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Butter replacement cooking: Butter substitute: 9 alternatives and nutrition

Butter substitute: 9 alternatives and nutrition

Butter is a dairy product that people can make from churned milk or cream. However, for people who cannot or choose not to consume butter, there are many alternatives.

The process of churning milk or cream separates the milk fat from the liquid. The remaining fat becomes the butter.

However, some people choose to avoid butter for reasons including:

  • its high saturated fat content
  • they have an intolerance to casein, the main protein in milk products
  • they have a lactose intolerance
  • they have made a dietary choice such as veganism

In this article, learn about a variety of butter alternatives for use in baking, cooking, and spreading.

A person can use olive oil instead of butter when sautéing vegetables and meat.

People use olive oil in many Mediterranean recipes. For any recipes that require cooking on the stove top, a person can often swap butter for olive oil when sautéing vegetables and meat. It is best to use a little less olive oil compared with butter for this purpose.

Olive oil is not always a good substitute for baking, however. Many baked goods require the fat to remain a solid or return to a solid as they cool. However, people can make some baked goods, such as pancakes, with olive oil.

The main type of fat in olive oil is monounsaturated fat, which may have some health benefits that the saturated fat in butter does not have.

Research from 2014 found that consuming olive oil regularly could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality in individuals at high cardiovascular risk.

Other benefits of monounsaturated fat include lowering cholesterol and improving blood sugar control.

However, like butter, olive oil is a calorie-dense food. For this reason, people should consume it in moderation.

Ghee is a clarified butter with a distinctive nutty taste and aroma. Like coconut oil, a person can replace butter with ghee at a 1-to-1 ratio in cooking and baking.

However, in some recipes, a person may need to alter the amount of ghee, as it contains more moisture than butter. Ghee works best as a butter substitute in baked goods that require cooking at higher temperatures.

Greek yogurt is a high-protein substitute for butter suitable for use in many baking recipes. It may add some tanginess to the recipe.

A person should look for full-fat yogurt to help keep baked goods moist. Nonfat yogurt may result in a drier, more crumbly finished product.

Avocado is a nutritious alternative to butter. Not only can adding avocado increase the overall nutritional value of a meal or baked good, but it can also substitute butter’s saturated fat for monounsaturated fat.

With plenty of vitamin A and other nutrients, pumpkin purée can replace butter in most recipes.

However, pumpkin purée is more watery than some of the other options on this list, so a person should use about three-quarters of the amount they would use for butter.

Similar to pumpkin purée, bananas add nutrients and increase the overall nutritional content of the food without the added fat.

However, bananas may add sweetness and a distinct flavor to some recipes.

Coconut oil is a suitable alternative to butter in all baking.

Unlike olive oil, which may not be suitable for use in all baked goods, coconut oil is a good butter substitute because it returns to a solid state at room temperature.

Coconut oil has a distinct taste, however, which could alter the taste of many baked goods. In general, the more refined the coconut oil is, the less it tastes like coconut.

While it is a good alternative for those looking to avoid dairy, coconut oil may offer few additional health benefits.

A 2016 review of several studies found limited evidence to suggest that coconut oil can actually offer any health benefits. In fact, the researchers suggest that people looking to reduce their fat intake avoid foods that list coconut oil as a major ingredient.

Applesauce is a popular substitute for both butter and oil in baking. Like many other substitutes, it can cut calories and increase the nutritional content of many recipes.

When using applesauce as a butter substitute, a person can reduce other sweeteners in the recipe because applesauce adds natural sweetness.

There are many varieties of nut butter, including those derived from almonds or peanuts. Similar to avocados, nut butters add healthful fat and nutrients to recipes.

Nut butter may increase the density of certain baked goods and may change their flavor.

Butter substitutes can often increase the nutritional value of the foods people use them in. In some cases, they can reduce calories and add healthful fats.

Butter substitution is not always practical, as a person may need to adjust the quantity of the replacement to get the correct texture and density while baking.

However, people looking to make healthful choices may wish to consider butter alternatives when cooking, baking, and spreading.

Read the article in Spanish.

