Substitute Avocado Oil for Vegetable Oil: Why and How

Avocado oil  is one of the best oils that you can use in your day to day life.  Tasteless, high in healthy fat, and an extremely high smoke point makes avocado oil one of the most versatile oils available today.  However, the most available and affordable oil that the general public uses is vegetable oil.  

Vegetable oils are packed with refined molecules, dangerous free-radicals, and plenty of unhealthy saturated fats that aren’t good for the body.  Vegetable oils have been used for years as a cheap way to cook and fry foods.  Despite how cheap it is, it could lead to more expensive health problems. 

Fortunately, avocado oil is an easy oil to use and substitute into recipes. 

What is Avocado Oil 

Avocado oil is a buttery yellow and odorless oil that is produced from the flesh of the avocado.  A common misconception is that avocado oil comes from the seed, however, avocado oil is not a seed oil: the seeds are not used in the oil making process. 

Another belief to dispel is that avocado is a vegetable oil.  Yet again, this isn’t the case!  Avocados are actually a fruit from the avocado tree.  Essentially, avocado oil is a fruit oil!  

avocado in hand - a vegetable oil alternative

What is Vegetable Oil 

There are many different variations and forms of vegetable oil.  There are several kinds of vegetable oils such as: 

  • Olive Oil 
  • Canola Oil  
  • Cottonseed Oil 
  • Soybean Oil 

This is a limited list because many seed oils are also considered vegetable oils.  Many vegetable oils are going to seem harmless and several might be.  Because the processing that vegetable oils go through, the oils end up with chemicals, imbalanced concentrations of omega fats, and several free radicals.   

Olives and Avocados: Substitute Avocado Oil for Vegetable Oil

When shopping for vegetable oil, large containers line the oil isle in the grocery store.  These containers of cheap oil are the worst for you.  This vegetable oil is processed until most health benefits are gone.  Most of the oils aren’t even fully vegetable oils!   

Vegetable oils are a combination of many different oils instead of one kind of oil. 

The Many Uses of Avocado Oil 

Avocado oil is a very versatile oil not just in the kitchen, but also for the human body.  Avocado oil is perfect for moisturizing hair and skin as well as nails.  The saturated fats are easily absorbed by the body resulting in soft and healthy skin.   

In the kitchen, avocado oil can be used for any type of cooking.  Grilling, marinading, frying, baking, and more are all part of avocado versatility.   

Since avocado oil is technically flavorless, it is a wonderful substitute for baking.  It adds another element of richness to baked goods.  In any recipe that calls for vegetable oil of any kind, you can easily substitute avocado oil as a 1-to-1 ratio. 

How to Cook with Avocado Oil Instead of Vegetable Oil 

The easiest way to describe cooking with avocado oil is … easy.   

Changing to a different oil can be a little intimidating.  Avocado oil is one of the easiest oils to transition into foods.  Naturally unflavored but with a rich mouth feel, avocado oil can be used anywhere.   

If you want to sauté some delicious veggies, then add a teaspoon or two to a pan and cook the vegetables as you normally would.  The avocado oil will bring out the natural flavors of the veggies: toss them in a little bit of salt and black pepper, and those veggies will be out of this world. 

Another great way to use avocado oil is as a dressing or marinade.  Instead of using vegetable oil, substitute in avocado oil.  The oil will take on the flavors of the seasonings and help the flavor penetrate whatever you are marinating. 

For a quick dressing, mix equal parts balsamic vinegar, water, and avocado oil.  Add garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper to taste and voila!  A simple and easy dressing full of healthy ingredients. 

Avocado Oil and Baking 

Vegetable and fruit smoothies are delicious.  Something that many smoothies lack that your body desperately needs, is healthy fats.  Take a new step and add a half or full serving of avocado oil to any shakes or smoothies:  this makes the smoothie creamy and even more flavorful since the oil helps flavors spread evenly throughout the smoothie. 

With baking, avocado oil adds more richness than vegetable oil.  While avocado oil may not be as rich a butter, it does have enough fats to add in the delicious richness that butter and vegetable oil add.  If you are baking delicate desserts, avocado oil will also be a great substitute. 

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Smoke Points 

Smoke points have been talked about in other blogs, but avocado oil takes the cake among other oils thanks to a naturally high smoke point.  Unlike other oils, avocado oil has a very high smoke point of 482 F.  This makes it the oil with the highest smoke point!  Powerful and unrefined, avocado oil is beast. 

What is a smoke point?   

A smoke point is the heat level that an oil can reach before it begins to break down or smoke.  As soon as an oil hits a smoke point, there are several things that begin to happen.   

First, the molecules in the oil begin to move at a faster rate.  As they move, the atoms that make up the molecules move faster than molecular bonds can hold.  Because of that, the molecules begin to break apart and create free radicals that are searching for balanced molecules.   

Another thing that starts to happen, is that the oil will begin to smell absolutely disgusting.  If you use a stainless-steel pan, it’s easier to see the burnt oil at the bottom.  If your oil has reached this point, it will taste bitter and/or burnt.  The best idea is to use an oil with a high smoke point to avoid these issues. 

Avocado Pros and Cons 

At this point, it may seem like avocado oil is the perfect oil.  Of course, we’d definitely agree!  However, it is important to address the elephant in the room: cost.  Even though avocado oil isn’t the most expensive oil, it is more expensive than generic vegetable oil.  Out of the many benefits that avocado oil has, this has been the one major con. 

Pro: Taste 

Unrefined avocado oil is supposed to be tasteless.  If you are someone who has a refined palate, then you can pick up the hints of avocado in the oil.  Fortunately, the hint of flavor doesn’t distract from versatility and the creaminess avocado oil adds to recipes. 

To compare, vegetable oil can have a very non-descript and not all that pleasant taste.   

Pro: Healthy Body, Healthy Heart 

Avocado oil is a universal oil with many different health benefits.   With a high concentration of oleic acid and plenty of antioxidants, avocado oil is a great addition to meals to help boost your immune system. 

When it comes to your heart, avocado oil can help lower blood pressure, decrease bad cholesterol, and decrease inflammation.   As to other health benefits, the amount of antioxidants fights free radicals in the body, the oil boosts carotenoid absorption (which leads to better eye health), and can also reduce the risk of some cancers.   

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Pro: Fat Content 

To some, this may be a con, however the fats that avocado oil has are generally linked to better health.   Saturated fats are regularly connected to an increase in LDL cholesterol: to date, avocado oil has not related to cholesterol issues. 

A major difference between the unsaturated fats in avocado oil versus other unsaturated fats is how many bonds the unsaturated fats have.  Avocado oil is mainly composed of monounsaturated fats!  Monounsaturated fats are connected to better health and they are also a liquid at room temperature which gives avocado oil its decadent creaminess. 

Monounsaturated fats have been connected to decreasing bad cholesterol, reduced risk of heart complications, improved insulin sensitivity, and it even aids in weight loss. 

In Summary 

Avocado oil and vegetable oil are pretty close in nutrition facts.  The biggest difference between the two is the smoke point, however the health benefits far outweigh the impressive smoke point.  If you want to incorporate healthier oils into your diet, the first one to add is avocado oil.