Can You Use Margarine Instead of Butter in Cookies?

by Charlie
Can You Use Margarine Instead of Butter in Cookies

Knowing when you can and can’t substitute ingredients into a recipe is important when it comes to baking at home, and if you’re wondering whether you can use margarine instead of butter in cookies, you aren’t alone. Cookies can be finicky, and it’s important not to just swap ingredients in and out without first checking whether this will work.

Can you use margarine instead of butter in cookies? Margarine can be used instead of butter in cookies, but it will often change the texture and behavior of the cookies a bit. For example, the cookies may spread out more, and will often therefore be a bit crispier unless you bake them for less time. You should use the same amount of margarine, but be prepared for a slightly different result.

How Does Using Margarine Affect the Cookies?

Although margarine does work as a substitute for butter, it is not the same and will produce cookies with a different texture. Margarine contains less fat, and this causes the cookies to spread out when you put them in the oven. 

The more fatty the margarine you buy is, the less you will notice this effect, and the closer your cookies will be to the normal state. Try to buy margarine that has a higher percentage of fat than the others, and your cookies will come out fatter and softer. 

Why Should You Use Margarine Instead of Butter?

Many people choose to use margarine instead of butter because it is lower in saturated fats and it contains more water. It is thought to be a healthier option, especially in terms of your heart health, and it also reduces your dependence on the dairy industry, which many people prefer.

You might want to use margarine for the health benefits, or you might want to swap it in simply because you have run out of butter. Alternatively, if you are making vegan cookies, margarine is a good substitute, although you will still have to find an alternative to the eggs.

On the whole, butter will make superior cookies, but you can use margarine instead and they will still turn out fine.

Do You Need a Substitute for Butter At All?

This will depend heavily on the recipe that you use, but in some cases, you won’t need to swap the butter for anything. You can simply leave it out. Your cookies will be crumbly and flatter, but this is an option if you don’t have either butter or margarine, or you want to try to make the cookies healthier.

Some people prefer to make cookies without either butter or margarine because this reduces the amount of fat that the cookies contain, and it can be a good option if you’re dieting. However, cookies still aren’t healthy, and they won’t taste as good if you do this, so test it with a small batch before deciding whether to go ahead with larger batches.

Do You Need to Do Anything Different When Using Margarine Instead of Butter?

No, you don’t need to do anything different to make margarine work instead of butter in your cookies. Simply mix it into the recipe as you would the butter and it should work in the same way.

The margarine should take the place of the butter with no extra processing, and will create delicious cookies for you. It is worth testing different margarine brands to see which gives you the best result, but other than that, there’s nothing extra to do.

What Else Can You Use as a Substitute Instead of Butter?

There are many other substitutes, and they have different pros and cons. If you don’t have any butter or you don’t want to use it, consider trying olive oil, peanut butter, mashed avocados, coconut oil, or shortening. Each will bring its own flavor and texture to your cookies, so use trial and error to see which you like best.

Olive oil is best for muffins, but it will work for cookies as well. You should use three quarters of a cup of olive oil if the recipe calls for a whole cup of butter, or your cookies will end up runny. Remember that olive oil has quite a distinctive flavor, so it will affect the taste of the cookies.

Peanut butter will also significantly change the flavor, but this is usually considered a good thing, as most people love the taste. You can use the same amount of peanut butter as you would normal butter, and it should help to bind the cookies nicely.

Mashed avocados might sound like a more unusual option, but it can really work in some situations. It’s packed with healthy fats, making it a viable alternative to butter in many cases, and it should work well in cookies. However, be aware that they won’t flatten as much when baked, because the avocado won’t melt like butter. 

You should use double the amount of avocado as you would butter for the best results.

Coconut oil is another good option, but it will again flavor your cookies, and it will melt quickly in the oven. The cookies will probably spread a little more than they would with butter, but they will be deliciously crispy, which is often hard to achieve if you don’t use butter.

Finally, shortening will work in the place of butter, but it does lack flavor. You can use the same quantity or a little more than the recipe calls for, but be aware that your cookies might come out a little bland. It’s a good idea to increase the other ingredients slightly to try and compensate for this. 

Your cookies should turn out particularly tender and soft when you bake with shortening.

Final Thoughts

Baking cookies with margarine will work as long as you don’t mind them being a little thinner and crunchier. Use the same quantity of margarine as you would use of butter, and try to choose a margarine with plenty of fat if you don’t want the cookies to spread too thin. 

If you would rather not use margarine, there are plenty of other alternative substitutes, such as olive oil, shortening, and peanut butter.

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