butter substitutes in baking

Best Vegan and Dairy Free Butter Substitutes in Baking

Are you looking for butter substitutes in baking for amazing vegan baked goods? Or how to substitute butter with coconut oil?

In this article we are talking about all of the possible replacements for butter in your tasty vegan baked goods. This list might even come in handy if you aren’t vegan but just want to find a healthier option.

Butter isn’t the worst thing that you could eat but if you follow a vegan or plant-based diet it is no longer an option. Butter is also not the healthiest option which is why you might want to replace it even if you aren’t vegan.

The good thing is that butter is actually very easy to replace in baking! You have a lot of options to choose from here.

So, if you are interested in learning about what butter substitutes are best then keep reading to find out more.

Why Substitute Butter?

Even if you aren’t vegan you still might find yourself wanting to find butter alternatives for baking.

Vegans avoid butter because it is a product from the dairy industry that comes from cows’ milk. Making it not suitable for a vegan diet.

Others might want to avoid butter because it is high in fat. Many recipes call for it in large quantities which is why you might want to cut back to a certain extent.

There are many other options that are much healthier than butter. Many being lower in fat and calories.

Best Butter Substitutes in Baking

There are many excellent butter alternatives for baking, which makes it so much easier to bake amazing vegan foods.

You don’t need any fancy ingredients; in fact, you might already have some of the substitutes in your kitchen.

All of these replacements are some of the best options available while still providing good results in your baked goods.

And make sure to read till the end of this article to find out which butter substitutes in baking are better.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is one of the most popular options when it comes to substituting butter in baking.

This is because coconut oil has a very similar consistency which makes it easy to incorporate into any baked good that requires butter. It can be easily softened and whipped up for baking recipes or crumbled into pie dough.

The only down side to using coconut oil is that it can create an oily baked good. It is a thin oil once melted and can try to leak out of foods when they are baking.

Because of this, it is best to not use large amounts of coconut oil in recipes. I like to use this organic coconut oil since it is affordable and lasts for a very long time.

  • How Much: Use equal amounts of coconut oil to butter.
  • Best in: Cakes, breads, muffins, cupcakes, cookies, pie crust, and brownies.

Apple Sauce

Apple sauce is another popular butter substitute in baking. This is because it works amazingly well in the place of butter, as well as being much healthier.

Unsweetened apple sauce is a great way to reduce calories in your baked goods as well as to cut back on fats. It makes a very easy butter substitute which is why I always try to have pure apple sauce on hand.

It helps you to get in more fruit as well as good fiber. And is generally one of the healthiest butter options since you aren’t adding any fat into the baked good.

The only drawback is the possibility of getting slightly dry baked goods. This can happen because apple sauce lacks the fats that butter has.

To offset this issue, you could add a bit of oil to the recipe or only substitute the butter with half of the apple sauce.

  • How Much: Use half the amount of apple sauce for butter, such as ½ apple sauce for 1 cup of butter.
  • Best in: Cakes, quick breads, muffins, some cookies.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is one of the best butter substitutes in baking as it provides the same richness and moisture.

Though olive oi is still high in fat it is a bit better for you than straight butter is. Baking with olive oil also requires less oil than it would butter.

Just keep in mind that very high-quality olive oils might leave a flavor behind in your baked goods. More generic brands usually have a lighter flavor that won’t affect baked goods much if at all. I like to use this brand of extra virgin olive oil!

Just make sure to measure it out correctly as olive oil can make your baked goods a bit dense and oily if too much is used.

  • How Much: If a recipe calls for 1 cup of butter use ¾ cup olive oil in its place.
  • Best in: Bread, biscuits, muffins, cakes, pie crust.
butter substitutes in baking


You might be surprised but you can actually use buttermilk as a butter alternative for baking.

This can really come in handy if you don’t have any fruit puree on hand or want to avoid using oil.

This is a great low fat and low-calorie option that can easily replace butter in your recipes.

And it is incredibly easy to make at home as well! Simply add a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of plant milk and let it curdle for 5 minutes then add to your recipe like normal.

The acidity of the buttermilk will help to yield a soft and tender baked good.

  • How Much: Use half the amount of butter milk to butter.
  • Best in: Cakes, muffins, cupcakes, biscuits, and quick breads.

Related: Vegan Substitute for Buttermilk That’s Easy to Make at Home


Avocado is an excellent butter alternative for baking as it is rich and fatty like butter only healthier.

Avocado is a very healthy food that understandably makes a good replacement for butter as well.

It yields a rich fattiness to baked goods that butter usually adds. Only without the need for a dairy product. Making this a perfect option in your vegan baking!

