Can You Use Vegetable Oil Instead of Olive Oil or Vice Versa?

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Oils are an important constituent of cooking, and the oil you choose can determine how your food will taste, its texture, and how healthy or nutritious it will be. 

Considering all this, it’s important to think rationally when choosing oil. But one thing about oils that’s pretty prevalent is the constant debate on which one is the healthier and better option: vegetable or olive oil. 

Another thing that many people keep wondering about when it comes to oils is the possibility of replacing different oils with one another. If we ignore the nutritious and health benefits of different oils, in the end, they all serve the same purpose, i.e., cook the food. So, there might be nothing wrong with using one oil instead of the other. 

I have compiled a detailed guide for you addressing the question: “Can you use vegetable oil instead of olive oil?.” I will also take you through the similarities and differences between both oils, along with answering some questions you might have regarding replacing oils with each other in different recipes. So, keep reading to find all you have been looking for. 


What Is Vegetable Oil? How Is It Made? 

Vegetable oil, as the name suggests, comes from vegetables, but this isn’t the only source of its production. This oil can be extracted from various plants, including coconuts, olives, avocadoes, etc. Generally, the staple cooking oil of most households is vegetable oil. 

Regarding the flavor or taste of vegetable oil, it is light and neutral, making it the right choice for foods that need to be cooked without too much-added fat. The use of vegetable oil isn’t just limited to cooking food, as this extends to baking and frying too. 

While using vegetable oil, you need to be careful about one thing, i.e., its boiling point comes earlier than other oils, so whenever you are using this oil for frying, keep the flame low to prevent the oil from burning. 

As far as making vegetable oil is concerned, different vegetables are first crushed, and then, using oil extraction machines, the oil is extracted from them. This extracted oil and the crushed vegetables are then heated with a gas named hexane to extract the remaining oil from the vegetables. 

The extracted oil, at this point, is filled with impurities which are removed through a refining process along with the bleach in the extracted liquid. Finally, the oil is deodorized before packaging. 

You can check out this guide to explore more about oil deodorizing. 


What Is Olive Oil? What Are Its Different Types & How Is It Made? 

As evident from the name, olive oil is the oil that comes from olives. Though it is also a sub-category of vegetable oil, the vegetable used in this process is olive. 

The use of olive oil dates back centuries and has immense uses in the cooking, dressing, and medicinal industry. Olive oil is especially known for its healing properties. You must have seen your grandmother recommending you apply this oil to the wounds and even the hair to tame their frizz. 

Olive oil comes in different types, i.e., Extra-virgin olive oil, which most people generally prefer, and light olive oil. As the name suggests, light olive oil features a lighter and milder taste and is generally used for sauteing and sometimes frying (as its smoke point is high). 

Extra virgin olive oil, on the other hand, has the strongest and most dominating taste, which is why it’s best used for salad dressing and cooking purposes. It is also sometimes used as a dip for veggies and bread. 

The making of olive oil is the same as vegetable oil, with the only difference being that, here, only olives are used instead of a mix of different vegetables. 


How Do Vegetable Oil & Olive Oil Differ From Each Other? 

Now that you have looked at a brief introduction to both vegetable and olive oil, let’s take you through some differences between these two oils so you can better understand if they are suitable replacements for each other or not. 

  • Processing 

The first thing in which vegetable and olive oil vary in their processing. Though we have seen earlier that the extraction process for both oils is the same, the only difference is that vegetable oil uses more than one vegetable. In contrast, olive oil uses only olives to extract oil; their processing is different. 

Vegetable oil goes through processing numerous times to develop different kinds of vegetable oils, like palm oil, soya bean oil, sunflower oil, etc. Olive oil, on the contrary, doesn’t need recurrent processing, and the most processed form of olive oil is extra virgin olive oil. 

  • Fat Content 

Another thing that makes vegetable and olive oil different is their fat content. As far as olive oil is concerned, it comprises 14% saturated and 73% unsaturated fat. However, the fat content of vegetable oil varies depending on the kind of oil you are dealing with. 

For instance, coconut oil has the highest saturated fat of 92%, while sunflower and canola oils have the least saturated fat, i.e., 9% and 6%, respectively. 

  • Nutrients

Both these oils also greatly vary in their nutrient content. Due to recurrent processing, the vitamins and nutrients left in vegetable oil are minimum. On the other hand, olive oil has a high content of Vitamins E & Vitamin K, especially extra virgin olive oil. 

Since olive oil is comparatively richer in nutrients and vitamin content, it is known for its curative and health properties. This is why you would see this oil recommended by most dietitians as a healthy option. 

  • Antioxidants 

If you don’t know already, antioxidants have numerous health benefits. For instance, they are considered excellent for eye and brain health, help in a smooth and healthy aging process, aid in efficient brain functioning, can reduce inflammation, and help in quicking the process of mental health improvement. 

Olive oil is known to be packed with antioxidants, unlike vegetable oil with no antioxidants in them, making the former a healthier oil option. 

You can check out this guide to learn more about the health benefits of antioxidants. 

Here is a table for you to better understand the difference between vegetable and olive oil.


