A few common reasons to substitute one ingredient for another are shortage, scarcity, or rarity of that ingredient, food allergies or health-related issues that arise due to excessive consumption, or if a person is following a special diet. All these reasons are valid in the case of butter as well. There are quite a few things that can be used as substitutes to butter. Among these, using oil is a common practice.
There are different types of vegetable oils that can be used as a butter substitute. However, it is beneficial only when you use it in the correct amount.
Olive oil is one of the best options. It is a great substitution for margarine as well. However, it is important to consider the fat content as well as water content of any substitute, to retain the consistency of a dish. The fat content of olive oil is 20% higher than that of butter. Hence, when it comes to using it in a cake mix or any other baked product, use only ¾ of the required amount. For example, if the recipe requires 1 cup of butter, then use ¾ cup of olive oil.
Canola oil is also a recommended substitute. However, similar to olive oil, the proportion of substitution is the key, which varies from one recipe to another. It also depends on the cooking procedure that you are opting for. For example, if you are substituting it in baking, then you need to use 10 tablespoons per cup of butter. On the other hand, if you are using it while cooking on a flame, then you need to use 14 tablespoons per cup of butter.
Coconut oil is considered as a healthy alternative. You can use it as a substitute while preparing Thai food recipes and stir fried recipes. However, when it comes to substituting it in bread, cookies, brownies, and other baked products, it is better to use virgin coconut oil, which is semi-solid in texture and has a distinct coconut flavor. Some people advise using the butter and oil in a 50-50 combination (½ cup butter and ½ cup coconut oil), while some advise ½ cup of butter and ⅜ cup of coconut oil. If butter is not available at all, then you can use ¾ cup of coconut oil per cup of butter.
There are quite a few views and counter views about using butter substitutes. Some people say that it has to be substituted, since it contains loads of saturated fats that are harmful for health. On the other hand, some say that rich butter substitutes like coconut oil also contain saturated fats. A few cooking experts suggest that one should never replace butter with oil as it affects the consistency, taste, and flavor of a dish, especially when it is a dessert recipe. On the contrary, some say that using oil is fair, as it gives a light and crispy nature to cookies and biscuits, which is very delectable.
So, drawing a definite conclusion from all the above views and counter views is difficult. The best thing would be to use substitutions in brownies, cookies, breads, and other baked products, only when necessary.