If the flavor combination of chocolate and olive oil piques your interest, then using olive oil as a substitute for vegetable oil in brownies might be a great choice. It's also a viable option if you don't have vegetable oil on hand.
While using olive oil instead of vegetable oil won't compromise the texture or structure of your brownies, you will definitely be able to taste its distinct flavor in the final product.
If you'd prefer to stay close to the classic brownie flavor, opt for a milder variety of olive oil, or choose a substitute from one of the items already in your kitchen.
While olive oil can be substituted for vegetable oil in your brownie recipe, you will likely taste the difference.
Keeping the Tradition Alive
Typically, brownies call for the use of melted butter or vegetable oil as the fat in a recipe. Vegetable is the preferred oil because it has a mild flavor that you won't be able to detect in the final product.
Melted butter, on the other hand, will add richness and produce a slightly chewier product. Both fats will produce traditional-tasting brownies, but many cooks stray from the box and incorporate other flavors.
Read more: Is Canola Oil More Healthy Than Olive Oil?
Subbing in the Olive Oil
Using olive oil instead of vegetable oil will give your brownies a fruity, slightly bitter taste that can be a great complement to chocolate. When choosing the right olive oil substitute, you may want to opt for a milder flavor so as not to overpower the brownies. To this end, refined olive oil makes a better choice than extra-virgin.
Swapping olive oil into your brownies will not only add an unexpected flavor, but will also provide you with a healthier fat than butter. Although all of these products are 100 percent fat, olive oil contains less saturated fat than butter and similar amounts of saturated fat to vegetable oil, making it a healthy choice, according to Mayo Clinic.
According to the USDA, 1 tablespoon of butter contains 7.29 grams of saturated fat and most vegetable oils, such as corn oil, contain close to 2 grams, while olive oil also contains only 1.86 grams for the same serving size.
Experiment With Healthier Options
In general, you can interchange many different types of oil in baking. There are several varieties of mild-flavored oils, such as canola and corn oils, that can seamlessly replace vegetable oil in your recipe. Coconut oil is a good way to jazz up your brownies since it adds a light flavor twist to the final product without the need for additional toppings.
If olive oil is your only available oil for brownies, but you'd rather avoid an olive oil flavor altogether, there are a few non-oil alternatives that can serve as substitutions. Applesauce can be interchanged with oil, as suggested by a USDA Foods Product Information Sheet.
Take them out early when using applesauce as a replacement for vegetable oil in brownies and test them with a toothpick, as they can cook up a little more quickly. Expect your brownies to have a slightly different taste and texture — brownies with yogurt tend to be richer, and brownies with fruit tend to be more cake-like.
- USDA FoodData Central: "Oil, Olive, Salad or Cooking"
- USDA FoodData Central: "Butter, Salted"
- Mayo Clinic: "If Olive Oil is High in Fat, Why is it Considered Healthy?"
- USDA Foods Product Information Sheet: "Applesauce, Canned, Unsweetened"
- MyFoodData: "Nutrition Facts for Corn Oil"
- Olive Oil Times: Olive Oil Guide - Mild
- New York Times: Olive Oil and Coconut Brownies