16 Best Butter Substitutes


Butter is a dairy product commonly used as spread, condiment, in sauce making, pan-frying, and other cooking procedures to enhance flavor.

In baking, butter contributes to the taste, tenderness, moistness, and smooth mouthfeel of baked goods.

While butter is an essential ingredient, a swap may sometimes be needed to cut calories, provide a dairy-free option, or fill in a missing ingredient.

Various ingredients may work similarly to butter.

Therefore, in this article, we will delve into different substitutes that may be used in place of butter in various cooking and baking procedures.

Best Butter Substitutes

The best substitute for Butter are – Olive Oil, Ghee, Coconut Oil, Canola Oil, Applesauce, Avocado, Margarine, Pumpkin Puree, Prune Puree, Mashed Bananas, Mashed Beans, Hummus, Nut Butter, Greek Yogurt, Vegetable Shortening, and Lard.

They are discussed in detail here –

Olive Oil

Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and nutrients studied widely for biological and nutritional properties.

It is a popular butter substitute in different applications, including cooking savory meals, drizzling over toast, and baking desserts. About ¾ cup of olive oil may replace 1 cup of melted butter.

It is advisable to use extra-virgin olive oil to avoid pungency in the products. However, it may not work as a replacement for butter in recipes that require solid butter, including creaming.


Olive oil may work as a healthy substitute for butter as it adds a nutty flavor to baked goods and savory meals.


Ghee, also known as clarified butter prepared by heating butter or cream, has been used in India extensively for its beneficial properties.

It may work as a butter substitute due to its aromatic, strong buttery flavor.

It has a high melting point and, therefore, may work better for frying, sautéing vegetables, and baking. It is also compatible with Paleo dieters.


Ghee may work as a butter substitute when baking and frying due to its strong aromatic buttery flavor and high melting point.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has antioxidants and medium-chain triglycerides that may help reduce the risk of diseases.

It may be used as a butter substitute as it remains solid at room temperature and may withstand high temperatures.

Equal amounts of coconut oil may be used in place of butter during baking.

It may also be used to pop the corn and as a topping instead of butter. It is preferable to use refined coconut oil when you want to avoid a strong coconut flavor.


Coconut oil may substitute butter in baking and cooking at a 1:1 ratio due to its distinct flavor and properties similar to butter.

Canola Oil

Canola oil obtained from the canola plant is rich in healthy fatty acids, plant sterols, and tocopherols that have been linked with cardioprotective properties.

It may be used as a substitute for butter due to its neutral taste and light texture.

About ¾ cup of canola oil may be substituted for 1cup of butter when baking, giving a soft, moist texture.

As it has a high smoke point, it may be used for sautéing and deep frying in place of butter.


Due to its light taste and high smoke point, canola oil may replace butter when baking and cooking.


Applesauce made from cooked apples has very low calories (103kcal) with fiber, minerals, and phytochemicals that help boost immune, digestive, and heart health.

It may work as a butter substitute during baking cakes, cookies, muffins, and brownies. It has pectin, which helps in retaining moisture and providing structure to baked goods.

It may replace half the amount of butter in the recipe.

However, one may have to use unsweetened applesauce or reduce the sugar in the recipe as applesauce adds natural sweetness.


Applesauce is a popular fruit puree substitute for butter in baking that may increase the nutritional content of many baking recipes.


Avocado is a fruit rich in monounsaturated fats, dietary fiber, vitamins K, E, potassium, magnesium, and lower calories.

It may be an ideal healthy replacement for melted butter in baked goods due to its creamy texture when mashed and healthy oil composition.

An equal amount of mashed avocado may substitute 1 cup of butter.

It works best in baked goods with chocolate.

It also works as an excellent replacement of butter as a spread on toast.


Mashed avocados may replace butter on toast and during baking. It adds nutritional value and replaces the saturated fat of butter with monounsaturated fat.


Margarine is nowadays made from a mixture of hydrogenated vegetable oils, including corn oil, cottonseed oil, and soybean oil. It is developed to simulate butter and made to contain less saturated fat.

It is also fortified with vitamin A and D for enhanced flavor.

It may work as a butter substitute during baking and spreading due to its similar texture to softened butter.

Margarine with at least 80% fat may also be used in a 1:1 ratio for making frosting in place of butter as it adds texture to the frosting.


Equal amounts of margarine may work as a butter substitute as they add texture when baking and frosting.

Pumpkin Puree

Pumpkin is a type of squash rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, copper, manganese, and dietary fiber. It is relatively low in calories.

It may work as a nutrient-rich butter substitute when baking due to its creamy texture and nice fall flavor. About ¾ cup of pumpkin puree may work for 1 cup of butter.

It may add a natural sweetness and chewiness to the baked goods. Also, it is advisable not to use pumpkin pie filling instead of pumpkin puree.


Pumpkin puree is a low-calorie substitute for butter when baking. It adds a fall flavor and nutrients to the recipes.

Prune Puree

Prunes are dehydrated plums that are deep red-brown with a chewy texture and a savory-sweet flavor. It is a good source of vitamins, potassium, iron, manganese, and copper with potential health benefits.

