Best Substitute for Butter

There are lots of options if you don’t want to use butter! Here are the best substitutes for butter in savory recipes and baked goods like cookies.

Substitute for butter

Looking for a substitute for butter? Maybe you’re out of butter, or perhaps you’re looking to make a recipe plant based or vegan? Either way: we’re here to help! Keep in mind that the best substitute depends on what type of recipe you’re making. Baked recipes are different from cooking with butter.

Best substitute for butter

1. Coconut oil (best for baking).

A good substitute for butter in baking is the same amount of coconut oil! Coconut oil is an oil that comes from the flesh of coconuts. It’s used in cooking, especially in vegan baking as a substitute for butter. Because coconut oil is also solid at room temperature, the properties are similar. But keep in mind: the flavor and texture of coconut oil vs butter are slightly different.

  • Butter yields a more rich, savory flavor than coconut oil. It also gives a chewier, moister texture to baked goods like cookies.
  • Coconut oil can sometimes lend a light coconut flavor. It makes for slightly denser cookies than butter. Refined coconut oil has a more neutral taste than unrefined coconut oil, so it would have less effect on the flavor. You also may want to add a bit of salt to mimic the natural saltiness of butter.

2. Olive oil (non-baked).

Olive oil works well as a 1-for-1 substitute for butter. We don’t recommend using olive oil in baked goods because the flavor can be strong. But it works well in savory recipes like soups and sauteing.

3. Neutral oil, like grapeseed oil or sunflower oil.

Neutral oils are a great choice as a 1-for-1 substitute for butter. This works well in things like quick breads and muffins. You also may want to add a bit of salt to mimic the natural saltiness of butter.

Related recipes

Here are some of our favorite recipes that use butter:

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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