substitute for butter in roux

Roux is a fundamental element in many savory dishes, serving as a thickening agent and flavor enhancer. While butter is commonly used to create roux, there are instances where a substitute may be desired. This article delves into the purpose of butter in roux, reasons to explore alternatives, and a selection of substitutes that can bring unique flavors and textures to your culinary creations.

Purpose of Butter in Roux:

  • Thickening Agent: Butter helps create a smooth and consistent texture in roux.
  • Flavor Foundation: It contributes a rich and savory taste to the base of many dishes.
  • Binding Element: Butter combines well with flour to form a stable mixture for thickening.
  • Aroma Enhancement: The aroma released during cooking enhances the overall sensory experience.
  • Color Development: Butter aids in achieving the desired color of the roux, whether light or dark.

Why Replace Butter in Roux:

  • Dairy-Free Preferences: Non-dairy substitutes cater to those with lactose intolerance or vegan diets.
  • Health-Conscious Choices: Certain alternatives offer healthier fats and nutritional benefits.
  • Reducing Saturated Fat: Substituting can help lower the overall saturated fat content in dishes.
  • Flavor Variation: Exploring different fats can bring new dimensions to the taste of the dish.
  • Allergy Considerations: Those with dairy allergies can enjoy roux without using butter.

Substitute: Olive Oil

Olive oil lends a subtle fruity note and a smooth texture to roux.

Nutrient Amount per 1 tbsp
Calories 120
Total Fats 14g
Carbohydrates 0g
Proteins 0g

How to Make: Replace butter with an equal amount of olive oil in your roux-making process.

Substitute: Coconut Oil

Coconut oil adds a hint of tropical flavor and a rich consistency to roux.

Nutrient Amount per 1 tbsp
Calories 120
Total Fats 14g
Carbohydrates 0g
Proteins 0g

How to Make: Use an equal amount of coconut oil as a substitute for butter in your roux.

Substitute: Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil offers a neutral flavor and a smooth texture, making it suitable for various dishes.

Nutrient Amount per 1 tbsp
Calories 120
Total Fats 14g
Carbohydrates 0g
Proteins 0g

How to Make: Substitute an equal amount of vegetable oil for butter when making roux.

Substitute: Margarine

Margarine, a butter substitute, can create a creamy and consistent roux.

Nutrient Amount per 1 tbsp
Calories 100
Total Fats 11g
Carbohydrates 0g
Proteins 0g

How to Make: Use an equal amount of margarine in place of butter for your roux.

Substitute: Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast brings a unique flavor profile and a touch of umami to roux.

Nutrient Amount per 1 tbsp
Calories 20
Total Fats 0.5g
Carbohydrates 2g
Proteins 3g

How to Make: Mix nutritional yeast with oil to create a paste and use it as a butter substitute in roux.

Nutritional Facts Summary Table:

Substitute Calories Total Fats Carbohydrates Proteins Source Works Best In
Olive Oil 120 14g 0g 0g Olives Savory dishes with Mediterranean influence
Coconut Oil 120 14g 0g 0g Coconut Tropical-inspired and bold-flavored dishes
Vegetable Oil 120 14g 0g 0g Vegetables Versatile for a wide range of dishes
Margarine 100 11g 0g 0g Plant-based Savory dishes, especially where creaminess is desired
Nutritional Yeast 20 0.5g 2g 3g Inactive yeast Dishes benefiting from a cheesy, umami flavor


  • Can I use olive oil in a roux? Yes, olive oil can be used as a substitute for butter in roux, adding its distinct flavor.
  • What is the best substitute for a lighter roux? Vegetable oil is a suitable option for a lighter roux without a strong flavor impact.
  • Can I replace butter with coconut oil in roux? Absolutely, coconut oil can bring a tropical twist to your roux.
  • Is nutritional yeast a good alternative for roux? Yes, nutritional yeast can add a unique umami flavor to your roux.


Exploring substitutes for butter in roux opens up a world of culinary possibilities. Whether for dietary preferences or health-conscious choices, these alternatives can bring new flavors and textures to your dishes without compromising on quality. From olive oil’s fruity notes to the rich consistency of coconut oil, each substitute offers its own unique charm. By experimenting with these options, you can create roux that complements and enhances your favorite savory recipes.

Ji Eun Kim

Written by Ji Eun Kim

Don't listen to anyone who says you can't be vegan and do well in sports and fitness. Vegans can do great, look good, and feel awesome!

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