When to Combine Butter and Olive Oil for Italian Cooking

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Have you ever seen Smart Balance advertise their olive oil and butter mixture?  Believe it or not, this is nothing new. You can easily mix olive oil and butter yourself.

mix olive oil and butter

It was new for me when I first got married. Although both my husband and I are Italian, I never knew you could mix the two together. 

My husband would take some butter in a medium container, and let it become soft by leaving it out on the counter. Then he would add into the container some olive oil and mix the two together.

Can You Mix Butter and Olive Oil?

It’s super easy to create an olive oil and butter mixture. I have a video below with my recipe card below showing how easy it is.

Since everyone’s tastes are different, and the uses can range greatly, I recommend starting with a 50/50 mix or a 60/40 butter olive oil ratio.

You can mix the two together using a handheld mixer or do it by hand using a spatula. If the butter is already soft, as we do it here in our house, then I recommend mixing by hand.

If you choose to use a mixer instead, you may end up with a whipped consistency which is completely fine. In this case, just whip the butter, then add the oil and mix again.

Can You use Any Oil?

I just want to be clear that in this post we are talking about using olive oil, not vegetable oil or any other kind.

If you are concerned of the potency of the olive oil, then use an extra virgin olive oil that is not first cold pressed. First cold pressed will have a stronger taste. Although this is what we always use by default, it is true that typically its main purpose is for uncooked uses such as in an Italian green salad.

Of course you can use regular olive oil, but I can’t recommend it as it wouldn’t have much flavor.

Can You Cook with Butter and Olive Oil

how to use a butter and olive oil mixture
I like using my olive oil and butter mixture when cooking eggs as shown above.

Yes, you certainly can cook with a butter and olive oil mixture, or by adding the two separately in a pan.

If you use it as a mix, you can it spread on toast or other breads such as with homemade garlic bread. But you can do so much more with it, and that includes cooking!

For example, we use it to season our roasted chicken, cook eggs, add to our pasta, create alfredo sauce, and even to bake with. 

The one thing you have to be careful of, is to make sure you do not add too much olive oil which would then overpower the butter taste.  Not exactly the flavor I wanted for my morning pancakes.

Why use Butter and Olive Oil Together

If you’re interested in combining your olive oil and butter, you might be asking, why would you want to do this?

Not only are there benefits to this healthy combination which I explain below, but is a great addition to many cooking recipes, especially Italian recipes.

It is also more economical. The cost of butter is rising, and olive oil can help extend the use of butter so it doesn’t get used up so quickly.

Benefits of Mixing Butter and Olive Oil

By using a mixture of olive oil and butter you will gain a few advantages.  One benefit is that you are cutting down on the amount of saturated fat intake from the butter.  This is a good thing.

For use in recipes, the other benefit is more scientific and directly related to cooking and not so much to health.  Oil has a higher smoking point than butter does.

For those who are not sure what this means, imagine placing two separate pans on top of two burners over medium-high heat.  Place 2 tablespoons of the butter in one pan and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the other. 

The butter will burn faster than the olive oil and the olive oil will begin to smoke later than the butter.  Olive oil smokes before burning, thus the term, “smoking point” not “burning point”. This is why they say olive oil has a higher smoking point than butter.

Can You Use the Mix in Recipes?

So what does this mean for those who want to cook Italian recipes?  It means a lot.  When you want to create a sauce which is a butter sauce, but don’t want to use just butter – maybe it would be too thick, or for other reasons, this is when you would want to use the mix.

Here are some ways to use the butter olive oil mix in your cooking:

  • Alfredo sauce
  • Pasta and butter
  • Waffles
  • Pancakes
  • Toast
  • Cakes or cupcakes (use more butter than oil)
  • Point in case I’ll give you a recipe.

Quick recipe for an alfredo sauce:

Take some olive oil along with some butter, not too much maybe a a few tablespoons of butter and half of that amount for the olive oil.  Let it melt over medium heat. 

Add in a few tablespoons of Romano cheese, mix well until the cheese has melted.  Add more cheese if you need to.

We are just looking for a nice light cream butter mixture – not a thick alfredo sauce.

Meanwhile cook some long pasta and when it is al dente add it to your butter sauce, give it a good toss adding more cheese or olive oil as needed.  Once heated through and mixed, serve the pasta in some Italian pasta bowls and top with any remaining mixture or sprinkle with cheese.

Use with pasta and breadcrumbs

Another easy recipe is a pasta with breadcrumbs recipe. Toast some breadcrumbs in the butter mixture (omit the cheese) and then add in the pasta and sprinkle some cheese on top when serving it.  This is often considered a peasant’s meal but you certainly do not have to be a peasant to eat this pleasant recipe!

Don’t forget to finish it all off with a nice tazza of espresso.

mix butter and olive oil

Mix Olive Oil and Butter

Here's how to mix your olive oil and butter for healthier cooking.
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Course: Side Dish
Prep Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup soft butter at room temperature this is one stick of butter
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, use a spatula or hand mixer to blend the butter so it is broken up into pieces
  • Add the olive oil and continue mixing until it is smooth. The softer the butter the less time this will take.
  • When it is smooth and well combined (some small lumps are okay), pour into an air tight container and store in the fridge.
  • Butter and olive oil mixture will harden in the fridge just like spreadable butter.

Video

Notes

  1. I prefer to mix my olive oil and butter by hand using a spatula. When using a hand mixer it can sometimes spray the butter out of the bowl. 
  2. Mix in a medium to large bowl.
  3. Use a spatula that is not too soft but not hard plastic. This allows you to easily scrape the sides of the bowl while also being able to press down on the butter. 
  4. Adjust ratio according to your tastes. I use a 1:1 ratio in this recipe. 
When to Combine Butter and Olive Oil for Italian CookingWhen to Combine Butter and Olive Oil for Italian Cooking

2 Comments

  1. How do you make a safe red sauce with olive oil since olive oil can’t be cooked at a high temperature?

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