Here’s When You Can Use Oil Instead Of Butter In Baking Recipes

Read the ingredients list to find out.

Butter, along with flour, eggs, and sugar, is one of the main ingredients in many baking recipes. It’s essential in cookies, brownies, cakes, pies, and even some bread recipes such as the pandesal.  

Butter has many uses in the kitchen beyond baking, too. That’s why may not always have butter on hand or sometimes, you just don’t have enough to use. 

If you find that you have neither butter nor margarine when you want to bake, there is another fat you can use: oil. Oil is a fat just like butter is but it’s in a liquid state. Margarine and shortening are both the solidified versions of different kinds of oil that are similar in texture to butter. That’s why margarine which has additives to taste and look like butter is commonly used in place of butter in many recipes and is a direct substitute for it, too. 

A word of caution: not all baking recipes that use butter can easily be substituted with oil. Oil is not a direct substitute for butter. 

How can you tell just by looking at the recipe? The trick to knowing when you can use oil instead of butter when baking is reading the ingredients list. If the butter in the recipe is listed as “butter, melted” or “melted butter”, you can safely use oil instead. Since the butter has been melted or turned into a liquid, oil becomes a suitable substitute since butter’s solid texture is not a factor in the recipe. 

However, just not that butter has more flavor than oil so you will lose that buttery taste that you might be missing when you make your substitute. If you are going to use oil instead of butter in a recipe that uses butter, use 3/4 of the amount of oil for the specified amount of butter in a recipe. Here’s an easy formula to remember: 


1 cup butter = 3/4 cup oil

Sound easy, right? However, you should also know that there are recipes that naturally do not use butter in the recipe. Here are baking recipes to try that use oil instead of butter: 

Photo by Riell Santos

1 Dark Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

These cupcakes taste dark and chocolatey from the big amount of cocoa powder in the recipe. It doesn’t compete with the buttery, sweet frosting on top. Best news is that it doesn’t use butter for the cupcake batter itself, so you can save it and use it for the icing on top.    


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2 Banana Nut Muffins Recipe 

Banana bread is not too far off from the muffin version, so if you’re experienced in making banana bread that uses oil instead of butter, this recipe is just a touch more fancy. Just stir in some chopped nuts of your choice. Walnuts are classic but chopped cashews, glazed pili nuts, and even regular salted peanuts would be delicious added to the banana batter. 

Photo by Miguel Nacianceno

3 Olive Oil Cupcake Recipe

You might find it odd to use expensive olive oil for cupcakes, but the olive oil in this recipe is the star! Not many cupcake recipes use oil but in this case, the kind of oil you use is important. We can just imagine this recipe but swapping it out with another kind of oil for a different flavor. Peanut oil, avocado oil, and maybe even a combination of regular oil and bacon fat would also be quite delicious, too.      

Photo by Keith Sigua

4 Taisan Loaf with Cheese Recipe 

Also known as a chiffon cake, this cake is a classic cake recipe that uses oil, not butter. The small amount of oil plus the egg yolks are responsible for ensuring this cake stays moist despite its fluffiness. You can use this cake recipe for almost anything, including mamon or just top it with a brush of melted butter and fine sugar. This taisan is topped with cheese for that salty-sweet taste.

Are you excited to be able to use oil instead of butter in your recipes? Try it with any of these recipes.


Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!

Got your own version of the classic dishes? Pa-share naman! Get your recipe published on by submitting your recipe here.

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