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14 BEST Coconut Oil Substitutes [+ 1 To Avoid] 

I’ve personally taste-tested a variety of coconut oil substitutes to find the best one for every cooking occasion.

Whether you’re on the hunt for the closest flavor match, in need of a last-minute pantry substitute, or seeking an alternative tailored to your specific dietary requirements, rest assured that I’ve got you covered.

The best substitutes for coconut oil in cooking are avocado oil, olive oil, or clarified butter. Although pretty much any neutral flavoured oil will do. For more flavor, consider using duck fat or schmaltz. Regular butter and unsweetened apple sauce are great for replacing coconut oil in baking.

Ready? Let’s jump right in.

The Experiment

I seared steak cubes to put lots of different coconut oil substitutes to the test. 

Coconut oil comes from the kernel of mature coconuts and you can buy it in refined and unrefined forms.

Refined coconut oil has a mild, almost neutral flavor and can withstand heat up to 400F.

The unrefined variety has a more prominent nutty flavor and you can only use it for low-heat applications. 

Here are the substitutes I tested and my verdicts:

SubstitutesHow to SubstituteVerdict
Avocado OilReplace in a 1:1 ratio ((refined for high heat, unrefined for dressings)10/10
ButterReplace in a 1:1 ratio (use clarified butter or ghee for high-heat cooking)10/10
LardReplace in a 1:1 ratio10/10
Olive OilReplace in a 1:1 ratio9/10
Duck FatReplace in a 1:1 ratio9/10
ShorteningReplace in a 1:1 ratio (for baking or deep-frying)8/10
Almond OilReplace in a 1:1 ratio (refined for high heat, unrefined for dressings and baking)8/10
ApplesauceReplace in a 1:1 ratio (only for baking)9/10

Common uses for coconut oil and the best substitutes

Here are some popular ways to use coconut oil and the best substitutes for those situations:

  • Baking and desserts: Try using avocado oil, butter, olive oil, or shortening. Shortening is particularly good for pastries.
  • Frying, roasting, and stir-frying: Try using avocado oil, olive oil, lard, or duck fat. Duck fat is perfect if you want a savory flavor, and ghee (made from butter) is good if you want more of a nutty flavor.
  • Vinaigrettes and marinades: Try using extra-virgin olive oil or almond oil. Go for a good quality oil for best results.

Avocado oil

Like coconut oil, you can get refined avocado oil or ‘extra virgin’ (or unrefined).

The refined option boasts the highest smoke point of all cooking oils (500F), and a very neutral taste, making it a perfect all-rounder. 

Stir-frying, roasting, deep-frying – you name it, avocado oil can do it all.

And it’s loaded with good-for-you fats (the monosaturated kind, compared to the saturated fats in coconut oil) and Vitamin E, making it the healthier choice.

The extra virgin option has a pleasant grassy taste, similar to the actual fruits.

The only downside is it is pricier than coconut oil.

Psst… here are some more neutrally-flavored oils that contain unsaturated fats you could also use:

  • Canola oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Corn oil 

How to substitute: Replace coconut oil in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with avocado oil or your choice of plainly-flavored cooking oil.


Butter. The timeless classic that never disappoints. 

It’s a no-brainer substitute for coconut oil when it comes to baking.

The only problem with butter is it can’t handle high temperatures well, so you can’t use it for serious frying.

BUT with a bit more effort and an extra 15 minutes, you can transform your regular butter into clarified butter or ghee

Now you’ve got a high-heat champ that can handle temperatures up to 465F!

And both have a richer flavor that gave my steak bites an extra indulgent flavor.

How to substitute: Replace coconut oil in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with butter, or use clarified butter or ghee for high-heat cooking. In baking, the butter will give your good a chewier texture.


Lard is another excellent alternative to coconut oil in baking, frying, or grilling. Its main advantage is cost – it’s super budget friendly.

Lard is rendered from pork fat, but it has no prominent flavor (just like refined coconut oil), so it won’t leave any noticeable aftertaste. 

You can buy good quality lard cheaply from your local butcher, or find it in your local grocery store.

