Plant-Based Butter & Alternatives

Vegan butter is a plant-based butter substitute with the consistency and flavor of butter without the high-levels saturated fats present in traditional butter made from cow’s milk.

However, all plant-based butters are not the same. It really depends on the brand.

While all vegan butters are made from plant sources, many contain palm oil and coconut oil – both sources of saturated fat. Vegan butter can also be made without palm oil – coconut oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, and even ingredients like cashews, almonds, macadamia nuts, and aquafaba — the brine from a can of chickpeas.

Remember to check the label for preservatives and other ingredients that might surprise you.

Earth Balance and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter

Earth Balance and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter’s vegan spread are mass produced and available in most major grocery chains. They are made from a blend of palm, canola, soybean, flax, and olive oils. If you’re trying to reduce your cholesterol, these may not be the best choices for you.

Better vegan butter options might be…

Miyoko’s Creamery
Miyoko’s Creamery makes its dairy-free butter from organic coconut oil and cashew cream fermented with real cultures. It has a tangy flavor similar to traditional cultured butter, making it an ideal companion for bread and crackers. It also melts and bakes like traditional butter and is free from palm oil. Miyoko’s Creamery butter available at Target, Walmart, Costco and Trader Joe’s.

Dairy-free brand WayFare makes whipped vegan butter with a light, airy texture. It’s made from a blend of non-GMO, organic butter beans, coconut and safflower oil, and konjac root powder. It’s also gluten-free, soy-free, cholesterol-free, and Kosher. All three flavors taste can be used to top crackers, artisan bread, toast, pancakes and waffles or can substitute for traditional butter in buttered popcorn, cookies, muffins, and brownies. Wayfare products are available at Wegmans and Giant Food.

Other Vegan Spreads available online…

Fora Foods makes FabaButter, a dairy-free butter that uses aquafaba – the viscous liquid in a can of chickpeas – and coconut oil. The company sources its aquafaba from hummus manufacturers, so no chickpeas go to waste. FabaButter has a light texture than can substitute for traditional butter in baked goods and complicated pastries like croissants.

Melt Organic
Melt Organic makes vegan butter sticks, spread, and a probiotic vegan butter spread, all made from coconut oil, sustainable palm oil, and flaxseed oil. It has a rich, creamy taste like traditional butter and is free from dairy, soy, and nuts. Melt Organic butter also contains half the saturated fat of dairy butter and also contains plant-based omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. It can be used to replace butter as a spread or in baking sweets like cookies and brownies.

Culcherd makes vegan butter called It’s Not Butter from organic coconut oil and cashews. It’s free from soy, palm oil, and like the brand’s name implies, it’s cultured. It comes in four flavors — Original, Garlic, Turmeric Black Pepper, and Cinnamon Swirl — and is a 1:1 replacement for dairy butter.

Made from vegetable oil, Flora’s vegan buttery spreads are a source of omega 3 and 6.

Other Butter Substitutes…

Those who follow a whole-food, plant-based diet can swap vegan butter for other healthier alternatives as well.

In many cases, you can substitute equal parts avocado for vegan butter. While avocado contains saturated fat, this creamy fruit contains monosaturated fat, which can help lower bad cholesterol. Avocado makes a great replacement for butter on toast or bagels.

Swap butter with half the amount of applesauce to cut down on fat and add healthy fiber to your baked goods. It typically works best in cake or breads like zucchini, banana, or pumpkin. If you use applesauce, you might want to consider reducing the sugar content in your recipe, since it’ll add natural sweetness. Unsweetened applesauce is available in almost any grocery store and online – Trader Joe’s carries organic unsweetened applesauce for a low price.

Vegan Greek Yogurt
Dairy-free brand Kite Hill makes high-protein Greek-style yogurt from almonds and almond milk. Daiya’s Greek yogurt is made from coconut. Kite Hill makes vegan Greek yogurt as well. While not Greek yogurt, the brands Anitas and CoYo make coconut yogurt that has a rich, creamy texture.

Pumpkin, Squash, or Sweet Potato Puree
Keeping a can of pumpkin puree in your pantry can be handy for vegan baking – it also works with pureed butternut squash, sweet potato, or any similar squash, like Hubbard. Use 3/4 puree per cup of dairy butter. Not only does it cut down on oil, but it also adds fiber and a healthy dose of vitamin C.

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