By Michele Robert Poche

Whether you’re counting calories, reducing fat intake, or following a vegan lifestyle, cutting butter from your diet is easier than you think. There are many all-natural alternatives for butter available in your everyday supermarket. Don’t have time to experiment? That’s where I come in.  

I selected a simple brownie recipe containing only five ingredients, and I prepared it four times, exactly the same way with the exception of one detail. For each of the batches, I substituted a different butter alternative.

I can’t think of a better reason to make 100 brownies in one day.

5-Ingredient Brownies


  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup butter, melted  
  • (see substitutes for butter below)
  • 2 eggs (or egg replacement)
  • cup cocoa powder


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray 8×8 baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. Blend flour, sugar and cocoa powder.
  3. Blend egg and butter substitute in separate bowl.
  4. Combine bowls.
  5. Pour into pan and bake for 25 minutes (see below for adjustments).
  6. Cool completely and cut into squares.

I picked four butter alternatives, all of which are available in the average supermarket: applesauce, coconut oil, avocado, Greek yogurt:

Which was best? In my tasting group, the coconut oil variety was the fan favorite, as it was most like a traditional brownie. Personally, I preferred the applesauce batch, which was lighter, and the avocado batch, which was less oily than the coconut and the optimal density. The Greek yogurt batch also performed well, but its distinct flavor was discernible and thus might not be appreciated by all.

It worked out perfectly that my daughter was having a movie party with half a dozen other teenage girls on baking day, because the idea of me and several dozen leftover brownies together on a Saturday night … well, that’s a pretty scary image. 

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