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Substitutes for Butter: What to Do When You Run Out

Substitutes for Butter: What to Do When You Run Out Assortment of avocado toasts on a grey concrete,stone or slate background.Top view.

It happens to all of us: your roommate forgot to tell you that you ran out of butter, or your children made some sandwiches and the stick of butter you counted on to cook something else is no more. Or insufficient. There are some circumstances where you can replace it! So don’t panic and use substitutes for butter.

Butter is something incredibly helpful in the kitchen. It gives your meals incredible flavor, and you can use it for so many things. From baking delicious items to using it as fat in the pan, it quite simply seems indispensable. But it’s not, especially when you’re in a pinch! There are some flavorful and healthy-fatty substitutes for butter you can rely on in a time of kitchen crisis.

Ever since fat turned out not to be so unhealthy as we all collectively thought (certain types of fat, anyway), butter has been making its presence known in the kitchen. But the key is not to replace it with margarine or other hugely processed fats. You can try these following items with excellent results. There is no universal replacement for that stick of fatty goodness, but there are other items which can replace butter under certain circumstances.

Substitutes for Butter: What to Do When You Run Out

You can use olive oil to roast vegetables in the oven.

5 substitutes for butter in the kitchen

1. Bacon for frying and sauteeing

More precisely, exquisitely rendered bacon fat. If you fry your bacon properly, starting with a cold pan and let the bacon release its fat slowly but surely, you have found a goldmine. It’s crucial that you keep your bacon fat in a jar. Especially if you’re frying a large amount of bacon and that’s a staple in your family meals. You’re supposed to even keep the fat in between batches of bacon you are frying.

How does it replace butter? It’s great for sauteeing vegetables and cooking eggs. I for one like to that in an instant, when I fry my bacon, I let the fat emerge in the pan and then I just crack the eggs over it. The flavor is phenomenal! You can store the bacon fat in the freezer for months, and it needs to be brought to room temperature before you use it. This process also works for pork fat aka lard, and duck fat – but that’s a gourmet item.

Substitutes for Butter: What to Do When You Run Out

It is not the healthiest, but bacon fat is greasy and tasty. Do not waste it.

2. Olive oil for roasting

If you love cooking and are a huge fan of flavor, I’m sure you always have some olive oil in your pantry, ready to make tasty everything it touches. Instead of spreading butter on vegetables you want to roast in the oven, drizzle a bit of olive oil and you might be surprised how excellent everything turns out. Light olive oil which has a higher smoke point can also be used for baking if you have no butter on you.

You can also use this instead of bacon fat when you’re sauteeing if you’re a vegetarian or bacon is a no-no in your diet.

3. Greek yogurt for creaminess in baking

If you’re baking something that requires baking, the fat and creaminess of Greek yogurt can surely help you. It’s important that the yogurt doesn’t have any flavor, so it can blend in and bring the best taste results to your baked goods. There is one thing of note here: yogurt has a high acidity, which means that it should only be used in stainless steel or glass dishes when baking. The acids can have a negative reaction with aluminum dishes. What you also gain is some great protein. Unfortunately, the probiotics in yogurt can’t survive the high heats when baking. But it’s still a really great option.

Substitutes for Butter: What to Do When You Run Out

Greek yogurt brings the creaminess when you are trying to replace butter in baking.

4. Avocado for spreads

If you are dying to spread some butter on a piece of toast in the morning, but you don’t have enough, consider using avocado instead. It’s incredibly healthy and abundant in nutrients like vitamins K, C, B5, B6, and E. It has plenty of folate and potassium, but also magnesium and manganese.

To get spreadable avocado, you need a ripe fruit you cut, and then mash with a fork or a masher. You can also add to it, some salt and other spices you think might work. Because avocado has a very similar consistency to butter, you can use it in baking too. One cup of mashed avocado is about one cup of butter anyway, and the flavor is pretty subtle.

5. Coconut oil

So why is coconut oil one of the good substitutes for butter? Because it has a saturated fat content and also a pretty similar consistency to butter! You can use it for baking if you don’t have butter, but keep in mind that it has a lower content of water than butter and you need to use a bit of water to bring the balance back to recipes – about a teaspoon for every cup of coconut oil you use.

Substitutes for Butter: What to Do When You Run Out

The consistency of coconut oil needs to be balanced with some water to resemble butter.

I’m a pop culture nerd who thinks too much about fried bacon, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and life, the Universe and everything. I love food and sometimes you can see that on my hips, but I don't care that much about that.
What I do care more about is trying to eat healthier, even though I admit that I like to indulge in my food fantasies. I’m addicted to puns, so forgive me for that when you read my articles. I now know too much about nutrition to be fun to hang out with. So long and thanks for all the fish-based omega-3 fatty acids.

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