substitute for butter in sauce

Butter is a staple ingredient in many sauces, imparting richness and flavor to a wide variety of dishes. However, there are instances where alternatives to butter are desired, whether due to dietary restrictions, health considerations, or flavor preferences. Exploring substitutes for butter in sauces opens the door to a range of possibilities that cater to diverse needs and tastes.

Purpose of Butter in Sauce:

  • Flavor Enhancement: Butter contributes a rich, savory flavor that elevates the taste profile of sauces.
  • Texture Improvement: It aids in creating smooth and velvety textures in sauces.
  • Binding Agent: Butter helps bind the ingredients together, creating cohesive and well-balanced sauces.
  • Emulsification: It plays a role in emulsifying sauces, ensuring they remain stable and creamy.
  • Mouthfeel: The presence of butter enhances the overall mouthfeel and satisfaction of the sauce.

Why Replace Butter in Sauce:

  • Dairy Allergies: Individuals with dairy allergies or lactose intolerance need non-dairy options.
  • Plant-Based Lifestyle: People following a vegan or plant-based diet avoid animal products, including butter.
  • Health-Conscious Choices: Substituting butter can reduce saturated fat content and calorie intake.
  • Flavor Diversification: Different substitutes can bring unique flavors to sauces.
  • Cultural and Dietary Considerations: Certain cuisines and diets avoid dairy, necessitating alternative options.

Substitute: Olive Oil

Details: Olive oil, with its fruity and distinct flavor, is a versatile substitute for butter in many sauces.

It is an excellent source of healthy monounsaturated fats.

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

How to Make: Simply use olive oil as a substitute for butter in sauces, adjusting quantities to taste.

Substitute: Coconut Milk

Details: Coconut milk, extracted from grated coconut, adds a creamy texture and a subtle coconut flavor to sauces.

It is commonly used in various cuisines, especially those with tropical influences.

Nutrient Amount per 1 oz.
Calories 45
Total Fats 4g
Carbohydrates 2g
Proteins 0g

How to Make: Use canned or fresh coconut milk as a replacement for butter in sauces, adding a unique tropical twist.

Substitute: Greek Yogurt

Details: Greek yogurt provides a tangy and creamy consistency, adding a pleasant tartness to sauces.

It’s a great source of protein and probiotics.

Nutrient Amount per 1 oz.
Calories 15
Total Fats 0.5g
Carbohydrates 1g
Proteins 3g

How to Make: Stir Greek yogurt into sauces towards the end of cooking to add creaminess and depth of flavor.

Substitute: Nut-Based Creams

Details: Creams made from nuts like cashews, almonds, or macadamias offer a velvety texture and a nutty essence to sauces.

They are rich in healthy fats and can be used in various savory and sweet dishes.

Nutrient Amount per 1 oz.
Calories 160-180 (varies based on nut)
Total Fats 13-16g (varies based on nut)
Carbohydrates 6-8g (varies based on nut)
Proteins 4-6g (varies based on nut)

How to Make: Soak nuts, then blend with water until smooth to create a nut-based cream for sauces.

Substitute: Avocado

Details: Mashed avocado offers a creamy texture and a subtle avocado flavor to sauces.

It’s a nutrient-dense fruit rich in monounsaturated fats and various vitamins.

Nutrient Amount per 1 oz.
Calories 50
Total Fats 4.5g
Carbohydrates 2g
Proteins 0.5g

How to Make: Mash ripe avocado and blend it into sauces for a creamy consistency and added nutrients.

Nutritional Facts Summary Table:

Substitute Calories Total Fats Carbohydrates Proteins Source Works Best In
Olive Oil 120 14g 0g 0g Olive oil Various sauces
Coconut Milk 45 4g 2g 0g Coconut milk Various sauces
Greek Yogurt 15 0.5g 1g 3g Greek yogurt Various sauces
Nut-Based Creams 160-180 13-16g 6-8g 4-6g Nuts Various sauces
Avocado 50 4.5g 2g 0.5g Avocado Various sauces


Q: Can I use olive oil in sauces that require sautéing?
A: Yes, olive oil is commonly used for sautéing and can add flavor to the sauce.

Q: Will coconut milk make the sauce taste like coconut?
A: Coconut milk imparts a subtle coconut flavor, but it can complement many savory and sweet dishes.

Q: Can I replace butter with Greek yogurt in a cream-based sauce?
A: Absolutely, Greek yogurt can add creaminess and tang to cream-based sauces.

Q: Can nut-based creams be used in desserts as well?
A: Yes, nut-based creams can enhance the texture and flavor of both savory and sweet dishes.


Substituting butter in sauces with alternatives like olive oil, coconut milk, Greek yogurt, nut-based creams, or avocado offers a world of options for enhancing flavor, texture, and nutritional value. Each substitute brings its own unique qualities to sauces, allowing for creative experimentation while catering to dietary preferences and health considerations. Whether you’re seeking creaminess, richness, or a touch of tartness, these substitutes empower you to enjoy delicious and satisfying sauces without compromising on taste or nutrition.

Yuki Tanaka

Written by Yuki Tanaka

I'm from Utashinai and I love tasty food and nice words. I also write blogs, take pictures of food, and create recipes. Cooking and baking are my favorite things to do!

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