Avocado oil is one of the most versatile, albeit expensive, cooking oils around.
In general, a cooking oil will either provide great flavor or a high smoke point. Avocado oil is one of the few that can do both.
While there might not be a perfect one-oil-fits-all avocado oil alternative, you can get pretty close if you know what to look for. Plus, you might even save a few bucks in the process.
After working in professional kitchens for over a decade, and basically making substitutions for a living, here are the 7 best avocado oil substitutes to get you through any recipe.
What Can I Substitute For Avocado Oil?
1. Safflower Oil
Safflower oil is made from the seeds of a flowering plant similar to sunflowers. And if you’re looking for an oil that can match the incredibly high 520 F smoke point of avocado oil, safflower oil is about as close as you’re going to get.
Ok, so safflower oil maxes out at only 510 F, but for day-to-day cooking it might as well be the same. Very few home chefs will be cooking hotter than that.
Safflower oil has a more neutral flavor than avocado oil. That means you can use it as a substitute without worrying about adding any additional flavors to a recipe. And just like most of the oils on this list, you should be able to save a few bucks per bottle compared to the real thing.
2. Rice Bran Oil
Rice bran oil is made by pressing the hard outer layers of brown rice grains, a.k.a. rice chaff, husk, or hull. The resulting oil is a great all-purpose cooking oil that works well as an avocado oil substitute.
Rice bran oil does not have quite as high a smoke point as avocado oil, but at 490 F it still handles high heat cooking very well. This oil can be used raw or in cooking applications, and I’ve found it to be the go-to deep-frying oil in many professional kitchens.
Pro Tip: rice bran oil is often used to fill restaurant deep fryers. That means you can buy it in bulk at restaurant supply stores for a fraction of the price compared to your everyday grocery store.
3. Olive Oil
One great quality of avocado oil is that it has a high smoke point while also providing a rich flavor. And depending on what variety you choose, olive oil is one of the few substitutes that can fill both of those roles.
Extra virgin olive oil has lots of flavor but a low smoke point. So if you’re looking for an avocado alternative to use as a finishing or dipping oil, this is probably your best bet.
On the other hand, if you need a high heat oil substitute for sauteing, the further refined light olive oil has you covered. This option doesn’t have the same level of flavor, but it has a 450 F smoke point that makes it a great choice for all your cooking needs.
4. Grapeseed Oil
Grapeseed oil is made by pressing the hard seeds from different grape varieties. This oil is largely a byproduct of the wine industry, which is a perfect fit since the seeds are quite small, and you need a LOT of grapes to make the stuff.
As I worked in professional kitchens I would often find grapeseed oil used as THE all-purpose cooking oil in many of the best restaurants. It has a high smoke point like all of the other options here, but it’s the light and clean taste that makes this the go-to for many pros.
Reach for grapeseed oil as your avocado oil substitute when you want an oil that will completely disappear into the background of a dish.
5. Peanut Oil
Peanut oil can work as an all-purpose cooking oil, but I like to take advantage of its slight nuttiness for some specific uses.
While technically a neutral-flavored oil, you can definitely taste where this oil comes from. And that subtle peanut flavor, along with a 450 F smoke point makes this a perfect stir fry oil. Especially when it comes to the flavor profiles of Chinese, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisines.
Deep frying is another place where peanut oil excels, but it also works well in Asian-inspired dressings and other cold dishes.
6. Sunflower Oil
Sunflower oil is a good all-purpose kitchen oil, and probably the least expensive option on the list. And since avocado oil is one of the most expensive cooking oils around, sunflower oil makes for a great affordable alternative.
You can use sunflower oil as a direct substitute for avocado oil, and its neutral flavor won’t have any major impact on the taste of a dish. You also get a respectable 450 F smoke point, so you can use this for sauteing and pan-frying as well.
7. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil makes for a solid avocado oil substitute, with a couple of caveats. The first is that it’s literally solid when cold or at room temperature.
That means you wouldn’t want to use this as an oil in salad dressings or to drizzle over any cold dishes.
And second, coconut oil has a relatively strong flavor compared to most other alternatives. But, you can use that to your advantage if you know how to use it and what it pairs well with.
Pro Tip: The flavor and aroma of coconut oil tends to pair perfectly when used in dishes from places where coconuts naturally grow. Think Caribbean, Southeast Asian, African, and Indian cuisine.
Tips For Working With Avocado Oil Substitutes
Avocado oil is one of the few cooking oils that provides both flavor and an incredibly high smoke point all in one. And since there aren’t many substitutes that can do both, you may have to pick and choose your alternatives depending on what you’re making.
If you need a substitute finishing oil to be used at the end of the cooking process, extra virgin olive oil is definitely your best bet.
And if you would be using avocado oil for its high heat tolerance, you can go with just about any neutral-flavored cooking oil and you should be all set.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Use Olive Oil Instead Of Avocado Oil?
Yes, use extra virgin olive oil as a finishing oil or for low-temperature cooking. Or, reach for light olive oil for high heat applications.
What’s The Smoke Point Of Avocado Oil?
Avocado oil has a smoke point of around 520 F. Some unrefined, virgin avocado oils will have a slightly lower smoke point, but still close to 500 F.
Can I Use Butter Instead Of Avocado Oil?
Butter can be used as an avocado oil substitute in some baking or low-temperature cooking. But in general, it is not a very good substitute.