Butter Alternatives That Can Save Your Life
Substitutes for Butter Spread
Butter’s creamy texture and delicious flavor makes it a favorite spread for everything from bread to baked potatoes. There are many healthy alternatives, however.
Healthy Alternatives to Butter:
- Light margarine: Avoid pure margarine, which contains hydrogenated vegetable oil, and instead reach for a light version that specifies it contains notrans-fats.
- Coconut oil: Solid at room temperature, coconut oil is high in fat, but it’s “good fat” that has significant health benefits. Look for extra-virgin coconut oil. It has a delicious, coconut flavor and is tasty on toast or other baked goods. Some people experience upset stomachs from the refined versions, so try unrefined if you’re worried.
- Nut butters: Whether you like traditional peanut butter, or prefer almond, sunflower seed, cashew or hazelnut, nut butters are high on flavor, full of protein and keep you satisfied for hours.
- Hummus: This creamy Mediterranean staple is a blend of mashed chickpeas and tahini. It’s excellent as a sandwich spread, on potatoes or eaten with crackers.
- Flavored oils: For a twist on plain olive oil, look for olive oil that’s been infused with garlic, basil or other herbs. It’s tasty on your baked potato or bread.
- Plain yogurt: Try this on your potatoes instead of butter or sour cream.
- Nutella: This creamy, chocolate hazelnut spread is from Italy, but found in most large supermarkets throughout the US. It’s wonderful on bread, and kids love it.
- Cottage cheese: Mix a little bit of sugar-free jam with cottage cheese, and spread it on your toast for a quick, healthy breakfast.
- Pureed Fruit: Just about any fruit can be pureed to a creamy smooth texture, then spread on bread and other baked goods for sweet flavor. Try apples, bananas, peaches, apricots, plums or figs. What’s more is that the calories in banana, apple or most other organic fruits is far less than oils. And healthier!
- Mashed avocado: A dollop of mashed avocado dresses up baked potatoes deliciously.
- Cream cheese: While it’s definitely high on fat and calories, it’s undeniably tasty on bagels, toast and even baked potatoes. Choose low or non-fat cream cheese if you want to keep the calorie count down.
Substitutes for Cooking with Butter
When it comes to cooking, there are plenty of substitutes for butter. You might need to do a bit of experimenting to find the perfect balance for your substitutions, however.
In some cases, you can switch an equal amount of alternative for the butter, but not in every recipe.
Olive oil: Heart healthy, nutritious and distinctively flavored, you can use olive oil in place of butter in the sauté pan.
Cooking oils: If you’re baking, you can use vegetable, canola, extra-light olive (not extra-virgin) or rice oil in place of butter. You might need to do some experimenting to get the ratios just right. Generally, you will replace the butter with ½ to ¾ the amount of oil.
Coconut oil: Coconut oil can replace butter for just about any purpose. It’s especially useful for sautéing or cooking Indian dishes.
Applesauce: You can use ½ cup of applesauce to replace 1 cup of butter in baked goods. You’ll probably want to reduce the amount of sugar you use, since the fruit will add significant sweetness. Canned pumpkin is another alternative.
Spray butter: If you just need to oil the pan a bit to cook eggs, sauté vegetables or keep meat from sticking, use a spray butter. There are also flavored varieties that liven up the taste of potatoes and eggs.
Greek yogurt: Plain Greek yogurt works well as a butter alternative in baked goods.
Vegan shortening: These plant-oil-based shortening sticks have notrans-fat, and substitute nicely for butter in baking and other cooking techniques and are totally vegan. Earth Balance is a popular brand.