It makes a viable butter substitute while baking due to its pectin and sorbitol content.

It helps in retaining moisture and produces cakey-like baking products. Its dark color and strong flavor make it suitable for chocolate-based dishes.

However, it may not work for light-colored cakes due to it is dark-colored.


Prune puree adds fiber, nutrients and reduces fat to baked goods when used as a substitute for butter during baking.

Mashed Bananas

Bananas are a nutrient powerhouse with potassium, vitamin B6, C, A, and magnesium.

It works as a successful butter substitute when baking due to its highly creamy texture when mashed and high starch content.

An equal amount of bananas may be used to swap butter in dense baked goods, including muffins, quick breads, and cookies.

However, it is advisable to reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe as bananas add natural sweetness to the recipes. Also, it may cause the product to bake faster, so reduce the oven temperature.


Mashed bananas add nutrients and distinct flavor when substituted for butter during baking.

Mashed Beans

Mashed beans are nutrient-rich foods providing protein, fiber, folate, iron, and magnesium with no trans fat and cholesterol.

Legumes, such as cannellini beans and black beans, may work as a butter substitute due to its high starch and protein contents. It has to be pureed or mashed when substituting to get a creamy texture.

It works well for baked goods, including brownies, cakes, and cookies.


Mashed beans may replace butter in baked goods. It reduces calories, cholesterol and increases the nutritional value of the products.


Hummus from chickpeas is rich in fiber, protein, resistant starch, unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.

It may work as a butter substitute if you are looking to put some healthy alternative on bread as a spread. It may be customized with a lot of favorite toppings.

It is both delicious and adds nutritional value to the toast.


Hummus may work as a healthy butter substitute as a spread on the toast due to its creamy texture and flavor.

Nut Butter

Nut butters made from roasted and blended nuts are rich in fibers, proteins, unsaturated fats, vitamins, and minerals with many health benefits.

Nut butters, including peanut, almond, cashew butter, may work as a great butter substitute for baking due to its sweet, creamy consistencies and nutty taste.

It may help to retain moisture, add structure, and decrease the amount of added sugar. It works well for cookies, cakes, brownies, muffins, and breads.

It may also be used as a topping on toast and bagels.


Nut butters may work well as a healthy butter substitute when used on toast and baked goods. However, they may add calories.

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is high in protein, calcium, potassium, zinc, vitamins B6 and B12 that helps in promoting intestinal health, build stronger bones, and enhance immunity.

It may work as a butter substitute when baking due to its thick and creamy texture. It may add some tangy flavor to the recipes.

As Greek yogurt is thick, it may result in a denser product, and therefore, it is advisable to increase the amount of other liquids in the recipe.


Greek yogurt adds protein, richness, and tangy flavor when used as a substitute for butter during baking.

Vegetable Shortening

Vegetable shortening is a semisolid fat that is solid at room temperature. It is made from hydrogenated vegetable oils, including corn, cottonseed, or soybean.

It may be used as a substitute for butter in cooking and baking applications due to its crumbly texture. It inhibits the formation of gluten and contributes to light texture.

It may be used to replace butter in making cookies, but it lacks flavor.

It may also be used to make stiffer frosting that holds for a long time due to its high melting point.


Vegetable shortening may be used to replace butter for baking and frosting due to its texture. However, it does not have rich flavor like butter.


Lard extracted from adipose tissue of swine was traditionally used to produce bread, biscuit, and cake due to flaky texture and rich taste.

It may be used as a butter substitute in cooking due to its rich taste and shortening properties. It has a high smoking point and, therefore, may be used for frying.

However, it may not be suitable for individuals following plant-based diets.


Lard is animal-based semisolid fat that may be used as a butter substitute due to its rich taste.


Why do you need to avoid butter?

Butter is high in calories and saturated fat that may be linked to heart diseases. It is a dairy product and so may not be tolerated by individuals with dairy allergies. Also, individuals with specific dietary restrictions, including vegans and paleo dieters, may avoid butter.

What are the types of fat substitutes for baking?

Carbohydrate-based substitutes are most commonly used that bind water and contribute to the texture and mouthfeel of goods. Protein-based substitutes are made by modifying protein, whereas fat-based replacers are made by replacing triglycerides in vegetable oils.

Does cocoa butter work as a substitute for butter?

Cocoa butter, a triglyceride of cocoa beans, is a key ingredient in making chocolates. It may replace butter in baking chocolate-based goods. But it is highly valued and costlier than butter.

Bottom Line

Butter is a popular ingredient used in many cooking applications to enhance flavor and texture.

However, some people are looking for butter substitutes as it is a dairy product rich in calories and saturated fat.

Most of these butter substitutes are nutrient-dense, plant-based, less in calories, and free of dairy.

However, you may need to do trial and error to figure out the right proportions and consistency of the substitute.

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About Amanda Jones

Amanda is a person with an eye for detail. She has been cooking since her childhood and loves to bake too. Recently, she's made the decision to pursue baking full-time and quit her 9 to 5 job. In the meantime, she still enjoys cooking and baking for friends and family, especially when it comes time for special occasions like birthdays or holidays!