Is There A Substitute for Salted Butter?

Salted butter is, you guessed it, butter with added salt. The majority of the time when cooking or baking recipes will call for unsalted butter. Every so often, however, you’ll get one that calls for salted butter – and you don’t have it on hand!

The good news? You can easily substitute salted butter with unsalted butter and salt. Or, depending on your application, oil or margarine. 

When substituting salted butter, it’s a good idea to keep and mind and adjust your salt content as necessary. Let’s discuss.

Salted Butter Substitutes 

These are the best substitutes to use when using a recipe that calls for a larger amount of salted butter.

Unsalted Butter + Salt

When substituting unsalted butter for salted butter, the general rule of thumb is to add ¼ teaspoon of salt per stick of butter

Salted Butter MeasurementEquivalent
½ cup / 1 stick salted butter½ cup / 1 stick unsalted butter + ¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup / 2 sticks salted butter1 cup / 2 sticks unsalted butter + ½ teaspoon salt

So, if you have a recipe that calls for unsalted butter, and you only have salted butter, decrease the amount of salt by ¼ teaspoon per ½ cup of butter.

If you have a recipe that calls for 1 stick of salted butter, and you only have unsalted, you can easily substitute 1 stick of unsalted butter and ¼ teaspoon salt.

If your measurements are less than ½ cup (or 1 stick) of butter, salt your recipe to taste. If baking, which usually calls for exact measurements, use ⅛ teaspoon of salt. That’s just enough for some flavor, but not enough to make your dish inedible.

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Oil or Margarine

If you don’t have any butter on hand, or you want to try something different, you can also substitute both vegetable or canola oil, or margarine for butter.

Salted Butter MeasurementEquivalent
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter1 cup margarine + ½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter⅞ cup vegetable/canola oil + ½ teaspoon salt

You can also substitute shortening for salted butter using the same measurements as margarine. 

Lard is also an acceptable substitute for salted butter. Just use the same measurements as the oil.

Alternative Fat Substitutes for Salted Butter (Larger Amounts)

These are the best substitutes to use for salted butter when you’re looking to replace your fat content entirely. Note that these are not intended to replace all of the butter in your recipe, but they can be helpful if you want to replace some, or you’ve run short.

  • Mashed Tofu – Mashed tofu is great when baking or cooking a savory dish. You can substitute up to half the amount of salted butter called for. Add a pinch of salt for flavor.
  • Unsweetened Applesauce – Best when baking muffins or cakes, unsweetened applesauce is an excellent source of healthy fat. You may need to reduce your liquids if you use unsweetened applesauce, otherwise, you’ll end up with a runny bake.
  • Pureed Prunes – Another substitute that works well when baking. You can easily substitute 1 stick of salted butter with ½ stick (4 tablespoons) salted or unsalted butter, and 4 tablespoons of prune puree.
  • Flaxseed Meal – Flaxseed is incredibly versatile. It’s often used as a substitute for eggs in vegan recipes. You can substitute flaxseed for a quarter of the amount of called-for salted butter.
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Smaller-Amount Substitutes for Salted Butter

If you’re just using salted butter to coat a pan, or quickly sautee something, non-stick oil spray is a great substitute.

You can also substitute coconut oil or avocado oil for salted butter when coating a pan or sauteeing. Both are a substitute for corn (vegetable) oil and work just as well.

When sauteeing and substituting oil for salted butter you don’t need to use that much. A 1-second spray is around 1 gram of fat! 

Now that you have several substitutes for salted butter you can tackle any recipe that comes along!