Vegan Butter Substitutes

by Joelle Dedalus ; Updated September 28, 2017

Try tasty vegan substitutes for your favorite spread.

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Eating vegan may require some thoughtful planning and creative cooking, but it does not mean you have to sacrifice when it comes to taste. With a little inventiveness, the resourceful vegan can enjoy butter substitutes that are as good or better than the real thing.

Butter Alternatives

There are plenty of butter alternatives ready-made for vegans. You can usually find these at a local health food store. Earth Balance is a buttery spread that will satisfy most tastes. It's made from natural ingredients such as palm fruit, canola, safflower and olive oils. Soy margarine is also readily available. Vegan spreads are usually non-hydrogenated and are a healthy butter alternative.

Baking Without Butter

Shortening is one of the simplest replacements for butter in baking recipes, but it definitely is not the healthiest option. If you are avoiding trans fats, you may want to use vegetable oil instead. Use 3/4 cup oil for every 1 cup butter that the recipe calls for. Tub margarine will not work well for baking because it contains too much water and salt. For sweet baked goods, you can substitute applesauce with good results. In general, use the same amount as the butter called for in the recipe. Muffins are an exception: use three-quarters applesauce and one-quarter vegan butter for best taste and texture.


Flax oil works as a delicious topping for rice, potato, and other vegetable dishes. Movie night? Don't eat your kernels plain! You can drizzle flax oil over your next batch of popcorn. Many vegans use flax oil for its satisfying, slightly buttery flavor. Look for it in the refrigerated section of your health food store.

Get Creative

If you're tired of eating your bread without butter, a variety of nut butters can fit the bill. Nut butters are readily available at grocery stores. Don't confine yourself to peanut butter; almond butter, cashew butter and sunflower seed butter are also delicious. Another fun option is the avocado. The rich, creamy flavor of an avocado can make a delicious and nutritious vegan replacement. Mash a ripe avocado onto a slice of toast as a creative alternative to butter. Avocados provide twenty essential nutrients, so you can be assured that it's a worthwhile addition to your diet.

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