I’ve personally taste-tested a variety of corn 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.
You can use most neutral cooking oils in place of corn oil. Peanut oil, canola oil, refined coconut oil, or avocado oil are all good options. If you’re looking for something more flavorful, then try butter or schmaltz (rendered chicken fat).
Ready? Let’s jump right in.
I seared a batch of steak cubes to try out different corn oil substitutes.
Corn oil is a cooking fat extracted from the germ of corn. It has a neutral taste and can withstand heat up to 450F before it starts breaking down.
Here are the substitutes I tested and my verdicts:
|Substitutes||How to Substitute||Verdict|
|Other cooking oils||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||10/10|
|Butter (Clarified/Ghee)||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||10/10|
|Tallow||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||9/10|
|Duck Fat||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||9/10|
|Lard||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||8/10|
|Schmaltz||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||8/10|
|Margarine||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||8/10|
Common uses of corn oil and the best substitutes
Here are some popular ways to use corn oil and the best substitutes for those situations:
- For high-heat cooking methods (sauteing, deep-frying, etc.): Try using peanut oil or tallow. Butter also works, but only after you turn it into clarified butter.
- For baking and roasting: Try using other cooking oils, butter, duck fat, or schmaltz. You can also use margarine, but it has a more artificial flavor that some people wont like.
- For vinaigrettes and marinades: Try using other cooking oils. They have a neutral flavor, so they won’t interfere with the rest of the ingredients.
Other cooking oils
There’s a whole host of cooking oils for you can use instead of corn oil – the options below are all neutrally flavored so you won’t taste them in your dish.
And they all have relatively high smoke points (compared to corn oils 450°F), so you can use them in in all the same ways (baking, deep frying, sautéing):
- Peanut oil: 450°F (232°C)
- Canola oil: 400°F (204°C)
- Sunflower oil: 440°F (227°C)
- Grapeseed oil: 420°F (216°C)
- Safflower oil: 450°F (232°C)
- Coconut oil (refined): 450°F (232°C)
- Light olive oil: 375°F (191°C) for extra virgin, 468°F (242°C) for extra light
- Vegetable oil: varies depending on the blend, but typically around 400-450°F (204-232°C)
- Avocado oil: 520°F (271°C)
Some of these oils will be more expensive than others, and some are considered more healthy.
For example, avocado oil is a heart healthy oil because it’s low in saturated fats. But it’s also one of of most expensive oils!
Canola oil tends to be very wallet friendly.
Psst… avoid unrefined oils like extra virgin olive oil because these have a much stronger flavor than corn oil.
How to substitute: Replace corn oil in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with your chosen cooking oil.
Pretty much everyone has some butter in their fridge, and it can make a delicious stand in for corn oil.
Butter is great for baking, and will add a rich, creamy flavor you won’t get with corn oil.
But it’s got a low smoke point (around 302F), which is a drawback when you’re wanting to cook with heat.
But don’t worry!
You can easily turn regular butter into clarified butter which has a smoke point of 465F (higher than corn oils smoke point!).
Simply heat the butter over low heat to separate the milk solids from the fat.
A quick pro-tip: remember to store your homemade ghee in a cool, dark place so it’ll last for months.
How to substitute: Replace corn oil in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with clarified butter or ghee.
Tallow is rendered beef or mutton fat. It’s pretty neutral tasting but will bring a meaty essence to whatever you’re cooking.
I loved it with my steak cubes – the added meatiness really worked wonders!
And if you want to take things a step further you can get herb-infused tallow (yum).
Your local butcher shop should be able to hook you up with some high-quality tallow, or you can try looking for a tub at your neighborhood Walmart (although it’s not the cheapest thing to buy).
How to substitute: Replace corn oil in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with tallow.
Now, let’s talk about a more flavorful alternative to corn oil: duck fat.
Its smoke point is slightly lower than corn oil, at about 375F, but it can still easily handle most frying and roasting tasks.
And oh, the flavor it brings!
Imagine a rich and gamey fat, with sweet, buttery undertones. Duck fat can effortlessly elevates your dishes to new heights.
The only downside? It’s pretty pricey, so you might want to reserve this for special occasions. Or you can mix it with a cheaper oil (think vegetable oil) so you still get a hint of the delicious taste.
How to substitute: Replace corn oil in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with duck fat.
Schmaltz is another animal fat you can try if you’d like to shake things up.
It’s rendered from chicken fat, which gives it a caramelized chicken flavor (don’t underestimate how moreish it will be).
The fat worked nicely with my steak cubes, but I think it would really shine for sautéing milder things like zuchinni.
Pssst… you can even spread this on toast for an extra special morning treat.
How to substitute: Replace corn oil in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with schmaltz.
Lard is similar to tallow, but much cheaper and more readily available in the shops.
It’s neutral-flavored, like corn oil, making it a seamless substitute in most recipes.
But lard’s biggest draw is the incredible richness it brings to dishes. It added something extra to my steak cubes that’s hard to describe but was yummy.
One downside to lard is it’s high in saturated fats which aren’t so great for your heart. So it’s not the best idea to cook with it too often.
How to substitute: Replace corn oil in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with lard.
Margarine is another budget-friendly alternative to corn oil.
Unlike its cousin butter, it can tolerate heat up to 430F right out of the box, making it suitable for baking, sautéing, and frying.
It gave my steak cubes a pretty nice sear, although I could taste some artificial buttery flavor.
But it’s nothing a good gravy can’t fix!
How to substitute: Replace corn oil in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with margarine.
Other substitutes to consider
The options above are my top picks for replacing corn oil with, but they’re not the only options.
Here are some other suggestions:
- Shortening – is an excellent alternative to corn oil because it boasts a neutral taste and high smoke point. Its solid-at-room-temperature form makes it especially great for baking, where it contributes to tender, flaky pastries.
- Bacon grease – reusing bacon grease in place of corn oil will add a delightful smoky flavor to your dishes. Save it for moderate-heat applications though (to avoid burning it).
Avoid using palm oil
Palm oil is one of the cheapest cooking oils on the market.
It’s flavorless and can withstand high temperatures, so it’ll work as a substitute for corn oil.
But over the recent years, palm oil has come under fire for causing several environmental problems, so I recommend trying the other alternatives instead.
9 Best Corn Oil Substitutes + 1 To Avoid
- 1 tbsp other cooking oils
- 1 tbsp butter (ghee/clarified butter)
- 1 tbsp tallow
- 1 tbsp duck fat
- 1 tbsp lard
- 1 tbsp schmaltz
- 1 tbsp margarine
- Cook your meal according to the recipe.
- Add your chosen corn oil substitute at the appropriate cooking time.
- Mix until thoroughly combined and continue with the recipe.