Butter or Margarine Substitute

by Erica Cruz


Can I substitute vegetable oil for butter or margarine?


Hi Erica,

It depends on the recipe.

For cakes and cookies using oil as a butter or margarine substitute works without too much difference, although you may notice a slight difference in texture or taste.

Butter obviously has more flavor than oil, and the oil can make your cookies spread thinner than butter would.

In candy making, I would try to stick with butter (or whatever the recipe calls for) because there are more things that can "go wrong" when making certain candies.

If you have a specific recipe in mind, you can mention it and one of us may be able to tell you more specifically if a butter or margarine substitute would work.

Of course, you could always just experiment yourself and discover the answer. You take a chance on wasting your ingredients, but most things would still be edible, just not as attractive.

If you are just wondering if you can grease your pan, etc., with oil instead of butter or margarine, then the answer is almost always yes.

So, what are you making? :)

Comments for Butter or Margarine Substitute

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Dec 22, 2021
Christmas Crack (kind of like caramel corn) NEW
by: Nancy

Can I substitute butter blend (part butter, part margarine) for butter in making this caramel nut popcorn?

Oct 19, 2021
Fudge with margarine
by: TheLoneVaultDweller

So I used margarine instead of butter and I can't taste any difference. It just tastes like fudge and set really well. I wish I could post a picture.

Dec 29, 2014
Margarine substitute for caramel popcorn
by: Angie

Hey Joan,
Did you end up trying the margarine for your caramel popcorn? I would have thought it would work, but I haven't actually tried it myself as I only keep butter in the house and never margarine. :) Do let us know how yours turned out.

Dec 25, 2014
Caramel popcorn
by: Joan

I'm making caramel popcorn and ran out of butter. Need 6 Tbsp. per recipe. Can I sub with I Cannot Believe it's Not Butter tub margarine?

Mar 22, 2013
Butter Substitute
by: Angie from chocolate-candy-mall.com

Yes, you can use margarine when making cupcakes as a butter substitute. ;) Hope they turn out delish!

Mar 22, 2013
vanilla cupcakes
by: Anonymous

Can i substitute the butter with margarine?

Feb 24, 2013
Substituting butter for margarine didn't work
by: Anonymous

I substituted butter for margarine in cooked chocolate icing for a cake, the icing turned out greasy. I'm assuming butter has more fat than margarine and that is why there was excess oil floating on top of the mixture.

Feb 14, 2013
Margarine instead of butter
by: Vicki

For making Caramel Apples?? ........ i always have margarine in my house. Never buy butter.

Feb 02, 2013
Substitute Margarine For Butter
by: Angie from chocolate-candy-mall.com

Hi Linda,

I would say yes, you probably could. I'm not familiar with chocolate fridge cakes, but it sounds like something that would work.

I would say that butter would taste better and be a much healthier choice than margarine, but margarine should work.

Care to share your recipe for Chocolate Fridge Cakes with us? You can use the form on our best desserts page to add it. If you can add a photo or two of your finished cakes, even better!


Feb 02, 2013
Margarine or butter
by: Linda

Can I substitute margarine for butter when making choclate fridge cakes ?

Dec 11, 2011
Margarine in Chocolate Truffles
by: Angie

I assume you are talking about the centers of the truffles, rather than a chocolate coating. If that's the case, then yes you can use margarine instead of butter in making chocolate truffles, as long as you don't mind the taste of the margarine.

Dec 10, 2011
Chocolate Truffle
by: Anonymous

Can I substute margarine for butter in Chocolate Truffles?

Nov 23, 2011
Butter Substitute For Pies
by: Angie

Whether you are making apple pie, sweet potato pie, or some other type of pie, one of the best suggestions to substitute for the butter is to use a light olive oil.

You could also use vegetable oil if you prefer, but the olive oil would be healthier.

Another option to consider is applesauce. It may sound odd, but applesauce can be substituted for the butter or oil in many cake and pie recipes.

In the long run, I guess it's really going to be a case of trial and error for each individual recipe you want to try.

