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oil as butter substitute for baking

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I just got the King Arthur whole grain baking book, and was disappointed to find that nearly every recipe calls for a stick or more of butter. That would bring out the whole grain goodness :-), but I'm wondering about substituting a light flavored olive oil in some of the recipes, and wanted to hear people's experience with substituting oil for butter in baking. I know that I need to cut back the oil ~25% to make up for the non-fatty part of butter, and there are obvious textural differences, so how can I up my chances of coming out with something good? I'm particularly interested in cakes and bar cookies. Thanks for your help.

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  1. You can start by subbing half the butter with a little less than the same amount of oil. This cuts down on the saturated fats but doesn't really cut down on calories. If you leave out the butter entirely, it will definitely affect the taste. The butter just has a creaminess and richness that oil won't have.

    1. Butter has 80% of the calories of oil per unit of volume. It also has water (which creates flaxy textures) and sugar (which browns), which oil cannot do. So, while the saturated fat goes down when you use oil, the calories go up and the texture and flavor and color suffer. Not worth it.

      1. Have you considered subbing half the butter with applesauce? It keeps the baked goods moist and doesn't affect the flavor. By keeping some of the butter, you keep some of the flavor and texture that you can't replace without butter. Or maybe 1/3 butter, 1/3 oil, 1/3 applesauce?

        1. Unrefined, Unprocessed, Unheated, Unfiltered COCONUT OIL would be the perfect substitute for other longer chain oils and butter! It is a medium chain fat, that the body can burn for energy, and the taste will be much improved! We use it exclusively for cooking except for high temperature DEEP frying. It is better then butter as a spread on your muffins, bread, etc.

          1 Reply
          1. re: nutrition

            would you use the same amount of coconut oil as butter or reduce the amount by about half as suggested for the other oils? thank you!

          2. Thanks for these suggestions -- I guess some sort of compromise between all butter and no butter makes sense!