Olive Oil Conversion Chart

Olive oil can be readily substituted for margarine or butter when frying or sautéing. In some recipes, olive oil and butter/margarine can be used together to enhance each other's flavor.

Butter/MargarineOlive Oil
1 teaspoon3/4 teaspoon
1 tablespoon2 1/4 teaspoons
2 tablespoons1 1/2 tablespoons
1/4 cup3 tablespoons
1/3 cup1/4 cup
1/2 cup1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons
2/3 cup1/2 cup
3/4 cup1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon
1 cup3/4 cup

The conversion chart above is appropriate for most cake and pastry recipes. However, it is not always a good idea to use olive oil, a liquid shortening, instead of solid shortening, such as butter or margarine. For instance, cake frosting must stay solid at room temperature. In this case butter and powdered sugar work nicely, but olive oil and powdered sugar don’t.

Taste plays a factor too: A mild tasting late harvest olive oil can be used in most cake and pastry recipes because cooking reduces aromatic olive oil flavors. The flavor of olive oil in uncooked confections, such as cake frosting, may be too strong.

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