Our Best Substitutes For Butter

When it comes to baking and cooking, you will have noticed that a lot of recipes, both sweet and savory, require butter.

Butter is one of those staple ingredients in our refrigerator that we often take for granted. But, at one time, right up until the Elizabethan era, a pot of butter was a common gift to newlyweds as a symbol of fertility and wealth.

Also, if you have a block of cheese that you wish to keep from getting moldy, coating the cut edge of the cheese with butter just before wrapping it will keep mold at bay for weeks!

Butter also has “butyrate,” a fatty four-carbon acid with anti-inflammatory properties that can have potent protective effects on a person’s digestive system.

Butter is a great addition to the majority of recipes, as it adds a rich and creamy flavor. While it is a great addition, not everyone can consume butter.

There may be a number of reasons why someone cannot consume butter, from allergies, and intolerances, to being vegan and not eating butter out of choice.

Whatever the reasoning behind this, if you do not eat butter, it can be frustrating when this ingredient pops up in a recipe.

Substitute For Butter

When looking for a butter substitute, it’s essential to consider your dietary preferences, the recipe you’re working on, and the qualities you’re looking for in a replacement. Butter substitutes can be divided into two main categories: vegan butters and plant-based butters.

Vegan Butter Substitutes: These are ideal for those following a vegan lifestyle or who have a lactose intolerance. Vegan butter alternatives are made from a mixture of plant-based oils, such as coconut, olive, or avocado oil. They are designed to mimic the taste, texture, and melting properties of dairy butter. Some popular vegan butters include Earth Balance and Miyoko’s Creamery.

Plant-Based Butter Substitutes: If you’re looking to reduce your dairy consumption, plant-based butters are a great choice. These substitutes are usually made from a blend of plant-based oils like coconut, olive, or avocado oil combined with other natural ingredients. They might not be entirely vegan (as some contain small amounts of dairy derivatives), but they still offer a healthier alternative to traditional dairy butter. Examples include Country Crock Plant Butter and Nutiva Coconut Oil with Butter Flavor.

When selecting a butter alternative, consider the following:

  • Taste: Choose a substitute that closely resembles the desired taste and texture of butter. Some might have a strong flavor, while others provide a milder, more neutral taste.
  • Health Benefits: Look for butter substitutes with a lower amount of saturated fat, cholesterol, and calories compared to dairy butter. Some butter alternatives are enriched with Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins, offering additional health benefits.
  • Cooking Properties: Ensure that the butter substitute can withstand the required cooking temperature without losing its taste, texture, or nutritional value. Some substitutes might not be suitable for frying, while others are not ideal for spreading on toast.
  • Availability: Finally, make sure that the butter substitute is readily available at your local grocery store or can be easily ordered online.

By understanding the different types of butter substitutes and considering your needs, you can find the perfect replacement to meet your dietary preferences and cooking requirements

Thankfully, there are so many ingredients that you can use as a substitute instead of butter.

No longer will you have to lust after a recipe wishing you could try it, you can use one of our suggestions instead!

In this article, we have compiled a useful list of butter substitutes that taste great and have the same effect as butter. We hope you will find a new favorite substitute!

Coconut Oil

If you are looking for a butter substitute in baking, coconut oil can be a great option. However, coconut oil does have a specific taste to it.

If you enjoy the taste of coconut, you will likely enjoy the added flavor the coconut oil brings. However, if you do not like coconut, this may not be the best option for you.

When using coconut oil in baking, you can use the 1:1 ratio. It works in the same way as butter and will help to find your ingredients together. It can add flavor to meats such as chicken too.

One thing to take into consideration when using coconut oil is how it acts in baking in comparison to butter. It does behave differently and does not provide as soft as a texture when compared to butter. It also melts quicker.

For example, you baked good make have more of a crunch to them, but, this is not always a bad thing. When looking at things such as muffins, the consistency will be the same. It also has a higher saturated fat content in comparison to butter.

Mashed Bananas

If you are on a health kick, or if you are looking for a healthier alternative to butter, mashed bananas are a great option. They allow you to consume fruit without you necessarily feeling like you are.

As bananas have quite a thick consistency, they are a good option. However, they will cause your baked goods to taste of bananas, which is not always a bad thing!

To use mashed bananas, you will want to add them to your mixture slowly. As they are quite sweet, they enable you to use less sugar overall too.