Olive Oil Vegetable Oil
Antioxidants  High Content No 
Nutrients Rich in Vit E and K Minimal Nutrients 
Processing Low High
Fat Content 14% saturated, 73% unsaturated Varies depending on the oil type 
Source  Olives Different Vegetables 


What Are Some Similarities Between Vegetable Oil & Olive Oil? 

Before taking you to the main concern, i.e., can vegetable oil replace olive oil or vice versa, it’s important to help you understand the similarities between these two oils. This way, you can better understand where replacing them with each other would make sense. 

Here I have enlisted some similarities between vegetable and olive oil for you: 

  • Smoke Point 

Both vegetable and olive oil have comparable smoke points, with the latter featuring a smoke point ranging 390 degrees Fahrenheit to the former having a smoke point of 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 

This makes vegetable and olive oil a good replacement for each other, whether you are planning to fry the food deep or just aiming at sauteing or shallow frying the food items. 

  • Flavor 

Though the two major types of olive oil, i.e., extra virgin olive oil and light olive oil, have strong flavors compared to vegetable oil, you can find another type of olive oil called pomace oil.

This is low in nutrient content and only features macronutrients, if any, due to which the taste and flavor of this olive oil are almost similar to vegetable oil, i.e., mild. This makes olive oil a good replacement for vegetable oil, even in daily cooking and baking, especially when you are planning to make brownies. 


Can Vegetable Oil Replace Olive Oil or Vice Versa? 

Now that you know what vegetables and olive oil are made of and have looked at their similarities and differences, let’s move toward whether they can replace each other in different cooking styles and recipes. 

I have categorized this section based on the cooking type to help you understand which oil works best in which kind of cooking. 

  • Baking 

As far as baking is concerned, both vegetable and olive oil can be used for making desserts. However, as in baking, the oil is added to the main recipe and mixed with dry ingredients. After baking, the ingredients’ taste remains intact; you have to be sure that the oil you are using doesn’t have an overpowering taste. 

Though the best thing you can do here is to use either vegetable oil or pomace olive oil, considering that both these oils have a mild flavor, it won’t affect the recipe too much, even if you go for extra virgin or light olive oil. 

In short, though it would be better to use vegetable oil when you are baking, here both the oils can safely replace each other, but in the case of olive oil, you might feel a little overpowering taste of the oil. 

  • Pan-Frying

The next cooking category up here is sauteing or pan-frying. As I have explained earlier, olive and vegetable oil have comparable smoke points, so it’s safe to use them both for sauteing. 

However, if you are looking to make healthier recipes and don’t want to compromise on the nutrient content of your food, it’s recommended to go for olive oil. That being said, both vegetable and olive oil can be used as a replacement for each other when it comes to pan-frying. 

  • Salads and Seasoning 

This is one category where it’s hard to say that both olive and vegetable oil can be used instead of each other. Vegetable oil is the staple cooking oil of most households, but its taste and fragrance are not something you would love raw, as in salad dressings or for seasoning. 

Since olive oil is a lot more pleasant in its fragrance and has a lighter texture than vegetable oil, it’s best to use olive oil as dressings for salads and as an external seasoning. This is one cooking type where they both can’t really replace each other. 

  • Frying 

The last thing on the list is frying which involves a lot more technicalities and cooking characteristics of the oil you aim for than any other category I have discussed here. Though both vegetable and olive oil have almost similar smoke points, vegetable oils’ smoke point is a little higher, allowing them to bear higher temperatures best. 

This, however, doesn’t mean that you cannot use olive oil for the same purpose, considering that its smoke point isn’t too low either. So, to put it simply, though it’s best to use vegetable oil for deep drying, olive oil can also safely replace it. 

Note: You can check out this YouTube video to know more about what can substitute vegetable oil in a recipe. 



Is It Possible to Replace Olive Oil With Vegetable Oil When Baking? 

Yes, any baking recipe using vegetable oil as a wet ingredient can easily replace olive oil with a swap ratio of one-to-one. 

Is It Safe to Use Ghee In Place of Olive Oil? 

Yes, it is totally safe and recommended to use ghee instead of olive oil in a recipe, considering that both these options are rich in nutrients and are known to be pretty healthy. However, when replacing olive oil with ghee, keep the ratio one-to-one, i.e., use the same amount of ghee as that of the oil you would normally use in that recipe. 

Can Water Replace Olive Oil in Recipes? 

Yes, when it comes to sauteing or pan-frying, water is the best option to use instead of olive oil. But one thing you need to be mindful of when using water in a recipe is that your recipe won’t taste as good as it would with olive oil. Also, using water leaves you with a lot of work later on for washing the pan. 


Conclusion – Can You Use Vegetable Oil Instead of Olive Oil or Vice Versa?

In this guide, I have provided you with a brief introduction to both olive and vegetable oils and explained a bit about their making. I have also taken you through some similarities and differences between these two oils to help you understand them better. 

This write-up also included some straightforward answers on whether or not vegetable oil can be used instead of olive oil or vice versa in recipes by dividing the part into different cooking categories.  

Hopefully, now you have a better idea of which oil is best to use in which cooking segment and when it is safe to interchange them. Thanks for reading through the end. 


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