You can make anything taste better with butter. Made by separating milk fat from milk or cream through churning, it gives a creamy depth to baked goods and helps to thicken sauces, soups, and gravies. It also serves as a carrier for fat-soluble ingredients and other flavors like garlic and vanilla. Butter is arguably the most versatile cooking ingredient in existence.
So if your butter jars are ever empty, here is a list of 10 easy ingredients you can substitute for butter to get the same magical taste and finish.
#1. Olive Oil
Olive oil is the liquid fat obtained from the olive plant and tastes similar to wine. High-end extra virgin olive oils taste like herbs and fresh fruit and come in many different taste profiles ranging from delicate to complex. However, low-end ones taste just like regular oil.
Olive oil would make a good substitute for butter in recipes that call for melted butter like sauteed meats, veggies, gravies, and baked goods. If you use too much though, it may add a mild acidic tang to your recipe. And since olive oil is thicker than melted butter, make sure you adjust the substitution to prevent altering the final taste.
You may get a slightly different flavor with olive oil, but if you want to avoid that, use lots of herbs and condiments to spice up your dishes.
1 Cup Butter = ¾ Cup Olive Oil
#2. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is one of the best swaps you can make for butter in dishes that require high heat to prepare. It’s known for having a high-fat content, which makes it highly resistant to oxidation at high heat.
Coconut oil also has one of the highest smoke points of any cooking oil at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. This factor makes coconut oil highly suitable for dishes that need to be baked or fried to a crisp, like cookies, popcorn, shrimp stir-fry, and chicken wings. It also imparts a mildly tropical taste that boosts the complexity of dishes.
1 Cup Butter = 1 Cup Coconut Oil
#3. Avocado Oil
A healthy alternative for butter, avocado oil has monounsaturated fat that boosts heart function. Avocado oil imparts a very neutral taste, making it suitable for recipes that require a large amount of butter. You can freely replace butter with a large amount of avocado oil without worrying about altering the flavor.
Another great thing about avocado oil is that it has an edible taste, both raw and cooked. Just note that it has a smoke point of 520 degrees Fahrenheit. This unusually high smoke point makes avocado oil ideal for searing meats or browning baked goods, but not for simple recipes.
1 Cup Butter = 1 cup Avocado Oil
Need an alternative to butter in your sandwich? There’s no better substitute than mayonnaise. With its creamy, sweet taste and a decent salt-tart balance, mayonnaise blends with lots of different sandwich fillings.
And if you’re wondering whether you can use mayonnaise for cooking, the answer is yes! Mayonnaise contains oil and fats that can smoke at high temperatures. The only problem with using mayonnaise for baking is that it imparts a strong flavor, so you can only use it in recipes that work with the taste of mayonnaise.
Next time you want to make scrambled eggs or mashed potatoes, try swapping butter with mayonnaise.
1 Cup Butter = 1 Cup Mayonnaise
Ghee is a class of clarified butter, which is butter that has been completely separated from milk solids and water. Ghee is pure butterfat, which gives it a higher smoking point than regular butter. It is commonly used for cooking and glazing bread in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine.
You can use ghee as a substitute for butter in both cooked dishes and sandwiches. It may impart a slightly nutty flavor and aroma, but a lot of people enjoy that.
1 Cup Butter = 1 Cup Ghee
Margarine is a type of fat-spread typically used in place of butter. It was initially processed from animal fat, but most of the margarine consumed today is processed from vegetable oil instead. Margarine is essentially a replica of butter, both in looks and taste.
You can use margarine as a spread over baked foods or cooked foods in all recipes that call for butter. If you’re planning to use it for baking, be sure to purchase margarine sticks instead of the tub variety.
1 Cup Butter = 1 Cup Margarine
Yogurt makes a superb substitute for butter in baked recipes that need a rich sweet flavor and soft texture, like chewy chocolate chip cookies or even pancakes. If you can opt for it, try Greek yogurt. It may be a better choice for baking because it has a lower moisture content.
Be prepared for some tanginess when you use yogurt, and be sure to use full-fat yogurt. Low-fat yogurts lack bonding strength and could end up resulting in products with a dry, crumbly finish.
1 Cup Butter = 1 Cup Yogurt
If you want to reduce the fat content in your baked goods, opt for applesauce. Applesauce is low in calories and rich in nutrients, soluble fiber, and antioxidants. It’s a much healthier alternative to butter. Although you will need to find a way to manage the change in taste.
Applesauce has a good balance of tart and sweetness that will add more character to sweet baked recipes like cookies or pies. Just remember to reduce the sugar your recipe calls for when using applesauce. You can also use applesauce for cooking as long as the recipes work with the flavor it brings in.
1 Cup Butter = 1 Cup Applesauce
#9. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is an excellent non-dairy alternative to butter in sandwiches. Using any variety of nut butter boosts the fiber and protein content of your dish. And as peanut butter can be smooth or crunchy, make sure you choose the right type for your recipe.
Peanut butter also has a lower moisture content than regular butter. When you’re swapping the two, it would be better to start with half the amount of butter. You can use peanut butter for baked dishes too, just as you would regular butter.
1 Cup Butter = ½ Cup Peanut Butter
#10. Mashed Avocado
Avocados are rich in fiber, healthy fats, and many detoxifying minerals that can reduce inflammation and the risk of heart disease. It’s a healthier substitute and has a rich and creamy texture that pairs well with the sweetness of baked goods.
Avocado has a very mild taste, so it’s not difficult for other flavors to hide. One of the flavors that work particularly well with avocado is chocolate.
1 Cup Butter = 1 Cup Mashed Avocado