9 Best Butter Substitutes for Baking


Butter is a key ingredient in baking goods produced by churning the cream mostly from cow’s milk. It is solid at room temperature that melts at a higher temperature.

Butter adds flavor to baking goods. It plays a vital role in leavening and interfering with gluten development making baking goods tender, airy, and fluffy.

However, some people may avoid butter due to lactose intolerance or milk allergies. Some may not prefer butter for health reasons. Therefore, in this article, we will discuss some of the substitutes of butter for baking.

9 Best Butter Substitutes for Baking

The uniqueness of butter flavor makes them challenging to be substituted. This section explores different replacements for butter that make baking goods with similar texture and flavor.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats and antioxidants that have potential health benefits. Therefore, olive oil may work as a butter substitute if a recipe calls for melted butter.

Substitute three-quarters of butter in a baking recipe with olive oil. It will give cakes and cookies a light texture. However, olive oil as a substitute may not work in recipes that need butter to remain solid.

It is preferable to use lower, intensity extra-virgin olive oil to give a subtle flavor.


Olive oil may be a healthy substitute for butter in baking recipes that calls for melted or softened butter.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil may be used as a substitute for butter with similar properties of being solid when cool and liquid when warm. It has a healthier balance of fats compared to butter.

Substitute an equal amount of coconut oil for butter if the baking recipes call for melted butter. For pie crusts, biscuits, it is recommended to use solid, room-temperature coconut oil instead of butter.

If you don’t prefer the flavor of coconut oil, then use refined coconut oil as it undergoes high-heat processing, which removes strong coconut flavor.


Coconut oil may be a healthy substitute for butter in baking dishes as it has comparable properties to butter.


Ghee or clarified butter is prepared by heating butter or cream with numerous beneficial properties. It improves digestion, memory and strengthens the brain and nervous system.

It is low in lactose.

It may substitute butter at a 1:1 ratio in baked goods that require strong, buttery flavor. It lends the baked goods a nutty and fragrant taste. However, adjust the amount of liquid and flour in the recipe as ghee has more moisture than butter.


Ghee may substitute for butter in baked dishes. It may be tolerated better by individuals who are allergic to lactose.

Apple Sauce

Apple sauce is the cooked apples that are rich in fiber and antioxidants called phytochemicals. It can be store-bought or made at home. It is a popular substitute for butter in baking.

It is a low-fat source of vitamins and significantly reduces the calorie and fat content of baked goods. It acts as a binding agent creating a sweet and soft texture in oil-based baking goods.

As it adds sweetness to the recipes, you may have to reduce the amount of sugar in the recipes or use unsweetened apple sauce.


Apple sauce may be a healthy butter substitute in baked goods, adding nutritional value.

Nut Butter

Nut butter, including peanut butter and almond butter, is packed with fiber and healthy fats that have been linked to health benefits.

It may make a great dairy butter substitute in baking by adding healthy fats. It adds a nutty taste to baked goods and decreases the amount of added sugar needed due to their creamy consistencies.

It is safe for individuals with lactose intolerance and dairy allergies. However, they are high in calories.


Nut butter may be a calorie-rich, nutritious substitute for dairy butter that imparts a nutty taste to the baked goods.


Yogurt is rich in protein, calcium, phosphorus, and B vitamins. It may be a healthy, low-fat, and low-calorie replacement to butter in baked goods. It provides a rich and tangy flavor.

It is preferable to use full-fat yogurt or Greek yogurt as it has a consistency closer to butter and, therefore, keeps baked goods creamy and tender. If someone is allergic to dairy products, yogurt may not be a good butter substitute.


Yogurt may be a suitable replacement for butter when you run out of butter or want to add a tangy depth of flavor.


Avocado is a bright green fruit rich in fiber, monounsaturated fat, vitamins, and minerals. It has been shown to support cardiovascular health and prevent diseases. It may be used as a replacement for butter in baked dishes to increase its nutritional value by substituting butter’s saturated fat for unsaturated fat.

Replace avocado for butter in a 1:1 ratio in the baking dishes. It has a soft texture and mild taste that makes baked dishes softer and rise. It may be suitable for individuals with dairy allergies.


Avocado may be a creamy substitute for butter that increases the nutritional value of baked dishes.

Mashed Bananas

Bananas are popular tropical fruits, a source of fiber, vitamin B6, potassium, magnesium, manganese, and vitamin C. It may be a healthy replacement for butter in baking.

Substitute an equal amount of mashed bananas for the butter in dense baked goods like muffins, quick bread, and cookies.

However, dishes using bananas may bake faster. So, check for doneness several minutes earlier or reduce the oven temperature. Also, reduce the amount of sugar as bananas may add sweetness.


Mashed bananas may substitute for butter in equal amounts in baked dishes. It is preferable to reduce the oven temperature and sweetness of the dishes.

Pumpkin Puree

Pumpkin puree is made from a type of squash, pumpkin rich in vitamin A, B6, C, E, and minerals. It can be store-bought or prepared at home. It may be a nutrient-rich replacement for butter in most baking dishes.

Substitute ¾ cup of pumpkin puree for 1 cup of butter as pumpkin puree tends to be more watery. It adds moisture, flavor, and buttery texture to the baked goods. It works well for those who cannot tolerate dairy or lactose.


Pumpkin puree is a nutrition-rich, healthy fat substitute for butter in baking dishes that act as a sweetener and moisturizer.


What are the functions of butter in baking?

Butter helps to bind ingredients, adds flavor, and makes baked goods melt in the mouth. It also aids in leavening and adding moisture. It makes baked goods tender by interfering with gluten development.

What are the vegan substitutes for butter?

The different vegan substitutes for butter that can be used in baking are coconut oil, applesauce, olive oil, mashed bananas, and avocado. There are also commercial vegan butters available.

Can margarine be substituted for butter?

Newer margarine is a processed food made from vegetable oils that may lower LDL cholesterol. It looks similar to butter. The trans-free margarine may be a healthy substitute for butter.

Bottom Line

Butter provides texture and flavor to the baking goods acting as a leavening agent. Still, there are many butter substitutes in baking if individuals are allergic or looking to make healthful choices.

These butter substitutes may give a similar texture and flavor to the baked goods. However, one may have to adjust the quantity of replacement to get the right consistency.


https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-applesauce#2 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/257394543_Consumer_acceptability_of_chocolate_chip_cookies_using_applesauce_as_a_fat_butter_substitute#:~:text=In%20conclusion%2C%20applesauce%20could%20be,to%20the%20reduction%20of%20obesity.

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About Nancy Miller

Nancy is a foodie by heart and loves experimenting with food. She likes to experiment not only as part of academics but also as a cook at home, sometimes she does not get the desired outcome of these experiments though! But that doesn't stop her from trying more out-of-the-box things. When Nancy entered college, it became clear to her that food was going to be an important part of her life.

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