11 Unsalted Butter Substitutes To Try Today

To simply understand unsalted butter, it is explained as butter with no salt or think of it like butter in its purest form. Unsalted butter has a shorter life span compared to salted butter due to lack of salt which happens to be a preservative. However, knowing about unsalted butter substitutes is ideal for some recipes.

Unsalted butter works in recipes that require salted butter too especially cookies and it has a more pronounced mellow sweetness. Butter is an important ingredient in the kitchen and in terms of type, salted butter is a staple but unsalted butter burns less quickly.

Butter substitutes are important to know, this can help with any form of cooking when there is no butter around. Using salted butter often doesn’t end well since you will be using salt separately and it can lead to your baked goods being too salty.

While unsalted butter can be great in any baked goods however it also has its disadvantage.

Unsalted butter is used in healthy dishes since it is dairy-free and lower in fat and it is easier to manage the salt as well. But if you are out of unsalted butter or need an alternative with a more pronounced flavor, we have compiled a list of substitutes to try.

11 Unsalted Butter Substitutes To Try Today

Several baked goods call for unsalted butter, such as cakes, cookies, and bread. While unsalted butter will always be a staple in baked products, some substitutes have the same effect on your dough. These substitutes have their flavor but add the same texture and richness. So, below are the unsalted butter substitutes you can try today.

1. Salted Butter

Salted butter is a common substitute for unsalted butter and it might be a perfect option if you still want your cookies to have butter in them. If you are making cakes or other recipes that don’t require salt in them then no need to make any adjustments but if you are making bread, you should adjust the amount of salt to be used.

Substitution of unsalted butter for salted butter is an easy one to make. In this situation, you are still using butter and just need to adjust your salt content since this has salt in it.

Different brands of salted butter contain different salt content, hence give your recipe a taste and use accordingly.

2. Coconut Oil

selective focus of coconut oil in bottle on white coconut half

Coconut oil is a great alternative for unsalted butter in baking. This has similar properties although it might not be ideal for all baked products, it does have a distinct taste. Coconut oil is perfect if you are looking to reduce your fat intake, it can be used to add richness to cookies, coconut bread, or classic vegan apple pie.

If the recipe calls for a large of unsalted butter, you need to be mindful of how much coconut oil you replace it with. The more refined the coconut oil, the more distinct and noticeable it will be in your baking.

3. Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil is another common substitute for unsalted butter. You can replace unsalted butter for coconut in recipes that require melted butter, you will get a similar effect. Vegetable oil can be used in baking muffins or bread, although this doesn’t have as many benefits as unsalted butter and other alternatives.

For 1 cup of unsalted butter, use 7/8 of vegetable oil as a substitute, this can work in all kinds of recipes. Vegetable oil is also very easy to find. This is a more suitable alternative for cooking than baking.

4. Lard

Lard is obtained from pork fat and can be used in cooking and baking. This is quite tasteless but due to its high smoking point, it can be a great replacement for unsalted butter. It doesn’t dissolve like other alternatives but it can be used in baking bread and it does add lightness to asked goods. It has a different effect compared to unsalted butter but it can turn out nice and flaky.

5. Olive Oil

Another nice and easy to come by substitute for butter is olive oil if you are looking to cut saturated fat. Every cup of unsalted butter can be replaced with 3/4 of olive oil but keep in mind that this has a pretty strong flavor. Olive oil can be used in many Meditterrian dishes and it works in savory baked goods as well.

This is nutritious too depending on the type of olive oil you are using. The extra virgin olive oil is considered the best option because it adds an excellent nuanced flavor to brownies, cakes, and bread.

6. Buttermilk

To add a rich flavor to your baking, substitute unsalted butter for buttermilk. This alternate adds a distinctive tang and tenderness to your baking. This can work in all baking recipes but not pie crust.

Just substitute one cup of unsalted butter for half a cup of buttermilk depending on what the recipe calls for but ensure not to use too much as this can change the consistency of the dough.

7. Vegetable Shortening

Vegetable shortening is entirely made of 100% fat and it works in all recipes that call for butter. This has no flavor but makes your pie crust flaky and ensures the icing is stable. Vegetable shortening is an old-fashioned ingredient in baking but it’s also much preferred to lard.

8. Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt
Image: Envato Elements

Greek Yogurt is another suitable replacement for unsalted butter. The creaminess of Greek yogurt can help keep baked goods moist and it is considered very nourishing compared to other substitutes. It impacts a tangy old-fashioned flavor into your recipe but for the best result, choose the full-fat yogurt.

9. Unsweetened Applesauce

To make an impact on your baking, you can go for unsweetened applesauce. This will increase the nutritional content of your recipe and it doesn’t contain sugar like sweetened applesauce hence it can’t alter the texture of your baked goods. However, if you want the applesauce flavor then you can go with the sweetened one.

10. Pumpkin Purée

Pumpkin purée can do a lot in baking, it is a suitable alternative if you are looking for something healthier. It acts as a creamy moisturizer and fat substitute in soups and muffins. This is more watery than other unsalted butter substitutes so use 3/4 of a cup for every cup of unsalted butter.

11. Avocado

If you are looking for another unsalted butter substitute, avocado will work just perfectly. This will yield a softer and chewier texture compared to other types of avocado. Whether you are using avocado oil or avocado purée, it can replace unsalted butter with a 1 to 1 ratio. Substituting unsalted butter with avocado can work in cakes, avocado desserts, and muffins.

Unsalted Butter Substitutes FAQs

Have additional questions? We have answers.

What can be used in place of unsalted butter?

Different options can be used in place of unsalted butter. If a recipe calls for unsalted butter and you don’t have one at hand, you should go for fat that is solid at room temperature. Examples of other ingredients to use in place of unsalted butter are margarine, lard, olive oil, vegetable oil, and shortening.

Can I use regular butter for unsalted butter?

Yes, you can use regular butter for unsalted butter since both have the same impact on baked goods. Regular butter can be used in any type of baking however if the recipe specifically calls for unsalted butter, you need to watch out for the salt that will be added so it won’t end up too salty. Substituting regular butter for unsalted butter in cookies won’t affect the outcome.

Can I use margarine instead of unsalted butter?

You use margarine instead of unsalted butter. Margarine is a common substitute for unsalted butter and it can be used in all kinds of cooking as well. Just use the same amount of margarine as you would with unsalted butter but since margarine is more watery then you should reduce this in your cooking.

What are 4 types of butter substitutes?

Many varieties of oil can be used as substitutes for butter. However, it is important to ensure that it can stay solid at room temperature and has a high smoking point if you are frying with it.

So when you run out of butter here are 4 types that can replace it perfectly:

  • Olive oil
  • Margarine
  • Ghee
  • Avocado oil.

Wrapping Up

Regular butter is easy to substitute with other baking ingredients but when it comes to unsalted butter you should ensure you are getting the same impact. Unsalted butter is butter in its purest form and it contains no salt which is also why it has a shorter life span.

Unsalted butter is however more nutritious compared to salted butter but technically, the substitutes listed above will do great too.

More substitute ideas you’ve never heard of: