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7 Substitute For Unsalted Butter That You Must Learn Today!

Unsalted butter is a staple ingredient when you’re making cake, flaky pie crusts, delicious croissants, cookies, and even just a buttered toast.

I don’t know about you, but I use butter on daily basis. Whether it’s for a simple buttered toast or making a juicy steak, I add unsalted butter to almost any dish I cook or bake. 

Because I use butter almost every day, I seem to be always running out of it, just when I was about to make a batch of brownies or chocolate cake. So, sometimes I just need to work with what I have. 

And to make your life easier when you’re in a tough spot, here are the best, unsalted butter substitutes that you may already have in your kitchen. 

Substitutes for unsalted butter are

  1. Coconut Oil
  2. Salted Butter
  3. Lard
  4. Vegetable Shortening
  5. Margarine
  6. Vegetable Oil
  7. Unsweetened Applesauce

Continue reading the whole article to find out how you can use all of these substitutes for unsalted butter correctly.

Substitutes For Unsalted Butter

Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a natural oil that’s made from the insides of the coconut, aka coconut meat. Coconut oil is considered to be a healthy type of oil, used in vegan diets, keto diets, and overall, healthy lifestyles.

This is definitively a healthier option for unsalted butter. Coconut is rich in Omega-6 fatty acids(good fats), which are great for people with bad cholesterol.

This oil is pretty heat resistant, making it suitable when you’re cooking at high heat, in fact, it’s more heat resistant than butter. 

You can substitute butter for coconut oil to bake your favorite cookies, muffins, cakes, you can use it in savory recipes like fried coconut shrimp, fried rice, etc. 

Salted Butter

I don’t want to be Ms. Obvious here, but yes, if you happen to have salted butter laying in your refrigerator, you can definitely use it as a substitute for unsalted butter.

I mean, who doesn’t like a little salty note in your brownie recipes?! Salt butter isn’t much different than the unsalted type and that’s why it is the common replacement for regular butter. Well, except for the salt content in it.

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Salted Butter Vs Unsalted. Is There Actually A Difference? 

  • Unsalted ButterBoth these types of butter are made out of butterfat/milkfat(the fatty part of the milk) which makes them an animal product but, unsalted butter doesn’t contain any extra salt in it and has a sweet taste and a smooth texture. 
  • Salted Butter– Has a more rough texture than regular butter because of the salt content. Of course, salted butter has a salty taste but, you can still notice the sweetness in it. Unfortunately, salted butter doesn’t have that creamy taste as regular butter. 

      Depending on the salt levels that different brands of butter contain, salted butter can be either semi-salted or just more salted. Salted butter has a longer shelf life than unsalted butter since salt acts as a preservative.



Lard is an animal product, made from 100% rendered fat, most often pork fat. Even though you may have not used it for your cooking and baking, lard is actually one of the most used types of fat for a long time now. 

The great thing about lard is that it has a neutral and natural flavor that can be used for either savory dishes like tacos or sweet dishes like pies or banana bread.

Lard makes an especially great unsalted butter substitute for baking. Your pastries will be flakier than even when you bake them with a little bit of lard.

Even though lard is made out of pure fat and therefore has high cholesterol contents, lard is not unhealthy when consumed in normal doses. This substitute for butter contains vitamin A, Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B, and many minerals. 

The consistency of lard is actually quite similar to unsalted butter; it has a semi-soft texture, meaning it does hold a shape but it is soft, much like softened butter. 

To use lard as a substitute for unsalted butter, replace one cup of butter with one cup of lard. 

Vegetable Shortening 

Vegetable shortening or just shortening is made out of processed oils like palm oil, soybean oil, avocado oil, and others.

The main purpose behind shortening is to act as a substitute to lard or butter in recipes, aka to substitute the animal fat that lard and butter have.

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But, there are in fact, some differences between lard and vegetable shortening. Let’s see what they are.

Lard Vs Shortening

  • Lard- Lard is an animal product that’s made out of 100% animal fat. It is used for either sweet or savory dishes.

     When it comes to baking with it, lard gives out a rich taste and strong taste, that makes the pastries hold their shape and have a flaky structure.

  • Shortening- Is made out of different types of processed oil and you can’t say that is the healthiest substitute for unsalted butter; in fact, it is not healthy at all.

     In baking and cooking, shortening can come out as very greasy so be careful of how you use it. It can be found in solid, semi-solid, and liquid forms. 



Margarine tends to have a really bad reputation. Margarine is made from different types of processed vegetable oils(much like shortening) and it acts as a vegan/vegetarian substitute for unsalted butter. Now, to be fair, the consistency of margarine can differ from brand to brand.

There are lots of margarine brands that offer to their customers a healthy type of margarine, with only lightly processed oils aka polyunsaturated fats, that amazingly, have heart health benefits.

[Related Article: The 5 Best Substitute For Margarine In Baking & Cooking]

Vegetable Oil

If you’re really in a hurry and there is simply nothing else to use, vegetable oil is an okay option to use as a substitute for unsalted butter. That is if you need it for greasing up your dishes or baked goods. 

Vegetable oil is a processed oil made from various vegetables and does not have a buttery taste. So, you can use it as a replacement for butter only for the purpose of greasing, not flavoring food. To use it as a substitute, replace one tablespoon of butter with one tablespoon of vegetable oil.

Unsweetened Applesauce

Unsweetened Applesauce

A dose of unsweetened applesauce can make a pretty good substitute for unsweetened butter. If your recipe calls for a stick of butter, use half the amount for applesauce. Don’t worry, applesauce won’t make your recipes sweet, or taste like apples.

It will simply give them a little bit more structure, for example, if you’re baking with applesauce instead of softened or melted butter, applesauce will act as a shape holder to your baked goods.

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Related Questions And Answers

Substitute For Unsalted Butter In Cake

There are various substitutes for unsalted butter that do the job just fine. Those substitutes are salted butter, margarine, coconut oil, shortening, and unsweetened applesauce.

Healthy Substitute For Unsalted Butter

When you’re looking for a healthy substitute for unsalted butter these are a few things you may have in your fridge.

Applesauce, pumpkin puree, avocados, coconut oil, almond oil, peanut butter or other types of nut butter, mashed bananas, and Greek yogurt are excellent binders when working without butter.

Non-Dairy Substitute For Unsalted Butter

Applesauce, margarine, shortening, vegetable oil, coconut oil, and pumpkin puree are all great, non-dairy substitutes for unsalted butter.

Substitute For 1 Cup Unsalted Butter

Use one cup of salted butter as a substitute for unsalted butter. You can also use a cup of applesauce or a cup of coconut oil.