10 Substitutes for Butter in Baking

Photo by: Nathan Dumlao

When baking, butter can be replaced with fats such as shortening, oil, margarine, and applesauce.

Substitutes for butter in baking with these ingredients typically produce a slightly different texture — typically denser and with a longer shelf life — but many bakers find the results acceptable. 

For example, applesauce gives cakes a moist and dense texture. While shortening makes cookies crispier and flakier than butter does.

Depending on your needs and preferences for each recipe, you may need to experiment to find the best substitutes for butter in baking.

1. Applesauce

Applesauce is first on our list of Substitutes for butter in baking. It is an ideal substitute for butter when baking.

Applesauce adds moisture and texture to cakes and muffins while lowering the fat content. 

Applesauce can be used equally to the desired amount of butter or oil the recipe calls for, giving a similar texture and taste without all the fat from butter.

Not only does applesauce contribute better nutrition to baked goods, but it will also help reduce calorie intake and make food healthier overall.

2. Vegetable Oil

Vegetable Oil is also on our list of Substitutes for butter in baking.  Substituting vegetable oil for butter when baking is an easy way to make lighter, healthier sweet treats.

As a general guideline, butter can be reduced by 25 percent when substituted with vegetable oil

Baked goods generally turn out moisturizer and softer when prepared with oil.

However, vegetable oils do not contain milk solids or other components found in butter that give baked goods their irresistibly rich flavor and golden hue.

An additional sprinkle of sea salt or other seasonings can help round out the flavor profile and bring out more complexity in the finished product.

3. Buttermilk

Buttermilk is a popular alternative to butter in baking and cooking. It has a lower fat content than butter, making it a healthier substitute for butter in baking.

Buttermilk also adds great flavor and can be used in recipes that call for butter. 

In addition, buttermilk can tenderize doughs and batters, adding an airy texture that can’t be achieved with other substitutes like oil or water.

Additionally, it is relatively inexpensive compared to other dairy products, making it one of the attractive substitutes for butter in baking for bakers on a budget.

4. Avocado

Avocados present viable substitutes for butter in baking, as it is free of trans fats and cholesterol, making them a healthier choice.

Additionally, avocado is naturally high in healthy unsaturated fats, which can help contribute to overall heart health. 

However, some people may find that avocado can give dishes baked with it a slightly different texture than those made with butter.

Thus, experimentation may be necessary to find the perfect balance of ingredients.

5. Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is an excellent substitute for butter in baking. It provides the moistness needed while at the same time imparting a subtle and slightly tart flavor that compliments sweetness.

Plus, it’s chock full of protein and other nutrients like calcium and B vitamins – all with very few calories. 

As one of the Substitutes for butter in baking, yogurt can act as a leavening agent, replacing some of the fat (butter or oil) in recipes that use both ingredients — cakes, muffins, and quick bread will all benefit from the moisture it adds to batters.

6. Pumpkin Puree

When looking for healthy Substitutes for butter in baking, pumpkin puree can be used.

This ingredient is perfect for cakes, muffins, and other desserts where butter is a primary ingredient. 

Using pumpkin puree as Substitutes for butter in baking gives the same texture and softness that you get with butter while being lower in caloric intake and providing essential vitamins and minerals.

Pumpkin puree also adds sweetness to your baking, making it the perfect replacement for butter.

7. Prune Puree

Prune puree is becoming a popular substitute for butter when baking. It adds moisture, flavor, and richness to baked goods, making them more flavorful, moist, and tender.

Prune puree is also healthier than butter, providing fiber, vitamin A, iron, and potassium, enhancing any baked product’s nutritional content. 

Additionally, prune puree, one of the Substitutes for butter in baking, can be used to replace some of the fat in recipes without sacrificing flavor.

So choose prune puree as a substitute for butter in your baking!

8. Olive Oil

Olive oil is next on our list of Substitutes for butter in baking. It can make a great substitute for butter when baking.

Due to its lower saturated fat content, substituting olive oil for butter reduces the overall fat and makes baked goods healthier. 

Additionally, olive oil gives these baked goods a nutty and flavorful undertone that works especially well in savory applications like bread and cakes.

Many pastry chefs prefer olive oil, allowing them to incorporate flavor without creating greasiness.

Moreover, olive oil retains its consistency at room temperature, making it an even better Substitute for butter in baking recipes.

9. Applesauce and Buttermilk

Applesauce and buttermilk are almost as interchangeable with butter in baking recipes as a fat source.

The combination of applesauce and buttermilk replaces the fat content that butter usually provides while keeping your product sweet, tender, and moist. 

These unique substitutes for butter in baking add an interesting depth to whatever you’re baking, such as a loaf of banana bread or strawberry muffins, without the added calories from butter.

Applesauce plus buttermilk also helps create a lighter texture in cakes and cookies due to the airy froth it creates when combined.

Plus, if you like that tangy flavor imparted by buttermilk, this mix will give you what you want!

10. Coconut Oil

Lastly, coconut oil has some advantages on our list of substitutes for butter in baking: it functions much like butter or shortening but with the added benefit of having a mild coconut flavor.

Coconut oil is high in saturated fat, making baked goods crispy on the outside while still being tender on the inside. 

Baking with coconut oil also adds moisture to your desserts and can extend the shelf life of products.

Coconut oil is an excellent vegan alternative as it contains no animal products, unlike butter.

If you’re looking for an easy substitution that will leave a pleasant taste in your mouth and won’t mess up your dietary restrictions, try baking with coconut oil!


When baking with a substitute for butter, it’s important to consider the recipe and what taste, appearance, and texture you’re looking for.

Different Substitutes for butter in baking will yield different results, so it’s wise to try a few different ones to find an appropriate replacement. 

Soy margarine and vegetable shortening are popular alternatives that give cakes, cookies, and other baked treats the desired lightness and moistness of butter with less saturated fat.

Applesauce and mashed banana can also be substitutions but may lead to denser end products due to the additional moisture.

Ultimately finding the best Substitutes for butter in baking comes down to experimentation.

Can I Bake Without Using Butter?

You may be out of butter, but you almost certainly have a bottle of oil on hand, so grab it and make some cookies. Oils are great for muffins and fast bread but can also be used in cookies. For every cup of butter called for, use 3/4 cup olive or vegetable oil.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like