6 Healthy Alternatives to Butter | Carson Tahoe Health

Butter is a beloved ingredient that plays a starring role in some of our favorite recipes from cakes to quick breads to pasta dishes. But too much of a good thing can pose a problem: The fat found in butter is mostly the saturated variety – the kind that clogs arteries and raises LDL (bad) cholesterol, a contributing factor in heart disease.

For those trying to lower their cholesterol, The American Heart Association recommends reducing saturated fat intake to 11 to 13 grams – meaning that 2 tablespoons of butter has already put you over the daily limit. It’s safe to say that butter should be an occasional treat, but what about all of our favorite everyday recipes that call for it? Luckily, there are a handful of ingredients that can easily stand in for butter in your favorite recipes. You’ll still enjoy all the creamy texture and taste, but cut back on fat and up the nutritional value in the process. Whether you’re topping a piece of toast or baking up a cake, these six healthy swaps will blend seamlessly into your dish and – dare we say it – taste even better than butter.


Is buttered toast a breakfast staple in your house? Spreading avocado on your bread is just as delicious and provides a dose of fiber, vitamin K, and potassium. While high in fat, it’s monounsaturated fat – the heart-healthy kind – which helps to lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol. And you can bake with avocado too: Simply sub in equal parts pureed avocado for the amount of butter called for in your baked goods.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is a popular ingredient in salad dressings and stir fries – but did you know that you can bake with it too? Simply use 3/4 cup of olive oil for every cup of butter called for in a recipe. Olive oil is also an effective butter substitute in pasta sauces and mashed potatoes. Touted as a heart-healthy staple by the American Heart Association, olive oil is loaded with healthy unsaturated fats that are worth the extra calories.

Greek Yogurt

When you’re looking to add protein and moisture to your baked goods, without a ton of extra calories and fat, Greek yogurt is the answer. The popular health food lends an amazing velvety texture to breads and cakes, while adding a hefty dose of protein. Use ½ cup of Greek yogurt for every cup of butter required.


Another way to ensure moist, delicious baked goods while saving tons of calories is opting for applesauce, which works particularly well in sweet recipes. Applesauce is a fabulous swap when baking sweets because it adds moisture and fiber to your baked goods while saving tons of calories. Use equal amounts applesauce for the butter called for in your recipe.

Nut Butter

Looking for the perfect topping for that bagel or muffin? Make peanut or almond butter your spread of choice. Much like avocados, nut butters taste great spread on bread and toast, and offer up heart-healthy fats, potassium, and fiber – unlike butter, which can boast very few nutritional benefits. Sprinkle on sliced strawberries or bananas for a tasty and satisfying breakfast.

Pumpkin Puree

Coffee cakes and muffins are a great place to swap in pumpkin puree. Not only will you benefit from added nutrients like vitamin k, potassium, and fiber, but you’ll also infuse delicious flavor into your baked goods for very little extra calories. Use ¾ cup of pumpkin puree for every cup of butter called for. Bonus: You can also swap in equal amounts pumpkin puree for any oil called for in baked goods, too.


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