Even with a plethora of hazelnut spreads or jam, butter remains a favorite or at least a staple on every breakfast table across many households. Despite its simple and straightforward taste, a considerable number still prefer to use as it reminds them of home – with its uncomplicated creamy texture especially when slathered on a freshly baked bread.
While butter is still the choice of many, the reality is, this popular spread is packed with saturated and trans fats that raise the unhealthy cholesterol in the body. Bad cholesterol, otherwise known as LDL (low-density lipoprotein), increases the risk of heat-related illnesses such as Angina or heart attack as the arteries become narrow due to plaque build-up.
Aside from the risk of increasing cholesterol in the body, people have started using butter substitutes to reduce the negative effects of lactose or gluten. There are of course unsalted butter with fewer calories that one can still use.
While those who have a history of heart diseases in the family or just want to avoid sodium and fats will definitely benefit from this lighter version of butter, those who often fall ill due to dairy or gluten will most likely not.
Good thing several alternatives are out in the market that can definitely be used as a butter substitute. However, not all substitutes are perfect for baking or frying; some alternatives have the same consistency which makes the baked product more flakey and dense, but using the same butter substitute for frying may not produce the desired effect due to a number of reasons such as smell, after taste and so on and so forth. Thus, it is always important to test what works for baking or cooking or, combine the butter substitute with butter then gradually remove the latter once the desired taste and effect have been achieved.
Below are some butter alternatives that hopefully can help you find or decide which butter substitute is best for baking or frying.
1. Coconut Oil
The tree of life truly does not disappoint as it never ceases to produce so many versatile products that help keep the body healthy.
Coconut solidifies when placed in the fridge or room with low temperature. Unlike butter, the fats contained are not high in cholesterol thus it makes a good option when you want your vegetables or meat fried as you don’t have to worry about your cholesterol spiking. The good thing about coconut oil is its ability to lower LDL or bad cholesterol. However, it contains traces of saturated fats, thus it should be used moderately.
Aside from cooking, coconut oil does well when used as a butter substitute for baking, if in case your worried about your diet or, you just ran out of butter and have no time to dash to the nearest grocery store. Make sure however that you check the right measurement when substituting so as to make your cake or pastry dense enough.
2. Olive oil
Olive oil is not suited for baking as it may overpower the taste of the cookie or cake. Its consistency and healthy fats make it nevertheless a good alternative for frying, sautéing or cooking vegetables, meat and other dishes.
A staple in many Mediterranean dishes, olive oil has received quite an extensive coverage for its natural nutrients and cholesterol-lowering abilities that makes every Mediterranean dishes ultra-healthy.
3. Mashed or Pureed Prunes
You might often associate prunes for baby food or a good source of fiber especially if you’re prone to constipation. Pureed prunes are actually a good butter substitute for baking as it also makes the cookie or cake moist and dense. Likewise, pureed prunes have fewer calories, saturated fat, and sodium. Using pureed prunes for baking is moreover ideal since its naturally sweet thus you can reduce the amount of sugar for baking.
Applesauce has less saturated fats and calories. It is versatile because it can be used as a substitute for some dishes. It’s perfect too as an added relish for some meat and pork dishes. Its come-on, however, is its natural texture and consistency, which makes it an ideal replacement for oil and butter. Instead of using butter for baking, apple can even make your baked goods such as pastries and cakes more delicious and moist.
So what is ghee? Ghee is similar to butter, but it has undergone a filtering process and has less saturated and trans fat.
Ghee originated in South Asia as locals there regularly use this product for cooking curry-based dishes. This type of butter can be used for frying and cooking. Just remember to be mindful of the measurements so as not to over moist the food.
Before it even became a paleo and vegan favorite, this fruit was widely eaten in Southeast Asia, either with milk or as is with no additional sweetener.
Avocado has become a natural butter substitute for baking. Make sure nonetheless to check some recipes on the exact measurement so as to get the desired taste and look.
7. Vegetable oil
Vegetable oil is good for frying if you wish to reduce your reliance on butter. It has no overpowering taste and rich in polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats – healthy fats that can improve blood cholesterol levels.
8. Sunflower oil
Sunflower is also a perfect butter substitute. It has no distinct smell, with a mild flavor that won’t overpower your deep-fried dish. Aside from this, sunflower oil is rich in vitamin e and good fats such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.
9. Plain Yogurt
Yogurt is known to be a good source of probiotics. It is also a perfect option for those who wish to ween away from butter. This is also a good option if you are lactose intolerant as it is non-dairy plus low in fat.
Plain yogurt is not recommended for frying, however, it is good for baking easy to bake bread or cookies. It serves as a butter replacement as it has similar consistency with less saturated fats.
Again, these are just some examples of butter replacements if you’re conscious of your health and weight. If it is still difficult to eliminate butter from your daily consumption, unsalted butter is still an option as it has less sodium or, combine butter (but in less amount) with a butter substitute.