How to Substitute Olive Oil for Butter When Baking

If you’re looking to add a little variety to your baking, try substituting olive oil for butter. You’re probably already using it for salads, vegetables, dressings, and marinades, but when you use extra virgin olive oil instead of butter, it can bring a variety of new flavors and health benefits to your baked goods as well. 

What type of olive oil should you use?

If you’re used to baking with inexpensive butter, vegetable oil, or canola oil, you may be tempted to substitute the cheapest olive oil you can find. That would be a mistake. Extra virgin olive oil is packed with antioxidants, high in Vitamin E, and lower in saturated fat than butter, making it one of the healthiest, tastiest oils available. Always use high-quality extra virgin olive oil.

But don’t worry, this isn’t one of those experiments where we’re asking you to try something new just because it’s healthy. Experienced bakers have been using EVOO to bake delicious cookies, cakes, and breads for centuries. Rather than shopping for the lowest price olive oil you can find, do a little research and choose the freshest extra virgin olive oil. You’ll taste the difference — and it will be delicious! 

How much olive oil should you substitute?

If your recipe calls for oil, you can safely use a 1:1 ratio. That means if you would normally use one cup of vegetable or canola oil, you should use one cup of olive oil. However, if you’re using the EVOO to replace butter, you need to change that ratio just a little. In addition to fats, butter contains water and milk solids. If you substitute olive oil using a 1:1 ratio, there’s a good chance your baked goods will turn out greasy or runny. 

Whenever you’re baking with EVOO instead of butter, you should substitute 3/4 of the recommended butter amount with olive oil. If your recipe calls for 1 stick of butter (approximately 8 tablespoons), use 6 tablespoons of olive oil. It’s a small adjustment, but one that makes a big difference in the final product. 

When can you substitute olive oil for butter?

If you’re using a recipe that calls for melted butter, you’re usually safe substituting with extra virgin olive oil. In many cases, the oil’s natural flavors will add a bright freshness to the recipe, highlighting the other flavors in the recipe. As an added benefit, you can use olive oil in place of butter or cooking spray to prepare your baking pans. 

When should you not use olive oil instead of butter?

As much as we love extra virgin olive oil, we realize it’s not always the perfect choice for baking. Some recipes call for whipping butter and sugar to create a light and fluffy consistency. Others, like frosting, rely on butter’s natural fats to maintain a firmer texture. In either case, olive oil would not be a good substitute. You’re better off sticking with butter. 

Does using olive oil change the taste?

There’s no denying the fact that butter gives baked goods a distinctive flavor. So, any time you substitute olive oil for butter, you can expect a slightly different flavor profile — one that many people actually come to prefer. Olive oil typically gives baked goods a lighter flavor than butter, and it enhances the flavors of the other ingredients as well. But due to the variety of olives used to make extra virgin olive oil, its flavors can range from bright and fruity to robust and spicy. 

For lighter baked goods like cakes and muffins, a mild EVOO like our Chef’s Blend will provide a smooth, buttery quality with fruity flavors that highlight the other flavors. If you’re baking a dense dessert with intense flavors (Hello, dark chocolate brownies!), choose a bolder oil like our Estate Blend. Its natural sweetness and slightly peppery finish will enhance the other flavors and elevate the entire taste experience.   

Take your baking to the next level with EVOO!

When it comes to eating, it seems like everyone is looking for two things: healthier foods and tastier recipes. Extra virgin olive oil delivers the best of both! To spice up your favorite baking recipes and boost your health in the process, try using olive oil instead of butter in your next round of baked goods. 

Most importantly, don’t forget to have fun with it! Mix and match olive oil blends with different recipes. Find your favorites. Then, share your baked goods with family and friends. Just be ready for them to ask you about your baking secret. Whether you choose to share it or not — that’s up to you. Happy baking!

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