Butter & Oil Substitutes for Baking

  • Applesauce: Applesauce is used to replace oil in clean eating recipes when baking, and it can also be used as a butter substitute. It works best in cake, muffin, bread and loaf recipes.  Your baked item will be a bit more dense and beautifully moist bread.  Expand about retraining how you think of food., Another option to replace only 1/2 the butter with applesauce  and still use 1/2 the amount of butter.  Its better than not making any modification at all, and if that’s all you’re willing to do, then I wouldn’t discourage it in favor of doing nothing, but going all clean on this shouldn’t be asking too much of yourself.
  • Banana: One cup of safflower oil contains about 1,920 calories while a cup of mashed bananas contains about 200 calories. Oil contains beneficial amounts of vitamin E and fatty acids, but not a lot of other nutritional value, whereas bananas contain good amounts of potassium, folate, vitamin C, vitamin A and other beneficial nutrients.

    Bananas generally work well in most recipes as an oil substitute, but may be not as ideally suited in certain instances. Cakes with dense, fruity flavors, such as spice or carrot cake, mask the strong flavor of bananas better than lighter cakes, like white or lemon cake. Strawberry or chocolate cakes work well because banana combines well with those flavors and is commonly paired with them.  But banana bread already includes a fair amount of mashed bananas, substituting more bananas for the oil can create a heavy, soggy bread.  In this instance, your better bet might be to opt for coconut oil.

    Substituting 1 cup of mashed banana for 1 cup of oil produces a cake, muffin or loaf with similar moistness and density. If you wish to have less moisture and density, opt for 1/3 cup of mashed banana to replace 1 cup of oil. Use 3/4  the amount of pureed banana for the required amount of oil in recipes for rich, dense cakes and breads. In recipes for lighter cakes and baked goods, try substituting just half the amount of oil with the mashed banana, and use coconut oil for the other half.  To substitute banana for butter, margarine or shortening, only use half as much banana as the ingredient it is replacing.

    Because oil interferes with the formation of gluten, fibers that form during the baking process, items baked with oil tend to be lighter and fluffier. To prevent your baked goods from becoming tough and rubbery when using an oil substitute, choose a low-gluten flour, such as oat flour or whole wheat pastry flour (good choices when clean eating anyway), minimize mixing and reduce the baking time by about 25 percent.

  • Greek yogurt: Replace half the amount of butter in cookie recipes with half the amount of full-fat plain Greek yogurt. For example, if the recipe calls for one cup of butter, use half a cup of butter and one quarter cup of yogurt. You’ll reduce the calories and the saturated fat. Play around with using more yogurt and less butter to see if you still like the taste and consistency. Here are more ways to use Greek yogurt in baking recipes.
  • Coconut oil: Replacing butter with coconut oil works well.
  • Prune purée: Prune purée, often sold as baby food, also makes a low-calorie and low-fat alternative to butter. Whatever amount of butter the recipe calls for, replace it completely with store-bought baby food prune purée or you can make your own simply by puréeing prunes in the food processor. This option works well in recipes that involve chocolate and cinnamon.
  • Avocado: Substitute half the amount of butter in a baking recipe with mashed avocado (it works well with cookies, muffins and quick breads; use the same method as you would when using applesauce. Using avocado not only lowers the calorie content, but also creates a softer, moister baked good, and is perfect if you want to omit the dairy. You can also use avocado in place of butter to make clean “buttercream” frosting.