Replacing Butter with Beans

A quick tip for replacing butter with beans.

blended beans
Blended white beans for oil replacement.

I love finding new cooking ideas, especially for replacing milk products.  Last week, I saw an idea to replace oil and butter in baked goods with blended beans. (  The blog author suggested that you can blend beans to replace oil or butter in your baking.  The amount of liquid you add determines the thickness of your puree.  According to, if you are using beans to replace butter, you want it to be thick, so don’t use very much liquid.  For oil, add in all of the liquid from the can.  It is important to match colors, so use black beans for chocolate cake, pinto beans for spice cakes, and white beans for white cakes, etc.  Or just use white beans for everything.  Some advantages include increasing the protein and fiber content in your recipe.  Plus if you are like me and love buying in bulk, you probably have a surplus of beans to use anyway.

Without telling the kids, I tried it out over the weekend.  I made our favorite pancakes and blended a can of great northern beans without draining it.  I was worried if I substituted  the beans at a 1:1 ratio, the pancakes would stick to the pan.  Consequently, I decided to just substitute half the oil and see what everyone thought.  The results?  Two thumbs up.  The pancake texture was great–no sticking in the pan (I used a nonstick electric skillet which I’m sure was important).  The added beans seemed to help us stay fuller longer, and it gave the pancakes a richer taste (the original recipe called for buttermilk, which I replaced with water and vinegar).

pancake side
Whole Grain Pancakes

I wanted to try another recipe, and so I whipped up a spice cake from a box.  This time I tried using the great northern bean puree to replace all the oil you add to the mix.  I don’t cook cake mixes very often so it is difficult to be sure, but it did seem a little drier than usual when the cake was warm.  After the cake had cooled completely, the texture seemed to improve.  Another thing I noticed is the top of the cake didn’t brown up as golden as usual.  However, I was very impressed that you could just use beans instead of oil.  I think I would be happier with the results from using one half part oil and one half part bean puree.

spice cake
Spice cake with pureed white beans instead of oil.

I want to cook up some beans, puree them, and freeze them in an ice-cube tray.  Storing the frozen bean cubes in a freezer bag will ensure they last longer, and keep them easily accessible for pancakes and other baked good.


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