18 Best Substitutes for Unsalted Butter

Best Substitutes for Unsalted Butter
Photo by Tijana Drndarski

Butter is an essential ingredient for a wide range of recipes. But what to do when you run out of unsalted butter?

Finding the best substitutes for unsalted butter can be quite challenging and frustrating.

Unsalted butter has no added salt, so it is the healthiest option that can be used in many dishes. It also enhances the flavors of different foods. 

Unfortunately, there are times when regular salted butter won’t work in a recipe, so unsalted butter is what you need to get the desired result.

Luckily, there are several options available that you can use as substitutes for unsalted butter without compromising on the taste or texture of your dish. 

This article will discuss household ingredients that can be used as substitutes for unsalted butter to ensure your meals are still delicious and healthy.

Whether you’re out of unsalted butter for an emergency or just looking for healthier alternatives, these substitutes will fit perfectly in any recipe!

1. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is the first on this list of excellent substitutes for unsalted butter as it has a slightly sweeter flavor and a higher smoke point than butter.

This means that it can be used to cook or bake at temperatures up to 350°F without burning.

Coconut oil is also vegan-friendly and contains beneficial fatty acids such as lauric acid, which help improve gut health and reduce inflammation. 

Additionally, coconut oil does not require refrigeration due to its high saturated fat content and will keep it in an airtight container for several months.

When substituting coconut oil for unsalted butter in recipes, the general rule is that 3/4 cup of melted coconut oil can be used instead of 1 cup of melted unsalted butter.

Alternatively, substitute solid butter with the same ratio of solidified coconut oil.

2. Vegetable Shortening

Vegetable shortening is one of the popular substitutes for unsalted butter when baking and cooking.

It is a fat derived from either vegetable or partially-hydrogenated vegetable oil, so it has an almost butter-like texture. It can be used as a direct replacement in most recipes.

Compared to butter, it stays solid at higher temperatures, which makes it ideal for creating flaky pastries or baked items where the structure needs to hold up better when exposed to higher heat levels. 

Vegetable shortening is also low in moisture content, so it won’t cause the same reaction as regular butter, such as making the food heavier.

Additionally, many brands are made with nonanimal sources and are therefore suitable for those with dietary restrictions involving animal products.

3. Lard

Lard is one of the excellent substitutes for unsalted butter in many baking and cooking applications.

Lard is known for providing a rich and smooth texture without the added sodium found in butter, leading to a wonderful flavor profile when used in sweet baked goods, fried foods, or pan-seared dishes.

Lard offers a higher smoke point than butter, so it can be used at much higher temperatures, making it perfect for deep-frying. 

Lastly, using lard instead of butter keeps all the flavors and textures intact while offering healthier benefits than other fats, such as saturated fats in animal products and extra virgin olive oil.

All in all, lard is one of the best substitutes for unsalted butter when looking for optimal performance with health consciousness!

4. Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil is on this list of great substitutes for unsalted butter when baking. It has numerous health benefits and can be used in its place in almost any recipe.

Since vegetable oil does not contain dairy or animal products, it is an ideal choice for those following a vegetarian or vegan diet. 

Additionally, because of its high smoke point, vegetable oil can handle higher temperatures than butter without burning or evaporating quickly.

Furthermore, many store-bought vegetable oil brands have added Vitamin E, which helps improve skin and hair health. 

Compared to butter, vegetable oil has fewer saturated fats and more polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are much better for your cardiovascular system and overall health.

It also contains less cholesterol than butter, making it the perfect ingredient for anyone looking to make healthy changes to their lifestyle.

5. Olive Oil

Olive oil is one of the excellent substitutes for unsalted butter, particularly in baking recipes.

Olive oil tastes great and provides a rich source of healthy fats, and it has a much milder flavor that won’t overpower other ingredients like some butter can.

Additionally, olive oil is generally considered a healthier alternative to unsalted butter as it contains far fewer saturated fats than butter and is lower in calories. 

Furthermore, it can help add moisture to recipes since it does not contain water. Finally, when compared to other cooking oils on the market, such as vegetable or palm oils, olive oil is more cost-effective.

It has less environmental impact due to fewer resources being required for its production. Overall, it is one of the best substitutes for unsalted butter.

6. Ghee

Ghee is seen by many as one of the best substitutes for unsalted butter because it contains fewer carbohydrates, more fats, higher heat resistance, and a more intense flavor than regular butter.

Ghee is made by slowly simmering butter until the liquid evaporates, and all that remains is an oil with very small amounts of milk solids.

