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Substitute For Butter In Brownies

Substitute For Butter In Brownies

If you are making brownies and need a butter replacement, there are a number of ingredients you can substitute it with. These alternatives work in homemade brownies and brownie mixes.

If you are making brownies but you’re all out of butter, or can’t use it for dietary reasons, there’s no need to fear.

You have a number of substitution options to choose from. And these alternatives work in any recipe or brownie mix.

Butter provides structure and moisture to brownies, so it’s important ingredient if you want soft brownies with great flavor.

If you don’t use butter, or an appropriate replacement, your brownies will turn out flat and dry. All that moisture and flavor comes from the butterfat content, so many of our substitutes will provide fat to our brownies.

But some may want an ingredient that is lower in fat content, so you will find low fat butter options below as well.

So what are the best butter substitutes when baking brownies?

The top butter alternatives are ghee, olive oil, vegetable oil, coconut oil, applesauce, pumpkin puree, and peanut butter.

Make sure to read on to learn how to use each of these ingredients in your recipe.

Related: How to freeze brownies

Butter Alternatives when Baking Brownies

sliced chocolate brownies with chocolate syrup

Because butter acts as a leavening agent while also providing much needed moisture, you need to use a replacement ingredient that provides the same benefits, while additionally not negatively effecting the flavor.

Fortunately there are a number of options, so likely already have one of these butter alternatives on hand. Make sure to read on to learn how to use each of them in your brownie recipe.

Note: These ingredients work in brownie mixes as well as brownies made from scratch.

Related: Egg alternatives in brownies


closeup of measuring spoon and jar of ghee

Ghee is a form of clarified butter. That means it is butter that has had the water content removed. This creates a high butter fat content and a rather strong flavor.

Ghee works great when making brownies as it provides the needed moisture and structure without compromising on flavor.

While I have met some who are not a fan of ghee’s flavor, I find it works wonderfully in all type of brownies.

Related: Ghee alternatives


1 tablespoon of ghee equals 1 tablespoon of butter

Olive Oil

olive oil being poured into a measuring spoon

Olive oil is a popular alternative for butter, and it can be used to make brownies. The flavor is strong and some don’t like it in baked goods.

But if you enjoy the flavor of olive oil in other types of recipes, it’s safe to say you will like it in brownies too. Though, I’ve found it works best in brownies with nuts or nut flavor.

Related: Olive oil replacements


3/4 tablespoon of olive oil equals 1 tablespoon of butter

Vegetable Oil

vegetable oil being poured onto spoon from bottle

While I don’t bake with vegetable often, I’ve included it because it’s a common ingredient that many people have on hand, and it works well for making brownies.

It produces a moist texture and decent structure. Vegetable oil has a very mild flavor so it works well in any type of brownie recipe.

Related: Substitute for oil in brownies


3/4 tablespoon of vegetable oil equals 1 tablespoon of butter

Coconut Oil

closeup of spoon and jar of coconut oil

Coconut oil is one of my favorite butter substitutes. It produces a wonderful texture and excellent structure.

The flavor pairs well with any type of brownie, but I find it particularly well suited for chocolate brownies.

Use extra virgin coconut oil if at all possible. It works quite well in baked recipes.

Related: Coconut oil substitutes


1 tablespoon of coconut oil equals 1 tablespoon of butter


closeup of bowl of natural unflavored applesauce

Applesauce is a low fat butter alternative that works well in brownies. While the structure will be flatter than if a higher fat content option were used, the moisture level is excellent as well as the flavor.

Use unflavored applesauce to avoid unwanted flavors, and go with natural to avoid excess sugar.

Applesauce will impart added flavor, but it’s fairly subtle and should work in most brownie recipes.


1 tablespoon of applesauce equals 1 tablespoon of butter

Pumpkin Puree

closeup of pumpkin puree in bowl with a spoon

If you are making a type of brownie that goes well with pumpkin, this is a great, low fat butter replacement.

Much like with applesauce, brownies made with pumpkin puree will be a bit flatter. But the flavor and moisture is excellent.

Note: Do not use canned pumpkin pie filling. This contains spices and isn’t suitable for most brownie recipe.

Related: Pumpkin puree replacement


1 tablespoon of pumpkin puree equals 1 tablespoon of butter

Peanut Butter

closeup of creamy peanut butter in jar and on spoon

Peanut butter is a great way to replace butter while adding some great flavor to your brownies.

Peanut butter produces moist and tasty brownie with a slightly flatter structure. Peanut butter works in most types of brownie but works particularly well in chocolate brownies.

Note: Use creamy peanut butter unless you want to add a bit of crunch to your recipe.

Related: How to freeze peanut butter


1 tablespoon of peanut butter equals 1 tablespoon of butter

Butter Replacement in Brownies FAQ

view from above of brownies in a baking pan

Can you substitute Greek yogurt for butter in brownies?

Yes, Greek yogurt can be used instead of butter in any type of brownie recipe. Whole fat, plain yogurt is best. It provides the needed moisture and the protein content helps create structure. Use a 1:1 replacement ratio.

Can mashed bananas be used instead of butter?

Yes, mashed banana is a good, low fat butter substitute. It works well in most types of brownies and the flavor works particularly well in fudge brownies. Use a 1:1 ratio of mashed banana to butter.

Can mashed avocado be used in place of butter?

Yes, but it will turn your brownies a bit green. Other than that, it’s a solid low fat alternative for butter in any type of brownie mix or recipe. Use a 1:1 ratio.

Can you use margarine instead of butter for brownies?

Yes, margarine can be used to make brownies. While I would recommend using one of the other substitution options listed above, if you go with margarine use a 1:1 ratio.