Can you substitute vegetable oil for butter? (+9 Substitutes)

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you substitute vegetable oil for butter?”, and how to substitute butter in cooking and baking?

Can you substitute vegetable oil for butter?

Yes, you can substitute vegetable oil for butter. It is best to use vegetable oil as an alternative to butter where butter is supposed to be used in melted form like muffins, quick bread, and for sauteeing vegetables. Using vegetable oil as an alternative in recipes that call for softened butter is not recommended especially in baking where creaming the butter with sugar is an important step to develop the crumb structure.

Vegetable oil might not be as flavorful or nutritious as butter but it does save you from that extra trip to the store. You can even substitute oil for butter on toast. Use olive oil to toast your butter along with ingredients like chopped garlic, rosemary, salt, or balsamic vinegar to enhance the flavor.

Coconut oil, olive oil, peanut oil, avocado oil, etc add a lot of flavor to your dishes. If you want a neutral-tasting oil, go for canola or vegetable oil. Read on if you want to know how to substitute oil for butter.

Why substitute butter?

Milk allergy

Butter is mostly fat and low in protein. One of these proteins, casein, can provoke an allergic response in some people. 

Lactose intolerance

Butter has smaller amounts of lactose than other milk and milk products. But some people might not be able to tolerate these trace amounts as well.

Health reasons

Butter is high in saturated fats that have been associated with increasing the risk of heart diseases by increasing cholesterol levels in the blood. 

Purpose of butter 

Butter helps hydrate and bind the dry ingredients of the recipe meanwhile preventing the ingredients from sticking to the pan. The distinct mouthfeel and flavor of butter are due to the fatty acid, Butyric acid, which is not present in oils in considerable amounts.

In baking, butter is especially used to help the bread rise. It traps the bubbles inside it when creamed with sugar. Butter also acts as a carrier of flavor and spreads the flavor evenly throughout the end-product.

Other FAQs about Oils which you may be interested in.

Can I substitute sunflower oil for vegetable oil?

Can you put olive oil in the oven?

Alternatives to butter in baking


Substitute applesauce for butter in baking in the ½ cup:1 cup ratio, respectively. It is recommended to use unsweetened applesauce to reduce calories. It works fine for sugar cookies, cakes, banana bread, and zucchini bread.

Vegetable oil

Replace each cup of butter with ¾ cup of vegetable oil. This substitute works best for bread, loaves, and muffins.


Substitute ½ cup of buttermilk for each cup of butter in your recipe. However, you need to adjust the liquid ingredients in the recipe, or else the dough and batter will come out too sticky and runny. If you do not have buttermilk, you can make your own by adding 1Tbsp of vinegar or lemon juice in one cup of milk. Let it stand for 5 minutes or so and you are done.


Butter can be replaced with mashed avocados in equal amounts. Avocado is high in fats and imparts a slightly nutty and earthy flavor to the end-product.

Greek yogurt

Use greek yogurt in place of butter in ½:1 ratio. Greek yogurt is a rich source of proteins. It works best for cakes and imparts a very silky and velvety texture to the crumb.

Pumpkin puree

You can replace each butter of butter with ¾ cup of the pumpkin puree. If you do not have pumpkin puree, you can use butternut squash, hubbard squash, or other similar squash instead.

It works fine for most of the products in baking and is very nutrient-dense making it is a very healthy vegan substitute of butter in baking.

Coconut oil

This substitution works best for cakes, muffins, and cookies. It adds a slightly coconut-y favor to the end-product. Coconut oil behaves just like butter at room temperature and when heated. Replace butter with coconut oil in equal amounts.

Prune puree

Replace each cup of butter with ¾ cup of prune puree. It works best for brownies and cakes. Beware that the end-product might develop a reddish-purple hue.

Applesauce and buttermilk

Use 1/4 cup applesauce(unsweetened)+1/4 cup buttermilk for every cup of butter in your recipe.

Olive oil

¾ cup of olive oil can be substituted for each cup of butter in baking. Beware that olive oil will impart a strong herbaceous flavor to the finished product. So use this substitute for herb bread or biscuits, not for cakes or cookies.


In this article, we answered the question “Can you substitute vegetable oil for butter?”, and how to substitute butter in cooking and baking?


Hello, I'm Sana Ameer. I'm a student of Food Science and Technology at UVAS. I like to bake and I aspire to become a Food blogger.