12 Best Butter Substitutes – Easy Substitutes for Butter



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Mayo is basically just a mixture of oil and egg yolks so it’s perfect for adding moisture and richness in dishes like mashed potatoes or garlic bread. You can also melt it down in a skillet when frying up a grilled cheese or even making scrambled eggs.

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Olive Oil

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Olive oil is another key ingredient that we keep in the pantry at all times. So if you’re out of butter, try using olive oil instead! It’s a healthy alternative when sautéing veggies and it’s great for using in pasta dishes, too.

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The Pioneer Woman

It might seem odd, but avocado is actually a great substitute for butter when baking! Think about it: there’s so much creaminess in a ripe avocado. Plan for a 1:1 swap, lower your oven temperature by 25 degrees, and eyeball the finished product to see if it needs a few more minutes of baking. Just note that your baked goods may take on a greenish tint!

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The Pioneer Woman

Looking for a healthy swap instead of butter? When you’re trying to cut down on your butter intake, applesauce is a great alternative! Unsweetened applesauce can be use in all kinds of quick breads and muffins, though they may turn out a bit more dense with this swap.

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Coconut Oil

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This is a great butter substitute for vegans and those with dairy allergies or lactose intolerance, as coconut oil behaves similar to butter in recipes. It can be used melted or in its solidified state—though keep in mind, solid coconut oil tends to liquify or melt much faster than butter! (You can pop it back in the fridge as needed to set.) Refined coconut oils are free of the taste that unrefined versions tend to add when used in cooking or baking. When using coconut oil in place of butter for a recipe where ingredients are chilled, like with Ree’s Perfect Pie Crust, let the chilled ingredients come to room temperature to keep the coconut oil from solidifying and becoming difficult to work with.

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Vegetable Shortening

The Pioneer Woman

This is an easy 1:1 sub for butter, but in cases where butter adds flavor (hi, buttercream frosting), look elsewhere. Shortening has a higher melting point than butter, so baked goods will turn out lighter and airier than their butter-baked equivalents.

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Cook with margarine the same way you’d use butter, but when baking, be sure to opt for margarine sticks instead of the tub variety.

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Vegan Butter

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This is a no-brainer swap for vegans—you won’t believe it’s not the real deal!

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Prune Butter

The Pioneer Woman

This is a great butter substitute, but you’ll need to make it yourself: Just blend 1/2 cup pitted prunes and 1/4 cup hot water in a blender. It’s best in rich, spiced, or chocolatey recipes that call for melted butter, like these sourdough cranberry orange rolls!

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Stick to full-fat yogurts for this baking swap, as the richness in flavor will make all the difference in baked goods. As a general rule, you should stick to 1:1 ratio: If you’re baking recipes that call for larger amounts of butter, Greek yogurt can be a better choice because it has a lower moisture content.

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Unsaturated Oils (Canola or Vegetable)

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These flavorless oils are an easy 1:1 baking sub for non-pastry recipes like cupcakes, cookies, cakes, and breads.

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Canned Pumpkin Puree

The Pioneer Woman

This vegan-friendly swap adds plenty of moisture to baked goods. Use about 3/4 of the amount of butter called for in the recipe.

How to replace butter in pastries, mashed potatoes and other dishes

February 1



Use thick yogurt, bananas, soft cottage cheese, and other foods.

In Julie & Julia, a film about chef and host Julia Child, Meryl Streep’s character confesses her love for butter several times. It seems that it really makes any food better: the dough with it becomes crumbly, sauces – silky, and mashed potatoes – airy.

This ingredient is sold in any store, but sometimes it needs to be deleted from the recipe. For example, if you have given up lactose and animal products, want to reduce the calorie content of meals, or simply forgot to buy a pack. Of course, there are no substitutes with exactly the same creamy and delicate taste, but there are alternatives.

How to replace butter in pastries and desserts

Photo: Elena Shashkina / Shutterstock

You can improvise and trust your taste in cooking soups, salads and second courses, but baking requires more precision. If you want to replicate the taste and texture of your favorite cake or cookie, we recommend sticking to the instructions and using the ingredients from the original recipe. With any of the substitutes, the result will be different from the oil version. If you still decide to replace, pay attention to these products.

