5 Butter Substitute Options

Whether you're going completely dairy free, trying to reduce your intake of dairy products, or simply want to experiment with your favorite recipes, you'll have to find a suitable replacement for butter. Luckily, there are many butter alternatives to choose from. Although the taste of a dish can change when prepared with a butter substitute, many recipes benefit from the new flavor and improved nutritional profile.

You can buy commercial butter substitutes at grocery stores; however, not all of them are healthy, so make sure to check the ingredients before you commit. You can also find some great, simple alternatives to butter in your pantry. Here are a few you can test out.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is the most popular butter replacement and can be used for cooking and baking. Keep in mind that the taste of olive oil can vary, so be sure to choose a mild-tasting variety. Also, olive oil (and most other butter substitutes) will not work in baking recipes that rely on butter as the main flavor component, such as butter cookies or butter cake.

Olive oil has numerous health benefits, including reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. It might also help reduce inflammation. For even better health benefits, buy it unrefined and cold-pressed.

Avocado

For your morning toast, why not skip the butter and spread on some mashed avocado instead? You can serve it as-is or add a boiled, poached, or fried egg on top. Avocado and egg toast makes a nutritious breakfast that will keep you full for hours. Avocado can also be used instead of butter in baking, which results in lighter baked goods that are more filling.

Avocados contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. They are also rich in vitamins C, E, K, and B6, folate, and potassium. According to Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, there are eight clinical studies showing that avocado consumption helps support cardiovascular health. Exploratory studies suggest that avocados may also support weight management and healthy aging.

Nut Butter

Nut butters taste delicious on toast and can also be used to substitute butter in baking recipes. They lend a wonderful nutty flavor to baked goods. When buying nut butter, make sure that it doesn't contain any added ingredients such as sweeteners or hydrogenated fat. You can also whip up a batch of homemade nut butter if you have a food processor or high-quality blender.

Nuts are rich in protein, fiber, and healthy fats. They are also high in vitamin E, magnesium, zinc, copper, selenium, potassium, phosphorus, riboflavin, biotin, and iron. According to analyses conducted by Loma Linda University in California, nut consumption reduces the risk of both fatal and nonfatal coronary heart disease.

Fruit and Vegetable Purees

Fruit and vegetable purees, such as applesauce, prune puree, mashed banana, and pumpkin or sweet potato purees, can replace butter in many baking recipes. When modifying a recipe, sub in 1/2–3/4 part puree for 1 part butter. Fruit purees work best in recipes that don't need butter to produce the baked good's volume and use another type of leavening agent, such as baking powder or baking soda.

Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of fiber, and are high in vitamins and minerals. They also contain antioxidants that protect against cell damage. Current scientific evidence suggests that fruits and vegetables have a protective role in the prevention of many diseases, including cancer, heart disease, cataracts, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diverticulosis, and possibly hypertension.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is the most versatile butter substitute. You can spread it on your toast, pour it over popcorn, and use it when cooking and baking. Usually, coconut oil can be substituted for butter when baking. Just use extra virgin organic coconut oil and avoid hydrogenated varieties. Keep in mind that coconut oil can add a subtle coconut flavor to dishes, which is often fine in baked goods but can be off-putting in some savory dishes.

Although coconut oil contains plant-based saturated fat, it's primarily made up of medium-chain triglycerides, which are processed differently by the body than the long-chain triglycerides found mainly in animal fats. Medium-chain triglycerides are much more readily digested, absorbed, and metabolized than either animal fats or vegetable oils.

As you can see, there are many butter alternatives available for you to try. Regardless of your taste and dietary preferences, with a little bit of research and some experimentation, you'll be able to find your favorite option.

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