If You Run Out Of Butter, Look To This Fall-Favorite Pantry Staple

If you've ever baked, well, anything, you've probably used butter. While this dairy product isn't used in every baked good out there, you'll find it as a key ingredient in everything from maple cinnamon sticky buns to year-round peach pie to zingy lemon buttermilk pound cake. The reason butter is a baking staple, the Food Network explains, is because it adds texture and structure to the recipes it's in, depending on what type of butter is used and what other ingredients it's mixed with.

But what if you're vegan, or want a lower-fat alternative? Luckily, it is possible to make many baked goods without butter. The list of absolute best butter substitutes includes oil, margarine, vegan butter, Greek yogurt and more — as long as the replacement ingredient provides the same value to the recipe that butter does, you can go ahead and replace it.

The flavor of your baked goods might change slightly with a substitute, as it will in this olive oil chocolate chip banana bread recipe, but that's not always a bad thing. For example, olive oil might create a slightly fruitier flavor, while Greek yogurt will provide a little tang. And if you love fall treats, there is one butter replacement in particular that will bring a flavor you're sure to enjoy.

Pumpkin puree saves the day

We've all been there — you've made a batch of delicious pumpkin spice cupcakes, and you're left with a little bit of pumpkin puree that will sit in your fridge for a few weeks until it ends up in the trash. It's a common dilemma, but considering nearly 20,000 tons of pumpkin are wasted every year (the equivalent of 360 million servings of pumpkin pie), any way to use up that leftover puree is worth keeping in mind (via Eco & Beyond). Luckily, there is an easy solution if you love to bake.

According to Delish, you can substitute butter with pumpkin puree. It's worth noting that adding it to any recipe will bring a pumpkin-y taste, so try starting with fall treats like loaf cakes or muffins. But once you've chosen the right recipe, pumpkin actually lends a lot of value to baked goods, including sweetness and creaminess, according to Kitchn.

You'll need to do a little math to substitute pumpkin for butter, but the ratio is fairly simple. Herald Standard advises to multiply the required butter amount by three quarters to determine how much pumpkin you'll use: If the recipe dictates one cup of butter, use three quarters of a cup of pumpkin puree. Try not to use more than a cup of puree, though, as Delish explains your dessert will end up with an overly dense texture.