10 Best Butter Substitutes

11 April 2022

Are you out of butter? Here are the best butter substitutes for every type of recipe. Butter is hard to substitute, but the right ingredients can help.

Butter SubstitutesPhoto By Canva

It’s hard to beat butter. After all, it’s a delicious, silky ingredient that makes everything taste better — butter makes you feel at home! How to substitute it?

Here are the best butter substitutes, ingredients that can take the place of butter in any recipe. Are you out of butter? We’ve got you covered.

10 Butter Substitutes for Baking

Butter is the fat and protein obtained when churning cream, and it’s at least 80% butterfat. Like all fats, butter is perfect for cooking and baking — oils allow us to cook foods at high temperatures, much higher than what you get when cooking with water.

Amongst all fats used for cooking, butter is one of the most versatile and noble. Still, you might not have butter in hand when you need it, or maybe you can’t handle dairy. Here’s where butter substitutes come in.

1. Ghee

Ghee is perhaps the best substitute for butter. It’s made with butter! Ghee is clarified butter, which means that to make it, the producer has melted butter and removed its proteins and solids, leaving the butterfat behind.

Butter burns at high temperatures, but not ghee — it has a high smoke point, meaning you can even deep-fry food in it. Ghee also smells and tastes a bit like butter, so it’s the most reliable substitute in recipes in which butter plays an important role, especially if cooking at high temperatures.

2. Coconut Oil

Jar of Coconut OilPhoto By Canva

Coconut oil is gaining popularity for its health benefits and versatility in the kitchen. This pearly-white oil solidifies in the fridge, but it’s liquid at warm room temperatures. Coconut oil is high in saturated fats, so it’s not the healthiest alternative on the list. Of course, you’ll be alright if you use just a little.

Coconut oil is a substitute for butter for sauteing food, and the thick oil is fantastic for no-bake desserts like chocolate truffles and other goodies. By the way, coconut oil is used in many beauty products.

3. Olive Oil

Olive oil is perhaps the healthiest cooking oil, and it’s amongst the best butter substitutes. Olive oil, especially cold-pressed and labeled as extra virgin olive oil, has many healthy fats and tons of antioxidants, so it’s very healthy. Substitute butter with olive oil, especially when your recipe calls for melted butter.

As a general rule, use a bit less olive oil than butter in any recipe — use three parts of olive oil for every four parts butter, especially in baking projects. For sauteing and pan-frying, use the same amount.

4. Applesauce

Here’s an uncommon substitute for butter: applesauce. Expert cooks swear by it! Applesauce can substitute butter in most baked goods; it even calls for the same ratio, so replace it 1 to 1. There’s a catch—you can’t sauté or stir-fry with applesauce; it only works in baked goods, from brownies, cakes, and cookies to muffins and bread.

Applesauce will give moisture to your baked goods, but don’t expect the oily richness you get from butter. Of course, this might be the perfect substitute for butter for dairy-free and vegan goods.

5. Avocado

Bottle of Avocado OilPhoto By Canva

Avocados are creamy fruits with a savory, hard-to-describe flavor. These beauties are versatile as well, and they’re much more than guacamole. Avocados are high in healthy monounsaturated fats, and they are pretty oily, making them a great butter substitute in baked goods. And no, your brownies won’t taste like avocado.

Again, use avocado for butter at a 1:1 ratio. Avocados can also substitute sour cream in cheesecakes, shortening in muffins and much more. Remember, you can also count on avocado oil for all your stove-top needs.

6. Greek Yogurt

Using Greek yogurt instead of butter in baked goods is good if you want moist and creamy results. You also get a protein kick and less fat, so this one’s a no-brainer.

Substitute butter with Greek yogurt at a 1:1 ratio as long as you’re not using more than a cup. More than that, you might need to add more flour to your recipe to counter the extra moisture. Low-fat yogurt is the best substitute for butter, but if your recipe calls for melted butter, you might want to substitute it for something else, like olive oil.

7. Nut Butters

If you can’t eat dairy but have no problem consuming nuts, nut butters are a fantastic alternative to butter. Peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, pine nut butter, you name it—these silky and creamy spreads are awesome.

Nut butters are thick, so they’ll add extra consistency to your baked goods. At the same time, they’ll add their nutty personality to the food. Nut butters are pretty fatty, so they can substitute butter in almost any recipe. Of course, not all recipes might benefit from the spreads’ flavor.

8. Pumpkin Purée

Bowl of Pumpkin PureePhoto By Canva

Substitute butter with pumpkin purée at a 1:1 ratio, especially if baking seasonal goods with brown spices. Think of pumpkin pies and the like. Pumpkin purée is extremely sweet, so you’ll also need to add less sugar to your mixing bowl. In terms of consistency, this sweet purée is very thick and will give any baked good a nice mouthfeel.

If your pumpkin purée is also moist, you may need to add more flour if your dough or batter is too runny.Other than that, this is one of the best seasonal butter substitutes.

9. Mashed Bananas

If you’ve ever made banana bread, you know that bananas are more than a lovely breakfast. Bananas give consistency, moisture, and thickness to baked goods. Well, you should know that you can make much more than banana bread with the yellow fruit. Any baked good can benefit from the starchy fruit, primarily if used instead of butter.

You’ll probably have to cut back on sugar since bananas are already sweet. Also, make sure you use ripe bananas in baked goods; the peel should already have a few dark spots.

10. Margarine

If all else fails, and you can’t find a suitable butter alternative for your recipe, margarine has been a butter substitute for decades now. However, we now know it’s not particularly healthy.

Margarine is a plant-based butter substitute with tons of trans fats that can and will clog your arteries. Of course, if you’re just using a teaspoon now and then, you’ll be alright. Margarine is an excellent substitute for melted unsalted butter, as it’s thin and soft.

If you need a richer consistency, several of the alternatives above will work better, including avocado and nut butters.

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