In dough

  • Margarine. Perhaps this is the most obvious and affordable option. In taste, it is inferior to butter, but it will give the dough the desired texture. Substitute one product for another in a 1:1 ratio.
  • Coconut oil. It is closest to creamy in properties. If you are making savory pastries, choose refined oil, and in sweet ones, a light nutty flavor of unrefined oil will be appropriate. Replace butter with exactly the same amount of coconut oil.
  • Vegetable oil. Other oils without a pronounced taste and aroma are also suitable, for example, ordinary sunflower and corn. With them, the dough will be a little denser. Replace vegetable oil with butter in a ratio of 10: 8. That is, instead of 100 g of butter, you will need 80 g of vegetable oil.
  • Plain thick yoghurt or sour cream. These products will reduce the calorie content of the dough and make it more moist. Yogurt or sour cream will need half as much as butter.
  • Applesauce. It will make the dough moister and denser, so this alternative is best for muffins, brownies and cookies. Use natural puree without additives and reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe. Change the oil in a ratio of 2 : 1, that is, instead of 100 g of oil, use 50 g of puree.
  • Pumpkin puree. There are exactly the same rules as with applesauce. But keep in mind that the pumpkin has a bright color and a richer taste, so it will not be appropriate in all pastries. Instead of one part butter, you will need ¾ part puree. For example, instead of 200 g of butter, take 150 g of puree.
  • Avocado. This fruit has a neutral flavor and high fat content, making it an excellent substitute for butter. There is a small caveat: avocado can give the dough a light green tint, so it is more reliable to add it to pastries with cocoa and chocolate. To replace, make a smooth puree from ripe and soft fruits with a blender or fork. One part mashed avocado will replace one part butter.
  • Bananas. These mashed fruits are similar to applesauce and are good for muffins and cookies. Bananas are much sweeter and more flavorful than apples, so adjust the amount of sugar in the recipe and think ahead if the fruit goes well with the rest of the food. Banana puree for dough needs half as much as butter.
  • Nut paste. Any without sweeteners and additives will do. The paste will make the dough firm and crumbly and give it a nutty flavor. If you don’t want it to be too intense, opt for cashew and almond products. To make the pastry not very hard, put the pasta not in its pure form, but mixed with the same amount of neutral vegetable oil. One part of butter must be replaced with one part of such a mass.

In creams and caramels

For creams and caramels, the use of butter is much more critical than for dough. In such cases, it is better to find a recipe where this product is not included in the composition. For example, instead of butter cream, make cream cheese, whip cream, or make a cream based on full-fat sour cream, soft cottage cheese, or proteins. Try using the recipes from our article.

Liquid caramel for cakes, trifles and other desserts can be made with coconut milk according to this recipe.

In a simple chocolate glaze, butter can be easily replaced with the same amount of coconut or refined sunflower.

How to replace butter in mashed potatoes

Photo: Liliya Kandrashevich / Shutterstock

Butter makes puree soft and airy. It is easy to achieve the desired texture by mashing the potatoes through a sieve or mashing with a mixer. It is not at all necessary to look for an additive that is identical to the oil in taste. Try experimenting with different foods to brighten up the garnish.

  • Milk. Omit the butter in the recipe and add a little more warm milk instead. For a vegan option, replace milk with starchy potato water. Add liquid gradually, controlling the consistency of the puree.
  • Cream. If you have heavy cream, substitute it for both milk and butter.
  • Sour cream. With it, the puree will have a slight sourness and a creamy texture. For a more delicate taste, take fatter sour cream. And if you want a distinct fresh taste, go for thick Greek yogurt. It is good to add chopped fresh herbs and lemon zest to this puree. It makes a great pairing with fish dishes.
  • Cracklings. For this filling option, cut the brisket or lard into small cubes and render the fat over low heat. Pour the fried pieces to the potatoes and pour in a couple of tablespoons of fat from the pan.
  • Yolks. They will help to slightly thicken the puree and give it a brighter color. Add raw egg yolks to mashed potatoes and mix vigorously. 1-2 pieces are enough for 500 g of potatoes.
  • Mayonnaise. The sauce will add an unusual piquancy and delicate texture to the puree. Just do not overdo it – a couple of tablespoons per 500 g of potatoes is enough. If you are not afraid of experiments, try replacing mayonnaise with other ready-made sauces with a not very bright taste, such as cheese or mushroom.
  • Pesto. A more refined version with an Italian sauce based on basil and parmesan. Puree will turn out fragrant, pleasant green color.
  • Cheese. Any will do. Pour in hard and aged, grated, – you get a thick texture and a bright, smart taste. Stir in a few tablespoons of cottage cheese – there will be a gentle puree, similar to the classic one. Crush the feta and the side dish will have a heterogeneous texture and bright salty notes.

