As mentioned in earlier links, olive oil has quite the advantages against other vegetable fats. The big questions are:

  • Can I substitute any fat and butter with olive oil?
  • What about calories, nutrients etc?
  • Does flavor change?
  • Does olive oil alter the overall recipe and final result?
  • How much for how much?
  • Let’s see these questions in total!

Any vegetable fat can be substituted with another. You can go from butter to Extra Virgin Olive Oil and back. All vegetable fats have the same amount of calories which is 9.3 cal/ml. Their difference is the composition of the fat in use, and particularly the concentration of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, trans fats as well as cholesterol and salt.

Comparing, we try to choose the healthiest from all options available and Extra Virgin Olive Oil is always on top ranks!


How to Substitute

Butter is made of milk solids and water, so we can’t do an even substitution. The simple guideline in amount conversion is that we use 25% less olive oil than the required butter in the recipe. For example 1 teaspoon butter will be ¾ of the teaspoon if olive oil is used.  If we try to substitute in an even amount, the final outcome will be greasy and “oily”.

If the recipe requires some kind of vegetable oil, we can substitute evenly.

Here is a conversion table:

  • Butter -> Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon = ¾ teaspoon
  • 1 tablespoon = 2-1/4 teaspoons
  • ¼ cup = 3 tablespoons
  • 1/3 cup = ¼ cup
  • ½ cup = ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons
  • 2/3 cup = ½ cup
  • ¾ cup = ½ cup + 1 tablespoon
  • 1 cup = ¾ cup

And a unit conversion table:

  • 1 teaspoon = 5ml = 0.16 fl. Oz
  • 1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons = 15ml = 0.5 fl. Oz
  • 1 cup = 16 tablespoons = 240ml = 8 fl. oz

So now you know that you can easily leave butter back in the fridge and use olive oil for:

  • Sautéing
  • Frying
  • Deep frying
  • Use in baking
  • Making brownies, cookies and muffins
  • Use instead of melted butter, but alone(*)

And whenever you feel like to, of course!


When NOT to Substitute

Some recipes and techniques cannot have olive oil. For example, we don’t use olive oil in:

  • Wok and stir frying. The wok’s temperature will raise the temperature too high for olive oil and it will “steam” the food instead of searing it.
  • Creaming butter. (*) Using melted butter with sugar or icing sugar gives the pleasant light texture in cakes or creams. Olive oil which is highly aromatic will give us a “vegetable” taste in the pastry which is not so pleasant.



International Olive Oil Council: