Not all vegan butters are created equal. And not all vegan butters are used for the same types of cooking. As plant based foods become more common, it becomes harder to know what products to choose. Click HERE to see some basic tips for choosing the best vegan butter for your recipe.
Margarines and Spreads
It's always good to remember that margarines were the original plant based butters. They came about as a way of helping people fight high cholesterol from butter intake. Remember, ONLY animal products contain cholesterol. So if you make a spread with vegetable fats instead of animal fats, you eliminate cholesterol. Margarine is also available in every super market around the country, making it easily accessible. These are a few of my top picks for everyday margarines that are a great choice for spreading on toast and basic kitchen butter replacement:
The Best Vegan Butters for Baking
But I am about to bake my favorite pie, and I don't want to use margarine to make the crust! Of course not. Luckily, there are a couple of FANTASTIC craft-made plant based butters that mimics dairy based butter in a number of ways.
Miyoko's Creamery butter is a cultured and churned product, which means it tastes and performs like traditional dairy butter. Not only does this butter have the ability to brown (think brown butter brownies), but the low water content makes it ideal for baking. Check out my recipe for Cornmeal Pie Crust using Miyoko's Creamery butter for a good starting point. *Note, this product is made with nuts, so be careful if you have a nut allergy.
I also love the Violife Plant Butter, which comes in salted and unsalted. Violife butter is rich and creamy and is nut-free. It browns and cooks similarly to the Miyokos, with a slightly sweeter and cream-like flavor. Great for sauces!
The Best Vegan Butter for Skillet Cooking
You can use any of the before mentioned butters or margarines for skillet cooking or pan frying. But when cooking over high heat, you want something with a higher smoke point (meaning the temperature it takes to burn is much higher). When we are talking about plant based butters, you guessed it- we're talking about vegetable oils. So choosing the right butter for skillet cooking means choosing the butter made from the highest smoke point oil, not just choosing by brand.
High Smoke Point Oils
Choosing plant based butters that use these oils means you can sauté on high heat without sacrificing flavor or the nutritional value of the oils.
- Soybean Oil
- Canola Oil
- Avocado Oil
- Corn Oil
- Light Olive Oil
- Grapeseed Oil
Low Smoke Point Oils
Plant based butters made with these oils are best used for melting and using in sauces than over intense high heat. I love these kind of butters in dishes like this Potato Gratin, or this velvety smooth Cauliflower Puree.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Unrefined Coconut Oil
- Flaxseed Oil
How Do You Use Butter?
Sometimes it can be intimidating to try new foods because we feel like our favorite recipes will never be the same. In reality, switching to a plant based butter can be one of the easiest transitions as there are so many wonderful substitutes. Tell me how YOU use butter and what vegan butter you chose to make the switch!