How to replace butter in cereals

  • Vegetable oil. Ordinary sunflower will do, but if there is fragrant unrefined, add it to get a new taste. For example, olive with a slight bitterness, pumpkin with nutty notes or linseed with a fishy aroma.
  • Cream. This replacement is good for sweet cereals, just add heavy cream.
  • Avocado. The oily fruit can be mashed or added in chunks to cooked grits. Avocado is especially good in combination with buckwheat.
  • Cracklings. Fried onions can be added to the porridge along with golden pieces of lard. Get a complete hearty meal.

How to replace butter in sandwiches

Photo: Brenda Godinez / Unsplash

  • Cream cheese. It has a neutral delicate taste and high fat content, so it is easy to combine with any products.
  • Hummus. This Middle Eastern snack is the perfect alternative to butter for those who are losing weight. It has fewer calories and more protein. Hummus is especially good in combination with fresh and baked vegetables.
  • Avocado. Mash it into a puree and lightly season with salt and lemon juice, or simply cut into thin slices. Use avocado for sandwiches with salted fish, seafood, vegetables, cheese, and lean meats.
  • Soft curd. And this is quite a diet option. To make the spread tastier, add your favorite spices, fresh herbs or garlic to the cottage cheese.
  • Nut paste. It can be added not only to sweet sandwiches with fruit and jam, but also to combine with more unexpected products, such as crispy bacon.

How to make butter at home

If you don’t like store-bought butter, you can make your own. It’s not very difficult.

Pour 600 ml of cold cream with a fat content of 33% or more into a bowl and start beating at low speed, gradually increasing it. The cream will become fluffy and fluffy.

Stills: Nino’s Home / YouTube

Continue whisking until the cream turns yellow and there are hard lumps of fat on the sides of the bowl and whisk.

Footage: Nino’s Home / YouTube

Beat for a couple more minutes until the butter comes together. Throw it on a sieve or cheesecloth and drain the whey. Rinse the oil in cold water 3-4 times, kneading it with your hands. Form a bar or other convenient shape and put in the refrigerator. From this amount of cream, 180–200 g of butter will be obtained.

Footage: Nino’s Home / YouTube

Instead of a mixer, you can use a jar with a screw cap. Pour cold cream into it, close and shake vigorously for 7-10 minutes until a lump of butter forms. Then take it out and rinse it in cold water.

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TOP-8 The best substitutes for butter in baking

TOP-8 The best substitutes for butter in baking – alternatives to regular butter

You are here » Note to the hostess » 8 substitutes for butter in baking

Healthy baked butter substitutes that can be easily added to recipes. It may seem surprising to see beans, avocados and applesauce as substitutes, but they do the job! This guide presents 8 oil alternatives and how to use them.

No butter can be found these days for many reasons: health issues, religious reasons, lack of butter on hand, allergies, and flavor variations, just to name a few.

Many home bakers might think that everything is lost without butter, but this is far from the case. Depending on the type of recipe and your dietary restrictions, there are various healthier dairy and plant-based alternatives that can be used in your favorite baking recipes.

Butter substitutes

When a recipe calls for butter, here are a few common healthier substitutes and what you need to know about each that can help you achieve the creamy flavor and texture you like.

  1. Greek Yogurt

    Greek yogurt is a dairy-based nutritional source that’s great to eat, but even better added to baking recipes. There are 20 grams of protein in 200 ml of whole milk Greek yogurt, 190 calories and 9 grams of fat (6 grams saturated). There are even low-fat options so you only get your protein dose.

    However, the whole milk yogurt version produces the softest baked goods as it still has fat added. It is well suited for adding moisture and texture to quick breads and cakes. Replacement: For every 1 cup of butter, use 1/2 cup Greek yogurt.

