The Best Butter Substitutes

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Butter is probably the most frequently used dairy products in classic cooking and baking recipes, but it isn't great for everyone's health. Finding a substitute that cooks just as well and tastes similar, or even better, is important. It's important to understand which part of the butter is problematic when choosing your substitution. If you're lactose intolerant then choosing a dairy free butter might suit your needs.

However, if you're looking to cut saturated fats from your diet, then coconut oil would be a better choice than either, butter or margarine.

Some baking recipes, like butter cookies, rely on the butter for a flavor but in many recipes, butter is being used to add moisture, texture and to help create layers. With some clever culinary substitutions, it's easy to get the moisture you seek without adding all the unhealthy fat from butter. No matter what reason you have for cutting butter out of your diet, these substitutions can help you reach your culinary or dietary goals. Here is a list of some of the best dairy-free butter alternatives that can be found at health food stores and large grocery chains alike.

Best Dairy-Free Butter Stick

While margarine is primarily made from soybean oil, many brands combine soybean and other oils which may contain trace amounts of dairy. Be sure to read labels carefully when choosing to substitute butter for margarine.


  • Willow Run Soybean Margarine by Shedd's

Best Dairy-Free Buttery Spreads

Best All-Around Substitute

Coconut oil is great for use in just about everything, from baking to stove-top cooking to spreading on toast.

It's healthy, rich, and tastes delicious. It can also be used as a natural moisturizer. It cuts down on saturated fats and won't change the flavor of food too much. This is a healthier alternative to canola oil.

Best Dairy-Free Shortening

Shortening is an even fattier form of butter. Where butter is made with about 85 percent fat and 15 percent water, shortening is 100 percent fat. For those who can't tolerate lactose, there is a dairy-free version of this ultra-rich spread.

Best Butter Substitute for Baking

When it comes to baking as long as the butter isn't being used primarily for its flavor, like it is in puffed pastry, you can usually swap it out with something that has a similar fat to water ratio. If you're looking to cut calories and saturated fats these substitutes are a great start. Baking without butter is a fun way to make your baking habit a little healthier.

  • Greek Yogurt
  • Applesauce
  • Banana Puree
  • Avacado