11 Healthy Butter Substitutes You Need to Know

Cut the saturated fat and keep the rich flavor with these healthy butter substitutes!

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Knife and gravy boat with butter curls on table
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Whether you’re lactose intolerant or simply watching what you eat, you’ve probably wondered about healthy butter substitutes. While rich and delicious, butter is high in fat and cholesterol, and just a little dab still adds up.

When considering a healthy butter substitute, look for foods with healthy fats that give you the flavor and consistency you crave without the unhealthy side effects. Butter substitutes can be used on your favorite toast, while sauteing vegetables and even in baking.

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Olive oil in vintage bottles and small bowl
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Olive Oil

Olive oil is loaded with healthy monounsaturated fats and is a staple in the Mediterranean diet.

Nutrition: Olive oil benefits your heart and helps you maintain a healthy weight. It is also high in antioxidants for glowing skin and hair. See more of olive oil’s benefits here.

Best For: Sauteing meat or vegetables, drizzling on bread or dressing a salad

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Pumpkin puree in the pot with spoon in the stone background top view
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Pumpkin Puree

Don’t reserve pumpkins just for fall; this healthy butter substitute can up the flavor and nutrition in many of your go-to desserts.

Nutrition: Pumpkin is rich in vitamins and minerals like vitamin A for improved vision. It’s also rich in antioxidants to help prevent chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease.

Best For: Dense desserts like sweet breads or cookies

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Raw organic walnut butter and fresh nuts.
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Nut Butter

If you can’t imagine starting your day without a buttery piece of toast, start trying nut butter. There are so many to choose from!

Nutrition: Nut butters like almond butter are rich in monounsaturated fats to keep you full and improve your cholesterol levels.

Best For: Spread on toast or a bagel, or stirred into batters (their sweet, nutty flavors make any dessert even better)

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Spiced applesauce
Taste of Home

Applesauce

Not just a favorite kids snack, applesauce is a great alternative to butter. Enjoy it on its own or spice it up with your favorite seasonings.

Nutrition: It’s loaded with vitamins and minerals while being low in fat and calories.

Best For: Baked goods (try using about half the amount in place of butter)

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Greek yogurt in a ceramic bowl with spoons on wooden background
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Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is thick and rich while still carrying less fat and fewer calories than butter.

Nutrition: Greek yogurt can be fat-free and is a great source of protein. Adding Greek yogurt to your desserts will keep the creaminess while keeping you full as well.

Best For: Baked goods, especially dense recipes like banana bread (skip Greek yogurt if you’re looking for a lighter, flaky finish)

Don’t have any yogurt on hand? Try one of these yogurt substitutes.

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coconut oil and fresh coconuts on old wooden table
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Coconut Oil

Not only will coconut oil leave you with dewy skin and shiny hair, but it’s also a delicious butter substitute.

Nutrition: It’s rich in healthy fats that actually boost fat burning in your body. It also provides quick, sustainable energy to your brain, helping you focus and avoid that 4 p.m. slump.

Best For: Baked goods (its coconutty flavor will come through)

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Avocado
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Avocado

Is there anything avocados can’t do? They not only make delicious savory recipes, but now they can even replace the butter in your brownies.

Nutrition: Avocados are rich in healthy fats and antioxidants. They’re heart-healthy and high in fiber for improved digestion.

Best For: Topping toast or mixed into a rich, chocolaty batter (the green color can turn a little brown)

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mashed banana in white bowl
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Mashed Banana

Bananas may just be the most versatile fruit and can replace butter in any of your favorite sweet treats.

Nutrition: We all know bananas for their potassium levels, but they’re also rich in fiber to help with weight loss.

Best For: Making cookies, pancakes or waffles (they can replace the butter or oil in most baked goods)

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Black beans in a wooden spoon with cilantro and onions in the background
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Black Beans

Black beans may be your favorite addition to taco night, but they can add tons of nutrients to desserts, too!

Nutrition: Black beans are rich in protein and fiber, helping keep you full and energized all day long.

Best For: Brownie batter or chocolate cake (you’ll need a rich chocolate recipe to mask any bean flavor)

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Ghee or clarified butter in jar and wooden spoon on wooden table.
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Ghee

You may have seen ghee on the shelves of your favorite health supermarket. This clarified butter has a rich, nutty flavor and can be used in place of butter just about anywhere.

Nutrition: Ghee is free of lactose, so provides the butter taste you love without the digestive issues. It also contains fatty acids that can help soothe inflammation in the body.

Best For: Savory applications (roasting chicken or sauteing vegetables) or baked goods (use a little less ghee than you would butter)

Check out these other butter replacements in baking!

Carrie Madormo, RN
Carrie is a health writer and nurse who specializes in healthy eating and wellness through food. With a master’s degree in public health from the Medical College of Wisconsin, she strives to translate the latest health and nutrition research into interesting, actionable articles. During her six years at Taste of Home, Carrie has answered hundreds of reader questions about health and nutrition, such as if pomegranate seeds are safe to eat, why pregnant women crave pickles and how much caffeine is in a shot of espresso. Carrie is also a former health coach and food blogger.