Can You Use Avocado Oil for Baking?
Bakers and cooks now have a variety of options when it comes to oils, and you can choose based on nutritional profiles as well as flavor. Or maybe you have run out of vegetable oil, and all you have is avocado oil left–can you use avocado oil for baking?
Yes, avocado oil is a great alternative to other oils in baked goods such as cakes and breads. It can be substituted 1:1 with the most common oils, such as canola oil, vegetable oil, or olive oil. Avocado oil makes moist and fluffy baked goods, has a mild flavor, and is a healthy fat.
Published: January 16, 2023.
You can substitute avocado oil for other oils when cooking or baking, and you may even find it is your favorite go-to oil choice. But read on for some tips when substituting avocado oil for other oils–where you can do so and what to avoid.
What is Avocado Oil?
Avocado oil is the latest addition to the specialty oil market, and it has a lot of new converts from other oils such as canola, olive, or vegetable. Why is this? Avocado oil has a lot of health benefits and can be part of a balanced diet. It also has a high smoke point and very mild flavor, so it is gaining favor as a cooking oil.
Avocado oil is rich in healthy fats (all oil is fat), such as oleic acid, which is a monounsaturated omega-9 fat. Only about 12% of avocado oil is saturated fats. Unsaturated fats have many more health benefits than saturated fats, and may reduce the risks of heart disease and even dementia.
Some studies have found that avocado oil can reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels while not affecting HDL (good) cholesterol. It may also help reduce blood pressure.
In addition, avocado oil has healthy antioxidants, may reduce arthritis, and may have positive effects on skin and eye health.
Can I Use Avocado Oil for Baking?
Yes, avocado oil is actually a great choice when making baked goods.
You can substitute avocado oil for pretty much any other oil your recipe might be calling for, whether it be canola oil, olive oil, or vegetable oil. It is a very versatile oil.
Is Avocado Oil Good For Baking?
We have all heard about the benefits of avocado oil, but baking is an exact science, and not just any substitute will do. Will your baked goods come out right and taste good?
If you are a purist and want your recipe to come out exactly as it has tasted before, then you might not want to change up your oils right away (especially if you are baking for a party or other event where it needs to be perfect).
But if you are willing to try something new, why not try avocado oil? It makes baked goods soft and moist, just like other oils or butter.
Is Avocado Oil Healthy for Baking?
Yes, the health benefits of avocado oil make it a very healthy alternative for baked goods.
You will have the benefits of increasing your intake of healthy, unsaturated fats, and you will get the benefits of all those antioxidants, too.
Can You Taste Avocado Oil In Baked Goods?
Avocados are for guacamole and toast, right? But cookies and cakes?
Avocado oil does have a taste to it, like all good oils. It tastes vaguely like an avocado, though that might just be a power of suggestion.
It does have a mild, grassy, almost butter-like flavor, but it actually has a more neutral flavor than olive oils do, which makes it a good substitute for baking oil.
Many cooks don’t think avocado oil adds any flavor or changes any flavor in baked goods, especially compared to olive oil. Baked goods made with avocado oil tend to taste identical to those made with canola or vegetable oil.
Should I Use Refined or Unrefined Avocado Oil in Baking?
Keep in mind that avocado oil comes in unrefined (“virgin” or “extra virgin”) and refined varieties.
What’s the difference? Unrefined oil will retain more of the nutrients and flavor of an avocado (though it is still a fairly neutral-tasting oil when used for baking).
Refined oils are processed and will contain less flavor and fewer nutrients, though if you want to use the most neutral-flavored oil you can for your baked goods, you may want to look at refined avocado oil.
Can I Use Avocado Oil Instead of Olive Oil in Baking?
You can now find recipes online that call for avocado oil specifically, such as avocado oil chocolate cake, but you can also just substitute avocado oil for canola, olive, or vegetable oil–provided the recipe doesn’t require the specific flavor profile of olive oil.
If you don’t like the flavor that olive oil adds to your baked goods, avocado oil is a good alternative to try. It provides a lot of the health benefits of olive oil–unsaturated fats, antioxidants, heart disease prevention–but doesn't have a strong olive flavor.
If you are looking to boost your antioxidant intake, however, olive oil is probably your best bet oil-wise. It packs a ton of potassium, calcium, iron, vitamin E, and vitamin K that avocado oil doesn’t have. Avocado oil has slightly more calories than olive oil.
Can I Use Avocado Oil Instead of Vegetable Oil in Baking?
Yes, avocado oil is a good alternative to vegetable oil. Avocado oil packs more monounsaturated fat, whereas vegetable oil is higher in polyunsaturated fats. Both are good for you, and neither contains a high amount of saturated fats.
Avocado oil has a higher smoke point than vegetable oil, so it is a good alternative for frying and cooking, though this can be important in many baked goods as well.
If you are using vegetable shortening (like Crisco), however, you should probably stick with a more solid fat when baking, such as butter or coconut oil as a substitute for vegetable shortening.
While you can swap avocado oil for other oils and shortening when cooking, baked goods will come out with a slightly different texture if you substitute oil for solid fats.
Can I Use Avocado Oil Instead of Butter in Baking?
As mentioned above, it generally isn’t a good idea to substitute oil for solid fats when baking (it is more acceptable when cooking). For that reason, substituting avocado oil for butter in baked goods probably won’t work out perfectly.
That said, you can use mashed avocado as a substitute for butter in baked goods. You can use the same amount of avocado as butter. Mashed avocado does all the work of butter in baking–it makes baked goods airy and light by incorporating moisture and air into the dough or batter.
Avocados are a great alternative if you want to reduce your saturated fat intake or are reducing your consumption of animal products.
Keep in mind that avocados might add a slight green tint to your baked goods! You may want to use avocados as a substitute in darker treats–like chocolate cake or zucchini bread. It might not work as well in sugar cookies or vanilla cupcakes, but you can always give it a try!
Drawbacks to Using Avocado Oil in Baking?
All of this sounds great, so why aren’t we all using avocado oil in our baked goods?
First of all, avocado oil is more expensive than many other oils that are common in baked goods, such as canola and vegetable oil.
Yes, there are health benefits to avocado oil, but you are only adding a little bit to your baked goods, so the health benefits might not outweigh the cost for many people.
Many people are allergic to avocados, so if you are baking for a group, you might want to ask about allergies before serving baked goods made with avocado oil. People with a latex allergy may also have a reaction to avocados and avocado oil.
Avocado production is linked to deforestation and has high carbon and water-footprints. Avocados are often shipped long distances, adding to their carbon footprint, and the cultivation of avocados requires a great deal of water.
That said, all oils have environmental drawbacks to consider. Experts recommend buying organic avocado oil, as it will come from smaller farms that do not contribute to deforestation at the same rate. Organic and fair trade oils are typically the most sustainable choices.
If you want to add a diversity of healthy oils to your diet, you can absolutely reach for avocado oil for both cooking and baking. This oil is neutral, just like vegetable or canola oil, and offers different health benefits than other oils.
You may have to do some experimenting to determine which oils are perfect for you as a baker and what works best for your recipes.
Keep in mind that avocado oil is also good for cooking (you can fry it at a very high temp, and the oil won’t burn like olive oil or vegetable oil), and it will last up to a year in your pantry. Why not give it a try?