Butter is a popular baking ingredient that appears in various recipes ranging from cakes to quick bread to muffins. However, too much of a good thing can be harmful: According to the American Heart Association, the fat in butter is mostly saturated, which raises LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, which is a risk factor for heart disease (AHA).
For people trying to lower their cholesterol, the AHA recommends limiting saturated fat intake to 5 to 6% of daily calories, or 11 to 13 grams in a 2,000-calorie diet (g). According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), one tablespoon (tbsp) of butter contains more than 7 g of saturated fat.
Fortunately, a few ingredients can easily replace butter in your favourite recipes. You’ll get the same creamy texture and flavour but less fat and more nutritional value, thanks to healthy fats, fibre, protein, and various vitamins and minerals. These healthy substitutions will blend in seamlessly and even taste better than butter. Even so, there are numerous ways to enjoy foods without using butter. This article looks at various ingredients that can be used as butter substitutes.
Here are Some Substitutes we can Use Instead of Butter in Baking
Avocado has a creamy texture as well as a heart-healthy fat.
We should use this fatty fruit in all of your recipes. “Avocado is a heart-healthy fat with nearly 20 vitamins and minerals,” Poulson says. Mashed avocado can be used in a 1:1 substitution and is especially good in chocolate recipes. “Its creamy texture and mild flavour complement the sweetness of the chocolate.” “In addition, the colour of chocolate conceals green avocado well,” she adds. It would also work well in cookies, but they would turn out a little green. (You have the option.)
2. Olive Oil
It is also heart-healthy, but it has a strong flavour.
Olive oil is commonly used in salad dressings and stir-fries, but did you know. Can we also use it in baking? In addition to unsaturated fats, olive oil contains antioxidants with heart-protective and anticancer properties, according to a March 2018 study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences. “In general, you can replace butter with oil in a 1:1 ratio,” Rasmussen says. Keep in mind that it lends an olive oil flavour to baked goods; it’s best for things like olive oil cake, which is designed to lean into the stronger flavour of the oil. If you don’t like the taste of olive oil, go for the light variety to cut down on calories.
3. Avocado Oil
It has a neutral flavour profile.
Rasmussen recommends avocado oil, another source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat if you want an oil with a more neutral flavour and health benefits. To replace all butter in a recipe, use avocado oil in a 1:1 ratio.
Yogurt is creamy and high in protein.
According to Rasmussen, one advantage of yogurt, particularly Greek yogurt, is that it has the same creamy mouthfeel as fat-like butter because it is thick. Begin by substituting yogurt for half of the butter in a recipe; the other half should be fat, such as oil. If you make this substitution, there’s another reason to go Greek: it can add protein to your recipes. According to the USDA, a 34-cup serving contains 15 g of protein.
It’s a simple way to reduce fat and calories in a recipe.
Save this substitution for sweet bread and muffins. “Applesauce adds natural sweetness as well as moisture,” Poulson says. Compared to butter, applesauce contains far fewer calories and no fat; it also contains a few grams of fibre and potassium. She suggests substituting 12 cups of applesauce and 12 cups of oil for 1 cup of butter. (A buttercup contains 1,630 calories and 184 grams of fat.) A 12-cup serving of applesauce and a 12-cup serving of avocado oil contains 1,016 calories and 109 g of fat.)
“If you don’t mind the taste and texture when using half applesauce, try swapping in a bit more next time,” suggests Poulson. Make sure to purchase unsweetened applesauce because traditional or sweetened versions contain unnecessary sugar, which can increase calories and affect the taste of your bakery.
6. Mashed Bananas
Potassium from mashed bananas is beneficial to blood pressure.
Bananas are well-known for their potassium content: According to the USDA, one medium-sized fruit contains 422 milligrams (mg) of the mineral (or about 9% of the daily value). According to the National Institutes of Health, potassium helps with blood pressure regulation.
In baking, bananas combine the creaminess of avocado with the sweetness of applesauce. As with applesauce, Rasmussen recommends using them to replace half of the fat in baked goods in a 1:1 ratio. (To make 1 cup of butter, combine 12 cups mashed banana and 12 cups butter or oil.) Of course, bananas will give the finished product a fruity, banana-y flavour. Also, keep in mind that fat adds texture to baked goods, but it also acts as a stabilizer, according to her. Using fruit instead of fat reduces its shelf life and causes it to spoil faster. All the more reason to eat it as quickly as possible, right?
7. Peanut Butter
Nut butter is a delicious way to increase fiber and protein.
Nut butter, such as peanut, almond, or cashew butter, is an excellent substitute for butter. According to Rasmussen, it’s fairly solid at room temperature and bakes similarly to butter. “You’ll also increase the fiber and protein content of the recipe,” she says. According to the USDA, one tablespoon of almond butter contains 3 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber. When first experimenting with a recipe, replace half of the butter with the nut butter of your choice. “If it goes well, I’ll push it and use more nut butter [next time], but you’ll notice a flavour difference,” she says. In some cases, such as banana muffins, peanut butter flavour may be welcome like banana muffins.
8. Pumpkin Puree
It adds an earthy flavour as well as important nutrients.
Silky pumpkin puree isn’t just for the fall season. “In a 1:1 ratio, We can substitute 100% pumpkin puree for butter,” says Poulson. “It gives baked goods moisture, creaminess, and an earthy sweetness.” According to the USDA, adding one cup of pumpkin to the recipe will add 7 g of fibre and vitamin A and potassium. Poulson prefers it in chocolate cakes or brownies, carrot cake, and pumpkin desserts.
