19 Easy Ways To Substitute For Butter In A Pinch

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Last Updated on October 28, 2023 by Toya

Looking for effective ways to substitute for butter? This list is exactly what you need!

Butter is a staple ingredient in most kitchens, but what do you do when you run out? Or perhaps you’re looking for a healthier option that won’t compromise the taste of your dishes. Fortunately, there are plenty of substitutes for butter that are both nutritious and delicious.

In this article, I’ll share 19 easy ways to substitute for butter. From oils and vinegars to nut butters and Greek yogurt, there is something on this list for you. These alternatives are not only healthy, but they’re also versatile and can be used in various recipes, from baking to sautéing.

If you’re looking for easy ways to substitute for butter, keep reading!

Why substitute butter?

Butter is a staple ingredient in many recipes. But it may not always be feasible to use it.

“There are several reasons why you might need to substitute butter. Some people may have dietary restrictions or health concerns that limit their consumption of butter. Others might simply have run out of butter and need a quick alternative.”

Whether you’re looking for a healthier option or just need a quick fix, these alternatives will come in handy.


Margarine is a spread made from plant-based oils such as soybean, sunflower, or canola oil. To enhance its texture and taste, it is often fortified with vitamins and emulsified with water. Butter, on the other hand, is derived from animal milk, primarily cow’s milk. It consists mainly of milk fat, but it also contains water and milk proteins.

Both margarine and butter can be used interchangeably on a one-to-one substitute in various recipes, such as cooking, baking, or spreading on toast. However, it’s worth considering the impact of flavor and texture on the final dish.

Vegetable Oil

When it comes to cooking, vegetable oil can be a great substitute for butter. It is a versatile ingredient that works well in various recipes, including baking, frying, and sautéing.

“Vegetable oil is a neutral-tasting oil that is perfect for recipes where you do not want a particular taste to dominate. It is an excellent option for those who are looking for a healthier alternative to butter.”

You can replace butter with vegetable oil using a 1:1 ratio.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is an excellent substitute for butter, especially if you want to add a hint of tropical flavor to your dishes. This oil is extracted from the flesh of coconuts and has a unique taste that complements various recipes. It solidifies at room temperature, making it a perfect ingredient for baking and frying.

To use coconut oil as a butter substitute in baking, you can swap it in equal parts for melted butter. However, if the recipe calls for solid butter, you can use ¾ cup of coconut oil for every 1 cup of butter. Remember that coconut oil has a lower melting point than butter, so it may require a bit of experimentation to get the texture right.

When using coconut oil in baking, keep in mind that it has a slightly lower smoke point than butter. Therefore, it may not be the best choice for high-temperature cooking methods like deep-frying. However, it works well in sautéing, roasting, and stir-frying.

Olive oil

Extra virgin olive oil can replace butter in many savory dishes, but it has a distinct flavor, so it’s not suitable for all recipes.


If you’re looking for a healthy substitute for butter that also provides a smooth and creamy texture, avocado is a great choice.

The creamy texture of avocado makes it particularly suitable for spreads, dips, and even desserts.

Avocado is a great substitution for butter because it adds a creamy texture to dishes while providing heart-healthy fats.

When using avocado as a butter substitute in baking, you can replace half of the butter with avocado puree or mashed avocado. This will add moisture and a subtle nutty, buttery flavor to your recipe.

How to incorporate Avocado into your recipes if you don’t have butter

  • Spread mashed avocado on toast instead of butter or cream cheese.
  • Use avocado puree as a base for creamy dips and spreads
  • Replace butter with mashed avocado in chocolate desserts, such as brownies or mousse.

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is typically used as a healthier substitute for sour cream, mayo, and even cream cheese. But, did you know that it can also be used as a butter substitute?

Greek yogurt has a thick and creamy texture that can resemble the richness of butter. It works particularly well in recipes that require a tangy flavor and moist texture, such as cakes, muffins, and many other baked goods.

If you’re looking for a healthier and tangy twist in your recipes, Greek yogurt is an excellent substitute for butter.

How to Use Greek Yogurt as a Butter Substitute

When using Greek yogurt as a butter substitute, there are a few things to keep in mind. You can generally substitute butter with an equal amount of Greek yogurt, but you may need to adjust the recipe slightly to get the right consistency.

Nut Butters

Nut butters, such as almond butter or peanut butter, are a delicious and nutritious replacement for butter. They add richness and flavor to your recipes, making them a great option for spreads, desserts, and smoothies.

When using nut butters as a substitute for butter, keep in mind that they have a stronger flavor, so use them in moderation to avoid overpowering the other ingredients in your recipe.

