Vegan Alternatives to Butter

Butter. It’s commonly used in cooking and baking, and for slathering on perfectly toasted bread. There isn’t one singular method that vegans use for replacing dairy-based butter in recipes, there’s many. Some vegan ingredients are better suited for baking, some for cooking, and some for spreading. Don’t worry, it’s easy once you know the basics.

Where Do You Buy Vegan Butter?

Vegans avoid butter because it is typically made using cow’s milk. Luckily, finding vegan versions of dairy-based butter has never been easier- even Walmart stocks it. Generally speaking, brands that are appropriate for vegans are clearly labeled and can be found in the same refrigerator case as their dairy counterparts. Some margarines are made with vegetable oils, making them accidentally vegan. Be sure to check the label, not all margarine is vegan. Some contain a laundry list of animal-derived ingredients like casein, a milk protein commonly found in dairy products.

Related: Talking Palm Oil with Vegan Butter Producer Earth Balance

How to Replace Butter in Baking

Butter is used in baking as a leavening agent; it creates air pockets in baked goods to make them light and fluffy. It also adds a flaky, moist texture and a rich taste. You can use a vegan butter and/or non-dairy margarine as direct replacements in a one for one ratio. Here are a few other options for replacing butter in baked goods.

vegan butter alternatives - Care2

1. Cooking or Baking Oils

Oil is a great butter replacement in baked goods, and it’s so simple to use. The fat equivalent for baking is a three to four ratio (use 3/4 cup oil to replace 1 cup of butter). Oils to try: coconut, olive or walnut.

2. Avocado

Avocado may not be the first thing you think of to add to your next cake, but it does a great job replacing the fat in baked goods. And while it’s true that avocados are high in fat, it’s monounsaturated fat- the good-for-you fat that helps to lower bad cholesterol while at the same time raising good cholesterol. Pureed avocado can be used in a one to one ratio for the amount of butter called for in recipes.

3. Applesauce & Other Fruit Purees

Swap out that butter for applesauce or other fruit puree and save a ton of calories. Purees like applesauce, pineapple, or bananas add moisture and fiber to baked goods and work especially well in muffins, cakes and quick breads. Keep in mind, the fruit will add more sweetness than butter so be sure to reduce the amount of any additional sugar in the recipe. For applesauce, use in an one to one ratio. For other fruit purees, use in an 1/2 to 1 ratio.

4. Pumpkin Puree

Pumpkin puree is one of my favorite butter substitutes because it adds a lovely depth of flavor and moisture to baked goods. In addition to the infusion of flavor, pumpkin is chock full of nutrients like vitamin k, potassium, and fiber. It’s versatile too. You can substitute it for butter or oil. Simply use a 3 to 4 ratio when substituting for butter and a 1 to 1 ratio for oil.

Related: How To Make Pumpkin Puree

How to Replace Butter in Cooking

Obviously oils work well where butter is used for sautéing or roasting. Simply swap out the butter for a quality vegetable oil, vegan butter or non-dairy margarine and use in an one to one ratio.

Spreadable Vegan Butter

Vegan Butter Replacements - Care2

1. Avocado

Avocado makes the list twice because it’s so deliciously versatile. Mash a ripe avocado with a bit of salt and slather on your favorite bread for a simple avocado toast. Want to get fancy with your toast? Try these 9 Ways to Dress Up Avocado Toast.

2. Coconut Oil

After avocado, coconut oil is my favorite direct spreadable replacement for dairy-based butter. Simply mash solid room temperature coconut oil with a bit of salt and spread like butter. Some types of coconut oil taste different than others. Unrefined coconut oil will have a stronger coconut flavor than a refined one will. Select based on your preferences.

3. Homemade Vegan Spreads

Making your own vegan butter might seem complicated but with just a few ingredients it couldn’t be more simple. Here are a few recipes to get you started.

Do you have a favorite vegan butter replacement? Tell me in the comments!


Ellie L
Ellie L2 hours ago


hELEN h29 days ago


Red R
Red Reddickabout a month ago

so refined coconut oil will not have a sweet taste? i am looking for a savory taste like dairy butter, as there are no pre-made vegan butters without palm oil

Maria P
Martha Pabout a month ago

Thank you.

Peggy B
Peggy B2 months ago


Kevin B
Kevin B2 months ago

Thank you for sharing

Tabot T
Tabot T2 months ago

Thanks for sharing!

Richard B
Past Member 3 months ago

Thank you for posting

Greta L
Alice L3 months ago


Jack Y
Jack Y5 months ago