How to use EVOO to Bake Instead of Butter

If you’re not baking with olive oil yet, you’re missing out. Not only does olive oil work as a substitute in nearly all baked goods, it can also add complexity to both the flavor and the texture.  

When to Substitute Olive Oil 

Many baking recipes call for other types of oils, such as canola and vegetable oil. In these recipes, you can swap out olive oil 1:1. 

“Any dessert that’s already made with some kind of vegetable oil is a candidate for trying,” says award-winning cookbook author and dessert chef Alice Medrich says.

While olive oil is traditionally used in baked goods like olive oil cake and focaccia, you can also use it as a replacement in nearly any baked good that calls for butter. Once you do, you’ll find that olive oil adds incredible depth and flavor to breads, muffins, and more. It also contributes to a “crumb” texture in baked goods and keeps them moist. 

Don’t limit yourself to following a recipe exactly as it is. The next time you pull up a recipe to bake, reach for a bottle of olive oil. 

How to Substitute Olive Oil 

As a general rule of thumb, you should substitute three-quarters of the butter in a recipe with olive oil. So, if a baking recipe calls for a stick of butter (which amounts to 8 tablespoons), use 6 tablespoons of olive oil. 

While olive oil can nearly always be used, there is an exception. 

“The only time olive oil is not an acceptable substitute for solid fats is in recipes that require a lot of creaming of the butter and sugar (super light and fluffy cakes), or when the fat needs to stay solid, as in a frosting,” says Chef Sarah House of Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods

Choosing The Right Oil

When it comes to choosing the right olive oil to use in place of butter, you can’t go wrong with a mild olive oil, such as our Mild & Buttery or our Reserve Collection Arbosana. If you’d like to impart more of an olive oil flavor into your baked goods, try baking with our Everyday extra virgin olive oil. Again, this is an area where you can play around to find the pairing that suits you.  

“A delicate extra virgin olive oil, with low bitterness and pungency, is always a good choice, especially if it has buttery notes because it will then mimic the flavor of the butter that it is replacing,” says cookbook author and olive oil expert Fran Gage. But she also notes that you can use a more robust oil in recipes using chocolate. “High-quality chocolate can stand up to the bitterness and pungency of a medium or even a robust extra virgin olive oil.” 

Unsure where to start when it comes to baking with EVOO? Start with 3 of our favorite savory baking recipes. Then, share your baking creations with us on social media by tagging @caoliveranch and using #myCORkitchen.