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The 5 Best Substitutes for Butter in Sugar Cookies

Are you looking for a delicious cookie that can be made with butter?

Sugar cookies are not only easy to make, but they also provide a rich, buttery flavor that’s impossible to beat.

However, if you’re looking for a different type of sweetness in your cookies or need to use an alternative ingredient due to dietary restrictions, there are several options available.

In this article, we’ll explore how to cook and use butter in sugar cookies as well as the five best substitutes for butter in sugar cookies.

What Does Adding Butter to Sugar Cookies Do?

Have you ever noticed that adding butter to sugar cookies makes them even tastier? It’s almost like a magical transformation from an ordinary cookie to something worth savoring.

Butter adds richness and flavor to the dough making the cookies moist, flavorful, and soft with just the right amount of crunch.

Plus, using melted butter instead of softened can take your cookies to the next level in terms of texture and taste.

To incorporate the butter into the dough, simply add it once the flour is blended in; want a richer cookie? Increase the amount of butter by a tablespoon or two.

In summation, adding butter to sugar cookie recipes can produce divine results that are both scrumptious and delectable.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Butter in Sugar Cookies

If you’re looking to make a healthier version of your favorite sugar cookies, try one of these five substitutes for butter that will help you cut back on fat and cholesterol while still providing a delicious treat.

1 – Margarine

Margarine is a type of butter substitute made from vegetable oils such as soybean and safflower oils.

It is often trans-fat-free and contains fewer saturated fats than butter, making it a healthier choice for many people.

Margarine has a firmer consistency than butter, usually comes in soft or hard form, and has an almost neutral flavor.

If you’re looking to use margarine in baking, such as in sugar cookies, all you have to do is soften the margarine to room temperature and cut the amount of sugar used by 25%.

Therefore, using margarine instead of butter results in tasty yet healthier sugar cookies that are perfect for any occasion.

2 – Shortening

Shortening is a type of fat that is solid at room temperature and is often used in recipes, particularly baking.

Made from hydrogenated vegetable oils, it has a long shelf life and is great for creating light and flaky pastries like pies or biscuits.

Its neutral taste allows it to blend with other ingredients, while its creamy texture makes it ideal for adding richness to baked goods.

When making sugar cookies, shortening can be substituted for butter which preserves its melt-in-the-mouth texture – simply mix equal amounts of shortening with the sugar cookie recipe’s butter requirement.

3 – Olive & Vegetable Oil

Olive oil is a staple in the Mediterranean diet, known for its health benefits and a mild taste.

Depending on type and refinement, it can vary in color from yellow to greenish and have fruitier or grassier flavors.

It also has a slightly lower smoking point than other oils like vegetable oil.

When substituted for butter in baking goods like sugar cookies, it helps give them an extra tangy flavor that’s perfect for any sweet treat.

The key to substituting olive oil for butter is to pick one with a mellow to mild flavor and thoroughly mix it into the dry ingredients before adding any wet ingredients.

Doing so helps disperse the oil evenly throughout the dough, creating a moist texture within every scoop of cookie dough.

Whether you’re looking for a healthier option or want to experience something new, there’s no better way to add extra depth and complexity of flavor than swapping out your usual butter for olive oil.

4 – Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has quickly become one of the most common kitchen ingredients, and it offers a healthy alternative to popular fats and oils used in cooking.

It’s made by pressing the white, fleshy inner part of the coconut and is rich in vitamins, minerals, and beneficial fatty acids.

Coconut oil has a smooth texture and subtle, nutty flavor—perfect for baking cookies.

One way to incorporate it into your favorite sugar cookie recipes is by substituting butter with an equal amount of coconut oil.

In addition to imparting great flavor, this substitute will give your cookies an all-natural sweetness that everyone can enjoy.

5 – Applesauce

Applesauce is a delicious snack and a great addition to many recipes.

It is made by cooking apples with sugar and spices, resulting in a smooth puree.

Applesauce has a sweet and tangy flavor and a thick texture that can range from runny to chunky, depending on how much it is cooked.

It’s an especially good alternative for butter in sugar cookies because it has virtually no fat yet adds sweetness and moisture to the mixture.

To use applesauce as an ingredient for sugar cookies, simply subtract half of the butter called for in the recipe, then replace it with an equal amount of unsweetened applesauce.

You may need to bake the cookies slightly longer than usual, but they’ll result in delicious treats that are healthier and just as tasty.


In conclusion, there are plenty of options when it comes to replacing butter in sugar cookie recipes.

Whether you’re looking for a healthier alternative or want to try something new, all of the above substitutes will help you create delicious yet unique treats that everyone can enjoy.

Margarine, shortening, olive oil, coconut oil, and applesauce are all great choices that will keep your cookies light and fluffy while imparting a wealth of flavor.

Be sure to experiment with each one to find the perfect ingredient for your own recipes.

Yield: 1 Serving

The 5 Best Substitutes for Butter in Sugar Cookies

The 5 Best Substitutes for Butter in Sugar Cookies
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • Margarine
  • Shortening
  • Olive & Vegetable Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Applesauce


  1. Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  2. Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
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