This process results in a yellowish-brownish substance with no lactose or casein proteins, making it a great choice for those avoiding dairy products. 

Additionally, ghee has a higher smoke point than most cooking oils (around 485 degrees F), making it less likely to burn or create harmful compounds when cooking at high temperatures.

It also has an even stronger buttery flavor than traditional salted butter, making it ideal for baking cakes and other desserts that require strong flavors but not too much-added salt.

Ghee is an excellent substitute for unsalted butter in any recipe due to its versatile nature and delicious taste.

7. Freshly Whipped Cream

Looking for substitutes for unsalted butter? Freshly whipped cream is an excellent substitute for unsalted butter, providing a similar creaminess and richness that makes baked goods delicious.

It is also easy to whip, with just half a cup of heavy cream yielding more than enough volume for vegan baking recipes. 

Whipped cream has fewer calories than butter, making it an ideal choice for those looking to watch their calorie intake.

Additionally, whipped cream contains no saturated fat, which won’t raise cholesterol levels like butter.

Finally, freshly whipped cream has a much longer shelf life than butter, eliminating the need to worry about spoiling and rancidity.

8. Grapeseed Oil

Of all the substitutes for unsalted butter, grapeseed oil is an excellent alternative to unsalted butter when it comes to baking.

It is a healthy, plant-based oil made from the seeds of grapes that has a subtly sweet flavor and rich, velvety texture.

Grapeseed oil contains essential fatty acids, meaning it helps improve heart health, high blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. 

Comparing to unsalted butter, grapeseed oil also provides more beneficial antioxidants and polyunsaturated fats, which help protect cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals.

Additionally, it has a higher smoke point than other oils like olive, meaning that it can handle higher temperatures without burning as quickly.

Grapeseed oil is an ideal substitute when baking cakes and muffins because it can be used instead of butter without affecting the overall taste or texture.

9. Margarine

Margarine is not left out of the best substitutes for unsalted butter because it has almost the same texture and taste as butter but with a fraction of the fat and calories.

Margarine also has a higher smoke point than regular butter, making it ideal for baking or frying foods requiring longer cooking.

Additionally, margarine contains heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, so it can help lower cholesterol levels and protect against certain diseases. 

Finally, it comes in many flavors, such as garlic butter or olive oil, which can add unique flavors to dishes without overwhelming the taste profile.

All these advantages make margarine one of the ideal substitutes for unsalted butter in any recipe while providing beneficial health benefits.

10. Pureed Black Beans

Pureed black beans are an excellent substitute for unsalted butter, particularly when looking for a vegan option.

Black beans’ high protein and fiber content makes them a tasty and nutritious addition to any meal.

When pureed, they can be heated with spices to make a delicious spread for sandwiches, wraps, tacos, or burritos. 

Pureed black beans also provide an excellent binding agent for recipes such as veggie burgers, making them an ideal alternative to unsalted butter.

Additionally, they work well in sweet dishes as a way to reduce the amount of added fat without sacrificing flavor.

Pureed black beans are an excellent substitute for unsalted butter in many recipes and are sure to add a flavorful and nutritious punch of nutrition to any dish!

We are not done with this list of the various substitutes for unsalted butter.

11. Mayonnaise

We are still discussing the best substitutes for unsalted butter here. Mayonnaise is an excellent substitute for unsalted butter, as it is suitable for baking, cooking, and other culinary applications.

It provides a creamy texture to baking recipes and can be used instead of butter to create moist, delicious cakes and muffins. 

Furthermore, mayonnaise contains no trans-fats and can make a healthy alternative to butter, which is relatively high in calories.

Additionally, mayonnaise’s tangy flavor enhances many savory dishes such as sauces or casseroles, making it a versatile condiment.

Thus, there are multiple reasons why mayonnaise should be considered the best substitute for unsalted butter.

12. Hummus

Hummus is a nutritious, plant-based spread that can be used as a substitute for unsalted butter.

It is made from mashed chickpeas and tahini, which contain protein, fiber, essential vitamins and minerals, and healthy fats.

Hummus has a creamy texture similar to butter when spread on toast or crackers, making it an ideal substitute for those looking for plant-based options. 

Moreover, using hummus instead of butter lowers the calorie and saturated fat content while still providing a satisfying taste experience.

Aside from being one of the substitutes for unsalted butter, it also adds a unique flavor profile to food items without altering the intended taste.

Hummus provides an easy way to reduce your consumption of unhealthy ingredients while still creating delicious dishes everyone can enjoy!

