Substitution for Oil in Baking Brownies

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Whether you are trying to lose weight, lower your cholesterol or limit your fat, finding healthy substitutes to incorporate in your favorite recipes can help you achieve your goal. You may not think of brownies as a healthy food, but substituting oil in brownies for healthier options can increase the vitamin content and lower fat, cholesterol and calories. Creating a healthier and tasty brownie may be easier than you think.


Applesauce is a healthful substitute for oil, butter or margarine in brownies, cakes and cookies. Most applesauce contains no fat or cholesterol. Use unsweetened applesauce over the sweetened variety to ensure you are not adding unnecessary calories. In your brownie recipe, substitute half the oil with applesauce. For example, if your recipe calls for one cup of oil, use one-half cup of applesauce and one-half cup of oil.

Prune Puree

Homemade prune puree, baby food prunes or store-bought prune puree can substitute for oil in chocolate cake and brownies. Prune puree works especially well in chocolate products like brownies because it provides moisture and sweetness. Replace half the oil with prune puree.


Yogurt can substitute for all or part of the oil in homemade brownie recipes because it contributes to the moisture and texture. Choose nonfat yogurt to reduce the fat content in brownies. When baking brownies from a box recipe, substitute one-half cup of fat-free yogurt for one-half cup of oil and two eggs.

Substitution Products

Two shortening imitation products manufactured to replace fats and oils were used as substitutes in a 2004 taste-test research project conducted by the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences at Central Washington University. One of the fat-free shortening substitutes made with coconut extract replaced 50 percent of the oil in a fudge brownie mix and yielded no significant taste differences when compared with brownies made with 100 percent oil. The other shortening substitute made with palm fraction replaced 100 percent of the shortening in a brownie mix. Brownies made with this palm fraction substitute was found to taste as good as brownies made using butter and oil.