What are the Best Substitutes for Butter Extract?

A secret ingredient of many a chef that a lot of people don’t know about is butter extract.

Butter extract is a liquid that’s made by adding butter flavor to alcohol. It’s often found in commercial products, like coffee and tea, as well as some types of candy. 

Butter extract has a rich flavor profile which makes it a great addition to any recipe or dish that needs that extra something special. It enhances that buttery flavor in your dishes. 

What if you don’t have any? How do you bring your dish to the next level?

What substitute you choose will depend on if you’re baking or cooking, but you can use a homemade extract, coconut oil, butter, greek yogurt, olive oil, sunflower oil, and canola oil to name a few.

What is Butter Extract and How is it Different From Butter?

Butter extract is the essence of the butter. With 35% alcohol, you have all the wonderful flavors of the butter without all the fat. The process of infusing the butter in the alcohol removes all the fat, lactose, and other solids in the butter. 

It’s a highly concentrated solution of butter that’s used to boost the buttery flavors in baking and cooking. Cookies need brown butter, add some butter extract to really knock that flavor out of the park. 

The buttery flavoring also changes the texture of what you’re making. The added liquid and warm flavors increase the creaminess.

Since it doesn’t have any of the fat, you’ll find a lot of chefs and bakers use butter extract to replace melted butter in recipes. 

When cooking, you’ll find it replaces the oil or margarine when sauteing foods. You’ll get the rich, buttery flavor without any of the added fat. 

Why Should We Substitute Butter Extract?

First off, it’s a much healthier option than ingesting all the fats of the lovely tasting butter. Why restrict yourself more on your diet and lose that buttery flavor completely when you can use the extract substitutes and still get those warm flavors on your tongue without all the fat to your waistline?

If you have turned to butter extract for those lovely flavors, you’d be surprised how quickly that bottle runs on empty. A lot faster than you might expect. It’s good to know your options for when that bottle runs on empty and you haven’t grabbed its replacement yet. 

Substitutes for Butter Extract

Believe it or not, there are a lot of quick and easy replacements for your butter extract. Which one you choose greatly depends on what you’re using it in. Our list of replacements is categorized by baking substitutes and cooking substitutes to make it a little easier for you. 

There’s always the option of making your own. So, first on the list is making your own homemade butter extract.

Homemade Butter Extract

Making your own butter extract is simple, but it takes time. This substitute option won’t help you in a pinch. It takes a whole day to make.

You’ll need

  • Butter
  • Vodka
  • Saucepan
  • Strainer like cheesecloth or a coffee filter
  1. Combine a ⅓ cup of butter and a cup of vodka in your chosen saucepan. It’s that simple.
  2. Over low heat, melt the butter. This needs to be done slowly over low heat so you don’t evaporate your alcohol.
  3. Once your butter has melted, let it sit, off heat, for 5 hours. 
  4. Once your infusion has sat at room temperature for 5 hours you’re going to put it into the freezer overnight. This allows the infusion and the solids (the fat) to separate. 
  5. The next day, strain your mixture to remove all the solids. You may have to strain it twice.
  6. Keep your fresh extract in the fridge.
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For Baking

Vanilla Extract

Vanilla extract is a staple in the kitchen. It can be used in baking, cooking, and even coffee. If you’re looking for a butter substitute that’s similar to vanilla extract but not quite as potent, try using water with a few drops of vanilla extract added to it.

Vanilla extract is actually the most common substitute for butter extract. Being another extract ( an infusion with alcohol) and having nice warm flavors, it works just as well. 

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a healthy substitute for butter extract that can be used in baking and cooking, as well as on its own. Coconut oil has a high smoke point, so it won’t burn easily like other oils in high heat.

Coconut oil contains lauric acid (which makes up about 50% of its composition), which has antimicrobial and antiviral properties that fight off bacteria and viruses in your body. It also contains capric acid (about 10%), another fatty acid with antibacterial properties; caprylic acid (around 8%), which may help reduce insulin resistance; myristic acid (3%), which helps boost metabolism by increasing thermogenesis (the process through which the body produces heat); and stearic acid (2%)–a type of saturated fat that’s considered “good” because it doesn’t raise cholesterol levels like other kinds do.

