The 10 Best Substitutes For Melted Butter

What can I use instead of melted butter? The best substitute for melted butter is ghee for flavor and texture. Plant-based oils like coconut, olive, and canola are excellent substitutes, as are margarine, shortening, and vegan butter. When baking, use prune butter, nut butter, or apple sauce as melted butter substitutes.

Whether you’re out of butter, adopting a vegan lifestyle, or avoiding butter because of lactose intolerance or milk allergy, several substitutes are available. Here are the top 10 butter substitutes we recommend.


The ideal substitute for melted butter is ghee or clarified butter.

Traditionally used in Indian cooking, ghee is a rich oil made by simmering butter until the water in it evaporates.

Although ghee is a dairy-based fat, it is an excellent butter alternative for people with lactose intolerance as it contains no lactose or casein.

Ghee has a delicious nutty flavor and a creamy consistency because it is composed entirely of fat and thus is high-calorie.

Substitute melted butter with equal amounts of ghee, whether for lemon butter dip, garlic bread, baked goods, roasting, pan-frying, or sautéeing. You can also use ghee to make sauces with minimal loss of buttery flavor.

Coconut Oil

Another handy substitute for melted butter is coconut oil.

Coconut oil derives from coconut milk and flesh and is available in refined and unrefined or “virgin” forms – the latter tastes more like tropical fruit.

Fans of this healthy oil enthuse about its many benefits: coconut oil boosts the metabolism, suppresses the appetite, and invigorates hair and skin.

Like butter, coconut oil is solid when cold and at room temperature and shares butter’s creamy texture. These qualities make coconut oil a perfect substitute for melted butter.

Replace melted butter with equal amounts of melted coconut oil in baked goods like muffins, quick bread, or pancakes – use unrefined oil if you like a sweet, nutty flavor.

Refined, neutral-tasting coconut oil can replace butter as a cooking oil: unrefined coconut oil has a low smoke point.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is a practical and delicious substitute for melted butter.

Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is the luxury olive oil, coming from the first olive pressing and unadulterated by any chemical additives or processes. EVOO is a pricy, high-end oil with fruity flavors and beautiful green colors.

Regular olive oil comes from later pressings and is, therefore, less costly.

Use EVOO as a 1:1 substitute for melted butter when drizzling over cooked vegetables, with a grinding of sea salt. The flavor is different but equally rich.

For frying, sautéeing, or roasting vegetables, eggs, meat, or fish, use equal amounts of regular olive oil as a melted butter substitute.

Use olive oil in savory, spicy, or chocolatey bakes as it has a strong flavor. Olive oil contains more fat than butter, so for every four tablespoons of melted butter, use three tablespoons of olive oil.

Canola Oil

Canola or rapeseed oil is a handy neutral oil to substitute for melted butter.

This oil was created in the 1970s by scientists at the University of Manitoba in Canada.

Canola oil contains healthy fats that help the body fight cancer, weight gain, asthma, and arthritis. Its also low in sodium, cholesterol, and saturated fats.

Other advantages of canola oil are that it is vegan, contains no dairy, and is far cheaper than butter.

As a substitute for melted butter, canola oil works in batters for muffins, quick bread, and pancakes, as it has a mild, unobtrusive flavor.

Use three tablespoons of canola oil for every four tablespoons of melted butter needed, as canola is higher in fat than butter.

Canola oil is also ideal for replacing melted butter as cooking oil – use it in equal amounts for frying, searing, and roasting.


Another plant-based substitute for butter is margarine.

Margarine is hydrogenated vegetable oil and was originally developed as a heart-healthy butter alternative.

Unfortunately, many early versions of margarine contained high levels of unhealthy trans-fats. Newer varieties are far healthier.

Margarine contains at least 80% fat, making it solid at room temperature, like butter.

If you are vegan or lactose intolerant, be sure to check the margarine’s ingredients carefully – some margarine producers include milk to increase the fat content. However, vegan margarine is a good option as a butter substitute.

Melted stick margarine can replace butter in equal amounts in cookies, cakes, doughnuts, muffins, or cupcakes. However, your bakes will not have the same rich flavor as butter yields.

Use margarine instead of butter for cooking, as it has a relatively high smoke point. Melted margarine can be used for garlic bread or even as a base for white sauce.

Vegetable Shortening

Vegetable shortening, known by brand names like Crisco and I Can’t Believe It’s Not butter, is a non-dairy fat that can replace melted butter.

Unlike margarine, vegetable shortening is 100% hydrogenated vegetable oil (usually corn, cottonseed, or soybean) and 100% fat. Shortening is therefore solid at room temperature.

Shortening is a popular butter substitute for baking, as it has a similar consistency, high melting point, and neutral flavor.

Replace melted butter with equal quantities of melted shortening in cookies, pies, biscuits, tortillas, and pancakes. 

Your baked goods will turn out more tender, lighter, and airier than those with butter because butter contains water while shortening is pure fat.

However, shortening will never give you a rich buttery flavor, so don’t use it for drizzling, garlic or herb butter, or frosting.

Also, use shortening as cooking oil, especially for frying.

Vegan Butter

Another substitute for melted butter is vegan butter.

Like margarine and shortening, vegan butter is entirely non-dairy. It consists of plant oils, such as olive, coconut, avocado, palm oil, nut butter (often cashew), and water.

Many varieties of vegan butter also contain salt, natural and artificial colorants, flavorings, and emulsifiers to mimic the taste and texture of butter.

Vegan butter is intended as a substitute for butter and can be used in a 1:1 ratio for all baking and cooking purposes.

However, like margarine and shortening, the flavor and texture of the baked goods will not be identical to ones made with butter.

Prune Butter

Homemade prune butter is an innovative substitute for melted butter.

To make prune butter, blitz ½ cup of pitted prunes and ¼ cup of hot water in a blender or processor.

This sweet, lush butter can replace melted butter in baked goods, especially spicy and chocolatey cakes, muffins, cookies, and sweet rolls.

Nut Butter

Nut butter, a common pantry item, is a vegan, non-dairy butter substitute.

Cashew, macadamia, and almond butter are delicious alternatives to peanut butter. Although commercial products include sugar and other natural and artificial additives, high-quality nut butter is the pure nut.

With its high monosaturated fat content, nut butter is heart-healthy, high in protein, and contains less fat than dairy butter.

Nut butter can substitute for melted butter in cookie baking if you like a nutty flavor.

Because nut butter is only 50% fat compared to butter’s 80% fat, you need to combine nut butter with another fat, such as vegetable oil, to achieve the appropriate texture.

Substitute one cup of melted butter with half a cup of nut butter and half a cup of coconut oil. If the nut butter is very sweet, reduce the sugar in the cookies.

Apple Sauce

An alternative vegan butter substitute is apple sauce.

Choose unsweetened homemade or natural apple sauce rather than commercially made apple sauce that contains artificial additives. Apple sauce is naturally fat-free, low-calorie, and very healthy.

When baking sweet bakes like muffins or quick bread, substitute apple sauce for melted butter. The sweet tartness of the apple will show through slightly but will not be very noticeable.

Because of the difference in texture, substitute half a cup of apple sauce for every cup of butter.

Without any fat, your bake may be a little dry and dense, so combine apple sauce with another butter substitute: use half a cup of apple sauce and half a cup of coconut oil for each cup of butter.