There really isn’t any downside to using avocado as a butter replacement. Just make sure to completely puree the avocado to avoid any remaining lumps.

You might also want to test it out in your recipes before making for something specific, as the avocado might affect the color of some baked goods. especially anything that is pale.

  • How Much: Use equal amounts of avocado to butter.
  • Best in: Cakes, muffins, brownies, cupcakes, and quick breads.

Pumpkin puree

Pumpkin puree works much the same way as apple sauce does making these two options pretty much interchangeable.

This is another great way to cut back on calories and fats while still getting nice and tender baked goods.

Just keep in mind that pumpkin puree might add its flavor to your baked goods depending on what you are making. Best to not use it in anything that is just vanilla flavored.

It can also produce a slightly dry crumb, so you could always add a bit of oil to help it stay moist.

  • How Much: For a recipe that calls for 1 cup butter add ¾ cup of pumpkin puree.
  • Best in: Muffins, cakes, quick breads, brownies, and cupcakes.

Vegetable Shortening

Vegetable shortening is a great way to get nearly identical results when baking without butter.

This is one of the best butter substitutes in baking by far. Though it might not be the healthiest option.

Pure vegetable shortening is a great vegan alternative to butter when it comes to baked good that need that fatty ingredient.

This is a great way to replace butter without altering the recipe much at all. Giving you accurate results.

Just make sure to not add too much vegetable shortening as it can leave an oily residue in your mouth.

  • How Much: Equal amounts of vegetable shortening to butter.
  • Best in: Cakes, cookies, muffins, cupcakes, pie crust, and biscuits.

Banana Puree

Banana is another fruit puree that works very well in vegan baked goods.

It adds moisture and sweetness without the calories and fat that you would get from regular butter.

If you have ever had banana bread you will understand why this puree works so well as a butter alternative for baking.

Just keep in mind that banana has a strong flavor and can overpower the flavor of what you add it to. It is best to only use it in baked goods that will pair well with banana.

Also, just like the other fruit purees, you might want to add a little oil to the mix to help it to not be dry.

  • How Much: Half the amount of banana puree to butter.
  • Best in: Cookies, quick breads, muffins, and cupcakes.

Vegan Butter

The easiest way by far to replace regular butter in baking in order to make it vegan friendly is to use vegan butter.

There are many vegan butter brands that are available now and any of them work well as a substitute for regular butter.

Vegan butter is made to imitate butter made from cow milk so it will be very similar is consistency. Making it an easy butter substitute in taste, consistency, and efficiency.

It can also help to add that familiar butter flavor, as they are usually flavored with a butter flavoring which can ultimately affect the flavor of your baked goods.

I personally really like to use this buttery spread from Earth Balance, but any vegan margarine will do the trick.

  • How Much: Equal amounts of vegan butter to normal butter.
  • Best in: Everything! Cakes, pie crust, cupcakes, muffins, cookies, brownies, quick breads, and more.

Which Butter Alternatives for Baking are Better?

As you can see, you have a lot of amazing vegan butter options to choose from when looking for butter substitutes in baking. But which is the best option if there is a better option?

More often than not the question will be related to how you are using the butter substitution and why you are substituting it.

Many recipes can be completely unaffected by butter substitutes such as cakes, cupcakes, muffins, and quick breads. But some recipes are a bit more finicky.

Just keep in mind that recipes such as pie crust, cookies, and brownies can be affected by substituting butter for another option. Try to really follow the suggestions above when replacing butte in these kinds of recipes.

For substitutes that are healthier options and better for weight loss or a low-fat diet:

  • Apple sauce
  • Pumpkin puree
  • Banana puree
  • Buttermilk

For substitutes that provide the most similar results to butter:

  • Vegan butter
  • Coconut oil
  • Vegetables shortening
  • Avocado 
  • Apple sauce

These are just a few things to consider when substituting the butter in one of your recipes like you would any substitution as they all work in slightly different ways. Which option you use will need to be based off of your recipe and how the butter is used in it.

Follow the guidelines above and you will hardly ever know the difference between real butter and your vegan substitution!


I hope that you were able to find this list on butter substitutes in baking useful. And that you can now confidently replace the butter in your recipes.

These substitutes can really come in handy quite a lot. Whether you are vegan, trying to eat healthier, or simply ran out of butter to use.

These replacements for butter can come in handy for all of those scenarios and will yield delicious results. Especially if you follow the guidelines above to choose just the right substitute for the recipe that you are making.

What is your favorite way to replace butter in your baking recipes? Have you tried any of the options mentioned in this post?

If so, I would love to hear about your experience with it. And whether or not you have any helpful tips for the rest of us!

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