Almond Butter

Almond butter is a great substitute for butter in baking recipes, adding a slightly nutty flavor and a creamy texture. Use it in cakes, cookies, and breads for a healthier and more flavorful alternative to butter.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a classic and versatile substitute for butter, adding a rich, nutty flavor to your dishes. Use it in spreads, sandwiches, and even savory recipes like stir-fries or sauces.

Cashew Butter

Cashew butter is a mild and creamy substitute for butter, perfect for adding a subtle nutty flavor to your recipes. Use it in dips, dressings, and desserts for a healthier and more flavorful alternative to butter.

Overall, nut butters are a delicious and healthy substitute for butter, adding richness and flavor to your recipes. Experiment with different types to find your favorite and enjoy a healthier twist on your favorite dishes.


Applesauce is a popular ingredient that can be used as an easy alternative to butter in baking recipes. Applesauce is great because it adds moisture and a natural sweetness to your dishes, making it perfect for cakes, muffins, and quick breads.

To use applesauce as a butter substitute, you can simply replace it with the same amount of applesauce. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of butter, you can use 1 cup of applesauce instead. This substitution will reduce the amount of fat and calories in your recipe while maintaining its moistness.

“Applesauce adds moisture and natural sweetness to your dishes, making it perfect for cakes, muffins, and quick breads.”

It is worth noting that using applesauce instead of butter may change the texture and flavor of your recipe slightly. Baked goods made with applesauce may be denser and have a slightly different taste compared to those made with butter. However, the difference is usually subtle and can be masked by flavors such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or vanilla extract.

Pumpkin puree

Pumpkin puree is another excellent butter substitute in various recipes, especially in baking. It adds moisture, a mild sweetness, and a unique flavor to dishes.

You can start by substituting pumpkin puree for butter at a 1:1 ratio, but you can also adjust for your desired texture and flavor.

Pumpkin puree will not work in every recipe that calls for butter. It is best to use this butter substitute for recipes such as muffins, quick breads, pancakes, waffles, and some cakes.

Mashed banana

Mashed banana are another great, healthier substitute for butter in certain recipes, especially in baking. To use mashed bananas in place of butter, grab ripe or overripe bananas and mash them with a fork until they are smooth and creamy. 

The ratio of mashed banana to butter will depend on the recipe and your dietary preferences. As a general guideline, you can start by substituting mashed banana for butter at a 1:1 ratio. For example, if a recipe calls for 1/2 cup of butter, you can use 1/2 cup of mashed banana.


Buttermilk is not typically used as a substitute for butter because they serve different purposes in recipes. However, in a pinch, you can use buttermilk to replace butter.

Buttermilk will add moisture and acidity to your recipe. To substitute, use half the amount of buttermilk in a recipe that calls for butter. For example, if your recipe need ½ cup of melted butter, replace the butter with ¼ cup of buttermilk.

Silken tofu

Silken tofu can be used as a substitute for butter in certain recipes, particularly in those recipes where you want to reduce the fat content or make the recipe vegan.

It works well in recipes where the creamy, smooth texture of silken tofu can mimic the richness of butter. This includes recipes like baked goods and sauces.

To use silken tofu as a butter replacement, you’ll need to blend it until it becomes smooth and creamy. Use a food processor or blender to achieve this consistency.


Lard is a solid fat made from pig fat that can be used as a substitute for butter in certain recipes, particularly those that benefit from a flaky and rich texture. If you have it, you can use lard in a 1:1 ratio as a butter substitute in recipes like pie crusts, biscuits, and some pastry doughs.

It is worth noting that lard lard has a distinct savory and slightly porky flavor, so it’s best suited for savory dishes.


Shortening is a solid vegetable fat, often used in baking to create tender and flaky baked goods. It’s an effective suitable for butter in pie crusts and other pastries.

Substitute shortening for butter in a 1:1 ratio in recipes that call for a solid fat, like pie crusts and cookies. Shortening lacks the flavor of butter, so it is best used in recipes where the buttery taste is not essential.


Ghee is clarified butter, which means it has had the milk solids removed. It has a rich, nutty flavor and a high smoke point, making it suitable for both cooking and baking. You can use ghee as a 1:1 replacement for butter in recipes, especially in Indian cooking or dishes where you want a buttery flavor.

Chicken or beef broth

Chicken or beef broth can be used as a butter substitute in savory dishes when you want to reduce fat content while adding flavor and moisture.

In recipes that involve sautéing or frying, you can use a small amount of chicken or beef broth instead of butter to prevent sticking and add flavor.

The substitution ratio may vary based on the recipe, but you can start with a 1:1 replacement, and adjust as needed.

When using any of these ingredients as an alternative to butter, it’s essential to consider the specific recipe and the desired outcome. Since many of these substitutions may impact the flavor, texture, and moisture of the final dish, it is import to do some experimentation to see which ones give you the best results!

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