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is a great substitute for butter extract. It’s high in protein, low in calories, and has a tangy taste that works well in baked goods. You can also use Greek yogurt as a sour cream substitute when cooking or sautéing.

Greek yogurt will add a satisfying density to your cakes and a richness in flavor that rivals even your butter extract. 


Butter is a solid fat made from cow’s milk. It’s used in cooking and baking, as well as spreading on toast or English muffins. Butter has a rich, creamy flavor that lends itself well to sauces, soups, and sauces.

What better substitute for butter extract than the real thing?

Butter contains vitamins A and D as well as omega-3 fatty acids (which may help reduce inflammation). But it also contains saturated fat and cholesterol–two things you don’t want too much of if you’re watching your weight or trying not to get heart disease! 

The best substitute for butter extract would be unsalted butter. 

Almond Butter

Almond butter is a nut butter made from almonds. It’s made by grinding almonds into a smooth consistency and then mixing that paste with oil, salt, and sometimes sugar or honey. The result is similar to peanut butter, but it has a distinct flavor that is milder and sweeter than peanut butter.

Almond butter can be used as an alternative ingredient in many recipes where you would use regular butter extract. You can also spread it on breads or crackers just like any other nut butters like cashew or sunflower seed.

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You can accomplish that same rich buttery flavor, adding the needed depth to your recipe. Almond butter is a great vegan-friendly substitute for butter extract. 

Vegan Butter

Talking about vegan-friendly options, vegan butter is a fantastic substitute. This plant-based butter doesn’t contain dairy but feels a lot like regular butter. 

As a healthy alternative that’s still creamy and buttery, vegan butter is also low in saturated fat and high in monounsaturated fats. 


Applesauce is a great substitute for butter extract. It has a sweet, mild flavor that makes it a good option for baking and cooking. Applesauce can be used in place of sugar in cakes, muffins, and cookies. It also helps add moisture to these baked goods while providing some structure as well.

Not all recipes will work with applesauce though.

Apple sauce works well for softer recipes, not anything you wish to be crispy or crunchy.

Almond Extract

This sweet extract doesn’t actually taste like almonds. It’s used often in baking and since it’s an extract, it will make a good substitute for butter extract. 

It pairs well with recipes that include cherries, peaches, and apricots. 

For Cooking

Olive oil

Olive oil is a great substitute for butter extract because it has a similar texture and consistency to butter. 

Olive oil can be used in place of butter extract in cooking recipes that call for melted or softened butter.

Your best option is extra virgin or light olive oil when replacing butter extract. 

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil works as a replacement for both baking and cooking. With its second appearance on this list, coconut oil is great at enriching textures and taste without overpowering any of the other flavors in your dish. 

Sunflower oil

Sunflower oil is a great substitute for butter extract because it has a high smoke point, which makes it ideal for frying. It’s also good for making salad dressings and marinades.

Refined Sunflower oil has a neutral taste, so it won’t affect the flavor of your food. The cold-pressed forms have a flavor that adds some nuttiness and a buttery flavor akin to your butter extract. 

Canola Oil

Canola oil is a vegetable oil made from the seeds of the canola plant. It’s high in monounsaturated fat, and low in saturated fat. Canola oil has a neutral flavor, so it works well in baking and frying.

Canola oil has a high smoke point, making it ideal for frying or sauteing foods at high temperatures without degrading their quality or taste (unlike other oils). The smoke point of most types of canola is between 350-450 degrees Fahrenheit (176-232 Celsius).


In conclusion, we hope that this article has helped you understand how butter extract is different from butter, as well as its many uses. 

Whether you’re baking or cooking will greatly influence which alternative you’ll choose. With this many choices, you’re sure to have something in your pantry or fridge that will suit your needs in a pinch.

Otherwise, why not try your hand at making your own secret ingredient: homemade butter extract?