Sticks of Butter

Butter Substitutes

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:

Coconut Oil

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.

Vegetable Oil

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).

Jars of Cooked Black Beans

Beans

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).

Homemade Sugar Cookies

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:

Fruit Puree

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.

Coconut Oil

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.

Vegetable Oil

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.

Beans

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.

Yogurt

Use yogurt as a 1:1 replacement for the butter in your muffin recipes. It’ll contribute moisture and a bit of leavening power.

Pie Crust

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:

Coconut Oil

Replace the cold butter called for with an equal amount of solid coconut oil. Then, proceed with your recipe as usual.

Buttercream Frosting

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.

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Sticks of Butter

Butter Substitutes

Here’s how to substitute the butter in recipes with great results. Find subs to use in cakes, cookies, brownies, pie crusts and more.


  • Author: Erin Huffstetler, MyFrugalHome.com
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 minutes
  • Yield: Varies
  • Category: Ingredient Substitutions
  • Method: Measure
  • Cuisine: Global

Ingredients:

  • Coconut oil, vegetable oil, beans, applesauce, avocado, pumpkin puree, banana, nut butter or yogurt

Instructions:

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.

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