What can I substitute for butter in pasta?

In this brief article, we are going to answer the question, “What can I substitute for butter in pasta?”, and discuss the different substitutes for butter that can be used in pasta briefly along with why butter substitutes are used and is it necessary to use butter for pasta.

What can I substitute for butter in pasta?

Margarine, oil, ghee, heavy cream, cream cheese, homemade white sauce, greek yoghurt, mayonnaise, vegan butters and applesauce can be substituted for butter in pasta. 

Margarine

The similarity in flavours and texture makes it a good alternative to be used in pasta, and is also ideal for vegans who do not consume dairy products as it is formed by water and oil.

Oil

Plant based oils can be used, and coconut oil among them can imitate butter when talking about texture. The flavour of coconut oil, however, along with other oils, will however be very different from butter, and some cream will need to be added to get the buttery taste. Coconut oils and olive oils are some of the common examples. 

Ghee

Ghee is made by simmering the milk cream at low heat and then strains to remove the excess water. It is thus known as clarified butter and can be a good alternative with a rich and nutty flavour that can enhance the taste of food. 

The process of straining not only removes water but lactose and casein is also removed making it a good alternative to be used for people who cannot digest lactose. It has a long shelf life, and can be stored at room temperatures for long time periods, without getting damaged in any way.

Heavy cream

Heavy cream is the base ingredient used to make butter making it an ideal substitute for butter in pasta. Interesting fact; if you have heavy cream available, you can make your own butter. 

Other types of cream such as the coconut cream can be combined with cashew butter for a heavy creamy sauce to be used in pasta. 

Cream cheese

Cream cheese is a good alternative if you want to add the extra flavours. It can also be used with oils, to obtain a rich and creamy texture. Oil with cream cheese is also used to avoid the sticking of noodles or pasta with cream.

Home made white sauce can also be used as an alternative to butter. 

Others

Other substitutes that can be used are greek yoghurt and applesauce. Half the amount of butter can be replaced by ¼ the amount of greek yoghurt which is full fat. 

Similarly, ½ the amount of applesauce can be used instead of half the amount of butter. Greek yoghurt can be used in making pasta sauce, but apple sauce is sweet and therefore not desirable in use for pasta recipes. 

Mayonnaise can also be substituted for butter, which saves you on calories as well as money. Vegan butter can also be an ideal substitute and they are widely available.

Why do we need butter substitutes?

Butter substitutes are used in cases where people have milk allergy or are lactose intolerant, or for some other health reasons such as heart disease and obesity.

Butter contains some of the proteins from milk such as casein and some people are allergic to this type of protein. Also people that are highly sensitive to lactose cannot tolerate even small amounts of it in butter and may avoid the use of butter.

Is butter necessary for pasta?

No, butter is not necessary to make pasta. People on specific diets due to some disease condition may avoid fats and cholesterol and therefore avoid butter as a whole. Pasta can be served without butter. Some of the alternatives to butter discussed above are also high in calories, cholesterol, fats and sodium, so they should also be used in moderate amounts.

Conclusion

In this brief article, we answered the question, “What can I substitute for butter in pasta?”, and discussed the different substitutes for butter that can be used in pasta briefly along with why butter substitutes are used and is it necessary to use butter for pasta.

References

https://www.myrecipes.com/extracrispy/the-best-butter-substitute-for-every-situation
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/best-butter-substitutes#replacing-butter

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.