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"

Simply Whisked is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

What are good non dairy substitutes for butter?

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:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil is always my first choice in dairy free substitutes for butter in a recipe. 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 my favorite brownies.


What can you substitute for butter in baking?

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 also use it in my 2 minute aioli.

Vegetable Shortening

Butter-flavored shortening is my favorite when a baking recipe calls for softened butter. Since it’s stored at room temperature, it’s already softened and the shortening sticks make it really easy to measure. I use vegetable shortening in my cupcakes and my favorite cookies. You can also use plain, unflavored shortening as well.

Vegan Buttery Sticks

Alternatively, you can use vegan buttery 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.

Buttery Spreads (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 oils, but they’re not as easy to measure. I use it my meatless meatball and veggie skillet and when I’m making garlic bread.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil can also be used in baking or in savory recipes. It’s normally melted before use, and it works really well when a recipe will need to be “solid” at room temperature. I normally opt for coconut oil when making rice crispy treats or chocolate things.

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 popcorn and I use it to make my dairy free croutons.

  • Reply
    5 Ingredient Pineapple Stuffing recipe - Simply Whisked
    March 21, 2018 at 9:37 am

    […] normally made with butter, but I’ve substituted a dairy-free margarine. I would try to stay away from vegan butter or shortening in this recipe because I don’t […]

  • Reply
    Zucchini Risotto (Dairy Free, Vegan Option) - Simply Whisked
    April 5, 2018 at 11:47 am

    […] to be dairy free was actually pretty simple. Since I usually start my risotto off with olive oil, rather than butter, I only had to remove the pecorino cheese from the recipe. I swapped a tablespoon on nutritional […]

  • Reply
    Simple Chicken Veloute Sauce (Dairy Free) - Simply Whisked
    April 25, 2018 at 4:04 pm

    […] by making a roux. I use equal parts butter substitute (or butter if you can have dairy) and all-purpose flour. Use your biggest saucepan, and melt the […]

  • Reply
    Creamy Dairy Free Tomato Soup - Simply Whisked - Dairy Free Recipes
    May 22, 2018 at 11:22 am

    […] I decided to give this whole tomato soup thing another shot a few weeks ago because we were having unusually cold weather (like record-setting-blizzard in April type weather). I had fresh tomatoes that needed to be used, and rather than make a tomato salad, I thought soup might be a better choice. And, it was. We made fresh garlic bread using Smart Balance (our favorite dairy free buttery spread). […]

  • Reply
    The Best Dairy Free Mashed Potatoes - Simply Whisked
    May 29, 2018 at 4:50 pm

    […] flavor. I opt for vegan buttery spread or vegan butter. This is my go-to choice when I’m substituting butter that is […]

  • Reply
    Dairy Free Raspberry Cupcakes - Simply Whisked
    June 5, 2018 at 7:00 am

    […] It only took a few simple swaps to make these cupcakes completely dairy free. First, I swapped the butter out for vegetable shortening. I used non-hydrogenated shortening, but you can use any vegetable shortening you have on hand, or even coconut oil if you soften it a bit. See more about how I substitute butter here. […]

  • Reply
    The Best Dairy Free Ranch Dressing - Simply Whisked
    June 13, 2018 at 7:49 pm

    […] as possible, which is why I tend to shy away from cashew creams and I’ve made friends with vegetable oil and shortening. I’d much rather use ingredients that I already have on […]

  • Reply
    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.

Leave a Reply

Make dairy free easy!

Sign up and get fresh, dairy free recipes delivered straight to your inbox.