I don’t think anyone will argue that butter is not tasty and delicious, and an excellent ingredient for cooking and baking. But butter has a lot of drawbacks. It’s high in calories and fat, especially saturated fat, it’s high in cholesterol, and, if you’re a vegan, you probably have some ethical problems with it as well. Do not fret, though! There are plenty of butter substitutes out there that you can use for cooking and baking.
Yep, applesauce. Believe it or not, applesauce makes a wonderful butter substitute for baking, and, of course, it’s totally vegan. So, how do you use applesauce instead of butter for baking? It’s easy! All you have to do is sub out the exact amount of butter your recipe calls for with applesauce. That’s it!
This one is a no-brainer. If you’re really after the taste of real butter, margarine is your best bet. It has the closest flavor to real butter, and it can be used in any circumstance you would normally use butter. If you’re vegan, read the labeling. Not all margarine are vegan, even though they’re most made from vegetable fats. Smart Balance makes a really good vegan margarine.
Lastly, you have vegetable oils. Vegetable oils, like margarine, can be used in just about in situation you would normally use butter. Liquid oils, such as olive oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, peanut oil and so on, can all be used for sautéing or greasing a pan or cookie sheet. (Here’s some olive oil dispensers you may like)
There are also solid vegetable oil spreads you can buy, which are more or less the same thing as margarine. I don’t recommend substituting butter with liquid vegetable oils when you are baking, but the spreads work well for that. The spreads are also good as spreads (go figure) for toast, biscuits, crackers, etc.
Substitutes to Avoid
I recommend avoiding any butter substitutes that contain hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. Those oils are trans fats that have undergone the process of hydrogenation. Essentially, they once were harmless vegetable oils that have been mixed with hydrogen molecules to make turn them into a solid. They’re bad news and you don’t want to put them in your body.
While you’re here, be sure to check out our kitchen product reviews!