Can You Use Olive Oil in Place of Vegetable Oil?


There isn’t a nutritionist that doesn’t recommend the consumption of olive oil over vegetable oil. Packed with some of the healthiest fats, olive oil wears the crown for being the ‘healthy oil’.

But what if a recipe calls for vegetable oil? Can you actually substitute it with olive oil or will that sacrifice the taste?

oliver oil - Can You Use Olive Oil in Place of Vegetable Oil?

Olive Oil

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How Are Olive Oil and Vegetable Oil Different?

It is a common knowledge that olive oil is one of the healthiest ingredients your kitchen can be packed with, so it is a no-brainer that you will benefit more by consuming olive oil in place of vegetable oil. But, health benefits aside, how are these oils different and how can using one over the other hurt the final result of the meal?

Olive Oil

First of all, let’s start with the olive oil. Olive oil is made from olives and it is pressed oil. And by pressed I mean just that. Pressed, squeezed, juices extracted. The olive oil retains the flavor and aroma of the olives.

That’s why it is far healthier than any other oil.  Want to learn about the health benefits of olive oil? Check out what Dr. Axe has to say

Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil is made from vegetables.  It can be either one kind or a mixture of two or more. But that is not why this oil is less healthy.

Vegetable oils aren’t exactly beneficial for our health due to the fact that they are refined. And being refined means that it is treated with chemicals. They are neutralized with alkalis and the end result is a flavorless, bland taste. Comparing to the olive oil, which is nutty and fruity, the vegetable oil tastes like, well, nothing.

That being said, your kitchen should have both, olive oil and vegetable oil on hand so you can use the appropriate kind each time. But although the taste is quite different, there are times when the one can be used over the other, even if the recipe suggests otherwise.

canola oil - Can You Use Olive Oil in Place of Vegetable Oil?

Canola Oil. Image Source:

Cooking with Olive Oil

Whether it is acceptable for you to simply use olive oil if a recipe calls for vegetable oil depends on what you are using the oil for. If you are looking to use it for raw salads and uncooked meals, it is not only acceptable, but highly recommended to use olive oil, not vegetable oil.

But, when it comes to cooking, things get a little bit trickier. And here is why.

How to Use Olive Oil in Cooking Properly

Olive Oil, especially extra-virgin olive oil is packed with phenolic compounds that get absorbed by the food that you are frying, which only increases the nutritious value of the meal you are preparing. That is why you see all these chefs sautéing their onions and garlic in olive oil.

So yes, you can cook fry with olive oil. However, you should only cook with olive oil at relatively low temperatures like for sautéing purposes.

Olive Oil On High Heat?

When it comes to cooking at high heat, like for instance for frying, pan searing, or intense stir-frying, in those cases, olive oil is not recommended. Why? Because olive oil breaks down easily.

Olive oil, compared to vegetable oils, has a much lower smoke point. That means that if cooking with it at high temperature, it will start to smoke. And besides the fact that at this point the oil loses all of the nutritional value, it will be a total waste to use such expensive oil for this type of cooking.

And if that doesn’t convince you to stick to the vegetable oils when frying food on high heat, maybe the following fact will.

When heated past its smoke point, olive oil not only loses its healthy fat content, but it transforms into a source of unhealthy fats.

cooking with olive oil - Can You Use Olive Oil in Place of Vegetable Oil?

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Vegetable Oils For High-Heat Cooking

Vegetable oil, on the other hand, has a much higher burning point, which makes it ideal for cooking at high temperatures such as deep frying.

When in need to cook something at high heat, choose canola oil, sunflower oil, or grapeseed oil. Leave the EVOO for other cooking methods or drizzling over salads, when you can actually get your money’s worth and truly benefit from all of the healthy fats.

Baking with Olive Oil

Now that you know that olive oil can be used for cooking, but only at low to medium cooking temperatures and never for deep-frying or pan-searing, let’s see whether it is a good idea to use this oil for baking.

Should I Use Olive Oil For Baking?

Let’s imagine that you are making a cake and the recipe calls for ½ cup of vegetable oil. Unfortunately, you have nothing but olive oil in your kitchen. Can you actually use this to bake the cake?

If your primary concern here is the taste, you are most certainly right. Olive oil is not recommended for baking (except for nutty flavored Mediterranean muffins and other baked goods) because of its strong flavor.

Unlike the vegetable oil which will literally give no taste to the baked goods, olive oil will taste, well, olivy. It will certainly affect the final result.

baking with olove oil - Can You Use Olive Oil in Place of Vegetable Oil?

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How To Use Olive Oil For Baking?

But that doesn’t mean that you cannot use it for baking. The only thing you need to do is make sure that the impact of the strong flavor that the olive oil has, is reduced.

The best possible strategy is to choose extra light olive oil. These are oils that are refined and have a much blander test than the pressed oils. If you have such kind of olive oil handy, do not be afraid to substitute the exact amount of vegetable oil with light olive oil.

If you didn’t have light or refined olive oil, but do have some vegetable oil in your kitchen, you can always try the half-half approach. Use half the amount of vegetable oil and replace the remaining oil with olive oil. This will knock down the strength of the flavored and will not negatively affect the taste of the cake.

Remember, as long as you don’t mind the strong flavor, you can indeed replace vegetable oil with olive oil. The only one cooking method that olive oil is not recommended for is cooking at really high temperatures. For such dished, stick to your canola oil instead.

Hope that you have found the answer for your questions about such an ordinary yet important thing in our daily life. Now I’d like to introduce to you my chosen 5 Air Fryer recipes that you may not want to miss.

Enjoy your cooking adventures and see you in my other articles about food tips!


About Author

Hi, I’m Jennie who loves cooking and fascinated by healthy lifestyle. I set up this website to share with you all I know about cooking and making our kitchen a better place :)

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