3 Best Unsalted Butter Substitutes

Butter can be a delicious source of fat added to one’s diet. According to Healthline, butter is a popular dairy product made from cow’s milk, has a rich flavor, and is widely used as a spread for cooking and baking.

Unsalted Butter

Butter comes from milk; therefore, salt is added as a preservative. You can find both salted and unsalted butter in the refrigerated section of your grocery store, and physicians may recommend unsalted butter for low-sodium diets.

Many cooks understand that unsalted butter is best used for baking to provide the freshest taste. As an emulsion (the mixture of two ingredients that usually would not mix), butter is a blend of water and fat that intensifies the flavors of other ingredients. If you do not have unsalted butter, you can replace it with salted butter in a 1-to-1 ratio.

Butter is an animal product, and many people have dairy allergies or prefer to follow a vegan diet. Some solutions can be used as substitutes.

unsalted butter substitute

For those needing to replace butter with a vegan or non-dairy option, keep in mind that substitutions will likely change the texture and flavor of the recipe.

Vegetable Shortening Substitute

Vegetable Shortening (such as Crisco) is the closest substitute for texture consistency, and it has a neutral taste. There are butter-flavored choices, so read the ingredients to ensure the flavoring is artificial, not from dairy if following a vegan diet.

Vegetable shortening is higher in saturated fat than butter, and cookies may bake crisper.

= 1 cup of vegetable shortening can replace 1 cup of unsalted butter.

Vegetable Oil Substitute

Vegetable oil should be used in cooking, but not in baking as a butter substitute, as it will change the consistency of the recipe. It is often used in baking bread, but you will need to reduce the water.

= 7/8 cup of vegetable oil would replace 1 cup of unsalted butter. If baking bread, reduce water by 1/2 cup.

Lard Substitute

Lard is also an animal product, and while good for both baked and cooked recipes, it will not work on a vegan diet. Lard has long been used to make flaky pie crusts and biscuits and makes an excellent unsalted butter replacement.

= 7/8 cup of lard will replace 1 cup of unsalted butter.

Reducing Fat in Recipes

If reducing fat in your diet is essential, there are some alternatives. Depending on which of the following you use, know that the dessert may be denser and moister than if you used shortening or unsalted butter.

= 1/2 cup avocado plus 1/2 cup unsalted butter or shortening

= 1/2 cup applesauce plus 1/2 cup unsalted butter or shortening

= 1/2 cup full-fat Greek yogurt plus 1/2 cup unsalted butter or shortening


What can be used instead of unsalted butter?

Ingredients that can be used as substitutes for unsalted butter are salted butter, margarine, vegetable shortening, vegetable oil, and lard.

Can regular butter be substituted for unsalted butter?

Regular butter has salt, so you may need to decrease the amount of salt called for in the recipe. If a recipe calls for unsalted butter, it may be that it was tested using that.

Can I use margarine instead of unsalted butter?

Margarine has more water than butter, so you may need to reduce the amount of liquid you use in the recipe. You will substitute margarine in a 1-to-1 ratio to butter.

About Rachelle

Hi, I'm Rachel! I love cooking and finding new recipes but was always missing one of the ingredients in my kitchen. I created Can I Substitute? for people like me who are one substitute away from a great meal. If you're looking for great ingredient substitutes you've come to the right place. Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.