Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

When a recipe (like for muffins) calls for vegetable oil, does it matter if I substitute the oil for butter because I want that buttery taste in the muffins?

Do I need to compensate for the difference by adding/subtracting the amount of butter added?

share|improve this question
up vote 9 down vote accepted

Butter is at most 82% oil and the rest is water. So, you're going to need to add more butter for the same amount of oil. Besides, you need to adjust the liquid content accordingly since you are going to have more water than you planned.

If you are going to use the same amount of oil, then it will not make any difference other than the taste. Just make sure they are of same state (i.e. melted butter instead of vegetable oil or vice versa)

share|improve this answer
In practice, for most recipes, the water content in butter is small enough that the variance is well within the tolerance of the recipe; in practice, oil and butter can be substituted 1:1 in quick breads like muffins. – SAJ14SAJ Jun 2 '13 at 9:36
82% oil or 82% fat??? – CookingNewbie Aug 18 '14 at 3:41

If you're making something like muffins, then in my experience the water content is a non-issue. Yes, there's some water. But muffin batter has such a broad range of tolerance that as long as you're basically familiar with the target consistency it'll be fine.

That said, the amount of oil or butter that goes into a batch of muffins is not really enough to impart much butter flavor.

share|improve this answer

You'd be better off using clarified butter than melted butter, as butter is about 15% water, and could affect the texture if not compensated for properly.

share|improve this answer
+1 The small amount of water in the butter makes a difference in many recipes, especially cookies. – papin Jul 20 '10 at 13:49

two options spring to mind: 1) consider either adding butter flavoring (I have only seen the imitation version int eh extract flavoring options at the stores)

2) or just adding a little butter to the batter (substituting part or even just throwing in the leftovers of a stick)

share|improve this answer

If I am substituting butter for oil, I like to do a mixture of 1/2 butter and half shortening, this allows the richness of the butter as well as keeping the consistency of the recipe. I also add clear butter extract (flavoring) to the recipe. I use about 1/2 tsp butter extract per 1/2c of shortening and cream the butter/shortening mixture with eggs, sugar and vanilla first before I add any other ingredients. I also substitute shortening for butter sometimes, only I also add 1tbs of water per 1/2c shortening along with the extract. Hope this helps!

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.