9. Beans Pack
Beans provide protein and fiber, making treats more filling.
According to the USDA, a cup of white beans has 299 calories, 13 g of fibre, and almost no saturated fat. Now is the time if you haven’t tried beans in baked goods yet. “It may sound strange, but pureed legumes can be used in place of butter,” Poulson says. Beans add a cakier texture to baked goods, so save them for cakes, blondies, and brownies. Black bean brownies, white bean, or chickpea blondies, for example. She says you can do 1:1, but that may be ambitious. “If you’re nervous about going 100 percent at first, start with half beans and half butter, then increase as you feel comfortable.”
Some Other Butter Substitutes
While not the healthiest options, here are three more butter substitutes and what you should know about them.
1. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has a tropical flavour that some people enjoy, but it’s high in saturated fat, so it’s not the healthiest option (despite its reputation for being otherwise). According to the USDA, one tablespoon of coconut oil contains 11.2 g of saturated fat, which is more than butter and exceeds the recommended limit.
2. Grapeseed Oil
While grapeseed oil contains a trace of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, a July 2016 article in Nutrition and Metabolic Insights notes that it also contains omega-6 fatty acids, which have been linked to inflammation in some people, according to previous research. More recent research, cited in a review of randomized controlled trials published in Food & Function in September 2017, concludes that omega-6 fatty acids do not cause inflammation. More research is needed, but there are known butter alternatives to choose from in the meantime.
While not necessarily healthier than regular butter, there is a growing trend toward using ghee (clarified butter), which makes intuitive sense because it has a rich buttery flavour and texture. According to a 2015 study published in Molecular Genetics and Metabolism Reports, some people prefer it to traditional butter because the process removes the milk solids, increasing the smoke point and lowering the amount of lactose. According to Poulson, it’s unclear whether this makes ghee healthier than butter. “Because ghee is a saturated fat, it should be used sparingly, just like regular butter,” she says. According to the USDA, one tablespoon of ghee contains 9 grams of saturated fat (more than traditional butter). When incorporating ghee into baked goods, use a 1:1 ratio.
Would you Like to Bake with Butter?
Here are some recipes you can make using butter, have a look!
Folding dough in specific ways around cold butter creates large, distinct layers of rich dough, similar to puff pastry and croissant dough.
Biscuits and Pie Dough
Cutting small pieces of very cold butter into dry flour coats the flour in butter, resulting in pockets of both dry and fat-coated flour. When the buttery floury meal is mixed with water, the dry flour parts form the flaky structure of the crust, while the buttery parts melt, leaving airy pockets and tenderness in their wake.
It is not necessary to use cream when creaming butter. It’s just the name of a technique used to make cakes, cupcakes, and occasionally muffins that involves mixing butter with sugar until it becomes light in colour and fluffy in texture. Sharp-edged sugar crystals cut small paths through the butter, trapping air (which expands even more during cooking) and resulting in fluffiness, tenderness, and lightness in baked goods.
Best Strawberry Shortcake
Juicy strawberries and fresh whipped cream over homemade shortcakes make a stunning summer dessert. You can add even more decadence to this recipe by buttering the shortcake, and this is the best recipe for a strawberry shortcake.
Thumbprint Butter Cookies
These buttery little rounds add colour to a platter of goodies. Fill the thumbprint in the center with your favourite fruit preserves.
Malted Chocolate & Stout Layer Cake
Look no further for a dessert that will take the cake! The rich chocolate cake is incredibly moist and has a nice malt flavour that perfectly complements the Irish cream frosting.
Why Use a Substitute?
Cow’s milk is commonly used to make butter. Butter substitutes may be used by people who are lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy products. Others may seek a substitute due to the nutrition facts of butter, which are high in calories, fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. People who eat a vegan or strictly plant-based diet may be looking for healthy alternatives to butter.
Is it True that Butter is Bad for you?
Okay, we don’t want to go there. It may not be good for your heart, but it is good for your soul, so that counts for something, right? Both yes and no. According to the American Heart Association, butter contains a lot of saturated fat, and a tablespoon of butter contains about 7 grams of saturated fat on average. For context, the AHA recommends that people who need to lower their cholesterol limit their daily calorie and fat intake to 11 to 13 grams of saturated fat (or two tablespoons of butter). It may lower your risk of developing heart disease and improve your overall cardiovascular health.
Can I Substitute Margarine for Butter?
Margarine is an ingredient that should not be used in place of butter. It has been highly processed and contains inflammatory trans fats, and it also does not affect the food’s quality or texture. As a result, it is not recommended to substitute margarine for butter.
What do Vegans Eat Instead of Butter?
Vegans abstain from dairy products for ethical reasons. As a result, ghee, Greek yogurt, and cheese are not ideal vegan butter substitutes. On the other hand, Vegans could substitute olive oil, coconut oil, prune puree, pumpkin puree, mashed bananas, and avocados for butter.
Butter substitutes frequently improve the nutritional value of the foods in which they are used. In some cases, they can reduce calories while increasing healthy fats. Butter substitution is not always practical because the amount of replacement may need to be adjusted to achieve the desired texture and density while baking. People looking to make healthier choices, on the other hand, may want to consider butter substitutes when cooking, baking, and spreading.