By Erin Huffstetler | 04/01/2020 | No Comments
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Out of butter, trying to cut fat, or need a dairy-free alternative? Here’s how to substitute the butter in any recipe.
Best Butter Substitutes for Cake
Butter acts as a leavening agent in cake. It also makes a cake moist, tender and flavorful. So, a good butter substitute needs to do all of these things. Here are some options:
Use coconut oil as a 1:1 replacement for butter. Since it’s solid at room temperature and melts when heated, it’ll do everything butter does. Work solid coconut oil into flour, and it’ll tenderize and leaven your cake, just like butter. There’s no need to make any extra adjustments to your recipe.
If you’re replacing a lot of butter, this substitution could add a coconut flavor to your cake.
Replace one cup of butter with 3/4 cup of your preferred vegetable oil. Canola oil is a good choice because it doesn’t have much flavor on its own. This substitute will maintain the moisture and fat in your recipe, but it won’t contribute much in the way of leavening. Because of this, cakes made with oil tend to be shorter and denser (though still plenty tasty).
Blend canned beans into a smooth puree. Then, use them as a 1:1 replacement for the butter called for in your recipe. This will maintain the texture of your cake, without adding a bean taste. Seriously! For the best results, match the color of the bean to the color of your cake (i.e. black beans for a chocolate cake, white beans for a yellow or white cake).
Best Butter Substitutes for Muffins, Cookies and Brownies
Butter contributes moisture, flavor, structure and a bit of leavening power to muffins, cookies and brownies. Here are some substitutes that will do the same job:
Replace some, or all, of the butter called for in your recipe with the same amount of fruit puree. Try applesauce, mashed avocado, pumpkin puree or mashed bananas. These will contribute the necessary moisture and structure to the batter. Just know that these substitutes will change the flavor and color of your finished baked goods slightly. Cookies made with fruit puree tend to have a cake-y texture. Breads and muffins made with fruit puree tend to have a denser texture, and may require a longer bake time.
Swap out the butter called for with the same amount of coconut oil. You can use it to replace the melted butter called for in muffins, or the solid butter called for in cookie recipe. It can even be creamed with sugar to create the leavening action that’s responsible for giving cookies their shape. If your recipe calls for a lot of butter, this could add a coconut flavor to your recipe.
Use 1/3 cup of your preferred oil for each stick of butter called for. This will contribute moisture and fat to your recipe, much like the butter would. However, this substitute won’t help with leavening, so your muffins and cookies will probably be shorter and denser than usual.
Use pureed beans as a 1:1 replacement for the butter in your muffins and brownies. This will give you the perfect cake-y texture, without any of the fat. Try black beans in your brownies.
Nut Butter and Vegetable Oil
Combine an equal amount of your favorite nut butter (peanut, almond, etc.) and vegetable oil. Then, use it as a 1:1 replacement for the butter that’s called for. This will add moisture, structure and some healthy fat to your baked goods.
Use yogurt as a 1:1 replacement for the butter in your muffin recipes. It’ll contribute moisture and a bit of leavening power.
Best Butter Substitute for Biscuits, Pie Crusts and Croissants
Biscuits, pie crusts and croissants get their flakiness from the cold butter that’s folded into the dough. As the dough bakes, the butter melts, and releases steam, which lifts the dough, and creates all those delicious, flaky layers. A good substitute needs to replace that signature flakiness. It also needs to replace the fat that’s responsible for making the finished product so irresistibly tender. Your best bet:
Replace the cold butter called for with an equal amount of solid coconut oil. Then, proceed with your recipe as usual.
Best Butter Substitute for Buttercream Frosting
Want to make a butter-free buttercream frosting? You’ll need vegan butter for that. Unfortunately, none of these other substitutes will do the job.
Best Butter Substitute for Cooking
If you’re working on dinner, and a recipe calls for melting butter in a pan, just use an equal amount of cooking oil.
Salted Butter Substitute
Creating a substitute for salted butter is easy. Just pick one of the butter substitutes listed above. Then, add 1/4 tsp of salt for every stick (half cup) of butter that your recipe calls for.Print
- Coconut oil, vegetable oil, beans, applesauce, avocado, pumpkin puree, banana, nut butter or yogurt
Butter Substitutes for Cake:
- Coconut Oil: Use an equal amount
- Vegetable Oil: Use 3/4 cup for every cup of butter called for
- Beans: Puree cooked beans, and use as a 1:1 replacement. Use black beans for chocolate cake; white beans for white or yellow cake
Butter Substitutes for Muffins, Cookies and Brownies
- Fruit Puree: Replace some or all of butter with an equal amount of applesauce, mashed avocado, pumpkin puree or mashed banana
- Coconut Oil: Swap 1:1
- Vegetable Oil: Use 1/3 cup for each stick of butter called for
- Beans: Puree cooked beans, and use as a 1:1 replacement. Use black beans for brownies
- Nut Butter + Vegetable Oil: Mix together equal parts nut butter (peanut, almond, etc.) and vegetable oil. Use as a 1:1 replacement
- Yogurt: Use an equal amount
Butter Substitute for Biscuits, Pie Crusts and Croissants
- Coconut Oil: Use an equal amount of solid coconut oil
Butter Substitute for Cooking
- Vegetable Oil: Use the same amount
Salted Butter Substitute
Pick your favorite butter substitute, and add 1/4 tsp salt for every stick of butter that you’re replacing.