Nov 23, 2011
Sweet Potatoe pie
by: Joree

My fiance' does not eat any butter and I was trying to figure out a good substitute for the butter.

Oct 20, 2011
Apple pie
by: Angelica B

Hello, so I would like to make an apple pie but my child is allergic to dairy products. What do you suggest I can use to substitue butter or marg with?

Aug 19, 2011
Substitute for Butter
by: Angie

Hi Tina,

Why not try one of the suggestions above for replacing butter in a recipe? You could try oil, shortening, apple sauce, or even just add extra bananas instead.

Hope your banana bread turns out delicious!

Aug 19, 2011
Bananna Bread-need substitute for butter
by: Tina

What can I use instead of butter or margarine in making bananna bread. I just got back from the store and realized I do not have any butter. Please help. Thank you, Tina

Jul 27, 2011
Apple Sauce or Yogurt as Substitute
by: Farah

A great and interesting substitute for butter and margarine in cooking is either apple sauce or yogurt. I have used them many times and I am always happy with the delicious result as well as the healthier option.

Mar 27, 2011
Butter or Margarine Substitute
by: Shelly

Yes, you should be able to substitute I Can't Believe It's Not Butter for real butter in a cake recipe without any noticeable difference.

Mar 27, 2011
' not butter
by: Anonymous

can I substitute I Can't believe Its Not butter for butter in a cake recipe ?

Feb 27, 2011
Butter/ margaine substitute
by: Charlotte

I have use applesauce in place of veg oil or butter when bakeing cakes for years it taste no different and your cake is low fat it works great for like box mixes. Just use the same amount of applesauce instead of oil.

Jan 17, 2011
Shortening in Peach Cobbler
by: Angie

Hi Sandee,

I think you can safely use the butter flavored shortening, but I'd only use about half of what the recipe is calling for.

I've found that cobblers tend to ask for much more butter than needed. And since you are substituting fats, I think that would be a good idea to cut it down.

Let us know how your peach cobbler turns out.

P.S. Yes, in some recipes you can substitute apple sauce for the oil/fat in the recipe. It won't work for everything but cake type recipes are your best option. You may still want to include a tablespoon or so of oil/fat, but it's going to be a matter of trial and error in some cases.

Jan 17, 2011
re substitute crisco butter for peach cobbler?
by: sandee


Dec 15, 2010
Will too oil make a cake crumble
by: Anonymous

Could I be using too much oil,When i baked this apple cake,recipe was lost,so I guessed on the oil,I used 1 1/4 cup oil.Cake taste was good.

Oct 10, 2010
Shortening For Frosting
by: Angie

You can substitute shortening for butter in your frosting - like Crisco. Coconut oil can also be used. You may need to adjust the amount to get the right consistency, but it should do the trick.

Oct 10, 2010
by: Anonymous

what can i use instead of butter... i am trying to make frosting??

Oct 03, 2010
by: Me

I'm making toast, I'm out of spreads. Can I use oil? Well I suppose I could, but will it be any use? I know by the time I read a reply here, it will be too late, but there you have it.

Aug 11, 2010
sweet potato
by: Anonymous

I used pureed sweet potato as a sub for 1/2 the butter in a recipe. I am experimenting with other
recipes, such as banana bread. I'll let you know how I do.

Jul 24, 2010
Vegetable Shortening
by: Angie

Do you have any vegetable shortening, like Crisco? You can substitute that for the butter in the recipe. It won't have the added butter flavor, of course, but it should work as a substitute for the fat.

Jul 24, 2010
substtitute butter for carrot cake frosting
by: kathy


Jul 19, 2010
Butter or Coconut Oil
by: Angie

You can use butter or coconut oil to replace the margarine requirements in most recipes.

I recently started substituting coconut oil for butter because of the health benefits. It's really nice.

Yes, shortening usually works, too, if that's all you have.

Jul 19, 2010
Chocolate chip squares
by: Fatima


I'm making a recipe that is a hybrid between a cookie and cake. It asks for 1 cup of margarine but I do not like using margarine. Is there any substitute that I can use?

