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Using Olive Oil Instead of Butter for Baking

spoonful of olive oil

A commenter asked: “I’m aware that olive oil is a ‘good’ fat and that butter is an animal fat and therefore a ‘bad’ fat for your health. Is it possible to substitute olive oil for butter in cake recipes or will it change the consistency of the cake or the cookie?”

If you are looking to cut back on cholesterol in your baking, olive oil can be a good alternative choice to butter. You just need to bear in mind that the texture and flavor of your baked goods will be a little different.

Pick recipes that do not rely on a lot of butter to give the batter “loft” and flavor (like shortbread cookies and pound cakes).

Use a mild flavored olive oil, generally labeled as “pure” or “light” (not to be confused with low calorie, it is not, it is just light flavored).

And you will need to change the ratio a bit, olive oil expert and cookbook author Carol Firenze gives us this conversion table for measurements of up to 1 cup of butter in her book The Passionate Olive:

Butter                    Olive Oil

1 teaspoon            ¾ teaspooon
1 tablespoon         2 ¼ teaspoons

¼ cup                    3 tablespoons

1/3 cup                 ¼ cup

½ cup                    ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons

2/3 cup                 ½ cup

¾ cup                    ½ cup + 1 tablespoon
1 cup                    ¾ cup

Another substitution for butter is coconut oil, which when cold can mimic the texture of butter, making it useful for pies and tarts. It will also give you some of the “loft” olive oil does not.

Just like olive oil, coconut oil comes in different stages of purity. “Virgin coconut oil” has much more coconut flavor than “expeller pressed coconut oil,” so pick according to how appropriate that “coconutty” flavor is to your baked goods.


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One Response

  1. I love substitutes like this. There are a lot of things that you can use that are far healthier than traditional ingredients. has a lot of recipes like that are are meant for healtheir kids and better family meals.

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