If there’s a scent we absolutely can’t get enough of, it’s got to be butter. I mean, imagine placing a huge slab of butter on a heated pan.
The sound of the sizzle and that unique aroma it emits, ready to cook your meats or vegetables. And don’t get us started with the smell of butter in baking.
That’s why we make sure we always have fresh butter and butter extract in the kitchen. It’s used to give a lovely smell to dishes and give it a fantastic taste that people will love.
But what if you don’t have butter extract on hand? You can always use the best substitute for butter extract!
Read on for our complete list of butter extract substitutes.
The Best Butter Extract Substitute
Before anything else, you’re probably wondering:
Sure, we’ve heard of butter, but not many people have listened to pure butter extract, only coming across it in recipes.
Butter extract, also known as butter flavoring, is a concentrate of real butter. This ingredient is made from a focus of butter, with the addition of other ingredients for a stronger taste.
The more common recipe of butter extract includes alcohol, butter extractives, water, and the natural butter flavor.
Butter extract does have a bit of alcohol, with the alcohol content being at least 35% to act as a preservative element.
You can also find butter extract that’s dairy-free, sugar-free, and gluten-free.
You can find butter extract in the baking aisle of grocery stores. But if you can’t find any butter extracts, there are alternatives.
Some people don’t like using butter extract and want a vegan version or dislike the buttery taste (gasp, we’re judging). Whatever the case, there are other ingredients to use.
Try any of these butter extract substitutes:
Obviously, what’s a better butter flavoring replacement than actual butter? Just go for the main source to get the exact flavor fullness and richness.
Not only is butter the closest substitute for butter extract, but it’s a convenient one as well. You can either find it in grocery stores immediately or already have some in the fridge.
Butter works in so many different recipes, whether in sweet desserts and baked goods, savory sauces, soups, salads, or for cooking vegetables or meat dishes.
While you can use salt for more flavor, we highly recommend using unsalted butter to have more flexibility in flavor. Start with half a stick of melted butter first, then add more as needed.
That said, take note that this butter extract substitute is a dairy product and is high in saturated fat. This may not be the best substitute if you are vegan, lactose-intolerant, or watching your calories.
2. Vanilla Extract
It is no surprise knowing that people think butter extract and vanilla extract are the same. However, they aren’t!
One is made from plants, while the other has an animal source. It’s easy to get confused, though, as they have similar flavors.
These extracts add a creamy sweetness to dishes, particularly baked goods. Like butter, you most likely have vanilla extract in your pantry, especially if you love following baking recipes.
Vanilla extract is a great butter extract substitute in baked goods or sweet treats, or even any savory recipe that calls for butter extract. It’s mainly a good alternative in custards, pudding, frostings, creamy toppings, and even ice creams!
However, note that this alternative has a stronger flavor, so only start with 1/4 to 1/2 of what the recipe calls for when adding vanilla extract.
3. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt has notable health benefits that make it a great butter extract substitute. We love it as you get a creamy taste, whether you’re using it for baked goods or savory dishes.
Using Greek yogurt in baking recipes adds flavor and keeps your finished product moist and tender. The best part? Greek yogurt is sugar-free, fat-free, and with many probiotics, making it the healthiest substitute for butter extract on our list. (*)
That said, Greek yogurt has a tangy flavor, so the creamy flavor is often masked if overused. Don’t add too much, and always stick to adding equal amounts of what the recipe calls for.
4. Canola Oil
If you’re just looking to improve your recipe’s texture, then you’ll appreciate the neutral flavor of canola oil. It’s what makes this substitute for butter extract closer to unsalted butter.
Using this ingredient gives light creaminess from the oil rather than a buttery flavor.
You most likely have canola oil in your pantry, making it an effective and accessible ingredient to replace butter extract with. Plus, it’s plant-based, so it’s ideal for vegans or if you’re watching your dairy intake.
While you usually find canola oil as a butter substitute in baked goods, it doesn’t have the intense flavor. Furthermore, the fluid consistency might affect semi-liquid dishes. Because of that, we recommend using 1/4 cup of canola oil for every teaspoon of butter extract.
