As I was perusing through the kitchen pantry to find a snack, my eyes landed on a box of Ghirardelli brownie mix. Jackpot. I turned to the back of the box to see what ingredients I needed in addition to the mix, and it listed water, eggs, and oil. Oil caught my eye, as I'm aware that it isn't the best for your body in large amounts. With a few searches on Pinterest, I found a some oil substitutes and decided to choose a few to test out. Will an alternative brownie be better than the original, or is oil the way to go?

The Substitutes

Abigail Shipps

The most common oil substitutes I found in my Pinterest research were applesauce, Greek yogurt, and avocado. All of these ingredients vary in consistency, and I'm interested to see how that will affect the brownie outcome. Will they be crumbly or chewy? Chocolatey or bland? Gotta find my new go to substitute for all of my future brownie baking.

The Baking

goody, coffee, milk, cake, candy, cream, sweet, chocolate
Abigail Shipps

To avoid having a whole lot of leftover brownies (which isn't necessarily a bad thing), I used half a bag of mix for each batch. I cut the recipe in half as well, so I used 1 Tbsp of water, 1 egg, and 1/6 cup of oil or the substitute equivalents. Each batch was baked for 30 minutes, cooled, then cut. I then enlisted the help of my brother in tasting and describing each brownie. 

Batch #1: Control Group (Oil)

cake, sweet, candy, goody, fudge, brownie, chocolate
Abigail Shipps

This batch used the recipe that I found on the back of the box, which is listed above. The finished product has a cracked and flaky outer layer, and my taste-tester brother describes it tasting "chewy, like a normal brownie." Overall opinion: average.

Batch #2: Applesauce

chocolate cake, fudge, brownie, chocolate
Abigail Shipps

The applesauce-to-oil ratio I found was 1:1, so I used about 1/6 cup of applesauce for this batch. If you plan on trying these recipes out yourself feel free to experiment with a little more or a little less. I say this because the applesauce caused the brownies to take on a cake-like texture- it tasted "pretty dry" and was a bit crumbly. Overall opinion: meh

Batch #3: Greek Yogurt

fudge, sweet, candy, cake, goody, brownie, chocolate
Abigail Shipps

I personally had high expectations for this batch, given that Greek yogurt is very creamy, which would hopefully result in a moist and yummy brownie. I used about 1/6 cup of yogurt. Even though the outside appearance was similar to the applesauce brownie, it tasted exactly like I had imagined. It was "chocolatey and moist." Overall opinion: super delicious, my brother's favorite

Batch #4: Avocado

cake, fudge, goody, sweet, candy, brownie, chocolate
Abigail Shipps

I also had high expectations for this oil substitute, as I recently made these delicious chocolate avocado truffles. Like the other substitutes above, I used around 1/6 cup of mashed avocado. I love avocados in general so I was hoping for a delicious outcome. This batch was definitely the most rich and creamy, which is delicious but very filling. My brother said it was "OK, and I think I see some green." Overall opinion: pretty good

#Spoon Tip: If you plan on using avocado as a substitute for oil, make sure you mash it up as much as possible to avoid green lumps in your brownies or cookies!

The Verdict

cream, goody, milk, brownie, fudge, sweet, candy, chocolate
Abigail Shipps

After tasting all of the different brownies and consulting my expert taste testing brother, I can safely say than none of them tasted bad. The oil substitute you use depends on the taste you like: if you want a more cake-like consistency, use applesauce. If you want richness use avocado, and if you want a good balance use Greek yogurt. If you prefer the flaky top and original flavor of the brownie with oil, then go for that. This baking experiment left me with a whole lot of left over brownies, but that's an easy "problem" to solve.