I'll be the first to admit that biting into a gooey, buttery, fudgey brownie is one of the most pleasant experiences in the world. What's not pleasant is realizing that a couple minutes of enjoying that decadence can permanently harm my health in the long run. That's why I've turned to healthy butter substitutes. 

Butter is high in calories, saturated fats, and cholesterol. It's the saturated fats that have health officials worried. They can accumulate in arteries and increase the risk of heart disease. 

Long story short, using healthy butter substitutes could save you a lot of heart-ache in the future. Whether you're using butter as a spread, in cooking, or in baking, there are several options for a healthier substitute to choose from.

Apple Butter

jam, bacon
Hailey Nelson

If you want a healthy butter substitute that still feels like butter when you’re spreading it, try apple butter. It has none of the fat or cholesterol of butter, plus it has a sweeter and more complex taste.

That makes it the perfect candidate for spreading on a warm piece of toast or a scone in the morning. 


Dina Zaret

This dip, made from chickpeas, olive oil, and tahini, has many health benefits. It’s high in fiber, iron, manganese, protein, and healthy fats. It’s a perfect substitute for butter as a spread on toast or as part of a sandwich.

Try it out instead of butter next time you’re craving a more savory spread. 


guacamole, sweet, vegetable, avocado
Jessica Kelly

With the worldwide explosion of avocado toast, I’m guessing you expected avocado to be on this list of healthy butter substitutes.

Avocado has many health benefits, including being high in potassium, protein, fiber, and many essential vitamins. It can also be used in baking in place of butter, especially in brownies

Ricotta Cheese

spinach, toast
Brittany Arnett

Not only does ricotta cheese make a great, delicious spread that’s lower in fat and cholesterol and higher in calcium than butter, but it can also be used as a butter substitute in baking.

If it’s the fat in butter you’re worried about, make sure you choose a low-fat ricotta cheese as a substitute. One common substitute using ricotta in place of butter is baking breads

Nut Butter

chocolate, butter, peanut, peanut butter
Jocelyn Hsu

Butter is a large source of saturated fat, so if you’re looking for a different way to incorporate healthy fats into your diet, you should use nut butters.

Nut butters are a delicious substitute for butter as a spread on your morning toast, but their usefulness in the kitchen goes way beyond that.

Peanut butter, and other nut butters, have enough fat to stand in for butter in baked goods (like cookies). The result is not only a healthier baked good, but one with more complex flavor.

Check out this article that lists various nut butters and their health benefits. 

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

wine, beer
Gaby Derlly

While olive oil is similar in calorie content to butter, it contains monounsaturated fats. These are known to help lower the risk of heart disease and lower levels of bad cholesterol.

Try using a little EVOO in place of butter when you are cooking and need a non-stick element. 

Coconut Oil

yogurt, milk
Andrew Zaky

Like olive oil, coconut oil is still high in calories compared to some of the other healthy butter substitutes. However, its many health benefits make it worth incorporating into your diet.

Coconut oil is anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, immune-boosting, and an antioxidant. While there are many bizarre uses for coconut oil, you can get your feet wet by substituting it for butter in cooking and baking things on the sweeter spectrum. It does impart a nice coconutty flavor. 

Greek Yogurt

sweet, coffee, dairy product, yogurt, cream, milk
Kathleen Lee

Greek Yogurt makes a great fat substitute in baking. This means it can replace butter or oil in all of your recipes. It’s high in protein, calcium, and bacteria that are good for your gut.

When you use it 1:1 in place of butter, your baked goods will have extra moisture and a finer crumb. My favorite recipe to use greek yogurt in is banana bread

Apple Sauce

pork, vegetable, beef, sauce, meat, apple
Kendra Valkema

Like greek yogurt, apple sauce works perfectly when substituted for butter or fat in baking recipes. Your baked goods will turn out more moist, dense, and naturally sweet, with the added benefit of containing a lot less fat and calories.

If you’re stuck with only plain apples, try using this recipe to make your own. 

Pumpkin Puree

potato, sweet potato, sweet, pumpkin
Alyssa Robertson

I am the first to admit that in the fall, I am obsessed with pumpkin. Not only does it taste delicious, but it has many impressive health benefits.

Pumpkin puree makes the perfect butter substitute in baked goods ranging from breads to cookies to brownies. It’s the same idea as apple sauce, but with a different flavor profile. Your baked goods will come out more moist and have just a touch of that pumpkin flavor. 

Not only do these healthy substitutes have nutritional benefits, but I find that they add more flavor complexity than butter. With such a wide range of healthy butter substitutes, you have no excuse to cut those saturated fats out of your diet.