It’s no secret that I love baked goods but they’re usually filled with not so great for you ingredients. Since cutting baked goods out of my diet isn’t an option, I’ve made it my mission to find little ways to make them healthier. I’ve shared tips for substituting sugar, white flour and eggs and today I want to tackle how to replace butter when baking.
There are a lot of reasons you may want to replace butter when baking. When I first published this post back in 2013, I was looking at butter replacements purely for the health benefits. But now that I’m dairy free, I need to replace butter when baking for an entirely different reason. As such, one of the butter replacements I suggested previously, greek yoghurt, isn’t an option for me anymore. So I thought it was high time I updated this post and went a little more in-depth into how I replace butter when baking.
I’ve also created a subscriber-only downloadable cheat sheet with the basics that you can print off and keep in the kitchen for when you’re experimenting with butter/dairy free baking. Make sure you’re on the list so you can download your copy & get access to other subscriber-only printables.
How to replace butter when baking
1. Coconut Oil
This is by far my favourite way to replace butter when baking, and the easiest in my opinion. It’s usually a straight one to one substitution with butter and yields basically the same result in terms of texture. Obviously, if the recipe calls for a lot of butter and you replace it all with coconut oil, you will get a coconutty flavour. But I quite like the taste of coconut in my baked goods so it works for me.
Substitution tip: Replace 1 cup butter with 1 cup coconut oil at the temperature indicated in the recipe i.e. melted coconut oil for melted butter, room temp coconut oil for room temp butter etc.. Also, remember to adjust salt in recipes that call for salted butter.
Note: If you’re looking for healthier alternatives to butter it is important to remember that coconut oil is still high in fats, even if they’re good fats.
Apparently, applesauce is the powerhouse of baking substitutions since it can be used as a substitute for sugar and eggs as well as butter. In this case, it works best as a butter replacement in things like cakes, muffins and quick breads. When using applesauce to replace butter, I like to use it in combination with another substitute, usually coconut oil. However, you can replace all the butter in the recipe with applesauce. Just be prepared for a more dense, chewy and moist product.
Substitution tip: Replace all the butter with applesauce or replace 1/2 the butter with applesauce and the other 1/2 with coconut oil or Earth Balance.
I’ve only used avocado as a substitute for butter once with okay results, but I plan to test it out more in the future. Using avocados in baked goods boosts their nutritional value since they’re filled with healthy fats and contain a plethora of vitamins and minerals. Plus, the texture is pretty close to what you get with butter. The only possible downside to using avocados in place of butter is that they may give your baked goods a green tint, but I obviously have no problem with that.
Substitution tip: Replace 1 cup butter with 1 cup mashed avocado. Avocados cause baked goods to rise and brown faster than normal, so you also need to reduce the oven temperature by about 25 degrees and bake for a little longer, if necessary.
4. Prune Puree
I love using prune puree as a substitute for butter and sugar in recipes that call for chocolate and/or cinnamon since they somehow enhance the flavour of chocolate. Plus, prunes help keep you regular (yep, I went there) and they have less empty calories and fat than butter. I don’t always replace all the butter with prune puree since the chocolate doesn’t always mask the taste, but full one to one substitution is possible, with more than okay results.
Substitution tip: Replace 1 cup butter with 1 cup prune puree. I like to buy baby food prune puree because it’s convenient, but you can make your own if you prefer.
5. Earth Balance i.e. vegan butter
I don’t have much experience baking with Earth Balance because I never remember to pick it up. But I know for a fact that it yields exactly the same results as regular butter, just without the dairy. My friend Deanna uses it whenever she bakes something dairy-free or vegan and it never disappoints. And as an added bonus, Earth Balance has less saturated fat than regular butter if you need to replace butter when baking for health reasons.
Substitution tip: Replace 1 cup butter with 1 cup Earth Balance
What about you?
- Have you ever experiemented with butter free baking?
- What’s your favourite way to replace butter when baking?
- Have you ever used any of these before?
Share in the comments below!
More healthy substitutions:
This post was originally published in November 2013