Vegan Spread

If you are looking for an alternative for butter to use on bread and as a spread. There are many options to choose from. Some options have the taste of butter, without being butter and others have a similar consistency.

Vegan spreads are typically made using ingredients such as olive oil and sunflower oil. They still taste creamy, and they are perfect for vegans and those who cannot consume butter.

Vegan spreads can still contain high amounts of fat, but in general they also tend to be a healthier option in comparison to butter.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is another great substitute for butter, especially as it is an ingredient that you are likely to already have in your kitchen.

It is fairly inexpensive to purchase too. When looking at the ratio needed it would be 3:4.

Olive oil can be used for both sweet and savory recipes, but as it is a liquid, it is not the best option if you need a butter substitute that is going to be creamed.

If for example, you are creating frosting, there are other butter substitutes that would be a better option.

However, if the butter in the recipe is required to be melted, it is a great option. As it does have a strong flavor, it may not be to everyone’s tastes. However, it is great when used in savory recipes.

Greek Or Natural Yogurt

Greek or natural yogurts are great alternatives to butter for many recipes. Ideally you will want to use a full fat yogurt so that it is quite thick in its consistency, and it is creamy. Yogurt, while fairly plain in its flavor, can make baked goods especially sweet and rich.

The ratio you should use is 1:1. On the whole, Greek yogurt is the better option because it does not contain as much moisture as natural yogurt. This will help to prevent your baked goods from being too moist.

As Greek and natural yogurts do contain dairy products, they may not be the best option if you do suffer from dairy allergies or intolerances.


Avocado may not be the first ingredient that springs to mind when you think of a butter substitute. However, it can be a fantastic option.

Avocado is a naturally creamy ingredient that does have a similar consistency to butter. It is also full of great healthy fats and nutrients.

Ideally, you will want to use the avocado once it is ripe as it can be quite hard when it is not ripe. It can be used as a 1:1 ratio, but because it does cook fairly quickly, you will want to cook baked goods especially at a lower temperature for a longer period.

Avocado will give the food a green tinge due to its color which can be off-putting to some people, but you can use some food coloring to counteract this.


This may be a substitute that you think is a little strange… but trust us on this one… in certain recipes it works brilliantly!

As mayonnaise is quite creamy in its consistency, it is great for things such as scrambled eggs and mashed potato.

It does not really work with sweet recipes, but for recipes that require a small amount of butter to add creaminess, it is a good option. Though it is not vegan.


Margarine is a substitute that not everyone recommends, this is due to the trans fats that it contains.

However, many types of margarine are now a lot healthier than previously and do not contain trans fats. While there are healthier options available, on the whole it is still a fairly unhealthy substitute

However, If you are stuck and cannot find any other substitutes, it can be used. It does contain a higher water content, which can affect your bakes and the overall consistency of your bakes.

Nut butter

Peanut butter and almond butters are great substitutes for butter if you do not have a nut allergy.

They have a similar, thick consistency to butter and add extra flavor to your recipe. If you are looking for a spread alternative, nut butter is a great choice.

Nut butters are quite high in fats, but they do contain a lot of goodness. If you need melted butter in a recipe, these are great substitutes.

We would recommend adding the same amount of nut butter to the recipe as butter.


Hummus is made from ground chickpeas and is a popular food, especially with those who are vegetarian and vegan.

On the whole it has a fairly thick consistency that can be likened to butter. Given this, it can be used as a suitable substitute, though the flavor may not appeal to everyone.

If you want a healthier spread for bread, for example, hummus is a great option. As it does not have an overpowering flavor, it can be added to sandwiches and provide a creamy texture.

While hummus may not be the best option for sweet recipes, if your savory recipe calls for butter, you can choose to use hummus instead.

Pumpkin Purée

Pumpkin purée is another substitute for butter that you may not necessarily have thought of, but it can be such a great option.

Pumpkin purée has a thick consistency and is full of nutrients. Given this, it is a healthy substitute.

In addition to replacing butter, pumpkin purée can also replace oil in recipes, which is useful. The ratio needed is 1:1.

Pumpkin purée can be used in both sweet and savory recipes. As it is quite sweet, it allows you to have a naturally sweet taste without adding a lot of sugar to your recipe.

The only thing to remember with pumpkin purée is that it is quite moist. Given this, care will need to be taken when using it. If you add too much to the recipe this can cause the consistency to be incorrect.


