Substitute for Butter

MMMM, butter. Honestly, it’s an MVP in my kitchen (and it’s always salted, but I digress). Since I’m a realist, I know that butter isn’t for everyone. Whether it’s due to health concerns, dietary preferences, or poor grocery-list making, sometimes finding a substitute for butter is a necessity. 

Stacks of butter on the counter to discuss substitutes for butter.

The Role of Butter in Cooking

My praise of butter is well-founded. Butter’s ability to uniquely add flavor, texture, and moisture to whatever it is added to is unparalleled, significantly improving a wide range of dishes. The high fat content in butter is crucial in baking, where it impacts everything from the flakiness of pastries to the crumb of cakes. 

But again, butter isn’t for everyone. So if you’re up against an allergy, lifestyle preference, or a bare fridge, you may find yourself searching for a substitute for butter that will play its part well.

Common Butter Substitutes

Margarine – A classic alternative, often used in a 1:1 ratio. This will be your best bet for matching the typically outcomes of butter. 

Vegetable Oil – Replacing butter with vegetable oil is ideal in dishes where you need extra moisture. Simply use ¾ cup for every cup of butter that is called for. 

Coconut Oil Coconut oil is the king of vegan baking! Substitute coconut oil for butter in a 1:1 ratio. 

Applesauce – Perfect for reducing fat, use half the amount of butter! This especially works well in things like sweet breads, cakes and cakey cookies. 

Greek Yogurt – Using greek yogurt as a substitute for butter will add moisture, protein and tang! To substitute, use half the amount of butter.

Avocado – Avocado delivers on creaminess and healthy fats! Just use 1 mashed avocado in place of half the butter. This is a great sub for more savory dishes because it has a low flavor profile.

Butter cubes scattered on the counter to talk about butter substitutes.

So if you’re adjusting a recipe for dietary needs or experimenting with new flavors and textures, you might find that butter isn’t as irreplaceable as we once thought.

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