Best Butter Substitutes for Baking and Cooking

Nothing sours your mood more than getting ready to bake at weekend and finding out that there’s no butter. Well if you tend to give up quickly in such circumstances, we’ve got you covered! Butter is indeed an impotent ingredient in a lot of baking and cooking recipes. However, there is no need to cancel your cooking plans, because you can make do without butter, and that too without forfeiting the taste. There are a lot of ingredients that can replace butter. Have a look at these best butter substitutes for baking and cooking. 

1. Ghee

Ghee is a more clarified form of butter, with a nutty and aromatic taste. Comparatively, the absence of lactose or casein makes it a safer and healthy choice for people with lactose intolerance. Ghee can effectively replace butter in baked goods that require a strong and buttery flavor. It works best with items that need high temperatures (for baking) such as cookies and bread. However, as ghee adds more moisture than butter, you may need to alter the required amount of flour and liquid in your recipes. 

2. Olive Oil 

One of the top benefits of olive oil includes its ability to replace butter in baking recipes. It can be substituted for butter at a 3:4 ratio by volume. For example, if a recipe needs 1 cup (225 grams) of butter, replace it with ¾ cups (180 ml) of olive oil. Because olive oil is a liquid, you can’t use it in recipes that require solid fat or a lot of creaming and frosting, such as food cake. Olive oil has a strong flavor and can effectively replace hazelnut butter, that’s used for nutty, fruity, or savory flavors. 

3. Coconut Oil 

When used in place of butter, coconut oil may change the flavor of your recipes a little bit. Nonetheless, it can perfectly replace coconut butter at a 1:1 ratio. Unrefined varieties of coconut oil are richer and taste more like coconut than refined ones. They go perfectly with the recipes that require rich chocolate or tropical flavors. In case you don’t want the coconut to overpower its flavor in your recipe, use a more refined brand of coconut oil. Don’t keep this important ingredient on your back shelf and learn more about the benefits of coconut oil

4. Lard

Because of its un-vegan and porky nature, lard is used to make delicious egg custard tarts. Aside from provenance and flavor, it has also got a number of qualities. It is one of the best alternatives to butter while cooking, and produces less puffy and more crumbly pastry than butter. However, it doesn’t contain much water for steaming and pushing apart the layers during baking. Another thing that you must keep in mind is that butter melts at 90 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit, but lard melts at a higher temperature and leaves a taste in the mouth that bothers some people. 

5. Applesauce

Applesauce can be used to replace butter in many recipes. If a recipe requires 2 cups of butter, you can replace it with as much amount of applesauce as you want. However, using applesauce in great quantity in your bread or cake will give it a lot of moisture, and density. Therefore, consider this aspect before deciding exactly how much butter should be replaced by applesauce. It significantly reduces the fat and calorie intake of baked goods and adds a significant amount of sweetness. That’s why you need to watch out for sugar in your recipes. 

6. Duck Fat

It may come as a surprise but duck fat might become your next go-to ingredient for baking. It can be used in place of butter. When a baking recipe requires butter, you can use 50/50 duck fat and butter instead, for a new and enhanced flavor. Duck fat is absolutely delicious and you can also roast potatoes in it. It is not only a healthier alternative to butter but also tastes better. Butter is made up of 51% saturated fat, while duck fat only contains 33% of saturated fat.

7. Yogurt 

Do you have an extra tub of yogurt lying in your fridge that needs using up? Well, take this genius out as it can effectively replace butter in your cooking recipes. Yogurt is rich in flavor and fat, but also provides more moisture than butter, due to which you need to watch out for the desired quantity. For the recipes that need 1 cup of butter, you can use unsweetened and plain yogurt in the ratio of 1:1. Greek yogurt can also replace butter in most baking recipes, but it’ll end up making your muffins and bread more dense than usual. 

8. Nonstick Spray

When sautéing or baking, a better substitute for 1 tablespoon of butter is to coat a pan or container with ⅓ second spray of nonstick spray. Making use of cooking sprays significantly omits the added fat for meals like skillet-cooked vegetables or stir-fries. Make sure to use the spray quickly, as adding more than one serving of nonstick spray will increase the number of fats in your recipe. For instance, three servings (a 1-second spray) have about 1 gram of fat.

Nutrients in Butter Substitutes 

Butter contains a lot of essential nutrients, i.e. 1 tablespoon of butter has 7 grams of saturated fat, 1.6 mg of Sodium, and 3.4 mg of Potassium. To know more about the nutrient count in several butter substitutes, have a look at this table. 

Butter Substitutes  Essential Nutrients in 1 tablespoon
Applesauce  3 grams of carbohydrates, 0.3 mg of Sodium, 11.5 mg of Potassium 
Coconut oil  11.2 g of saturated fat, 117 calories 
Ghee 9 g of saturated fat, 120 calories 
Olive oil 0.3 mg of Sodium, 0.1 mg of Potassium, 1.9 grams of saturated fat
Duck fat 10 grams of saturated fat, 59 mg of Sodium, 204 mg of Potassium 

Pros and Cons of Butter Substitutes 

Butter substitutes are an effective way of magnifying the health profile of your recipes. However, there are certain limitations to these replacements. Have a look at these pros and cons of butter substitutes. 


  • Since butter has high calories, using some of its alternatives can help you eat lower calories and lose extra weight
  • In case you’re allergic to the protein in cow’s milk, using a healthier alternative to butter won’t cause you any discomfort
  • If you replace butter with avocado oil (or paste), you’d be getting extra nutrients, such as antioxidants, protein, minerals, and vitamins


  • You may need to adjust the butter substitutes in accordance with the recipes. Baking requires precise measurements and if you don’t adjust the ratios carefully, the recipe may end up getting ruined
  • Make sure to not overdo the butter replacements. Even if you opt for healthier alternatives, not checking the calorie and fat content before cooking can mess up your health

Butter Substitutes – Not So Better

We hope you skimmed through all of the above-mentioned replacements of butter. However, let’s call spade a spade, i.e. butter can’t be fully replaced in many cooking recipes. However, it has many useful alternatives, such as cooking oils, and you can always experiment with them to see which provides the desired flavor and consistency for your recipes. When baking, butter can be replaced with a variety of pantry-staple and dairy-free ingredients that reduce fats and calories in your dishes. Therefore, don’t put your baking plans on hold and proceed to bake that cookie even without butter!