13. Prune Butter

If you are looking for a great substitute for unsalted butter, prune butter is a good option, especially if you want to reduce cholesterol while still indulging in some sweet treats.

Prune butter is made by blending cooked prunes and salt with an electric mixer and contains no dairy products, meaning it can be used as an alternative to salted and unsalted butter. 

Prune butter has a rich and creamy consistency, making it great for baking or spreading on toast or muffins.

It can also be substituted in savory recipes such as sauces or marinades, reducing saturated fat and maximizing flavor.

Additionally, prune butter can give recipes a unique flavor profile that many find appealing compared to regular butter.

14. Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is a superior substitute for unsalted butter because it is much lower in fat, calories, and sodium than butter.

Greek yogurt also provides added health benefits as it contains probiotics which help to promote digestive health.

Unlike butter, it requires no preparation and can be used in sweet and savory recipes. 

Greek yogurt, one of the substitutes for unsalted butter, also has a smooth texture similar to that of melted butter, making it an ideal replacement when baking.

It can be used as either a substitute for butter or by blending with other ingredients such as fruits, nuts, or seeds. 

This makes it perfect for use in dishes that call for richness or creaminess without the unhealthy fats in traditional butter.

All in all, Greek yogurt is a healthier alternative to unsalted butter that offers many culinary applications making it an essential ingredient if you’re looking to cook smarter and healthier.

15. Avocado

Avocado is known for its high healthy fat content and amazing flavor, making it one of the perfect substitutes for unsalted butter.

Avocado has been a butter substitute in baking recipes since the early 2000s due to the rising health concerns surrounding saturated fats in traditional butter.

Avocado can easily mimic butter’s texture and softness with simple adjustments or swaps, such as swapping out white sugar with brown sugar or honey.

It can also replace sweet ingredients such as syrup or honey with mashed avocado or adding some crushed nuts to recipes to add extra crunchiness.

Besides being healthier, avocado can also be used as a low-fat substitution because its natural fat content helps to hold together recipes by creating binds similar to those created when using butter.

Avocados are an extremely versatile substitute you’d never know existed, from cakes to muffins and even ice cream.

16. Pumpkin Puree

Pumpkin puree is an excellent substitution for unsalted butter in baking recipes. It has a long shelf life and can be used as an oil or fat substitute in various baked goods without affecting the taste or texture.

Pumpkin puree, on this list of substitutes for unsalted butter, adds extra moisture and vitamins A and C to your dish resulting in a healthier end product. 

Furthermore, pumpkin’s natural sweetness works particularly well with sweet recipes like cakes, muffins, and quick bread.

It’s also perfect for replacing oil or melted butter in vegan dishes because it is dairy-free and gluten-free.

When using pumpkin puree as a substitute for unsalted butter, reduce the amount of liquid called for in the recipe by ¼ cup so your batter doesn’t become too wet.

17. Applesauce

Applesauce is an excellent substitute for unsalted butter, providing the same moisture and richness as butter without adding fat or sodium.

Applesauce, one of the delectable substitutes for unsalted butter, can be used in baking to replace up to 1/3 of the specified butter.

When preparing a recipe, replace each cup of butter with 3/4 cup of applesauce. 

When using applesauce as a substitute for unsalted butter, use natural or unsweetened varieties to ensure that your baked goods are not too sweet.

Additionally, when swapping in applesauce, it is important to note that baked goods will usually not rise as much as they normally would with butter installation and will likely have a more dense texture.

18. Nut Butter

Nut butter is becoming increasingly popular as one of the substitutes for unsalted butter. It has a similar creamy texture and a nutty flavor that can be pleasant and distinct in various recipes.

Nut butter also contains healthy dietary fats and protein, making it an excellent source of nutrition. 

Some varieties of nut butter even contain added vitamins and minerals such as calcium, vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium.

Furthermore, varieties of nut butter are naturally low in sodium or have no added salt, so they are much healthier than regular salted butter or margarine products. 

When used to make sauces and other dishes, nut butter offer additional flavor ingredients that can’t be found in typical unsalted butter – such as unique spices or natural sweetness from fruit like dates.

This makes nut butter one of the interesting substitutes for unsalted butter that can elevate a dish’s flavors!


In conclusion, these are the best substitutes for unsalted butter. They have similar textures and flavors and are available in various variations, from lightly salted to extra salty styles. 

Additionally, it can be used for baking, cooking, spreading on toast, or adding to sauces and dressings.

Salted butter is an ideal substitute for unsalted butter that offer added flavor.

Leave a Reply

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

You May Also Like