Learn more: The Ultimate Canola Oil Substitute List You Need
5. Almond Extract
It isn’t easy to swap one extract with another, especially if you aren’t familiar with the flavor differences. However, almond extract is still considered one of the best substitutes for butter extract.
While this ingredient has a nuttier flavor, it’s suitable for vegans and those who are going dairy-free. Furthermore, you get a rich and full flavor.
Almond extract is best for baking as it would provide an extra note of sweetness to your recipe. We do not recommend using it on custards, though, as it affects the consistency.
You can use equal amounts of almond extract in your recipe, but remember, you’ll get more nuttiness and less creaminess compared to adding butter.
Warning: If you are allergic to nuts, do not use this alternative!
Applesauce won’t give you that buttery twist, but you get a tantalizing flavor!
Usually, we use this as a substitute for eggs or butter to add moistness and richness to baked goods. That’s why it makes an excellent substitute for butter extract.
It’s a healthier substitute with natural flavors, though you won’t get a similar taste. That said, you’ll get a moist and tasty product.
7. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
If you’re in a pinch, you can always use olive oil, another staple in many kitchens. It has a high-fat content, like butter, to add a rich and delightful flavor to dishes.
Olive oil can give richness to baking recipes with just a subtle flavor. Meaning this won’t ruin the final flavor of your recipe at all.
While this substitute won’t yield the same flavor profile butter extract does, it gets the job done in terms of texture.
Since olive oil is richer, a small amount will go long. Use 1/2 to 3/4 of the amount the recipe calls for.
We recommend using extra virgin olive oil than refined olive oil, as the former will preserve the olive’s aroma and taste, which enhances your dish’s flavor. It also comes with many nutrients!
Learn more: Sesame Oil vs. Olive Oil: All You NEED TO KNOW!
8. Almond Butter
We like how almond butter has a rich, nutty, and natural flavor that works in many kinds of recipes. Personally, it’s our favorite substitute.
Like almond extract, almond butter doesn’t yield the same flavor, but it still gets the job done. Also, it’s not a dairy substitute but a keto-friendly and vegan one!
We recommend using a 1:2 ratio with this ingredient.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you still have questions about butter extract and its substitutes in your savory dishes or baked goods? Check out these frequently asked questions from our readers:
1. What substitute has the closest butter flavor?
Obviously, real butter has the closest buttery flavor. You can opt for salted butter for more flavor.
If not, the next best thing would be vanilla extract.
2. What does butter extract do?
As the name suggests, butter extract will give your recipes a rich flavor of butter. Think of it as vanilla extract or almond extract, which has the same functions as recipes, particularly in baked goods.
Most people use it to avoid using actual butter, which has a high-fat content. You can also opt for vegan butter extract to make it healthier but still achieve the buttery sweet taste.
3. Where can you use butter extract?
You can use butter extract in any recipe that requires butter, though it’s mainly used for baked goods. This ingredient works as how butter does, infusing even more buttery flavor because of the high concentration.
You can also use butter extract in raw dishes or savory recipes that ask for butter.
Fun fact: You can use butter extract in pancakes, dessert bread, cinnamon rolls, sauces, cookies, cakes, pies, stir-fries, frostings, salads, dressings, soups, hot chocolate, smoothies, syrups, and more! This ingredient is mostly found in Western desserts.
4. Can I substitute the extract for real butter for the butter flavoring?
Yes, you can! In fact, we believe that real butter is the best butter extract substitute, given its flavor.
However, you will need to use more real butter to achieve the same flavor as a few drops of butter extract. This may not be the best alternative if you’re watching your calories and fat consumption.
Furthermore, if you’re looking for something vegan-free and dairy-free, you’re better off finding another substitute for butter extract.
The next best thing would be vegan butter, extra virgin olive oil, or Greek yogurt. While olive oil or Greek yogurt won’t provide a similar flavor, it has creaminess when appropriately used.
Wrapping It Up
Not everyone can use butter flavor extract, and that’s okay! There are so many substitutes you can use to achieve still the butter extract taste you’ve been looking for.
We hope that our list of substitutes for butter extract helped you out. If you’ve tried any of these ingredients, let us know what you think, or add more suggestions in the comments section below. We’d love to hear what you have to think.
Did you enjoy our article? Then check out our All Food Ingredients Substitutions article to get into the world of food and cooking!