Can olive oil be used to replace butter and margarine in recipes?

Can olive oil be used to replace butter and margarine in recipes?

The fact that we are using olive oil everywhere is nothing new, but we have been getting a lot of questions about swapping butter and margarine with olive oil when cooking. Having a few guidelines and rules of thumb makes life easier, so this post is all about explaining the ratios and providing you with a few simple rules to follow when cooking. Unless of course you are in a mood to experiment and play around with your ingredients; that would work too. After all, some of the greatest recipes were created by curious home chefs who allowed their culinary instincts to guide them into new gastronomical discoveries!

Replacing butter or margarine with olive oil is an excellent way to reduce the number of saturated fats while amping up the antioxidants and flavor. Extra vitamin E anyone?

Moreover, we found out that baking with olive oil tends to add a little extra moisture to those baked goods hence keeping them fresher for a longer period of time so that you can bake ahead and enjoy a little treat during those hectic midweek nights. A mild-flavored extra virgin olive oil will add a fruity aftertaste to the final product, making it more rich and satisfying.

So the short answer is YES, you can successfully replace butter and margarine with your favorite olive oil and the basic, tried and tested rule of thumb is

3 units of olive oil = 4 units of butter/margarine

So you end up using fewer fats without having to sacrifice the flavor. It sounds like a win-win situation to us! Butter and margarine besides fats contain milk and water so when you are using olive oil instead take that into consideration as you will need to use a smaller amount of oil otherwise you will end up with a greasier mixture.

Another important tip to keep in mind is that the more delicate your recipe is, especially when it comes to baking the milder olive oil you should go for. In some cases like sponge cakes, it would be best to swap half the amount of butter with olive oil instead of the full given amount. On the other hand recipes with chocolate, like brownies and cookies would work really well with an intensely flavored oil that cannot overpower the richness of the chocolate.

Recipes that call for melted butter, margarine or any type of liquid/melted fats are ideal candidates. Do the swap and enjoy the benefits. However, recipes that cream butter with sugar and eggs may not be ideal for this swap unless you don't mind modifying the texture just a bit. (We don't). When you acquire some experience in the kitchen start replacing small doses of the creamed butter with olive oil to figure out the exact amount that meets your standards. 

Only use olive oil that you enjoy eating raw. So quality plays an important role here, despite the fact that the fat will go through a cooking process. Never cook with olive oil that you wouldn't want to eat on your salad. 

To get you started we are sharing a few of our best recipes that use olive oil instead of butter and we would love to hear from you with your ideas, so please share your tips and recipes on our social media! 

We made Mocha Olive Oil Chocolate Truffles that surprised everyone pleasantly and make the perfect homemade gift for your friends and family. 

Then we indulged in a lush Olive Oil and Peach Cake, which looks as good as it tastes and the olive oil in the crust made too crumbly to resist!

Our Olive Oil and Honey Glazed Quince was a true hit! Simple, elegant and full of flavor, it instantly became our favorite winter dessert.

Last but not least we could not leave out the Coffee-Orange Olive oil Banana Bread, which turned out airy and light yet so satisfying at the same time!

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