Or you can make your own with pork fat scraps. The process is straightforward, you just need patience. Check out Daring Gourmet’s guide for more details.

How to substitute: Replace coconut oil in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with lard.

Olive oil

If you’re keen on avoiding saturated fats, olive oil is a good alternative to coconut oil.

Pure olive or light olive oil is the way to go if you want something neutral that you can treat as an all-purpose cooking oil. 

And use extra virgin olive oil for finishing dishes and vinaigrettes, where you can enjoy its subtle but noticeable fruity notes.

How to substitute: Replace coconut oil in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with olive oil. 

Duck fat

Duck fat is a nice substitute if you’re looking for something more flavorful than coconut oil.  

It boasts a deeply savory, buttery flavor that made my steak bites SO moreish. 

The caveat with this substitute (why is there always a ‘but’?!) is it’s more expensive than coconut oil.

Pro tip: a practical trick I use to make my duck fat last longer is to mix it with a cheaper, neutral-flavored oil.

This will reduce the richness, but your dishes will get a subtle “oomph”.

Psst… if you have goose fat this is very similar.

How to substitute: Replace coconut oil in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with duck fat.


Shortening is a reliable alternative to coconut oil that won’t let you down. 

Although it’s typically used in baking for getting delicious flaky pie crusts and tender cookies, shortening can also hold its own in the deep-frying arena. 

Psst… it’s best to avoid using shortening too often because of its high saturated fat content.

How to substitute: Replace coconut oil in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with shortening when baking or deep-frying.

Almond oil

Almond oil, a truly versatile gem, has much more to offer than meets the eye.

Like refined coconut oil, refined almond oil has a neutral flavor and can withstand intense heat, making it great for all cooking methods. 

While the unrefined version has a mildly nutty flavor similar to virgin coconut oil and will add an extra dimension to salad dressings and dips.

And don’t forget about baking! The unrefined version’s subtle nuttiness can elevate cookies, cakes, and pastries to new heights of deliciousness.

How to substitute: Replace coconut oil in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with almond oil.

Other substitutes to consider 

The options listed above are my top alternatives for coconut oil, but really you can use any fat or cooking oil!

As long as the smoke point and flavor are suitable for your dish. You’re good to go.

Here are some other substitutes you can consider using: 

  • Bacon grease  Bacon is grease is NEXT LEVEL tasty, so you need to be careful it doesn’t overwhelm your dish. Like with duck fat, you can mix it with a more neutral oil.
  • Schmaltz – this is another flavorful alternative to coconut oil (although it’s not as strong as bacon grease). It’s super easy to make yourself at home.
  • Beef tallow – tallow is very similar to lard, but less common. It’s got no real flavor, but I think it still adds a meaty essence to your dishes. 
  • Hazelnut oil – this has a sweet, nutty flavor that’ll go great with baked goods. A big con is it’s pricier than coconut oil and the other substitutes on the list. 
  • Food-grade shea butter – shea butter is a common ingredient in beauty products, but food-grade shea butter also works as a coconut oil substitute. It has a strong, nutty taste that’ll remind you of coconut oil. But you need to order this online because it’s not easy to find!

Hemp oil – Substitute to avoid

Hemp oil was suggested as a good substitute on other blogs so I decided to try it. But I found that the oil had a much more robust nutty flavor than coconut oil that overwhelmed my steak bites.

For a dessert or a more delicate dish I think the effect would be even worse! It also wasn’t easy to find.

Psst… if you like the flavor I can see it being good as a finishing oil or as a base for a vinaigrette.

Best Coconut Oil Substitutes [Tired And Tested]

I tested loads of coconut oil substitutes to find the best one.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Ingredient
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: coconut oil substitutes, substitutes for coconut oil
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Total Time: 9 minutes
Servings: 1 person
Calories: 117kcal


  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp lard
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp duck fat
  • 1 tbsp shortening
  • 1 tbsp almond oil


  • Cook your meal according to the recipe.
  • Add your chosen coconut oil substitute at the appropriate cooking time.
  • Mix until thoroughly combined and continue with the recipe


Serving: 1tbsp | Calories: 117kcal

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