It’s a common question that has likely popped up in your head as you navigate the kitchen: can you substitute olive oil for butter? Fortunately, there’s a simple answer: yes!
Not only is it easy to substitute olive oil for butter, but many doctors even recommend making this swap for its health benefits. In this post, we’ll discuss the differences between olive oil and butter and share how to substitute olive oil for butter.
How is olive oil made?
As the name might suggest, olive oil is made by extracting oil from olives. There are different varieties of olive oil, but we’ll be talking about extra virgin olive oil in this article. It’s the least refined and healthiest type of olive oil that you can buy.
Olive oil is full of monounsaturated fats, often referred to as “healthy fats.” Incorporating healthy fats into your diet is an excellent way to keep your cholesterol in check, decrease your risk of heart disease, and reduce inflammation in the body. Plus, olive oil contains antioxidants, which provide several health benefits, as well.
What about butter?
On the other hand, butter is a dairy product. It’s created by churning a cow’s milk and separating the liquid from the fat. Like olive oil, butter is high in fat — but not the “healthy” kind that nutritionists praise.
Butter is full of saturated fat, and most medical experts advise you to limit your consumption of that type of fat. The American Heart Association says that only 5-6% of your total daily caloric intake should come from saturated fat. If you stick to a 2,000 calorie diet, that’s about 120 calories (or 13 grams) per day from saturated fat.
Most nutrition experts recommend replacing solid fats (like butter) with monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats (like olive oil) for a more heart-healthy diet.
However, olive oil has a distinct taste that’s much different from butter. Make sure you enjoy the flavor before you start substituting it in your dishes.
How can you substitute olive oil for butter?
With the nutritional background out of the way, here’s how to substitute olive oil for butter in your favorite recipes.
When you’re cooking with olive oil instead of butter, add three-quarters of the amount of butter that the recipe requires. For instance, if your recipe requires four tablespoons of butter, you would instead add three tablespoons of olive oil. Depending on how the measurements appear in your recipe, you may need to do some conversions. A helpful hint: 14.2 grams of butter equals one tablespoon of olive oil.
In most recipes, you don’t need to agonize over sticking to an exact measurement. You can always add more olive oil if you feel like you need more fat in your dish.
However, you should be more precise if you substitute olive oil for butter while baking. Stick to the 3:4 ratio outlined above; otherwise, the texture of your cookies or bread could be off. As is usually the case, baking is much more of a science than an art — especially when swapping these two ingredients.
For more cooking tips and tricks, explore more content on the Tastessence blog.