Planning & Prep

Oil-to-Butter Conversion: Guide to Butter Substitutes

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Last Updated: Nov 10, 2023

Pausing your cooking to convert ingredients is never fun. Perhaps your recipe calls for oil, but you only have butter in your fridge. What happens if you’re making pancakes and you only have oil? Thankfully, you can use our oil-to-butter conversion without compromising the taste or texture of your recipe. We crunched the numbers and even provided a few butter substitutes to guide you.

Table of Contents:

How to convert oil to butter

oil to butter conversion formula

You can convert oil to butter with a 1:1 ratio. This method of swapping oil for butter works with most oils, including olive, vegetable and canola oil. Make sure the butter is cool or at room temperature before mixing it into your recipe.

Example: If a recipe calls for 1 cup of oil, use 1 cup of cool or melted butter instead.

How to convert butter to oil

butter to oil conversion formula

You can substitute butter for oil, but it may alter the flavor and level of moisture. To convert butter to oil, you’ll want to use a 3:4 ratio instead — this means one equal part of oil equates to ¾ butter.

Example: If a recipe calls for 2/3 cup of butter, use 1/2 cup of oil instead.

However, this is only if you’re using vegetable, canola or olive oil. If you’re replacing butter with coconut oil, you can use a 1:1 ratio.

Oil to butter conversion chart

Still unsure of how to use the oil-to-butter conversion metrics? Here are some common standard metric conversions for butter to oil and vice versa.

Oil to butter (standard metrics)

Check out the standard metrics for converting oil to butter below.

Oil Butter
¾ teaspoon1 teaspoon
2 ¼ teaspoons1 tablespoon
1 ½ tablespoons2 tablespoons
3 tablespoons¼ cup (1/2 stick)
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons½ cup (1 stick)
½ cup⅔ cup
½ cup + 1 tablespoons¾ cup
¾ cup1 cup (2 sticks)
1 ½ cup2 cup (4 sticks)

Oil to butter (mL)

Not sure how to convert oil to butter in mL? Reference our chart below for common conversions.

Oil Butter
75 ml100 ml
150 ml200 ml
225 ml300 ml
300 ml400 ml
375 ml500 ml
450 ml600 ml
525 ml700 ml
600 ml800 ml
675 ml900 ml
750 ml1000 ml

Oil to butter (grams to mL)

Use the grams to mL oil to butter chart below to convert common measurements. You can also bookmark our grams to mL converter to calculate other common ingredients.

Oil Butter
83 ml100 g
166 ml200 g
249 ml300 g
332 ml400 g
415 ml500 g
498 ml600 g
581 ml700 g
664 ml800 g
747 ml900 g
830 ml1000 g

Common butter substitutes

No big deal if you run out of butter when cooking! Here are a few common butter substitutes that get the job done.

Common butter substitutes and how much you should use in place of butter

1. Olive oil

If you’re replacing butter with oil, you can follow a 3:4 ratio. This means you would use ¾ the amount of olive oil a recipe calls for butter. Try swapping butter for olive oil in your savory dishes, for example, this beef and broccoli recipe.

How much to use: 3:4 ratio

Best for: Cooking and sauteing 

2. Coconut oil

Coconut oil is a dairy-free, vegan butter substitute. Although coconut oil can replace butter, it has a distinctive flavor that can alter some dishes. Try using coconut oil to replace butter in this chicken curry recipe, or add it to make a box cake taste better.

How much to use: 1:1 ratio

Best for: Curry, stir-fry and desserts

3. Unsaturated oils

Unsaturated oils like canola, sunflower or vegetable oil can replace butter for most recipes. Swap the butter for one of the flavorless, unsaturated oils in baked goods, including cupcakes, cookies and even your favorite banana bread recipe.

How much to use: 1:1 ratio

Best for: Baked goods or any recipe that requires high heat

4. Mayonnaise

While it may not sound appealing, mayonnaise is a mixture of egg yolks and oil, making an easy butter substitute. You can use mayonnaise for extra moisture in mashed potatoes and other savory dishes. Try melting it down for grilled cheese or omelets.

How much to use: 1:1 ratio

Best for: Savory dishes, dips and sauces

5. Margarine

Margarine is one of the most common substitutes for butter because of its similar texture. If you have a dairy  allergy or sensitivity, keep in mind that not all margarines are dairy-free. Cook or bake with margarine the same way you use butter.

How much to use: 1:1 ratio

Best for: Baking and cooking

6. Yogurt

Swap butter for full-fat yogurt to maintain the richness and texture. Stick to a 1:1 ratio when using yogurt instead of butter. However, if you’re following a recipe that calls for a large amount of butter, try Greek yogurt instead because of its low moisture content.

How much to use: 1:1 ratio

Best for: Baked goods

7. Vegetable shortening

Use vegetable shortening instead of butter for recipes that don’t need the buttery flavor. Vegetable shortening has a high melting point compared to butter, so your sweet treats will be light and airy.

How much to use: 1:1 ratio

Best for: Baked goods

8. Vegan butter

Most vegan butters are made from vegetable and nut oils and can replace natural butter. Vegan butter works well as a butter alternative for almost any recipe, especially for baked goods. Stick to the 1:1 ratio to swap for vegan butter for your recipes.

How much to use: 1:1 ratio

Best for: Baking and cooking

9. Applesauce

Transform the lightness of your baked goods by using applesauce instead of butter. Choose unsweetened applesauce because apples are naturally sweet. However, if you only have sweetened applesauce in the house, you can adjust the sugar level in your recipe.

How much to use: 1:1 ratio

Best for: Baked goods

Additional cooking conversion resources

Use one of our additional cooking conversion resources to streamline your baking and cooking process.

Mastering the oil-to-butter conversion

You should now feel more confident in making oil-to-butter conversions. Remember to use the 1:1 ratio to convert oil to butter or the 3:4 ratio for butter to oil.

Cut down even more time by ordering your butter substitutions online with Instacart. Add your ingredients to your virtual cart and enjoy your order right to your home.

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