Benefits of Baking with Olive Oil

Using olive oil in desserts is nothing new; many traditional recipes for cakes and cookies using olive oil have been around for generations. However, olive oil isn’t just for desserts! Olive oil is where Greeks and many other people following a Mediterranean lifestyle get most of their fats, fats from a healthy source. Olive oil is one of the main ingredients in Greek cuisine, thus contributing to the healthy Mediterranean lifestyle of eating.

By using olive oil, you are cutting down on “bad” cholesterol and saturated fat in your cooking and baking. It’s considered a “good” fat, unlike butter or lard. It also adds extra antioxidants (natural chemicals that help protect the cells in our body) and adds vitamin E to your baked goods, giving your desserts a heart-healthy boost. Vitamin E even helps to keep your muffins and breads fresher, longer (and add a bit of extra moisture, too).

So, feel free to put olive oil on everything, but in moderation, of course! The Mediterranean lifestyle focuses on getting your fats (which your body does need), from healthy sources.

Butter to Olive Oil Conversion:

A big adjustment is that people have to replace their use of butter, since it’s not used often in the Mediterranean lifestyle.  Olive oil is where it’s at! You can pour out some on a plate and mix with oregano for bread dipping instead of butter (so yummy, if you haven’t tried it!) There are also many other ways to incorporate this wonderful “liquid gold” into your daily eating habits. To make this easier for cooking and baking, follow the handy chart below:

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

When substituting olive oil for butter, the best ratio is 3 tablespoons oil for every 1/4 cup butter. Here’s why: in addition to fat, butter is made of milk solids and water; so, if you try a 1:1 swap of olive oil for butter, your baked goods might turn out too greasy or have a different (not great) texture, due to the extra fat and liquid.

Try switching out a few things to ease yourself into the transition and in no time you will be using olive oil on a daily basis and not miss butter.