Published by Rebecca Maness.

If you want the creamy texture and taste of butter without hurting cows, look no further than plants! We’ll show you the best healthy butter swaps and which recipes to use them in. These butter replacements also happen to be perfect for those following a whole-foods, plant-based (WFPB) diet, which cuts out all refined and processed foods, including oils.

All animal-derived foods, including butter made from cow’s milk, are off-limits according to the WFPB guidelines. Although PETA doesn’t advocate any particular diet (except, of course, vegan eating!), we’re all for that. Cows used for their milk are artificially inseminated, and their babies are stolen from them shortly after they’re born. The cruel dairy industry profits from their suffering, and it’s intertwined with the veal industry. Going vegan is the only way to help stop this cycle and keep mother cows with their young.

The vegan butter industry has been thriving in recent years, and there are tons of brands making delicious, high-quality, and dairy-free butter from refined coconut, olive, almond, or avocado oils. If you’re following a WFPB diet, be sure to stick with plant-based fats from foods that are in their unrefined, “whole-foods” state, including avocados, nuts, seeds, whole coconuts, and olives.

Here are some of the many creative ways to use these healthy vegan fats in your cooking:

WFPB Butter Swaps for Baking

There are so many healthy options to replace butter in baking recipes. Applesauce, mashed bananas, and pumpkin purée can add moisture to cakes, muffins, sweet breads, and cookies without any added fats. Whole avocados and nut and seed butters can add healthy fats to delectable brownies, breakfast cookies, and more. Yes, mixing avocado and chocolate actually works—trust us! Here are some great WFPB baking recipes to try:

Vegan Cinnamon Sugar Donuts (Applesauce)

Chunky Monkey Cookies (Banana and Peanut Butter)

Vegan Avocado Brownies (Avocado)

Pumpkin Molasses Muffins (Pumpkin Purée)

Oil-Free Peanut Butter Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies (Peanut Butter)

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Recipes for Spreadable WFPB Butter

If you’re craving some buttery toast or vegan garlic bread, these WFPB butter recipes will blow your mind. These melty vegan butters are made with cashews, corn, polenta, and cauliflower. They contain no oil and are totally magical.

Luscious Oil-Free Vegan Butter (Raw Cashews)

Creamy Corn Butter (Fresh or Frozen Corn Kernels)

Easy Homemade Vegan Polenta Butter (Polenta or Cornmeal)

Oil-Free Vegan Butter (Cauliflower)

What to Use Instead of Dairy Butter in Cooking

Any of the these homemade vegan butters can work well in cooking, but if you usually add butter or oil to your food during the cooking process, here are some great ways to cut down on added refined fats:

  • Use raw cashews to add creaminess to mashed potatoes.
  • Cut oil but still make crunchy tofu by learning how to dry fry.
  • Use parchment paper or silicone mats to roast veggies and potatoes without oil.

Whether you are a WFPB eater or like to treat yourself with vegan ice cream and candy, just make sure that you’re helping animals by eating vegan. Going vegan saves nearly 200 animals a year—and it’s much better for our planet. PETA’s free vegan starter kit will help answer all your questions about making the transition:

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