Do Brownies Need Oil? 

Last updated on July 19th, 2022 at 06:05 pm

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Brownies are a delicious baked chocolate confection that were invented in the late 1800s. These chewy, fudgy treats are a favorite of many people. 

There is even a non-chocolate version called a blondie! 

But when you are getting ready to make a batch of brownies you might wonder whether they need to have oil in them or not. 

Do brownies really need oil? 

Brownies do need a fat (such as oil) to give them that rich, silky texture but there are things that you can use to substitute the oil that is called for in a brownie recipe if you don’t want to use oil or if you are out. 

If you find yourself with a craving for brownies but you are out of oil then thankfully there are many different things that you can substitute for oil in your brownies. 

I will cover the possible substitutions in the next section.

What Can You Substitute For Vegetable Oil In Brownies? 

Most brownie recipes will ask for vegetable oil but what can you use if you do not have any vegetable oil in the house and don’t feel like making a run to the store? 

Or maybe you are not a fan of vegetable oil and want to use something else. 

You’re in luck, here are a few alternatives to vegetable oil in brownies.

Melted Butter 

Melted butter is a great substitute for vegetable oil. Butter will give your brownies a moist, tender texture. 

The melted butter will also give your brownies a little rise which will give it a more cake-like texture. 

To use melted butter in place of vegetable oil you will want to use the same amount as you would have used of oil. So, if you need a quarter of a cup of oil, you’ll want to use a quarter of a cup of melted butter. 

You’ll need to bake these brownies for one to two minutes longer than the recipe calls for to ensure that you will get the proper flavor and texture of the brownie when using butter instead of oil. 

Melted Margarine

You can also use melted margarine in place of vegetable oil. The melted margarine is a cup for cup replacement for vegetable oil as well. 

This will give you a tender, moist brownie as well but unlike using melted butter, the melted margarine will give you a denser brownie. You will want to bake the brownies for about two minutes longer so that it will have the same texture and flavor.

Canola Oil 

Canola oil is a little healthier for you than vegetable oil and it can be used in place of it in recipes. This is a cup for cup substitute as well but will not require any alterations to the baking time. 

Canola oil is a neutral oil from the rapeseed plant. It will not alter the flavor of your brownies.

Olive Oil

You can use olive oil as a vegetable oil substitute in brownies. Olive oil has a strong flavor so if you want to use it in your brownies you will want to use a light olive oil or an extra light olive oil which will have a more neutral flavor. 

Olive oil will slightly alter the taste of your brownies. It can be used as a straight substitution for your vegetable oil.


Applesauce is a healthier substitution for vegetable oil. Applesauce is a delicious treat on it’s own but it is also a great additive in baked goods. 

I use it often in breads and muffins. It gives that little extra moisture that is often needed in gluten free baked goods. 

If you are going to use applesauce in place of vegetable oil to make your brownies you will want to use ¾ of a cup for every cup of oil called for in the recipe. You will also want to slightly reduce the amount of sugar that the recipe calls for. 

The applesauce will add some sweetness to your brownies, even if you use the unsweetened applesauce, so you might want to cut the amount of sugar that you use so that your brownies do not come out overly sweet.


Yogurt is a wonderful healthier substitution for the vegetable oil that is typically called for in brownies. Yogurt has a lot of health benefits and is a great source of calcium, probiotics, and protein. 

Adding yogurt to your brownies will give you a thick, creamy batter. Make sure that you only use plain yogurt so that you do not alter the taste of your brownies. 

Though, if you want to try to experiment with the taste of your brownies you certainly could do that with different flavors of yogurt. 

A great combination to try might be orange cream yogurt to give you a chocolate orange flavored brownie. To use yogurt instead of oil in your brownie recipe you will use a cup for cup substitution.

What Makes Brownies More Fudgy? 

Different people like their brownies in different ways. 

Some people prefer blondies because they are not fans of chocolate. Others want a cake-like brownie. 

Some people want a fudgy brownie. There are even debates on what piece of a brownie is the best. 

Arguments over a center piece or an edge piece of brownies are common in families. Luckily for me, I like the edges while my kids like the center so I don’t have to try to beat someone to what I think is the best piece. 

Earlier in this article I mentioned that if you wanted a more cake-like brownie you should substitute the oil for melted butter as it will help the brownie batter to rise while it is cooking. 

What can you do to make a fudgier brownie? 

A fudgy brownie will have a higher fat to flour ratio than a cake-like brownie. The fat that we’re talking about in your brownie recipe is the chocolate and the oil. 

To get a fudgy brownie you will want to add more chocolate and more butter and less flour than you would for a cakey-brownie. You will use about twice as much butter or oil and just a little more chocolate (around 25% more) to your recipe if you want to get a fudgy brownie. 

Then you will want to use about a third less flour than you would for a cakey brownie. If you’re using a brownie box mix then I would add a little more oil and melt some chocolate to add to the batter.

How Do You Keep Brownies From Crumbling When You Cut Them? 

Brownies are such an easy and versatile treat to make. You only need to use one bowl and there is no need to get out the stand mixer or even the hand mixer to make them. 

There are so many different additives that you can add to your brownies. Chocolate chunks, swirls of peanut butter, nuts, sprinkles, and so much more. Really the only limit is your own imagination. 

I think one of the hardest things about brownies is cutting them. I can never seem to cut them right. 

I’ll see photos of brownies with perfectly cut symmetrical edges. Every single piece is the same size and looks like it was bought at a store and I hate how mine turn out. 

I have a history of cutting brownies in uneven squares with crumbly edges. How can you get those nice perfect edges when you cut your brownies? 

The first thing you need to do before you cut your brownies is to allow them to cool completely. Your brownies need time to cool down before you cut them. 

You can even pop them in the fridge for about an hour to cool them down. 

Once your brownies are cooled you will want to use a large, sharp knife, a carving knife would work perfectly. You can use your cooking oil to lightly spray your knife to help it glide right through the brownies. 

Be sure to wipe the blade off and re-spray it before making the next cut. 

Do not saw your brownies while cutting them. You will want each cut to be a smooth stroke. 

I have read where some people use a ruler to measure out their brownies so that they get perfectly even squares but I don’t have the patience for that and neither do my kids. 

My kids would eat them straight out of the pan without me even cutting them if I would let them so I’m just happy getting nice looking cuts that aren’t crumbling. 

Hannah R.

Hey, I'm Hannah and I'm the founder of Get Eatin'.

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