Applesauce is a useful ingredient to keep as it can be used for many recipes. While it is not the best substitute for butter, if you want to add sweetness to baked goods without loading up on sugar, it is a great option.

It has a fairly thick consistency and works well as a substitute, but it is quite moist, so care will need to be taken.

In comparison to substitutes like margarine or coconut oil, it is far lower in saturated fat and is great if you are trying to consume less fat overall.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Replace Butter in a Recipe?

When butter is used in baking, it is typically used as a leavening agent, which means that this ingredient will introduce air into baked goods to make them light and fluffy.

As well as this, it will contribute to the flaky and moist texture of baked goods, and add to their rich and tasty flavor. Without these properties, your baked goods might become flat, dry, and flavorless, which is why you should substitute it if you don’t have it available to you.Some of the best substitutes for butter in a recipe are fats and oils, as they have some properties that make them similar to butter.

Most people will opt for ghee, which is a type of clarified butter with a slightly nutty taste. It is great for bringing a strong and buttery flavor to your cooking and baking, and it can replace butter at a 1:1 ratio.

Can I Substitute Oil for Butter?

Yes, you can substitute oil for butter in certain circumstances, but it might not work 100% of the time. If your recipe requires you to use melted butter, then an oil substitute will create great similar results.

This is due to the fact that melted butter and oil are both liquid fats, so they are going to react similarly in a recipe. However, there are some recipes where oil will simply not work as well as butter would and substituting oil for butter will not work. If the recipe needs you to cream the butter with sugar, then the oil is not going to work as a substitute as it does not carry the air bubbles that are needed for creating a creamy texture. There is no rule to the right amount of oil to use to replace butter, but as a general rule, you should use around three-quarters of the amount of butter that the recipe requires.

How Can I Substitute Unsalted Butter?

There are lots of different substitutes that you can use instead of unsalted butter, but margarine, vegetable shortening, coconut oil, and salted butter are usually going to work the best. This is because they are both easy and effective substitutes. They will also work to add texture and richness to your baking. For a cup of unsalted butter, you should use ¾ cup or 2tbsp of coconut oil or vegetable shortening. Something to keep in mind is that any substitute for unsalted butter is going to change the texture of the basked good slightly, so the results might not be exact. You can also use margarine as a substitute for unsalted butter, and this is quite similar in consistency and taste when used. However, it does have a slightly softer texture than unsalted butter.

If your recipe requires melted unsalted butter, then margarine is typically the best substitute to choose as it will work the best. However, in recipes that need softened butter, using margarine can drastically change the texture, making things like cakes less tender.

Can You Substitute Mayo for Butter?

You can sometimes use mayo as a substitute for butter for certain cooking requirements, but you don’t want to go and use mayo when you are baking a cake.

You can try to use mayonnaise in place of butter when you are frying eggs or something similar, or for a special addition instead of butter when mashing potatoes.

Although, you are going to want to stay away from mayonnaise altogether when it comes to baking, as the taste is not something that you would want to add to any baked good.


We hope that you have found this article useful. As you can see, there are so many butter alternatives to choose from.

While it is likely that you are aware of some of these substitutes on the list already, there may also be a few that you have not considered before.

The most important thing to remember when using a butter substitute is that these are different to butter.

While they act similarly and have a similar consistency, they will cook slightly differently. It is important to add the ingredients slowly, and keep a close eye on your bakes as they cook.

When using new ingredients, to begin with it is always trial and error. However, the more confident you get using butter substitutes, the easier the cooking becomes.

While not all of these ingredients are healthier than butter, the majority are, and many are dairy free too – which is a bonus!


Our Best Substitute For Butter

These options are sure to be a hit. So, gather your family and friends and enjoy. Let us know your thoughts!
5 from 6 votes
Total Time 9 minutes
Course Seasoning, Substitute
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 144 kcal


  • Coconut Oil
  • Mashed Bananas
  • Vegan Spread
  • Olive Oil
  • Greek Or Natural Yogurt
  • Avocado
  • Mayonnaise
  • Margarine
  • Nut butter
  • Hummus
  • Pumpkin Purée
  • Applesauce


  • Try our kitchen tested butter substitutes.


Select your option.
Use in or with your favorite recipe.


Calories: 144kcal
Keyword butter substitute, substitutes for butter
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
Cassie Marshall
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