9 Imitation Butter Flavor Substitutes

Imitation butter is a great way to get that silky, buttery flavor you love and crave in any dish. Often available in liquid form, imitation butter stores easily and is relatively cheap to purchase. 

When you can’t get your hands on imitation butter or you need a substitute in a pinch, there are several alternatives you can consider. Coconut oil, ghee, shortening, corn oil, and parmesan or romano cheese are excellent imitation butter flavor substitutes. All of these imitation butter substitutes can be easily found in your local grocery store, too. 

While imitation butter isn’t exactly like the real thing, it can serve a purpose in certain situations. There are many substitutes to this particular substance that can also be used, which makes it easy for consumers to find a substitute for imitation butter in their local marketplace. 

Common Substitutes for Imitation Butter Flavor

If you’re looking for something to take the place of imitation butter, you’ve got several options. Some of our favorites are included in this list, and we’ve put together an overview of how they measure up:

1. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil can replace imitation butter flavoring in a 1:1 ratio. Although it would likely change the flavor of the food, coconut oil is a much healthier alternative to imitation butter. In fact, out of all the alternatives for imitation butter, coconut oil is the most likely to change the flavor of your dish. 

Containing healthy fatty acids, coconut oil is said to boost heart health and encourage fat burning. As you can see, its health benefits far outweigh those of imitation butter. However, it is also more costly, which must be taken into consideration if you are buying it in large quantities. 

2. Ghee

As a form of clarified butter, ghee is widely touted for its health benefits. It’s also the most similar to imitation butter in its consistency and coloring. While imitation butter can serve as an alternative to regular butter, it isn’t nearly as healthy as ghee. 

In fact, ghee is known for helping reduce excessive weight gain, and it’s rich in fat with high amounts of Omega 3’s. However, ghee does contain saturated fats, which can make it detrimental to your health if you consume it on a daily basis. 

When cooking with ghee instead of imitation butter, it’s important to note this fat has a higher smoke point. This means that it won’t burn nearly as quickly. 

3. Shortening

Shortening can be used in place of imitation butter or real butter in a 1:1 ratio, as well. In fact, it is known to be a better alternative all around, because of the interchangeable nature in baked goods. 

Containing 100% hydrogenated vegetable oil, shortening is a type of fat that remains solid at room temperature. This may remind you of the solid state of butter at room temperature, too. Comparatively, imitation butter is in a liquid form at room temperature. 

4. Corn Oil

As a refined vegetable oil, corn oil is commonly used in cooking and deep frying. While corn oil isn’t considered to be a healthy fat, it does contain significant levels of Vitamin E and phytosterols. Corn oil is highly refined and is widely used in Western culture, where it isn’t as prominent in the rest of the world. 

Corn oil can be used as a replacement for imitation butter in a 3:4 ratio. Both are available in liquid form, so you won’t find any change in the texture between corn oil and imitation butter, either. 

5. Parmesan or Romano Cheese

Known for their robust flavors, parmesan and romano cheese can also be used interchangeably for imitation butter. Although it may seem silly to consider cheeses as a substitute for imitation butter, the strong flavor of these dairy products are strongly related and comparable. 

You may want to melt down the parmesan or romano cheese before using them in place of imitation butter, which is understandable. Other times, you may be able to leave them in their shredded or grated form. 

6. Greek Yogurt

With a delicious, creamy taste, greek yogurt makes an excellent imitation butter flavor substitute. Used in both sweet and savory dishes, greek yogurt is versatile in its many uses. The casein in greek yogurt can also help retain moisture in many dishes, which gives it an edge over other imitation butter flavor substitutes. 

As a fat-free and sugar-free treat, greek yogurt is also a powerhouse of health benefits. It benefits your digestive and immune system, as well as offering protein and probiotics. 

Flavoring Options as an Imitation Butter Substitute

You don’t always have to use butter substitutes as an imitation butter flavor replacement. In fact, there are many other types of imitation products that can be used to replicate the flavor of imitation butter substitute you’re used to. 

7. Vanilla Extract

By soaking vanilla beans in a combination of water and alcohol, vanilla extract is created. The taste of vanilla and butter are so strikingly similar that people often mistake them for one another, which is quite the interesting phenomenon. 

This means vanilla extract can easily be used as a substitute for imitation butter flavor, if need be. However, it must be taken into consideration that vanilla extract does have a more intense flavor than imitation butter flavor, so it would be more noticeable when used as an imitation butter substitute in a dish. 

8. Almond Extract

Almonds are widely known for their bitter taste, which turns some people off from this nut. However, almond extract, in comparison, is more delicate and mild. Emitting a pure and nutty taste, almond extract can actually intensify flavors, like coffee and chocolate. 

Imitation butter is known to add a hint of sweetness to baked goods and salad dressings, whereas almost extract would induce a nuttier hint. 

9. Real Butter

If you haven’t considered it before, you may want to think about using real butter in place of imitation butter. Although it may seem counterintuitive, using real butter in place of its imitation replacement can give your dish a richer and creamier taste. 

Real butter also does a good job of carrying fat-soluble substances throughout a dish. For example, adding vanilla extract to butter will allow the butter to carry the vanilla flavor throughout the rest of the dish better than imitation butter flavor substitute can. 

Final Thoughts

Imitation butter is a staple in many types of baking, but when you can’t get this ingredient or would like a healthier alternative there are also many other options available. From dairy-based Greek yogurt to baking extracts to butter alternatives, you have plenty of imitation butter flavor substitutes at your disposal. 

A few things you should take into consideration when picking the best imitation butter flavor substitute is how alternatives can be stored, how they will change the flavor of your dish, and how costly they are in comparison.