May 21, 2010
Can i use vegetable shortening instead of maragine.
by: Susan

hello i currently moved overseas and there are a lot of products I can't find in the middle east..I'm also a vegan which makes things a bit more diffcult...i really want to make this vanillia frosting..it calls for maragine..do you think ill be able to use shortening? http://www.recipezaar.com/recipe/Vegan-Chocolate-Cupcakes-With-Vegan-Vanilla-Frosting-355374

Mar 28, 2010
by: Anonymous

hi anna,
at the health food store you can get somthing called coconut oil. its in a jar and the same consistancy as margerine. alot of people eat it on toast, if you make bakings, coconut is a really great addition. hope this helps.

Mar 27, 2010
Lemon Bars
by: Cala

Hi, I'm makin' lemon bars baby!!! What can I use to substitute for 3 Tbs of butter for the crust?

Feb 12, 2010
Sweet Potatoe Pie Success!
by: Kristen

thanks for your answer! the pies turned out perfectly. Its definatly a new favorite. and now ill start experimenting with cutting butter to half in a few more bakings.

Feb 11, 2010
Butter Substitution
by: Angie

In your case of doubling the sweet potato pie recipe, I think you'd be fine to just use the 6 tablespoons that you have.

I've often found that a lot of recipes are just as good with half the butter, and this sounds like one of them.

Some recipes (particularly in candy making) need exact measurements for the science to work, but most regular recipes are quite flexible.

How did the pies turn out? :)

Feb 09, 2010
sweet potatoe pie
by: Kristen

hope someone knows the answer :)
Im making a sweet potatoe pie, it calls for 6 tables spoons of butter, but im doubling the recipe.. i only have 6 tablespoons though. can i use what i have and add a few tablespoons of olive oil??

Feb 08, 2010
I used oil too
by: GooGav


I was facing the same problem this evening, as I had my heart set on a homemade apple and black cherry pie with ice cream and custard (I have a BIG appetite!) but found I'd run out of margarine, so I found this Post and used Good Oil (aka Hemp Seed Oil) and it worked perfectly!


Jan 03, 2010
apple crumble without butter or marg
by: anna maria

yes I tried the crumble with olive oil.....it was delicious.....will surely make that again......thansk for all your help

Jan 02, 2010
Olive Oil Substitute For Butter
by: Angie

Brilliant! I'm so glad to hear that you tried the oil and found that it worked great for you. I'm always so pleased when people come back and share their follow up comments. :)

Jan 02, 2010
I used oil
by: Anonymous

and it worked great!

Nov 02, 2009
no butter or marg
by: Anonymous

i wonder if i could use olive oil to make crumble???? dare i try??? what do you think????
i can eat neither butter nor marg.......only olive oil....
can i substitute olive oil in all recipes that have butter????

Nov 02, 2009
Butter/Margarine Substitute
by: Katie

You can try using shortening or vegetable oil for a butter or margarine substitute.

Butter is a fat, so if you are just needing a tsp. for a sauce, then another fat should be okay to use as a substitution.

Nov 01, 2009
ran out of marg.
by: Anonymous

Hi, Im making a pineapple square, where the sauce asks for 1 tbsp marg.
I don't have any..hah Ran out.
Will something else subsitute, or will I even miss it.?
Thanks for your answers.

Jun 04, 2009
butter and margarine doesn't make a difference
by: Anonymous

butter and margarine doesn't make a difference it's similar butter tastes much better

Mar 04, 2009
Will Olive Oil Work?
by: Angie

Hi Anna,

Will olive oil work? I've read that some people will put olive oil in the refrigerator to get it to harden (it may take a few days) and then use it in place of butter or margarine.

I don't know how it would taste in apple crumble, but it seems like it would work if you are able to have olive oil in your diet.

Let me know if you give it a try and how it turns out. :)

Mar 04, 2009
apple crumble
by: anna maria greenall

For health reasons i can eat neither butter or marg.....is there any possible substitute for making the crumble????? it's my favourite dish...please try to help me.

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