7 Dairy Free Substitutes for Butter

There are so many options for swapping out butter in recipes. It’s easier than you think to make a recipe dairy free, especially when you’re taking out butter.

These are just a few suggestions, but they’re my favorite dairy free substitutes for butter.

baking ingredients with text overlay "dairy free substitutes for butter"

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Choosing the best dairy free substitute for butter is going to depend on what recipe your making. I have a long list of favorite ingredients, and I use each of them differently depending on what I’m making. Here are my favorites:

What is the healthiest substitute for butter?

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

This is my favorite substitute for butter in any recipe. Since it’s the most natural, and heart healthy, I try to use it whenever I can.

I use it in all my savory recipes, and it’s especially good when a recipe calls for you to melt butter in a pan (like when you’re sautéing onions).

I use it when I’m making risotto and . Sometimes you can even use it in baking recipes, like my olive oil brownies and lemon rosemary olive oil cookies

What is a good butter substitute for baking?

There are several different option for replacing butter in baking recipes. My favorite choice is vegetable shortening, but there are several other options as well.

Vegetable Shortening

Vegetable shortening is my favorite when a baking recipe calls for softened butter. Since it’s stored at room temperature, it’s already softened. I use vegetable shortening in my dairy free chocolate cupcakes and my dairy free chocolate chip cookies.

If you’re concerned about finding an ethical source of palm shortening, don’t worry. There are several brands out there that are doing great work and

Vegetable Oil

I use vegetable oil whenever I don’t want the strong flavor of extra virgin olive oil. My favorite is canola oil, but a blend works well, too. This is what I normally choose when a baking recipe calls for melted butter.

It’s what I use in my dairy free pancakes, and I like to use it in my dairy free one layer cake. You can also use vegetable oils in savory recipes that call for butter to be melted.


Dairy Free Butter

Alternatively, you can use vegan butter sticks the same way you would use shortening, but since they’re stored in the fridge, you’ll need to soften them. This isn’t something I choose often, but they work very well in baking recipes. It would work really well for biscuits or shortcake.

Dairy Free Margarine

I like to use dairy free buttery spreads when I’m making toast or when a recipe calls for butter to be stirred in at the end. You can also bake with buttery spreads, or melt them in place of vegetable oil.

I use vegan margarine in my dairy free mashed potatoes and my pineapple stuffing. I also love to use it when I’m making garlic bread.

Can coconut oil be used instead of butter?

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil can also be used in all types of recipes. It can melted and used in place of liquid fats or softened and used in place of butter or shortening.

It works really well when a recipe will need to be “solid” at room temperature. I use for coconut oil when I’m making my rice crispy treats, peanut butter pretzel bites, and my microwave fudge.

Cooking Spray

Whenever I want to evenly coat something with a little butter flavor, I choose butter flavored cooking spray.

It’s not something I use often, but I’m obsessed with putting it on my stovetop popcorn and I use it to make my dairy free croutons because it’s so easy.

More dairy free resources:

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    Kleanthis @ Yumbles
    July 25, 2018 at 3:43 am

    Very nice overview of butter alternatives. Personally, I haven’t used butter in my kitchen for a few years. I usually use olive oil for cooking, coconut oil for baking and margarine as a spread.

  • Reply
    March 15, 2019 at 8:54 am

    My family loves PAM butter spray but it’s not dairy free. I found out the hard way. However, the original PAM is butter free.

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