People choose a vegan diet or lifestyle due to personal preference, food allergies, and/or other health issues. Committing to a Vegan lifestyle is hard work. It takes a lot of research to ensure you are eliminating all animal products.
Luckily, there has been a major increase in suitable vegan alternative options when cooking. Those who have dairy allergies no longer have to miss out on ice cream or baked goods. One of the most popular dairy products that must be substituted in a vegan diet is butter.
Real Butter vs. Vegan Butter
Butter is used in what seems like everything. Regular butter can be hard to replace. It is a firm solid when refrigerated, softens at room temperature, and will melt to thin consistency when heated. It is spreadable, soft, and creamy. It is used for frying, baking, and sautéing. Just about anything tastes better with a bit of butter.
Vegan Butter is also called plant-based butter. Vegan butter is similar to margarine and has some similarities to real butter. Vegan butter is made by using a mixture of oils, water, salt, and emulsifiers. There are some great vegan butter options.
Vegan Butter Varieties
Many brands now offer vegan butter. It can be found at many grocery stores like Whole Foods as well as specialty stores. Here are the best vegan butter brands that are so good you won’t even miss the real thing.
Miyoko’s Creamery European Butter
Miyoko’s European Style Cultured Vegan butter is one of the top vegan butter options. It is made with organic coconut oil, organic sunflower oil, organic sunflower lecithin, cultured cashew milk, and sea salt.
This European-style butter acts similar to real butter. It melts, browns, and is easy to spread. But, it doesn’t look or taste like traditional butter. However, many reviewers state they don’t notice a difference especially when baking.
Use Miyoko’s European Style Cultured Vegan butter at a 1:1 ratio for regular butter.
Country Crock Plant Butter
The Classic Country Crock brand hopped in on the vegan butter fun. They offer seven different plant butter options which include butter made with avocado oil, olive oil, almond oil, or sea salt. They also offer plant butter sticks.
Country Crock Plant Butter sticks with almond oil are a great option for your baking needs. Try these buttery sticks for making pie crust as the almond oil will add a nice flavor.
Substitute Country Crock Plant Butter at a 1:1 ratio for traditional dairy butter.
Earth Balance offers seven vegan spreads. Their buttery spread selections include a whipped option as well as options made with olive oil and coconut.
The Earth Balance Organic Coconut dairy-free butter is a top-rated selection. It is made with extra virgin coconut oil, palm oil, water, salt, sunflower lecithin, lactic acid, and other natural flavors. The creamy texture of this vegan alternative would work well in a pasta sauce.
Use Earth Balance vegan butter substitutes at a 1:1 ratio for traditional butter.
I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter
Yes, your favorite margarine brand also has a vegan margarine. It is made of palm kernel oil, palm oil, purified water, salt, Lecithin, and vinegar.
This option has less calories than traditional butter. It is also preservative free and has no artificial flavors. The I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Vegan is a great choice to spread on toast.
Substitute this vegan margarine at a 1:1 ration for regular butter.
Best Vegan Butter Substitutes
Although vegan butter is available at some stores, it can sometimes be hard to find. It is important to have some backup options just in case. If you are looking for a butter substitute that is vegan, the following options might work for your needs.
Olive oil ranks at the top of the list of best vegan butter substitutes. It is high in fat content and can withstand high temperatures.
Use olive oil as a vegan butter substitute for frying or sautéing. Olive oil will give your food a great taste with its complexity. Try it in place of butter in Garlic Sauteed Asparagus.
Use olive oil at a 3:4 ratio. If a recipe calls for 1 cup butter, use ¾ cup of olive oil.
Vegetable oil is a great substitution choice for butter. Using vegetable oil can help improve cholesterol levels and heart health by reducing your intake of saturated fat.
Choose a vegetable oil substitution when baking bread and muffins. You are unlikely to miss the buttery taste of traditional butter in these recipes.
Use a ratio of ⅞th of a cup of vegetable oil for every cup of butter for a vegan substitute.
As a great nutrient-dense vegan butter substitute, it has good fatty acids that are effective in helping lower cholesterol and improves heart health.
Avocado oil has a fairly neutral flavor. It can easily replace butter in foods such as garlic bread. It can also be a great addition to delicious vegan sides like butter beans.
Replace avocado oil for butter at a 1:1 ratio.
Nut butter is a popular choice for vegan butter alternatives. It is one of the best ways to get a creamy butter taste without dairy. Nut butter contains healthy fats and protein.
There are a ton of nut butter options. The main difference in the options is the kind of nuts used. You can choose a specific nut butter based on personal preference or what works best in your recipe. For example, almond butter or macadamia butter is a great substitute option for chocolate chip cookies. On the other hand, peanut butter would be a great option for Thai dishes.
Nut butter can act as a healthy vegan butter substitute at a 1:1 ratio.
Vegetable shorting is another good vegan option when needing a substitute for butter. Vegetable shortening is made from 100% hydrogenated vegetable oil.
This option has no flavor so you won’t get a buttery flavor. You can also use Butter Flavored Crisco when backing which is also vegan. Vegetable shortening creates fluffy and flaky baked goods. Try vegetable shortening as a vegan butter substitute in your favorite cookie recipe.
Use vegetable shortening at a 1:1 ratio for butter.
Mashed fruit is one of the best vegan butter substitutes. Mashed fruit is natural, healthy, and easy to use as a replacement.
The best mashed fruit options are avocado and banana. Applesauce is also a commonly used vegan substitute for butter. Each of these options has excellent nutritional value and tastes great too. Most people also have either a banana, avocado, or applesauce on hand.
Try a banana replacement for butter in baked goods such as banana bread. Bananas are a bit sweeter than butter so keep that in mind if you add sugar to your recipe. An avocado substitute also works well in baking. Avocado won’t melt, but a ripe avocado will give you a great creamy texture. They also have a fairly neutral taste so you won’t have to overcompensate with other flavors. Unsweetened applesauce is a better option than sweetened when using it as a substitute for butter.
Each of these options can replace butter at a 1:1 ratio when baking. The final product may end up being more dense, but it should work.
Best Vegan Butter Recipe
While there are some awesome vegan butter substitute options, it isn’t a bad idea to make your own vegan butter. This will allow you to control what ingredients are in your recipe. You probably even have the base ingredients for the best vegan butter already at home.
- Refined Coconut Oil
- Canola Oil
- Soy Milk
- Lemon juice
- Soy lecithin
- Mix together ½ cup of soy milk with ¼ teaspoon lemon juice and set aside
- Melt one cup coconut oil and pour into a blender
- Add ½ cup canola oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon soy lecithin to the blender
- Blend all of the ingredients together until well mixed
- Pour the mixture into a container with a lid
- Place your container into the freezer until the mixture is firm, then transfer to the refrigerator
Your vegan butter recipe will last up to 7 days in the fridge.
Summing It Up
A vegan diet and/or lifestyle can be a needed healthy alternative for many people. Those who suffer from food allergies or other health issues can benefit from this type of diet. Readily available vegan options have come a long way in the last several years. You can easily access vegan butter and vegan butter substitutes in most grocery stores. But if you get in a bind, ingredients such as avocado oil, olive oil, and nut butters can work well in almost any recipe.
You also have an opportunity to make your own vegan butter. Experimenting with different ingredients is a great way to find a recipe that meets your needs.
The best vegan butter recipe may vary based on personal preference and what you are using it for. Some vegan butter ingredients may work better for savory dishes while others are better for sweets.
No matter what option you choose, there are some great vegan butter substitutes.
Do you have any other tried and true substitution recommendations? Please let me know in the comments!