3 Healthier Substitutes For Butter & Oil

3 Lower Calorie Substitutes For Butter & Oil

You’re attempting to make a healthier version of one of your favorites desserts but have no idea where to start. Today, we help fix that by replacing some or ALL of the butter or oil in your recipe. Here are some of my favorite Lower Calorie Substitutes For Butter & Oil in recipes!

Before we start, the first thing you need to come to terms with is that your healthier version is, in most cases, not going to be completely identical.

When substituting butter or oil, you’re likely going to get some slight taste and texture changes. The good news here is that if you can master the ratio, you’ll be able to turn slight into non-existent.

To help you master these ratios, here are 3 of the more common and more accessible ingredients you can use.

Substitutes For Butter & Oil

Applesauce Oil or Butter Substitute

Unsweetened applesauce is, in my opinion, one of the best low calorie substitutes for butter or oil in breads, cupcakes, muffins, and cakes!

Depending on how you like the texture of your cookies, you might consider it to work good in those too. Example recipe? The Best Protein Cookies.

Applesauce will give you a softer, less dense end result.

The ratio I suggest to start with but almost never use myself is 1:1. If the original recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of butter or 1/2 cup of oil, you would use 1 tablespoon of applesauce and 1 tablespoon of butter or 1/4 cup of applesauce and 1/4 cup of oil.

I almost never use this ratio myself because I don’t mind the compromise in texture for something that has a lot less calories and fat.

What I usually do is start by replacing all of the oil or butter at an even trade. If a recipe calls for 1/2 cup of butter, I would completely eliminate it and use 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce.

What do I do If the result I’m looking for isn’t there? I’ll add 1/4 of what the original recipe called for in oil or butter back in next time.

The difference between unsweetened applesauce and regular applesauce is the sugar content. Both work great however unsweetened is preferred in most cases.

Avocado Oil or Butter Substitute

Avocado, like applesauce, also works great in breads, cupcakes, muffins, and cakes. It does an amazing job at keeping recipes super moist AND soft.

Where I find that avocado really thrives is in chocolate desserts. Anything chocolate seems to mask the taste of avocado much better.

Although avocado is known to be more calorie dense, using it will still significantly lower the calories your recipe. How so? Well a 1/2 cup of butter or oil has around 8-900 calories whereas 1/2 cup of avocado only has around 120 calories!

The ratio for avocado is the same as applesauce, which is 1:1. If the recipe calls for 1/2 cup of butter or oil, you would use 1/4 cup of avocado and 1/4 cup of butter or oil.

The ratio I prefer to use and have never had an issue with (in a chocolate dessert) is to completely replace the butter or oil with equal parts avocado.

The majority of the time that I use avocado as one of my substitutes for butter or oil, I like the end result better than the original recipe. The moistness you get from avocado is DELICIOUS!

As a tip here, make sure that you mash up or completely process your avocado into your recipe.

Greek Yogurt Oil or Butter Substitute

Greek yogurt, not just a delicious snack! I’ve found Greek yogurt to work great in everything.

The great thing about using Greek yogurt is that although plain fat free Greek yogurt works great, you also have the option of using flavored Greek yogurt. This can help you easily change up the flavor of your recipe.

I don’t suggest completely eliminating butter or oil when using Greek yogurt like I do with applesauce and avocado but the standard 1:1 ratio works great in everything I’ve tried.

The most important factor here is that trial and error is your best friend. You’ll definitely mess up but sometimes you’ll hit the lottery. Once you hit the lottery you’ll have that with you for life!

Don’t be scared to experiment and try different oil or butter substitutes with each recipe.

Substitutes For Butter & Oil Ratios

Unsweetened Applesauce. Safe bet? 1:1 Ratio. If a recipe calls for 1/2 cup of oil use 1/4 cup of oil and 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce.

My bet? Completely replace butter or oil with equal parts unsweetened applesauce.

Avocado. Safe bet? 1:1 Ratio. If a recipe calls for 1/2 cup of oil use 1/4 cup of oil and 1/4 cup of avocado.

My bet? Completely replace the butter or oil with equal parts avocado.

Greek Yogurt. Safe bet? 1:1 Ratio. If a recipe calls for 1/2 cup of oil use 1/4 cup of oil and 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt.

My bet? 1:1 Ratio.

If a recipes batter looks too dry, add in some more liquids to the recipe. If the batter looks too wet, add in some more dry ingredients to the recipe until you think you’ve hit that sweet spot.

Let me know some other substitutes for butter & oil you all use below in the comments!



  1. Jenny on July 10, 2016 at 12:00 am

    I have found replacing butter is easy in baked goods, but do you have suggestions when cooking? For example, if a meal done on the skillet calls for butter (as a flavor ingredient versus a non-stick purpose), what do you do? I try to avoid butters and oils in both cooking and baking…

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