Olive oil is a healthy substitute for butter because it's lower in saturated fat. It's also surprisingly easy to substitute olive oil for butter in many recipes. Each teaspoon of olive oil, which weighs about 5 grams, is equivalent to 4.2 grams of a solid fat like butter.
Butter-to-Oil Substitute Ratio
It's very easy to substitute olive oil for butter, and vice versa. The Michigan State University Extension states that 4.2 grams of solid fats are equivalent to a teaspoon. This means that the butter-to-oil substitute ratio is simply 4.2 grams of butter for every teaspoon of oil (5 grams).
If you're planning to replace butter with olive oil in baking, you'll want to be very precise about this number. This means you shouldn't round your values (you'll need to calculate using the 4.2 grams to 1 teaspoon ratio, not just 4 grams to 1 teaspoon ratio).
For example, if you want to do a 125 grams of butter to oil conversion, you'll need to divide 125 by 4.2 grams to find out how many teaspoons of oil you'd need.
- 125 grams of butter divided by 4.2 = 29.8 teaspoons of oil
Say you wanted to convert oil to butter, instead. If you had 50 teaspoons of oil, you'd need to multiply this number by 4.2 in order to find out how much butter you'd need.
- 50 teaspoons of oil x 4.2 = 210 grams of butter
While you can't be perfectly precise with a value like 29.8 teaspoons of oil, it's important to try to be as accurate as possible. Oil and butter can affect your food differently, depending on the recipe you're using.
It's OK to roughly estimate how much olive oil instead of butter to use on bread, scones, baked potatoes or sandwiches. However, try to be much more careful when making foods like cookies, croissants, cakes and pie crusts.
Both oil and butter act as a liquid when you're cooking with them. If your butter-to-oil substitute ratio is wrong or hasn't been calculated correctly, you could end up with gooey cookies or dry cakes.
Read more: 9 Delicious Recipes Made With Healthy Fats
Cooking With Healthy Fats
Although it might be tempting to swap butter for olive oil in a recipe, it's always healthier to substitute olive oil for butter. According to Harvard Health Publishing, this is because olive oil is a healthy fat. In contrast, butter should be consumed in moderation.
Olive oil is considered healthy because it's rich in healthy unsaturated fats, rather than unhealthy saturated fats. It's richest in monounsaturated fats, but contains polyunsaturated fats — like omega fatty acids — too.
In contrast, butter is an animal product that's rich in saturated fat. The American Heart Association recommends substituting solid fats, like butter, with healthier plant-based oils whenever possible.
Plant-based oils, like olive oil, canola oil, corn oil and peanut oil, are all considered better for your health than butter. In fact, regularly replacing butter with olive oil can help reduce your risk for heart disease and heart attacks.