Best Substitutes for Oil in Cake Mix: Transform Your Boxed Cake Mix

Starting a cake from a boxed mix is a great option if you find yourself in need of a quick and easy yet full flavor cake. Editing the recipe of your boxed cake mixes combines ease of use with a quality finished product.

Personally, I prefer to use butter in my baking including when I start with a boxed cake mix to help me save time and get more done each day.

I love to keep butter in the freezer for baking but there are a few other great substitutes I use for oil when I start with a boxed cake mix to help make it my own without making for any more work. The right substitute for oil can upgrade a box of cake mix.

Why should you substitute the oil in your cake mix?

How To Substitute Oil In Your Boxed Cake Mix For The Best Cakes Ever

Sometimes you simply need a substitute for oil in your cake mix because you forgot to grab the oil when you were at the store. This happens to us more often than most of us would like to admit, but it is not a reason to panic or take an extra trip to the grocery store.

As the baking season rolls in there is a major shortage of basics we need like wheat and oil in most areas due to multiple factors from drought to war affecting the food supply chain. Knowing how to substitute basics will keep you from being limited by what is available at the grocery store.

You may be looking for a substitution for oil in your favorite cake mix to improve the overall flavor and texture of your cakes to elevate them well beyond the standard cake mix taste.

Choosing an alternative to cheap vegetable or canola oil is a great way to make the most of your cakes without having to bake them fully from scratch.

What role does oil play in a cake?

Oil helps to give your cake the soft, tender texture that you know and love. For the overall best flavor and texture, you should substitute the oil in your cake mix for butter that can give it the best texture and make it tender and delicate.

If you do not have butter on hand or would like a healthier alternative, you can use one of these other great options.

What can you use as a substitute for oil in cake mix?

Melted butter  

The best alternative substitution for oil in your cake mixes is melted butter. Melted butter can take any standard general mills or Betty Crocker cake mix and give it a rich, delicate texture that can elevate it beyond a typical cake mix into a flavorful cake without that boxed cake flavor that tastes as if it was homemade.

Use a cup of melted butter in place of each ¾ cup of oil. Butter has a richer yet more watery texture over the pure fat of oil which can help leave a more airy texture to even a simple recipe. Unsalted butter is best for this use.

You can freeze butter when it is on sale to always have it on hand when you need it or learn how to make your own butter with heavy cream.


When I was young, my best friend’s grandma would use unsweetened applesauce in place of oil in her cakes. It always resulted in a soft, moist cake that all of us loved as growing up and my best friend was more than happy to brag about.

This baking trick was one I always remembered and often went to when I wanted a healthy substitute for oil in my making. Whenever you are baking a cake, use applesauce in equal amounts in place of oil.

Cinnamon apple sauce makes a great option for adding a dash of fall flavor to your baking. this is best for milder cake flavors like vanilla or to add a bit more flavor to spice cake.

Fruit Purees 

Applesauce is not the only fruit puree that makes a great substitute for oil in your baking. In fact, you can use a mix of fruit and vegetable purees when baking to hide more produce in your family’s diet. 

This is also a great way to use up baby food purees you have running around before they go bad if you have not desire to dehydrate and make your own fruit leathers.

The important part of using fruits and vegetables in place of oil is to ensure that the moisture content is high enough to give the cake its structure while maintaining a neutral flavor.

You can purree up most things you have in the house already using a blender or go with simple apple sauce.


When it comes to chocolate cake my favorite alternative is avocado. The healthy fats in avocados are perfect for baking and the flavor of chocolate is great for hiding the flavor of the avocados.

Avocado makes a great substitute for oil in chocolate cake, brownie, and cookie recipes. Nearly any chocolate-flavored baking recipe that calls for oil can use masked or pureed avocado without it going detected by those enjoying the dish. 

Sour cream 

You can use sour cream in place of oil in cakes that can benefit from a bit of tang to help hide the cake mix flavor and bring out a unique flavor profile to help create your own unique cake batter recipe. The high-fat content of sour cream makes it a suitable substitute for oil or butter in your baking.

Greek yogurt 

The natural oil and fat from the milk solids in greek yogurt makes a great substitute for oil in lighter flavor cakes like yellow cake or white cake mix that can take on the flavor of anything that is added to it.

This is a great dairy product can also make a good choice for any cake mix recipe if you are looking for a dairy substitute for oil in a cake mix.

Sweet potato

 Mashed sweet potato is a great alternative for oil in heavier, more flavorful cakes. Masked sweet potato does really well in spice and carrot cake mixes, helping add to the dense flavor profile wheel depending on the color of the cake.

For the best results mix mashed sweet potato with a stick of butter and use in equal amounts with the oil in your cake recipe. The leftovers can easily be mixed with eggs, sugar, and sweetened condensed milk and used to fill pie crusts.

What are the healthiest alternatives to oil in cakes?

How To Substitute Oil In Your Boxed Cake Mix For The Best Cakes Ever

One of the advantages of substituting the oil in your cake mixes is that you can use a healthier alternative to help elevate your cake mix flavor and texture while helping to add a slightly healthier change to your cake.

You can use unsweetened applesauce, other fruit purees, greek yogurt, and mashed avocados as excellent healthy substitutes for oil when baking cakes.  

Can you use olive oil in your cake mix?

It is true that you can use olive oil in your cake mixes when you bake them. It can give your cakes a heavier, richer texture, which you would often find in high-end cakes. Olive oil also has a strong taste so it is best used in very flavorful cakes. 

When using olive oil that tends to be a bit thicker, try whipping it with another oil alternative like butter to help lighten the flavor and fluff up the oil to help keep your cake from becoming far too dense and heavy. The thick amazing olive oil texture is great for turning a boxed cake mix into a dreamy brownie batter.

What can you use to substitute eggs and oil in your cakes?


You can use mayo to work as a substitution for both the eggs and the oil in your boxed cake mixes. This works because mayo is made of both eggs and oil making it the perfect substitute for both if you find yourself looking for the ingredients to make a boxed cake mix in a hurry and can not make it to the store.


The carbonation in soda makes a great alternative for eggs and oil when baking from a boxed cake mix. This gives your cake structure and the tender moist texture while adding flavor to the cake.

This is how you can pull off unique soda cake flavors that are sure to be a hit at parties and gatherings. One of the most popular cakes to use this alternative to oil is the chocolate Coca-Cola cake from Cracker Barrel.

After you bake your cake take it up a notch with some nice decorating.

This comprehensive cake decorating kit provides all the necessary tools for decorating cakes, including piping tips and icing bags, which can be used when experimenting with substituting oil in cake mix recipes. The product has received high ratings and positive reviews from other customers.

You can find it on Amazon here.

This kit can be a great addition to any kitchen and can make the process of baking and decorating cakes much easier.

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