Are you making a recipe that calls for butter, but need a substitution? No need to worry. No matter what type of muffins you are making, there are a number of alternatives for butter you can use.
Whether you ran out of butter, or have dietary restrictions, you learn each of the best substitutes for butter you can use in your recipe.
We will cover both dairy free butter replacements as well as those that contain dairy.
So what are the best substitutes for butter when baking muffins?
The top butter alternatives you can use in any type of muffin recipe are coconut oil, ghee, banana, applesauce, olive oil, avocado, and pumpkin puree.
Make sure to read on to learn how to use each of these ingredients in your particular recipe.
Related Recipe: Blueberry muffins from cake mix
Butter Alternatives when Baking Muffins
Most muffin recipes call for butter for a very good reason. It is an important ingredient for creating moisture, structure, and flavor.
Butter acts as a leavening agent, which allows your muffins to rise when baked. Butter also adds a rich and creamy flavor thanks to the butterfat content.
So when you need to replace butter, it’s important to use an ingredient that provides similar structure and flavor benefits.
Keep in mind, that some of these substitutes will change the final texture of your muffins. Especially the non dairy alternatives. The lower butterfat content of these substitutions tends to create a denser muffin.
But with that in mind, they all still do a wonderful job allowing you to make tasty muffins without using butter.
Related: Substitute for eggs when baking muffins
Coconut oil is an excellent butter substitute that can be used to make delicious muffins. Coconut oil adds the flavor of coconut to your muffins, so consider the type of muffin you are making to ensure it pairs well with coconut.
Coconut oil is my favorite butter substitute when making chocolate and banana nut muffins.
You can use any type of coconut oil, but the higher the quality the better. I prefer using unrefined coconut oil but it does tend to be on the pricy side.
Related: Alternatives for coconut oil
Equivalent1 tablespoon of coconut oil equals 1 tablespoon of butter
Ghee is an excellent all around butter substitute that can be used in any type of muffin recipe. It has a more intense flavor than butter, which goes well in everything from blueberry muffins, to chocolate, and even poppy seed muffins.
Ghee is actually clarified butter, and while not as popularly used in US baking, it is one of my favorite fats to use when baking muffins.
Note: Ghee has a higher water content than regular butter. When mixing your muffin ingredients you may need to adjust down the liquid ingredients or slightly increase the amount of flour you use.
Related: Ghee replacements
Equivalent1 tablespoon of ghee equals 1 tablespoon of butter
If you are looking for a great dairy free substitute for butter for any type of muffin, mashed bananas is an excellent option.
Banana adds a wonderful flavor that goes with so many types of muffins. I like adding it to chocolate chip muffins, blueberry, and even cherry muffins.
Use ripe bananas and mash them before adding them to the rest of your recipe.
Related: Flavors that go with banana
Equivalent1/4 cup of mashed banana equals 1 tablespoon of butter
In keeping with diary free and vegan friendly butter substitutes, applesauce is another great option for baking homemade muffins.
Applesauce does not have the fat content of butter, so it does produce a denser, flatter muffin. But the flavor is great, when paired with muffins that go with apple.
Use unflavored, natural applesauce to avoid too much added sugar. If you like your muffins on the sweeter side, applesauce will give your muffins a sweetness boost. If you don’t want an extra sweet muffin, reduce your added sugar by one third.
Related: Vegetable oil alternatives in muffins
Equivalent1/4 cup of applesauce equals 1 tablespoon of butter
Extra virgin olive oil can be used instead of butter in any kind of muffin. It does produce a denser muffin than butter, but if you enjoy the flavor of olive oil, it makes a great tasting muffin.
If you’ve never baked with olive oil before, keep in mind that the flavor is fairly intense and it isn’t for everyone. I’ve found olive oil works best in muffins that incorporate nuts and other earthy flavors such as poppy seed.
Related: Olive oil replacements
Equivalent3/4 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil equals 1 tablespoon of butter
I really like the flavor avocado brings to my muffins. And it is a great alternative for butter. Not only does it bring more nutrients to your recipe, they are great to bake with.
Use ripe avocado and mash them with a fork before adding to the rest of your ingredients.
Note: Avocado will change the color of your muffins, this is most noticeable in light colored recipes.
Equivalent1/4 cup of mashed avocado equals 1 tablespoon of butter
If you like pumpkin, it is a great butter alternative to bring added flavor to many types of muffins. Obviously you will want to use this with complimentary flavors, but when it works, it really works.
Try it with banana nut muffins, or any nut based recipe. Experiment, pumpkin is a great flavor that pairs with more other flavors than you would expect.
Related: Pumpkin puree substitute
Equivalent3/4 tablespoon of pumpkin puree equals 1 tablespoon of butter
Butter Replacement for Muffins FAQ
Can you use Greek yogurt instead of butter?
Yes, unflavored Greek yogurt can be used in place of butter when baking muffins. Greek yogurt contains less fat than butter, but it is enough to create a great texture and it adds a richness of flavor. Use a 3:4 ratio of Greek yogurt to butter.
Can you use nut butter to replace butter?
Yes, any nut butter can be used as a sub for butter in any muffin recipe. It does add a lot of flavor, but the earthiness pairs well with most kinds of muffins. Use a 3:4 ratio of nut butter to butter.