How To Sub Out Butter For Pumpkin Puree (Yes, You Really Can!)

Being out of butter is a bummer. Especially if you're planning to whip up delicious treats like double miso chocolate chip cookies or blueberry-lavender coffee cake, realizing that your fridge lacks this ingredient can lead you to forgo your baking adventure altogether. But don't switch gears so quickly. If you have a can of pumpkin puree on hand, you may have everything you need for a butter substitute in tons of dessert recipes.

Even if you have plenty of sticks still in your fridge, there are a few good reasons to swap butter for pumpkin puree. As it's just blended-up pumpkin guts, it's a completely vegan can — so if butter is the only animal product in your recipe, you can easily turn your baked goods into plant-based versions with this simple substitution. It's also a more nutritious alternative, as this squash is packed full of vitamin C, fiber, and beta-carotene. As a replacement ingredient, pumpkin puree brings plenty of moisture and fat, along with a yummy sweet taste. Plus, it's a perfect autumn-flavored inclusion in fall dessert recipes like cupcakes and loaf cakes.

Pumpkin puree is darker and wetter than butter

Most store-bought cans of pumpkin puree are essentially the same, although you'll want to look for only one listed ingredient. Make sure to get puree, not pie filling, since the latter can have extra ingredients like sugar, salt, and spices that will alter the flavor of your final product. Once you've secured the goods, you'll want to go with ¾ cup of pumpkin for every cup of butter in your recipe. As an alternative, you can combine both. Use half a cup of butter and half a cup of puree for each cup of butter your recipe calls for.

While this is a fairly easy and nutritious swap, there are a few things to keep in mind here. Your vibrant orange puree will darken the hue of your baked goods a bit, which can make a difference in light-colored treats like blondies. Plus, since pumpkin is wetter than butter, it's important to make sure your desserts have enough time in the oven to fully bake. There are a few instances in which you'll actually want to stick with your original recipe. If butter is deployed as a binder, like in pie crusts with graham crackers or cookie crumbs, you'll want to keep it in. But if eggs act as the dish's glue instead (like in pancakes), you're typically free to swap.