Baking with Olive Oil Instead of Butter

Using olive oil for baking is a familiar feature of Mediterranean cooking. While it may sound a bit odd, baking with olive oil has actually been done for centuries. Olive oil gives cakes and cookies a light texture and can be used with confidence in lieu of butter or other oils. It best to use a lower intensity, late harvest extra-virgin olive oil when baking which gives a subtle flavor. The dominant taste of high intensity olive oils may interfere with the end result taste.

Olive oil dramatically cuts back on the cholesterol and saturated fat content of desserts. It produces lighter-tasting baked goods and allows the flavor of the other ingredients to come forth. Because olive oil contains vitamin E, it helps to naturally maintain the freshness of baked goods and creates moist cakes, biscuits and muffins.

You can also use olive oil for preparing a baking pan before adding the dough or other mixture. Simply brush the oil onto your favorite baking pan, cookie sheet, spring-form pan or other type of baking dishes or pans.

To help you in determine how to substitute olive oil in baking or other cooking recipes, use the chart to convert the quantity of butter called for in a recipe to the required quantity of olive oil. This conversion chart is more for baking recipes where quantities are critical. Just note, you cannot convert all recipes, for example cake frosting, where the item must stay solid at room temperature.

Butter/Margarine Olive Oil
1 teaspoon 3/4 teaspoon
1 tablespoon 2 1/4 teaspoons
1/4 cup 3 tablespoons
1/3 cup 1/4 cup
1/2 cup 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons
2/3 cup 1/2 cup
3/4 cup 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon
1 cup 3/4 cup
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33 Comments to “Baking with Olive Oil Instead of Butter”

  1. kelly says:

    brilliant! what a fabulous idea. can’t believe I never thought of this!

  2. Will Parsons says:

    Thank you for the equivalents as I love cooking, making all food for our tours.

    Cheers
    Will
    ps. If you come to nz check us out.We are rated the best freshwater kayaking business in NZ at present with the website http://www.rankers.co.nz

  3. Jan says:

    I’ve used olive oil in baking (boxed cake mix) when I’ve run out of canola oil, using a little less and the results were great. Thanks for the conversion chart!

  4. erika says:

    my brownies tasted like olive oil

  5. Carol says:

    If your brownies tasted like olive oil, you used an intensive, early harvest olive oil. Perhaps you used a Tuscan varietal olive oil. You must use low intensity or late harvest EVOO to get the best results.

  6. Nichole says:

    What olive oil I’d best to use? Do I want a really light color?

  7. Carol says:

    Use a low intensity or late harvest EVOO. These olive oils tend to be light in color.

  8. Salina says:

    I found a great Chocolate Dulce de Leche recipe from Argentina. It calls for 1 cup of neutral oil. Can I substitue olive oil? And if so how much?

  9. Carol says:

    1 cup of oil is 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil also. The word “neutral” means without intensity, so make sure you use a late harvest or delicate/mild olive oil. Don’t use Italian varietals or Tuscan blends, they will be too intense. Would you mind posting the recipe. Sounds great! Let us know how it turns out.

  10. I recently baked scones with EVOO because I had nothing else on hand. The taste and texture was great!

  11. Leigh Benigni says:

    How do I use olive oil in place of rendered butter?

  12. I used olive oil in brownie mixes, for Chritmas last year & they didn’t cook in the middle! They were crispy on top and dough in the middle, you had to eat them with a spoon! I used the amount of oil on the box, what happened?

    Also, do I add extra flour to cookies to make up for the extra liquid?

  13. Carol says:

    Don’t know what happened; perhaps contact the brownie mix company. Since you were just substituting olive oil for the vegetable oil amount on the box, there should not have been any issues. I have a table in my book (page 202) and on my website for converting butter amounts to olive oil.

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