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5 Natural Oils You Can Use for Baking Instead of Butter

Butter is the primary reason why baked goods turn out fluffy and nice. Without butter or an inadequate amount of butter, baked goods turn out dry and unappetizing.

I’m sure we’ve all tasted baked goods like that at one time or the other. Butter is a vital ingredient in baking.

However, with butter containing animal fats and up to 80% fat, it’s not exactly a healthy ingredient

Most oils are derived from plants and seeds and contain less saturated fats than butter.

Baking With Oil Instead of Butter

With so many healthy natural oils available on the market, it’s easy to replace butter with something less fatty and achieve the same results.

This article will cover the benefits of replacing butter with oil in baking, how much oil to substitute for butter and the best oil substitutes for butter in baking. 

Can I Use Oil Instead of Butter?

Yes, you can use oil instead of butter. However, not every kind of oil is suitable for baking. The properties of the oil as what you’re baking matters.

7 Benefits of Replacing Butter with Oil in Baking

  1. When you use oil in baking, you use a lesser quantity than butter.
  2. In addition to lightness, oil also provides an added flavour to recipes depending on which type of oil you’re using.
  3. Natural oils are a great source of heart-healthy fats.
  4. They are also a great source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3 protects the body against disease and omega-6 helps lower bad cholesterol.
  5. Oils have a high smoking point thereby making them a suitable replacement for butter. However, it depends on the oil. Not every oil has a high smoking point. 
  6. If you’re lactose intolerant or have some other dietary restriction involving butter, oil is a great replacement. 
  7. Oil is a fantastic option for the keto diet, paleo diet, paleo or similar types of diet that restrict consumption of dairy products. 

How Much Oil Do You Substitute for Butter?

The amount of oil you use is dependent on what you’re baking. I have included an estimate for all the oil recommendations included below. 

I have analyzed the best 5 substitutes for butter below according to my observations and various testimonies.

Best Oils for Baking

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (EVCO) for Baking


Coconut oil is the most used substitute for butter in baking. It is best used melted and at room temperature.

It is also perfect for people who are lactose intolerant. When using coconut oil in baking, reduce the portion of butter the recipe calls for by at least 15%.

Coconut oil goes a much longer way than butter. You can also reduce the sugar slightly if using coconut oil.

Baked goods with coconut oil tend to have a distinct sweet fragrance. Coconut oil works for cakes, pastries, brownies, bread and cookies.

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Coconut Oil Recommendations

Canola Oil for Baking

La Tourangelle Organic Canola Oil

Canola oil is a light neutral-tasting oil that makes for a good replacement in recipes that call for vegetable oil. It can also be used in recipes that call for butter.

When using canola oil in baking, substitute ¾ cup of canola oil for every cup of butter.

You shouldn’t use a straight conversion (cup to cup) as it will affect the consistency of your dough/batter.

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Canola Oil Recommendations

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) for Baking

la tourangelle extra virgin olive oil

Olive oil has a stronger flavour than most oils on this list and it’s not something every taste bud would love. To combat this strong flavour, you can use extra light olive oil.

Olive oil works best when used for muffins and vegetable bread such as pumpkin or zucchini bread.

In the Mediterranean, olive oil is used for baking biscotti, fruit cakes and olive bread.

Substitute olive oil for vegetable oil in equal measure or 3 tablespoons of extra light olive oil for every ¼ cup of melted butter.

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Extra Virgin Olive Oil Recommendations

Pistachio Oil for Baking


Pistachio oil is a delightful green colour with a strong and distinct flavour. If you want your recipe to have a nutty flavour, pistachio oil is the way to go.

You can also add pistachio nuts to cookies, muffins and biscuits. Though more expensive than other oils, it remains one of the best nut oils to use in baking.

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Pistachio Oil Recommendations

Pecan Oil for Baking

Guidry Organic Farms Pecan Oil

Pecan oil is extracted from the nut of the pecan tree. It is a versatile oil and can be used as a replacement for butter in almost any baking recipe.

While it’s a nut oil, it’s flavour isn’t overpowering. You can also combine pecan oil with olive oil depending on your taste preferences.

Pecan oil is available in a roasted version as well. The roasted pecan oil has a nuttier flavour. 

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Pecan Oil Recommendations

Though there are other natural oils that can be used in baking, the above remain the best 5 recommendations.

Feel free to experiment with other oils but make sure they are cold-pressed edible oils for use in baking. 

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