Just because you’re cutting out butter doesn’t mean you have to cut recipes! Whether you are trying to reduce unhealthy saturated fats in your diet, attempting to find non-dairy options or simply don’t currently have butter on hand, finding the right butter alternatives can be hard. With so many options at the store or in your fridge (some better than others), this guide should help you find the right butter alternative for you.
What are the benefits of switching to a butter substitute?
Although butter substitution is not always practical, butter is high in saturated fat, making it not the best choice for your heart health. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) , 1 tablespoon (tbsp) of butter contains more than 7 g of saturated fat. Using a butter substitute can also increase the nutritional value of the foods people use them in, including baked goods. In some cases, they can even reduce calories and add healthy fats!
Additionally, New Jersey-based dietitian Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE has stated that “transitioning to a more plant-based diet and opting for a ‘butter’ spread made from unsaturated, plant-based fats can be a great way to help improve cholesterol levels, promote heart health, and reduce inflammation.”
Best Health-Conscious Butter Alternatives
Ghee is butter that goes through a clarification process to eliminate all the water which, we should note, creates a higher smoke point while cooking. This butter alternative contains a fatty acid known as butyrate acid, which may help to reduce inflammation and support digestive health! Unlike many other butter substitutes, ghee makes a good replacement for baking and is easier for people with a lactose sensitivity to tolerate. Some people even prefer ghee to traditional butter.
Because of its creamy texture, Greek yogurt can provide a rich and tangy flavor to baked goods, much like its counterpart, buttermilk, and with less overall fat and calories. Additionally, the yogurt has many health benefits including protein and calcium. Many don’t know that greek yogurt is great as a meat-free Vitamin B12 source.
Pumpkin puree can be a good substitute for both butter or oil. When replacing butter with pumpkin puree, multiply the amount of butter needed by ¾. By incorporating one cup of pumpkin, you’ll add 7 g of fiber to the recipe, plus vitamin A and potassium, according to the USDA. Additionally, pumpkin contains the antioxidants alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, which may protect your cells against harmful bacteria.
Coconut oil is another good butter substitute for baked goods. Coconut oil is known to boost good cholesterol and battles insulin resistance – issues that often lead to type two diabetes. Although coconut can add a distinct flavor, the more refined the coconut oil is, the less it tastes like coconut.
Best Non Dairy and Vegan Butter Alternatives
Earth Balance Pressed Avocado Oil
Many dietitians like Earth Balance Pressed Avocado Oil because it only contains three ingredients! As well as being vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free, this pressed avocado oil includes healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
There are many different brands of pureed coconut. When trying to choose one as a healthy and non-dairy butter substitute, try looking for those that have only one ingredient, coconut. Because of its creamy texture, pureed coconut can also be used as a cream cheese alternative. Coconut is sodium and cholesterol free as well as vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free.
Olivio Ultimate Spread
When looking for butter alternatives as a spread, this olive-oil base spread is a good option. Olivio Ultimate Spread is vegan and non-GMO. Additionally, it contains no preservatives and a boost of ALA omega-3s, which is a type of fatty acid found in plants that may help with heart health.
Best Healthy Butter Alternatives You May Already Have in Your Home
Olive oil is a healthy substitute for butter when cooking vegetables or meat over the stove. The main type of fat in olive oil is monounsaturated fat, a healthier than saturated fat found in butter. There are many studies which have shown that consuming olive oil regularly can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. It should be noted that olive oil is not a good butter alternative in baking.
When using avocado as a substitute for butter it increases the overall nutritional value of the food. Again, by replacing unhealthy saturated fat with healthy monounsaturated fat, this butter replacement can help reduce cholesterol and fight heart disease. When substituting with avocado, keep in mind to reduce the temperature by 25% and increase the time.
Using mashed banana as a butter substitute is good for baking. The banana adds flavor as well as nutrients like potassium and fiber to otherwise unhealthy baked goods. According to the USDA, One medium-size banana offers 422 milligrams (mg) (or about 9 percent of the daily value) of the mineral. When baking with mashed bananas instead of butter, only use ¾ of the amount in the recipe and reduce the baking time.
Applesauce is a popular substitute for both butter and oil in baking. By substituting butter with applesauce, it can cut calories and increase the nutritional content of many recipes. Additionally, the high fiber in apples helps lower cholesterol levels. Because applesauce already has a natural sweet taste, you may reduce the added sweeteners.