Butter is one of those ingredients you always have in handy, whether you use it often or not. There are moments, though, when using butter can be hard or just outright impossible.
No what matter the reason is, you should be aware of what food substitutes to use and when to use them.
This ingredient may come second nature to you, and if you’re like me, you use it constantly in a good sauce, roux, pasta, and every other baked good.
Instead of giving up your favorite recipes, we’ll let you know about the substitutes you can use that will result in the same and tasty products.
Why Replace Butter, Anyway?
The reasons vary, but there are many people out there that can’t or won’t consume butter. Some of the most common reasons include:
- Casein allergy: While only small amounts, butter still contains the milk protein, casein, that causes allergies in some individuals.
- Lactose intolerance: Due to the small amounts of lactose in butter, some people can’t tolerate it well.
- Veganism: Those following strictly a vegan diet can’t consume any animal products.
- Health concerns: Because butter is saturated fat, some people need to cut it out of their diet. This is especially important among those individuals with heart disease or risk of stroke.
What Can I Replace Butter With?
These are the best butter substitutes you can find for different purposes and dishes:
Best For Cooking, Making a Roux, Mashed Potatoes, and Popcorn
#1. Olive Oil
Always considered a healthy choice, olive oil is a good choice for cooking, but you have to make sure you use the normal kind for high temperatures and not the extra virgin kind. This oil is high in monounsaturated fatty acids and will give you the essential fatty acids your diet needs.
You can use it when making a roux with flour, popping popcorn, cooking meat, or as a binding agent in mashed potatoes. You probably already have some olive oil, but finding it is easy anywhere.
We should warn you, though, as the flavor is a bit more bitter and slightly acidic, so use about half of the amount that the recipe calls for.
See More: Olive Oil Shelf Life
#2. Canola Oil
This oil is also a good choice when it comes to cooking, especially because it has a neutral flavor and can withstand high temperatures.
Canola oil is also a relatively healthy choice that is high in monounsaturated fats, so it still a better option than butter. Canola oil can be used in most things, from making a roux, cooking meat, sautéing vegetables, and making stovetop popcorn.
You can buy canola oil in almost every store, including convenience stores. To use it in place of butter, we recommend you start with ½ cup of canola oil for every one cup of butter.
See More: Canola Oil Alternatives
This is maybe an unhealthy choice, but it can be a good option in making certain dishes. If you need to make a roux, cook potatoes, bake meat dishes, or pop some popcorn, margarine is great since it can add flavor and texture.
To replace butter, use the same amount of margarine and you’ll dish will taste and look the same.
You can buy margarine in every grocery store and some convenience stores, but we recommend you limit the amount you use as it is high in saturated fats. This choice can also be used in baking if you need it.
Best For Baking Cookies, Banana Bread, Biscuits, Pie Crust, and Cake
This option is simply clarified butter that has lost the lactose and casein during the making process. Ghee is a safe choice for those with a milk or lactose allergy. This is also a very good option for shortening and rising in baking things like cookies, bread, and muffins.
We recommend that you limit the amount of ghee that you use, as it is still high in saturated fat. You can replace butter with the same amount of ghee, and you can probably find it in any grocery store.
#5. Coconut Oil
This is a very good option for baking, as it gives the product moisture and binding. However, coconut oil does have a distinct flavor so it can alter the final product a bit. You can use coconut oil in baking muffins, cookies, banana bread, pie crusts, and some cakes.
Finding coconut oil shouldn’t be too hard, as it is now a popular choice. You can use this alternative as you would use butter, especially if you’re cooking too.
See more: How long does coconut oil last?
#6. Greek Yogurt
While not a lactose-free choice, plain Greek yogurt is a safe choice when baking. We suggest you go with the full-fat version, as this allows for better binding and moisture in the baking process.
You can use Greek yogurt in any pie, banana bread, cake, and cheesecake, but keep in mind that it is tangy and can make your recipe a bit more acidic.
To replace butter, use the same amount of Greek yogurt, but consider altering the liquids. This choice is also high in protein, so it can make baking a little more nutritious.
A weird choice for some, avocados make a valid option if you’re trying to get the fatty content of butter in baked goods. Avocados have a unique flavor, though, so make sure it mixes well with the rest of your ingredients.
You can use this substitute in place of butter in making bread, brownies, pies, and biscuits.
Finding avocados is normally very easy. You can try a grocery store, organic store, or a farmer’s market. Use one cup of mashed avocados in place of one cup of butter.
The healthiest fat to use in place of butter is usually olive oil, as it is high in monounsaturated fats and essential fatty acids. You can try using avocados and vegetable or canola oil, as well.
Butter is very high in saturated fat, but it is not genetically or chemically modified. Margarine, on the other hand, is a combination of trans-fats, which are very unhealthy. Both can raise cholesterol levels, so avoid using them in excess, but butter is a better choice.
If you can use butter in baking, we suggest you do, as it contains more saturated fat, and this will allow for moisture, binding, and rising. However, margarine is a good second choice if you can’t use butter, but it does contain a higher water content, which can alter your final product.
Butter is such a common food in everyone’s kitchen that it seems crazy to even think of replacing it. Yet, many people need to avoid it, so why not know what substitutes can work? These seven choices are all different but are good for various recipes.
Up Next: How long does butter last?
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