Butter is a staple ingredient in many recipes, but it’s not always the healthiest option. Whether you’re looking for a vegan or plant-based alternative or simply trying to cut back on saturated fat, there are plenty of great substitutes for butter out there. In this post, we’ll explore 10 of the best butter substitutes for cooking and baking, and provide tips on how to use them effectively.
What is Butter?
Butter is a dairy product made from churning cream or milk until it separates into solids (butterfat) and liquid (buttermilk). It has a rich, creamy texture and a distinct flavor that’s used in everything from savory dishes to sweet desserts.
Criteria for Choosing Substitutes
When choosing a butter substitute, there are several factors to consider, such as:
- Taste, texture, nutritional value,
- environmental impact and
- cooking properties.
You’ll want to choose a substitute that enhances the flavor of your recipe while providing similar texture and nutrition values as butter.
The Best Substitutes for Butter
Here are the 10 best substitutes for butter:
1. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a plant-based fat that has similar properties to butter when it comes to texture and consistency when used in cooking. It has a slightly sweet taste that can add depth to baked goods like cookies or cakes. It’s also high in saturated fat but is believed to have some health benefits such as improving cholesterol levels.
To use coconut oil as a butter substitute in baking, melt it first before using it in your recipe at the same ratio as you would use butter.
2. Olive Oil
Olive oil is another plant-based fat that’s often used as an alternative to butter. It has a fruity taste that can enhance the flavors of savory dishes like pasta or roasted vegetables. Olive oil also contains healthy monounsaturated fats that can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
To use olive oil as a butter substitute in cooking, drizzle it over your dish before serving, or use it in place of butter when sautéing or roasting vegetables.
Avocado is a nutrient-dense fruit that’s high in healthy fats, fiber, and vitamins. It has a creamy texture that makes it an ideal butter substitute for spreading on toast or using in dips like guacamole. Avocado also has a mild flavor that won’t overpower other ingredients.
To enjoy avocado as a butter substitute, spread it on toast or use it as a dip for veggies or crackers.
4. Nut Butters
Nut butters like almond, cashew, and peanut butter are great alternatives to butter when used in baking recipes like cookies, brownies or cakes. They have similar texture and flavor to butter but are much healthier since they contain healthy monounsaturated fats and protein.
To use nut butters as a butter substitute in baking, mix them with your dry ingredients before adding the wet ingredients to your batter.
Applesauce is a popular alternative to oil or butter in baking recipes like muffins or cakes. It adds moisture to your baked goods while reducing the total fat content of the recipe. Applesauce also contains fiber and vitamins that can boost the nutritional value of your recipe.
To use applesauce as a butter substitute in baking, replace half of the amount of butter called for in the recipe with applesauce.
Yogurt is another ingredient that can be used as an alternative to butter in baking recipes like cakes or muffins. It adds moisture while providing some tangy flavor notes to your baked goods. Yogurt also contains protein and calcium which are essential nutrients for maintaining bone health.
To use yogurt as a butter substitute in baking, replace half of the amount of butter called for in the recipe with plain yogurt.
7. Silken Tofu
Silken tofu is a plant-based protein source that can be used as an alternative to butter in baking recipes like brownies or cakes. It adds moisture while providing a creamy texture to your baked goods. Silken tofu also contains healthy fats and protein that can help support muscle growth and repair.
To use silken tofu as a butter substitute in baking, puree it in a food processor until smooth, and then use it at the same ratio as you would use butter.
8. Vegetable Oil
Vegetable oil is a neutral-flavored fat that’s often used as an alternative to butter when cooking or baking. It has a mild taste that won’t overpower other flavors and is high in healthy unsaturated fats that can help lower cholesterol levels.
To use vegetable oil as a butter substitute when cooking, use it at the same ratio as you would use butter when sautéing or roasting vegetables.
9. Mashed Bananas
Mashed bananas are another popular alternative to oil or butter in baking recipes like muffins or bread. They add natural sweetness and moisture to your baked goods while reducing the total fat content of the recipe. Bananas also contain fiber and vitamins that can boost the nutritional value of your recipe.
To use mashed bananas as a butter substitute in baking, replace half of the amount of butter called for in the recipe with mashed bananas.
Ghee is clarified butter that’s commonly used in Indian cuisine. It has a nutty flavor and aroma that can enhance the flavors of savory dishes like curries or rice pilaf. Ghee also has a high smoke point which makes it ideal for high-heat cooking methods like frying or roasting.
To use ghee as a butter substitute in cooking, use it at the same ratio as you would use butter when sauteing or frying ingredients.
Any other tips or notable facts
When using butter substitutes in your recipes, it’s important to keep in mind that they may not behave exactly like butter.
For example, some substitutes may have a different melting point or texture, which can affect the overall outcome of your recipe. It’s also important to consider the nutritional value of each substitute and choose one that will provide similar benefits to butter.
Tasty Recipe with Substitute
Delicious Banana Muffins with Vegetable oilCourse: SubstituteDifficulty: Easy
Try making these delicious banana muffins with vegetable oil. Made with ripe bananas, these muffins are easy to make and require only a handful of simple ingredients. They are the perfect option for breakfast or as a snack, and are guaranteed to leave you feeling satisfied and energized.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup vegetable oil
- Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) and line a muffin tin with paper liners.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the mashed bananas, vegetable oil, and egg until well combined.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
- Spoon the batter into the muffin cups until they are about two-thirds full.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Allow muffins to cool for a few minutes before serving.
Other notable FAQ on the topic
Can I use margarine as a substitute for butter?
Margarine can be used as a substitute for butter in some recipes but is generally not recommended due to its high content of trans fats.
Can I use vegetable shortening as a substitute for butter?
Yes, vegetable shortening can be used as a substitute for butter in some recipes, especially those that require a solid fat like pie crusts or biscuits.
What’s the best substitute for butter in frosting recipes?
Cream cheese or coconut cream are great substitutes for butter in frosting recipes.
Can I substitute butter with vegetable oil?
Yes, vegetable oil can be used as a substitute for butter in some recipes, but it may change the flavor and texture of the dish.
Can I use Greek yogurt instead of butter?
Yes, Greek yogurt can be used as a substitute for butter in some baking recipes like muffins or cakes.
Using alternative substitutes to butter is a great way to enhance the nutritional value of your recipes while still maintaining excellent taste and texture. Experiment with these 10 butter substitutes and find out which one works best for your cooking and baking needs. Happy cooking!