If you are lacking butter or are seeking an alternative for butter for use in your cupcake batter, there are a wide variety of options you have at your disposal. Many of these will be detailed throughout this article so that you can figure out what you might want to use as a butter substitute in your homemade cupcakes.
Make sure you read all the way to the end and check out the recipe for some scrumptious cupcakes that do not include butter.
1 – Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is one of the many substitutes you can use instead of butter, and it will put some extra protein into your cupcakes while also providing them with a nice, smooth texture.
If you opt for utilizing Greek yogurt, you should use half of what your recipe calls for in butter. For example, if the recipe you are following requires a half-cup of butter, use a quarter-cup of Greek yogurt in its place.
You may just find that you actually enjoy the texture of your baked goods far more with Greek yogurt as an ingredient.
2 – Applesauce
If you happen to have some unsweetened applesauce on hand, you can use it in place of butter in your cupcakes. Similar to the Greek yogurt, you need to use half as much applesauce as butter.
Utilizing applesauce in your cupcakes can add some extra fiber, and it contains fewer calories than butter and other substitutes, which makes it an ideal replacement for those of you who are watching what you eat.
3 – Coconut Oil
A similar ingredient to butter is coconut oil, and you can easily use it as a replacement for butter in your homemade cupcakes. Doing so can infuse a hint of coconut flavor while also adding a rich texture to your baked goods.
If you are using coconut oil instead of butter, you can add as much of the oil as you would butter for the specific recipe you are following. One great thing about replacing butter with coconut oil is that it is much healthier, as it contains many beneficial kinds of fat.
4 – Vegetable Oil
Vegetable oil works very similarly to butter, making it an effective replacement for the ingredient in your homemade cupcakes. However, unlike other alternatives, this adds no nutritional benefits.
When using vegetable oil as a substitute, you need to utilize three-quarters of a cup for every cup of butter.
5 – Shortening
An additional effective replacement for butter in your cupcake batter is shortening, another form of fat. However, shortening does not contain extra water like butter does, nor does it have any flavor to it, though you can pick up butter-flavored shortening.
You can use the same amount of shortening as you would butter for a recipe. If you choose to utilize it for your cupcakes, they are likely to come out super soft due to the lack of water.
6 – Buttermilk
Buttermilk can also be used in your cupcake batter in place of butter. Simply use half of the amount of buttermilk as you would butter.
If you do not have any buttermilk, but you do have milk and either lemon juice or vinegar in your possession, you can combine a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice per one cup of milk and utilize it as a substitute for the butter instead.
7 – Prune Purée
It may seem like an odd addition to your cupcakes, but prune purée works well as a substitute for butter. Pumpkin purée is another good replacement.
You should utilize about three-quarters of the amount of prune purée as you would butter in the recipe. One thing to note about using this substitute is that it will likely make your cupcakes a slightly dark reddish color.
8 – Bananas
Believe it or not, bananas make a great substitute for butter in your cupcakes, and doing so can also enhance them with a subtle banana flavor. Keep in mind that if you utilize bananas in place of butter, your cupcakes will turn out a bit denser.
You need to, of course, mash up the bananas prior to using them in your recipe. One banana is roughly equal to a single stick of butter.
Chocolate Cupcakes Without Butter
This particular cupcake recipe utilizes coconut oil in place of butter, but you can feel free to use any of the above substitutes in its place.
Here are the ingredients you will need for the cupcake batter:
- 2 eggs
- 2-1/4 cups flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup hot water
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 2/3 cup coconut oil, liquified
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
This is what you need for the chocolate frosting:
- 3-1/2 cups confectioners sugar
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, liquified
- 1/3 cup hot water
- Pinch of salt
Making the Cupcake Batter
You need to preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit first, and then add cupcake liners to a muffin pan. To start the batter, add the sugar, eggs, and coconut oil to a bowl, combining the ingredients well.
Next, put in the cocoa powder, salt, and flour, stirring all the ingredients together. In a different bowl, quickly combine the baking soda, apple cider vinegar, and milk, then slowly pour a small amount of the mixture at a time into the other mixture you have prepared.
After that, you can put in the vanilla extract, stirring it into the mixture, then slowly pour a bit of hot water into the ingredients, making sure to whisk out all the lumps in the batter. Finally, pour the batter into the cupcake liners, and pop the cupcakes into your oven for about 14 to 18 minutes, or until you can pull out a clean toothpick.
Make sure you let your cupcakes cool off for around a half hour on a wire rack prior to putting the chocolate frosting on.
Making the Frosting
This chocolate frosting goes perfectly atop your coconut oil-infused homemade cupcakes. First, combine the coconut oil, confectioners sugar, and cocoa powder together, forming a clumped mixture.
At this point, you can begin adding the hot water to the mixture a little bit at a time, stirring all the ingredients as you add it. Once your frosting is as thin and smooth as you would like it to be, it is time to slather it onto the tops of your cooled cupcakes.
Due to containing coconut oil, this chocolate frosting will eventually become much thicker as it sits on the cupcakes, almost like a fudge. You can now enjoy your homemade chocolate-frosted cupcakes.
As you can see, there are several ways you can ditch butter when you make cupcakes and replace the ingredient with something else. In fact, by substituting butter, you may actually end up with cupcakes you enjoy even more.
The texture and flavor of your cupcakes can vary depending on which replacement you utilize for your recipe, so you may need to do a bit of experimentation to see which substitute you enjoy the most. If you are not looking to add additional flavor with your replacement, an ingredient such as shortening might be ideal for you.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.