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The 7 Best Butter Extract Substitutes

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Butter extract is incredibly helpful for those of us who adore the flavor of real butter but want to avoid the heavy calorie and fat content of this dairy product!

Just a small amount of butter extract has the capability to transform our baked and savory dishes into something magnificent.

But what if you have run out of this versatile ingredient—what is the best substitute for butter extract? You can use other ingredients such as vanilla extract, olive oil, and apple sauce as substitutes for butter extract. If you are looking for an ingredient with a flavor as close as possible to butter extract, then the best option is to use real butter.

Got a favorite recipe that normally includes butter extract, but your bottle has run dry?

Don’t panic! These substitutes will make sure your cooking efforts still taste delicious. Let’s take a look at the 7 best substitutes for butter extract and how to use them!

What Is Butter Extract?

Butter extract is a clever and versatile ingredient that is made from real butter. You know when you add butter to a dish, and it instantly tastes richer and more decadent?

Well, butter extract will do just that, without adding the calories and fat!

This ingenious ingredient normally contains extracts of butter (no big surprise there!), water, and alcohol.

It is designed to add the richness and texture we get from using butter in our baking and savory dishes. Butter extract has a mild buttery flavor that will not overwhelm your dish.

There is a good reason why people love butter extract! This simple ingredient adds a rich buttery flavor to both sweet and savory dishes, without the calories and fat content of butter.

Butter extract is normally non-dairy, sugar-free, and gluten-free. However, as butter extract is derived from butter, it is not normally considered to be a vegan product as it contains milk proteins.

Is Butter Extract The Same As Butter Flavoring?

Butter extract and butter flavoring are very similar, but there are some subtle differences.

Butter extract will give you the richness you would expect when adding butter to a recipe, but without a strong buttery flavor

Butter flavoring gives a sweet butter flavor and is more commonly used in baking in the same way as vanilla essence.

However, very confusingly you can also get butter flavor extract, which is a combination of the two! Many butter extracts will also include additional flavorings, to give a more intense, buttery taste.

What Is Butter Extract Used For?

Butter extract can be used in both sweet and savory dishes to enhance the flavor of your recipes.

When it comes to baking, butter extract can be used in any recipe that asks for butter.

You can use a small amount in addition to the butter, to enhance the richness of the recipe. This simple tweak can take your cake and cookie baking to the next level!

Alternatively, if you are looking to swap butter for healthier fats without losing the flavor, butter extract can be your helper here.

Many of us are trying to reduce our butter intake and would like to use healthier fats and oils such as olive oil. Adding a splash of butter extract allows us to do this without losing the buttery flavor!

If you are a fan of pancakes and waffles, butter extract can be used to enhance the flavor of your batter mix.

You can also add it to pastry dough and cookie and brownie recipes. A tiny bit of butter extract in frosting will transform it into delicious butter icing.

When it comes to savory recipes, butter extract is incredible for adding richness and depth of flavor to your cooking.

Use it in place of butter if you are looking for a healthy swap or add a bit extra alongside your butter if you are feeling indulgent!

There is one thing to watch out for when using butter extract in your savory dishes, and that is to check your butter extract for any other ingredients.

For example, some butter extracts are sweetened or may contain vanilla essence. These might not always be a welcome addition to your savory recipes!

If you are sauteing vegetables, butter extract can be used along with a healthy oil such as sunflower oil.

This gives you a dairy-free alternative to sauteing in butter, without sacrificing the delicious flavor. In fact, butter extract can be added to any frying oil to add richness and flavor to your griddled foods.

Butter extract is also a great addition to stews, casseroles, roasts, and marinades—basically, anything cooked slowly for long periods of time!

The rich flavor will blend perfectly with your other ingredients, taking the flavor to a whole new level of intensity.

The 7 Best Substitutes For Butter Extract 

So now we’ve got you all excited about butter extract, we need to turn our thoughts to what you can use as a substitute for this incredible ingredient.

There are plenty of options available, so don’t be disheartened if your butter extract supply has run out!

Here are the 7 best butter extract substitutes:

1. Best Dairy Option—Butter

If you want a flavor as close as possible to butter extract, then the best option is to use real butter. It stands to reason that the best substitute for a butter-flavored product would be the real thing!

Butter is one of those ingredients that adds an unmistakable rich and silky texture to cooking and baking.

Anyone who has ever baked with real butter will tell you that there is nothing quite like it for bringing your cake recipes to life. So, if you have run out of butter extract, try giving the original product a try!

The important thing to note about using real butter as a butter extract substitute is that it will increase the amount of fat and oil in your recipe.

So, depending on what you are making, you may need to decrease the quantity of other fats and oils accordingly.

Remember to also check if your butter is salted or unsalted. Most baking recipes call for unsalted butter, whereas salted butter can work well in savory dishes.

Real butter is a dairy product, so this substitute will not be suitable for vegans. Butter also contains small amounts of lactose.

2. Best Vegan Option—Vegan Butter

The most frustrating thing about butter extract is that it is not suitable for vegans! So, if you’re cooking for a vegan guest, or are avoiding animal-derived ingredients yourself, what can you substitute for butter extract?

