Avocados and Other Butter Substitutes

Taylor A Ritz

Spending a lot of time at home and indoors due to the COVID-19 pandemic has led to many people taking up new hobbies. With many states and countries issuing orders to shelter in place, many of us have more free time than ever to fill. Activities like gardening, home improvement, cooking, and baking have become more popular as of late, especially for those who are furloughed or working from home.

Just because we’re baking up a storm right now, and making our way diligently through our quarantine snacks, doesn’t mean we have to gain a bunch of weight. To mitigate some of the less fortunate effects that baking can have on our waistlines, we can try to make our baking recipes a little healthier. One option for better baking is to substitute butter out of some of your recipes. To help in this endeavor, we have compiled a list of butter alternatives to meet all your quarantine-baking needs.

Cooking Or Baking With Butter Substitutes

To make healthier recipes, what nutritious substitutes can we utilize in place of butter?


Substitution: ½ the amount of butter (if the recipe calls for 1 cup butter, use ½ cup mashed avocado.)

Best For: Baked Goods, toast topper

One avocado yields approximately ¾ of a cup of mashed green delight. Substituting avocado for butter not only lowers the calorie count, but it also tends to yield a baked good that is softer and moister. To put numbers to it, a half cup of butter has over 800 calories; the same amount of avocado has around 180 calories.

Coconut Oil or Coconut Butter

Substitution: 1:1 ratio

Best For: Baked Goods

Coconut oil can replace butter using the same amount the recipe calls for. Be aware that coconut products may change the taste of the finished product, especially if you are using unrefined coconut products.

Pumpkin Puree

Substitution: ¾ the amount of butter (if recipe calls for 1 cup butter, use ¾ cup pumpkin).

Best For: Dense desserts (sweetbreads, cookies, etc)

Pumpkin is not only rich in vitamins and minerals but also has antioxidants that can help prevent chronic diseases.

Nut Butter

Substitution: 1:1 ratio

Best For: toast topper, baking batter

Nut butters like almond, cashew, and peanut make delicious spreads for toast, but they can also be used as a substitute for regular butter in baking! They are rich in monounsaturated fat that can help you feel full and improve your cholesterol levels. Note that the flavors of the nut butter you use will likely impart itself into whatever batter you use it for (not that we’re complaining).

Greek Yogurt

Substitution: For every 1 cup of butter, use ½ cup of Greek yogurt.

Best For: Baked goods (especially dense recipes like sweetbreads)

Greek yogurt is thick with a rich taste but has less fat and fewer calories than butter. It’s a great source of protein and can be bought in fat-free varieties too. This substitute is great for adding moisture and structure to breads and cakes.

Mashed Banana

Substitution: The ratio is not precise. Start with half the amount the recipe calls for then add more if the batter seems too dry.

Best For: Cookies, pancakes, waffles

Bananas are rich in potassium and rife with fiber that can help with weight loss. Bananas can replace butter or oil in most baked goods.

Black Beans

Substitution: 1:1

Best For: Brownies, chocolate cake

Black beans are full of protein and fiber, so they help keep you fuller, longer. This substitute is a great way to add nutritious value to delicious desserts.


Substitution: 1:1

Best For: Baked goods, but can really be used in any recipe.

You can replace butter in a recipe with applesauce, but you will need to add yogurt, nut butter, or some kind of oil to provide some fat. Without the added fat, cakes, muffins, quick-breads, and other baked goods can end up tasting too dry.

Finding Your Butter Alternative

So there you have it. If you’re looking to cook or bake off some of the stress and anxiety of our current situation, there’s no reason you can’t find a few healthier options for your recipes. Try one of the butter substitution methods above and reap the healthy – but delicious – fruits of your labor.

Let us know how it goes!