I’ve personally taste-tested a variety of coconut butter substitutes to find the best one for every cooking occasion.
Whether you’re on the hunt for the closest flavor match, in need of a last-minute pantry substitute, or seeking an alternative tailored to your specific dietary requirements, rest assured that I’ve got you covered.
The best substitutes for coconut butter are the homemade version, creamed coconut, and nut butters. You can also go with tahini and unrefined coconut oil. For a low-fat alternative, try Greek yogurt. Other options include food-grade shea butter, mashed bananas, and mashed avocado.
Ready? Let’s jump right in.
I whipped up a batch of muffins to test 11 coconut butter substitutes.
Coconut butter is a spread made from pureed coconut flesh. It’s rich and creamy, with a light but prominent sweet, nutty flavor.
Here’s what I tested and my verdicts.
|Substitutes||How to substitute||Verdict|
|Homemade coconut Butter||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||10/10|
|Creamed coconut||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||10/10|
|Nut Butters||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||9/10|
|Butter||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||9/10|
|Tahini||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||8/10|
|Unrefined Coconut Oil||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||8/10|
|Greek Yogurt||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||7/10|
Common uses for homemade coconut butter and their best substitutes
Here are some common use cases for coconut butter and the best substitutes for those situations:
- Accompaniment for bread – homemade coconut butter, nut butters.
- Baking – homemade coconut butter, nut butters, butter, tahini.
- Smoothies and no-bake desserts – homemade coconut butter, creamed coconut, nut butters.
Homemade coconut butter
Creating coconut butter at home might seem daunting, but it’s easier than you think.
My go-to recipe is from Minimalist Baker, which only calls for unsweetened desiccated/shredded coconut, your preferred sweetener, salt, and vanilla extract.
And there’s zero cooking involved!
Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, simply toss them into a food processor and blitz away.
In just a matter of minutes, you’ll witness the transformation of dried coconut into luscious and velvety coconut butter.
And the best part? Not only is it more cost-effective than store-bought versions, but it’s also customizable to suit your taste buds!
How to substitute: replace coconut butter in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with homemade coconut butter.
Creamed coconut is very similar to coconut butter, but it’s denser and has a richer flavor.
It’s perfect for adding creaminess to savory dishes and desserts but not for baking applications.
Just remember that coconut butter comes in solid blocks, so you’ll need to chop or grate it so it’ll melt quicker once heated.
This ingredient is more popular in India, so you may not see it in your local grocery – but always check the international aisle!
How to substitute: replace coconut butter in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with creamed coconut.
Nut butters are a fabulous alternative to coconut butter if you don’t have a nut allergy. They won’t taste like coconut butter, but you can use them for baking, smoothies, and even baking.
- Peanut butter – this is the most common and affordable out of the bunch. It’s sweet and nutty, with a prominent salty twist.
- Almond butter – this is pricier but is a slightly healthier option because it’s loaded with omega 3’s. I especially love adding a dash of coconut extract with this because almond complements the coconut flavors well.
- Cashew butter – this has a more neutral taste and a creamier consistency, so you can easily mix it with coconut flakes for a deliciously sweet, nutty spread.
You can find all sorts of nut butters in your local grocery store nowadays, but you can definitely make a jar from scratch.
Just roast your favorite nuts, give them a blitz in your food processor, and voila – homemade nut butter!
How to substitute: replace coconut butter in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with nut butters.
Butter might not be an exact flavor match for coconut butter, but it’s a versatile substitute that works well as a spread and is already a staple in most baking recipes.
With a richer, creamier flavor than coconut butter, it’ll bring that satisfying mouthfeel to your dishes.
And if you’re missing that sweet nuttiness, you can always add a dash of coconut extract to replicate the flavor.
Pssst… you can also use vegan butter or margarine if you’re on a plant-based diet.
How to substitute: replace coconut butter in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with butter
I didn’t have much faith in this substitute because I’ve always associated it with hummus, but it worked like a charm!
It may not have a lightly sweet flavor like coconut butter, but it has a tasty, earthy, nutty flavor that you can sweeten up with a drizzle of your favorite liquid sweetener — mine’s maple syrup!
I’ve also tried using tahini for brownies and muffins, and it always gives them a moist crumb without adding too much flavor.
How to substitute: replace coconut butter in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with tahini.
Unrefined coconut oil
Unrefined coconut oil is a fantastic option when you’re seeking a substitute for coconut butter that still offers that unmistakable coconut flavor.
It works exceptionally well in baked goods and smoothies, infusing them with a lovely coconut essence.
And did you know you can even smear it over toasted bread? It’s not as thick as coconut butter, but it still delivers that delightful coconut flavor we all love.
How to substitute: replace coconut butter in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with unrefined coconut oil.
Greek yogurt is a superb choice if you’re searching for a low-fat substitute for coconut butter.
It works particularly well in smoothies and baked goods, providing a creamy texture without the added fat of coconut butter.
While it doesn’t have the same coconut flavor as some of the other substitutes we’ve mentioned, it does impart a subtle tangy twist to your dishes.
And if you’re missing that sweet, nutty goodness, you can always add a few drops of coconut extract or a handful of coconut flakes!
How to substitute: replace coconut butter in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with Greek yogurt, and adjust other ingredients as needed to retain the desired coconut flavor.
Other substitutes to consider
The options above are my go-to substitute for coconut butter, but here are other options you can also consider using:
- Food-grade shea butter – this can be difficult to find and is expensive, but it has a robust and nutty flavor profile reminiscent of coconut butter.
- Mashed avocado – this is not the best substitute flavor-wise, but it’s excellent in smoothies, and it’s a plant-based fat that can replace coconut butter in baked goods.
Substitutes to avoid
I frequently encountered mashed bananas and applesauce as substitutes for coconut butter during my research, so I had to try them out.
Unfortunately, they’re not a good substitute. They taste nothing like coconuts, and they lack the fats that make coconut butter good for baking.
They’d taste good in smoothies, though!
Coconut Butter Substitutes
- 3 to 4 cups desiccated/shredded unsweetened coconut
- pinch sea salt optional
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract optional
- dash stevia/your favorite sweetener optional
- Add your shredded coconut into the food processor and give it a blitz until a creamy mixture forms. This usually takes around 10 minutes. Scrape down the sides as needed.
- Once you have a creamy mixture, you can add the optional ingredients.
- Store in a lidded jar at room temperature up to two weeks.