How to Substitute Olive Oil for Vegetable Oil When Baking

olive oil
Olive oil is increasingly making its way into baked goods. (Image: Luis Carlos Jiménez del Río/iStock/Getty Images)

Olive oil producers and nutritionists tout the health benefits of olive oil, yet the strong taste and thick texture make it less desirable for some taste buds. Although its virtuosity as a baking ingredient has its challengers, few chefs dispute the fact that extra virgin oil oil is superior in quality to standard vegetable oils. Few baked goods recipes call for olive oil, so you must adapt your cooking process accordingly.

Lighten Up

Olive oil's stronger flavor makes it an issue in baked goods, so the focus is on reducing the impact of the flavor. The best strategy is to use extra light olive oil in place of the vegetable oil called for in the recipe, without changing the quantity. Olive oil generally works better in main dishes, such as lasagna, rather than in breads and desserts. The exception is Mediterranean-style fruitcakes, biscotti and muffins that have a savory or nutty flavor. Olive oil tends to enhance fruit or vegetable loaves, such as pumpkin, cranberry or zucchini.

Less Is More

If you don't have extra light olive oil on hand, use a half and half approach. Mix half of the required vegetable oil with an equal amount of extra light olive oil. If substituting olive oil for butter in a recipe, use 3 tablespoons of olive oil for each 1/4 cup of melted butter.

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