Luckily, the manufacturers of butter have not neglected the vegan community! There is now a wide range of vegan butter available, that comes as close to the real thing that you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference.

Most vegan butter is made from a carefully formulated blend of oils, to get as close as possible to the flavor of real butter. They may also contain natural colors, flavors, and preservatives.

As with real butter, when baking with vegan butter instead of butter extract you will need to adjust the quantity of oil in your recipe accordingly.

3. Best Baking Substitute—Butter Flavoring

If you want to use butter extract in your baking, chances are that you are already using an alternative oil or fat.

This may be because you want a healthier option, or because you are making a recipe that calls for oil rather than butter, such as a gooey brownie mix.

But what if you want the flavor of butter in your cakes, cookies, and brownies? Bring on the butter flavoring!

Unlike butter extract, butter flavoring is highly concentrated and will add an intense buttery flavor to your recipe.

It will not alter your recipe in any other way, so try adding a few drops to your next batch of baking and enjoy the results!

4. Best Substitute For Pancakes & Waffles—Vanilla Extract

If you’re looking for a way to take your sweet batter mixes to the next level, reach for the bottle of vanilla extract!

Made by soaking vanilla pods in alcohol and water, vanilla extract will add the unmistakable rich, creamy, and warm flavor of vanilla to your morning pancakes and waffles.

A gentle hint of vanilla in your batter mix will work really well with all of your favorite toppings, adding sweetness without bumping up the calorie count.

We love vanilla waffles topped with fresh fruit and yogurt, a perfectly balanced and satisfying breakfast treat!

Vanilla extract has been a store cupboard staple for many years, and most of us were using it long before butter extract came along. So, if you’re out of butter extract, give vanilla a try instead.

This substitute will also work well for any sweet baked recipes, but we wouldn’t recommend you try it in savory dishes.

5. Best Substitute For Savory Dishes—Olive Oil

Trying to include more healthy oils in your diet? Olive oil has a unique flavor profile that can make it a great substitute for butter extract, particularly in savory dishes.

The reason we love butter extract when cooking is that it adds a velvety richness to our recipes. One of the great things about olive oil is that it is one of the few ingredients that can emulate this! 

So, next time you want to sauté some vegetables, try adding olive oil instead of butter extract. You could be pleasantly surprised! The rich oil will coat the vegetables, giving you an incredibly rich and fruity flavor.

We do have one word of caution when using olive oil as a substitute for butter extract, particularly if you have a bottle of extra virgin olive oil.

This has a very low smoke point, and should not be used for frying or roasting foods at high temperatures.

6. Best Substitute For Baking—Nut Butter

If you are looking for a butter extract substitute for cakes, cookies, and brownies, then nut butter could be the perfect solution to this problem.

Any type of nut butter would work, but the ones with the most buttery flavors include pecan, almond, and cashew butter. Alternatively, you might prefer to use a nut butter blend.

The great thing about nut butter is that they are all suitable for vegans, as they are free from any dairy products. However, remember that people with nut allergies may not be able to eat nut butter! 

To use nut butter when baking, simply use it to substitute some of the other fat in the recipe. For example, when making brownies reduce the oil by half and add nut butter to compensate.

You will be rewarded with a rich, intense, and very buttery flavor!

7. Best Oil-Free Substitute—Apple Sauce

Frequently, the reason we use butter extract is that we want to reduce the level of oil and fat in our baking. If this is the case, then apple sauce can have the same great effect!

Apple sauce has long been used in baking to replace either eggs, butter, or both. It adds richness and moisture to cakes, as well as a delightfully sweet flavor.

This substitute ticks all the dietary requirement boxes too: nut-free, oil-free, vegan, and dairy-free!

Related Questions

Now that we’ve gone over the best substitutes for butter extract, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!

Can you substitute oil for butter?

Whether you are looking for a dairy-free or healthier option, many of us are looking for ways to replace butter in our cooking and baking. But does oil make a good substitute for butter?

Many different oils can be used to replace butter, with very successful results.

Most oils will give the same texture as butter when used in savory dishes and baking, but you might find they lack the buttery taste and richness. If this is the case, try adding a bit of butter extract as well!

Canola oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil are frequently used to replace butter when baking. When using oil to replace butter, the ideal ratio is to use 3/4 of the amount of butter that is called for in the recipe.

So, if you normally use 4 ounces of butter, add 3 ounces of oil instead.

Can you use ghee instead of butter?

If you haven’t come across ghee before, this ingredient has been a staple part of Asian cooking for many years.

Ghee is a form of butter known as clarified butter, that has been heated and strained to remove all water. It is then cooked over a low heat until the milk solids start to brown slightly.

The result is a soft butter with a nutty, caramelized flavor. It has a much longer shelf life than butter and also has a higher smoke point.

If you normally use butter for frying, then ghee will give you all the flavor without the danger of overheating and becoming smokey.

Ghee can also be used to replace butter in baking recipes and can be used in equal quantities. It is soft and easy to blend with other ingredients and will give the same rich flavor we come to expect from butter.

Ghee is also considered to be healthier than butter, so this is a win-win substitution!

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