Butter is one of the most common baking ingredients, used for making everything from cakes and cookies to pies and more. However, there might be times when you find yourself looking for a butter substitute for baking.
Maybe you just want to cut down on the amount of fat in your recipes, or perhaps you’ve run out of butter and want to find a quick and easy butter replacement in baking. In this guide, we’ll cover all you need to know about butter alternatives for baking.
When Do You Need Butter Alternatives For Baking
So, why might you want to substitute butter in cookies and other baked goods? Well, there are quite a few reasons why someone might want to eschew better while baking and opt for an alternative:
- Allergies – Butter contains a certain milk protein known as casein, and some people are allergic to this particular protein. If you know you have a milk or casein allergy, you need to be cautious when using butter, or you might have to avoid it entirely.
- Intolerance – Following on from the previous point, people who are lactose intolerant might also want to limit their consumption of butter. You might be able to have small amounts without any issues, but bigger amounts could cause a bad reaction.
- Health Reasons – Another reason you might search for a butter substitute when baking is due to health concerns. Butter is a very useful ingredient, but it’s not particularly nutritious, being high in saturated fat and calories.
- Dietary Choices – If you follow a vegan diet, butter isn’t suitable for you, since it contains dairy. Vegans will therefore need to find a vegan butter substitute for baking, replacing butter with the likes of refined coconut oil or mashed bananas.
- No Butter – Another very simple reason you might need a butter replacement in baking is if you simply don’t have any butter at the time. If you’re low on butter or have none at home, but still want to bake, you can switch to a substitute.
Benefits of Butter Replacement in Baking
Are there any benefits to using a butter substitute in baking? Well, yes, there can be several interesting benefits of working butter alternatives.
- Health Benefits – As explained above, butter is very fatty and unhealthy. Using a substitute for butter in cookies can make your recipes a little healthier.
- Flavor – Using something like mashed bananas or coconut oil instead of a cup of butter can also help to create new, tasty flavors in your baked goods.
- Texture – As well as providing a rich flavor, some butter substitutes can also impact the texture of your baked treats, making them fluffier or softer.
What is Vegan Butter Substitute for Baking
Many people mistakenly assume that baking just isn’t possible without certain ingredients, like butter and sugar. However, when you look closely at what butter does and what does sugar do in baking, you can see that these ingredients, while important, are replaceable.
So, let’s take a look at some of the best butter alternatives for baking you can use, ranging from common oils that you might already have in your pantry to fruits and more.
- Shortening: Shortening is a form of fat that is used for making pastry. It may not have the same strong flavor of butter, but it can actually help things like cakes and cookies to rise more, producing more impressive final results.
- Margarine: Margarine is a great butter substitute that is usually made from a mixture of vegetable oils. It has a really similar texture and flavor to butter and is probably the closest you can get to the real thing.
- Oil: If you want to know how to make cookies that are moist and fluffy without the use of butter, oil is the ingredient you need. There are various types of oils to use, like coconut oil or canola oil. Find out more below.
- Coconut Oil: Often featured in diabetic cookie recipes, coconut is a healthier alternative to butter. It’s great to cook with and has unique nutritional advantages over other oils, as well as a pleasant smell and taste.
- Olive Oil: Olive oil is frequently used for frying foods, but can also be used for baking. It adds a little fruitiness to dough and batter, and it’s typically not strong enough to impact too strongly on the final flavor.
- Vegetable and Canola Oils: Vegetable oils can also be a good option to consider instead of butter, especially if you’re baking light and fluffy cupcakes, muffins, or bread. Canola oils also work nicely for muffins and cookies.
- Applesauce: Even a fruit purée like applesauce can technically be used instead of butter in certain recipes. It helps to cut down the calorie content of your dishes, but will usually add a distinctive apple flavor.
- Mashed Avocado: Bananas aren’t the only thing you can mash and use instead of butter. It’s also possible to use mashed avocado, and this is a great source of healthy fats to mix in with your cakes and other baked goods recipes.
- Pumpkin Puree: You can also purée some pumpkin and use it in your favorite baked recipes. It’s a super choice for bread and muffins, in particular, and you can mix this in with fall spices like cinnamon and nutmeg to make some truly delicious holiday treats.
- Greek Yogurt: The next time you’re planning to bake some cookies, consider mixing some Greek yogurt into the batter before cutting shapes with your cookie cutters. The yogurt makes the cookies super soft and moist, as well as giving them a little tang.
- Mashed Bananas: Believe it or not, it’s even possible to use mashed-up bananas as a vegan butter substitute for baking. This is a great vegan-friendly option and can add a pleasant sweetness to your baking.
- Nut Butter and Hummus: Instead of regular butter, why not opt for a type of nut butter or hummus instead? Nut butter can be used for baking, while hummus is a good alternative for butter as a spread.
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