    More Delicious Recipes: Strawberry Greek Yogurt

  2. Peanut Butter

    Peanuts are tiny but powerful in that they contain both protein and fat. 1 tablespoon (16 g) contains 5 g of protein, 8 g of fat and 96 calories. When buying peanut butter, look at the label, which lists just peanuts and salt as ingredients. It is well suited for denser products such as cookies and bars.

    Nut butter is typically 50% fat compared to 80% butter, so extra fat needs to be added. Nuts such as peanuts, almonds, cashews will add more characteristic flavor that is best for cookies, candy bars, cakes, brownies, muffins and quick breads. When replacing, use a 1:1 ratio.

    Healthy Recipes Related to: Homemade Peanut Butter

  3. Olive Oil

    Olive oil is a favorite fat because of its naturally rich flavor and beneficial composition of unsaturated fats. Because of its savory and sometimes spicy taste, olive oil isn’t always the best option for sweeter baked goods, so it’s best used in breads, some muffins, pies, or meat pie crusts and cookies.

    Choose light olive oil for a more neutral flavor or extra virgin olive oil for a more lasting flavor. When changing for each cup of oil, use 3/4 cup of oil.

    Additional information: When to use olive oil

  4. Black beans

    Who would have thought that legumes could be used for baking, but it’s true! Adding bean puree to reduce fat in baked goods also provides fiber, protein, and other vitamins and minerals. Any bean can be used, for example, cannellini beans can be used for lighter-colored foods such as yellow brownies or yellow cake, while black beans are great for chocolate cakes and brownies. First you need to grind the beans to get a homogeneous puree. If necessary, you can add a little water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to facilitate the processing.

    You can even add a little oil (1 to 4 tablespoons) such as ghee or vegetable oil to a 425 ml jar of beans and process for an even creamier fat substitute. When substituting butter, 1:1 bean puree can be used and will have a texture good for cakes, muffins, and quick breads.

    Recipe: Italian Cannellini Crostini

  5. Avocado

    Either avocado or avocado oil works well as a butter substitute. Use the same ratio as for butter. Pureed avocado contains more vitamins and fiber than butter, and is also good for the heart. One Hass avocado makes a cup of puree. With avocado oil, which is full of omega-3s and vitamin E, you need to be a little more careful about the liquid to solid ratio.

    The neutral flavor and creamy texture of avocado is well suited to darker muffins, quick breads, brownies and cookies. When replacing, use the same amount of avocado compared to the amount of oil called for in the recipe. With Avocado Butter – use 7/8 cup to 1 cup butter.

    Healthy Recipes Related: Moroccan Avocado Smoothie

  6. Coconut Oil

    Coconut oil is a good substitute, mainly because it cools as a solid and liquefies when warm, just like butter, and helps maintain the thickness and viscosity in the recipe. However, the taste of coconut oil should be noted. In small quantities, there is not much difference, but in recipes that require a lot of oil, larger amounts of coconut oil can change the taste.

    By choosing refined coconut oil, you will get a product with a more neutral taste compared to unrefined. When substituting, generally use the same amount of coconut oil as compared to the amount of butter required in any recipe.

    Recipe: Mini Coconut Cream Cheesecakes

  7. Applesauce

    Applesauce not only replaces butter in recipes, but also adds an extra natural sweetness if you want to cut down on sugar. Boiled and mashed apples add texture and moisture to baked goods, and add extra fiber to help bind water and keep it in the baked goods. Choose the sugar-free option for the lowest calorie content.

    You can substitute 100% butter for applesauce when substituting, but using some fat from yogurt, nut butter, or alternative butter can help cakes, muffins, and quick breads not taste too dry.

    More delicious recipes: homemade apple puree

  8. Pumpkin puree

    This could not be more perfect than using pumpkin puree to replace butter, especially when baking by seasonal autumn and winter recipes. Each serving will contain more fiber and nutrients like beta-carotene, potassium and vitamin K in every slice of muffins, quick bread or coffee cake.

    Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing butter with pumpkin puree, adding its orange color, sweet, earthy and creamy flavor to baked goods.

Useful information on the topic: Step by step: How to cook a pumpkin

The role of butter in baking

Of course, it is tempting and healthy to cook with butter.