a blend of different oils with each brand usually having their own proprietary blend.
Because each vegetable oil is slightly different, there is no definite smoke point.
Typically vegetable oils can reach up to 400°F (204°C) similar to that of canola oil.
Vegetable oils are the go to frying and baking oils, since they are inexpensive and a more bland-tasting oil.
However, if you’re wanting a nutritionally equivalent substitute for avocado oil – vegetable oil is not it.
With more saturated fats and an average of 30% less monounsaturated fats, vegetable oil just doesn’t compare.
Coconut oil is extracted from dried coconut kernels with a potent taste and aroma of coconut.
It has a high smoke point of 450°F (232°C) making it a good sautéing oil.
However keep in mind that the coconut flavor will likely come through in whatever you are making.
Because of this, it may not always be a practical substitute for avocado oil.
For example, if you were to drizzle avocado oil over your roasted garlic hummus, you likely wouldn’t want the taste of coconut there.
Coconut oil is also unique in that it’s a highly saturated liquid fat. Typically, saturated fats are solid like butter or margarine.
Due to these saturated properties, coconut oil would not be a good substitute for avocado oil if the purpose is for nutritional quality.
Sunflower oil is made from sunflower seeds and is another rather plain-tasting oil.
The smoke point is 450°F (232°C) making sunflower oil yet another good all-purpose oil.
As far as nutritional value, sunflower oil is one of the slightly better all-purpose oils to use in place of avocado oil.
It has a low saturated fat content, but a higher amount of monounsaturated fats compared to that of vegetable oil.
Or clarified butter, is used quite often in restaurant cooking due to it’s high smoke point and rich flavor.
Gee is butter that has had the water and milk solids removed, leaving behind pure butterfat (hence the rich flavor).
It has a high smoke point of 485°F (252°C) making for a great sautéing or grilling oil. Gee is not often used for baking.
Nutritionally speaking however, gee couldn’t be more opposite of avocado oil.
With absolutely no monounsaturated fats, gee has a make up of almost entirely saturated fats.
Safflower oil is extracted from the seeds of the safflower plant and has a unique bright yellow color.
The smoke point of safflower oil is 450°F (232°C) making for yet another good all-purpose oil.
However, safflower oil is more expensive than other cooking oils and you do not find it often in conventional or commercial kitchens.
If the intended use for avocado oil in your recipe is for nutritional content, safflower oil would be one of the best options.
The nutritional profiles of avocado oil and safflower oil are very similar. They are both high in mono and poly unsaturated fats while low in saturated fats.
Also similar to avocado oil is the price. Both are more expensive than your typical cooking oils and can be harder to find in grocery stores, especially safflower oil.
Flaxseed oil is extracted from cold-pressing ripe and dried flaxseeds with a mild nutty flavor.
The smoke point of flaxseed oil is particularly low at 225°F (107°C) so you would not want to substitute flaxseed oil if your recipe involves heat cooking.
However flaxseed oil makes for a great nutritious cold-cooking substitute for avocado oil.
Best Oil for Weight Loss
As avocado oil is so often chosen for its nutritional quality, is it truly the best oil for weight loss?
When choosing a cooking oil with weight loss as your primary goal, it’s actually just your overall optimal health that you should be striving for.
After all, the intervention that’s going to help you shed the pounds and keep them off are lifestyle changes, not a “quick-fix diet.”
So then the question is what is the healthiest oil?
Well it’s practically a tie between avocado and olive oil.
With almost equal amounts of saturated, mono and poly unsaturated fats. There’s not much left to compare between these two great heart healthy oils.
Except the price.
No matter where you plan on purchasing your oil whether at a specialty market, online, or at your local chain supermarket – you can expect to pay up to 30% more for avocado oil.
So while these two oils may be essentially equal as far as nutrition, olive oil is your most practical healthiest cooking oil to use.
Alright so let’s summarize which oils are the best substitutions for avocado oil depending on your intended use.
For high-heat cooking such as frying or baking, you have lots of options; olive, canola, vegetable, coconut, sunflower, gee, and safflower oil.
They are all able to withstand the high temperatures without breaking down.
If you are looking to substitute avocado oil spray specifically. Then any of the above mentioned oils would be good options as well, if available in spray form.
Extra virgin olive oil would be your best option for medium-heat cooking.
For cold-cooking such as preparing dressings, flaxseed oil would be the preferred substitution.
If looking for a nutritiously equal avocado oil substitute; olive, safflower, and flaxseed oils are all good options.
Overall though, the best substitute for avocado oil (and most practical) is regular olive oil.
As nutrition is the main reason avocado oil is chosen in the first place, olive oil is nearly identical to it’s nutritional profile.
Not to mention that it has a similar smoke point so that you can use it in your kitchen in the same ways you would use avocado oil.
As well as keeping a few extra bucks in your wallet.
And in general olive oil is this Registered Dietitian’s favorite oil to cook with and you will always find it readily available in my kitchen!