Need a substitute for oil in cake mix? We have 7 easy ideas—and you probably have most of them in your kitchen already!

Almost every boxed cake mix I have ever made calls for oil as one of the additional ingredients. I do like baking cakes with oil, as it makes cakes moist and tender. However, I don’t always have oil on hand and need to replace the oil in the cake mix recipe with something else. 

Luckily, there are quite a few things you can use in place of oil that will still help you bake a perfect cake. So, whether you need a Betty Crocker cake mix oil substitute or an oil substitute for Pillsbury cake mix, all of these ideas will work! 

Can I Skip The Oil in Cake Mix?

You definitely should not skip the oil when making boxed cake mix. Oil is the only fat in the cake mix and fat is needed to make your cake nice and tender. Without some kind of fat, the flavor of the cake would fall flat and the cake would not have that soft texture you crave. 

However, you don’t necessarily need oil specifically, but you do need some kind of fat or fat substitute. And that is what I am here to tell you all about! 

Cake mix in mixer bowl, with butter as substitute for oil in boxed cake mix

Best Oil Substitutes for Cake Mix

Here are my go-to, tried-and-true vegetable oil substitutes for cake mix:


Butter is always the best substitute for oil in cake mix. Butter is high in fat and will make your cake mix rich and decadent. You may even like cake mix made with butter better than when it’s made with oil!

Be sure to replace the oil with the same amount of melted butter. The butter should be completely melted when you add it to the cake mix so that it blends evenly into the dry ingredients. 


Applesauce is a very healthy substitute for oil in cake mix. This is especially true when you use unsweetened applesauce in place of oil. Not only are you adding fruit, but you are also cutting back on the overall fat content of the cake.

Applesauce does add a subtle, sweet taste to the cake, so keep this in mind. You can use 75% the amount of applesauce to replace oil. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup or oil, replace it with ¾ cup of applesauce. Mix it right in, just as you would add the oil!

Quick Tip

Use unsweetened cinnamon applesauce as a substitute for oil in pumpkin spice, apple, or any kind of spice cake mix. It will add even more delicious cinnamon flavor!

Olive Oil

Most boxed cake mixes use vegetable oil or canola oil. Both of these oils have a very neutral taste that blends right into the flavor of the cake. You can choose to use olive oil instead, which does have a stronger, nuttier taste, but is actually quite good!

Use the same amount of olive oil to replace vegetable oil in the cake mix. Then, get ready to enjoy a decadent, more flavorful boxed cake!

Coconut Oil

Just as you can use olive oil in cake mix, coconut oil is also a great substitute for regular canola oil. Coconut oil gives boxed cake mixes a tropical, fruity taste. It goes well with vanilla,  chocolate, strawberry, or even lemon cakes.

Be sure to use melted coconut oil. You need to mix the coconut oil into the cake mix batter quickly to make sure it is evenly blended. Use whatever quantity of oil your boxed cake recipe calls for and it will work well!  


You can use the same amount of plain yogurt to replace oil in any cake mix. I have found that plain Greek yogurt works best, as it is nice and thick. Yogurt will make your cake a little more dense, but still delicious. 

Quick Tip

Keep in mind that yogurt will add a slightly tangy taste to the boxed cake mix. But this can be quite good! Yogurt is also much lower in fat than pure oil, which makes it a healthy oil substitute for cake mix. 


Okay, I know this sounds crazy, but using mayonnaise to replace the oil in cake mix is actually a genius idea! (In fact, it’s the secret ingredient in my Copycat Portillo’s Chocolate Cake!)

Mayonnaise is high in fat, so it works well as an oil substitute. It also makes the cake have a creamy texture and subtle tangy taste. It really is great in chocolate cake, but it also works for yellow boxed cake mixes too. 

Be sure to use full-fat mayonnaise and not a reduced-fat version. You want those fats! Use ¾ of the amount of mayonnaise to replace the oil in any cake mix recipe. 

Mashed Banana

Do you have any ripe bananas on hand? Mash them up and then you can use them as an oil substitute in cake mix. I have used this oil replacement many times with great success. Mashed bananas add a nice flavor and moistness to boxed cakes. 

To replace oil with bananas in cake mix, use a ratio of ½ to 1. If your recipe asks for one cup of oil, you only need ½ cup of mashed banana. 

Slice of birthday cake on plate, made with substitute for oil in boxed cake mix

Best Substitute for Oil in Cake Mix

I’m guessing you have at least one of these oil substitutes on hand at home. That means you are ready to make a perfect boxed cake despite having no oil! Let me know which oil substitute is your favorite. And be sure to give mayonnaise a try—I bet you’ll like it!

Boxed Cake Mix Recipes


About Kasey Schwartz

For over 15 years, Kasey Schwartz, the mastermind behind All Things Mamma, has been the ultimate go-to for mouthwatering family recipes. Her work has been featured on, Buzz Feed, Better Homes and Gardens, and more, making her your go-to mom next door for all things delicious and family-friendly.


  1. Thank so much for the substitute advice! My box recipe calls for 1/2 cups vegetable oil but I only have a 1/4 cup. I do have butter, though, and so I’m going to try half oil; half butter and see how it goes. I only have salted butter, so, I hope that doesn’t mess things up 😬

    1. Shyanne - ATM Team says:

      Please let us know how it turns out!

    2. What are the measurements for yogurt to oil replacement?
      Im trying to bake a cake with the Simple Mills Almond Flour Vanilla Cupcake and cake mix, and it calls for 1/3 cup oil. How much yogurt would I use?

      1. Shyanne - ATM Team says:

        Start with a 1:1.25 ratio. For example, if the recipe calls for 1 cup of oil, use 1 ¼ cup of yogurt for baking. If your batter seems dry, slowly stir in a bit more yogurt. Hope this helps!

  2. Heather Suarez says:

    Can some please help me understand use 3/4 the amount of mayo that it calls for oil, I’m drawing a complete blank at this moment and im trying to make my god son a birthday cake. Like I need 1/3 cup oil so what does exactly mean?

    1. Shyanne - ATM Team says:

      Sorry about the confusion, Heather! You should be able to substitute it in equal amounts.

  3. Teresa Lane Martin says:

    Thank you very much Kade! I’m up early and was interested in knowing what I could use in my cakes instead of the oils. People cutting back on buying due to cholesterol. So, that’s become my concern also.

  4. Lorraine Jackson says:

    This really helped out a lot. I have no eggs but I have Greek yogurt so I’m gonna use that. I’m gonna try right now. Thanks for the tip

    1. Shyanne - ATM Team says:

      Please let us know how it turns out!

  5. Thank you so much! I love playing with cake flavors and recipes!

  6. Mary Perez says:

    Thank you for saving my day. I had a white box cake mix and forgot to purchase vegetable oil. I went with your suggestion of using part mayonnaise and part butter, I used up what I had left in the mayo jar so it was probably a quarter cup of each butter and mayo. I added a touch more of white vanilla, because I am crazy and buy Mexican vanilla by the liter so I have Addit to pretty much everything I’m baking. The combination of the mayo and the butter instead of vegetable oil was spectacular. I am making a cannoli cake, so thank you for the recommendation.

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