Sautéing, Baking, or Frying: Choosing the Best Vegan Butter

Butter is a staple in homes across the globe. As vegans, it means more than just grabbing a stick of butter and calling it a day. There are labels to read and ingredients to think about. What you will be using the vegan butter for is an important question to ask yourself first.

By Kaitlin Rosencranz 

We are lucky to be living in a time where we have ingredients and methods to keep creating new foods, and butter is one we should all be happy about. 

This isn’t to say you need to go grab several different kinds of butter every time, but it might help to know what to look for on the label when you are planning a few meals or desserts.

Not all butters are created equal. 

What to Look for on the Ingredient List

Like any food product you’re buying, always check for  allergens like almonds or coconuts. Some of us  also avoid soy ingredients or  palm oil. Today, it’s actually getting easier since many vegan butter brands are using  more sustainable oils to prevent damage to our ecosystems and deforestation due to farming for palm oil.

There are other substitutes to palm oil, such as sunflower and coconut oil. Both  butters are easily spreadable and are ideal for a breakfast muffin or a grilled cheese sandwich.

You may be happy to know that Melt Organic butter (one of our favorites) even offers a spreadable line with probiotics. But there’s no need to worry, the flavor is no different from the more traditional version.

What is the difference between butters?

In many chains and largely non-vegan grocery stores you will always find Country Crock, Smart Earth, Earth Balance, and Forager brands. The great thing about having  these options is that they  offer variety, are used in different ways, and are highly flavorful. 

Country Crock is a well-known non-vegan brand, but in 2019, the brand decided to create a few vegan butter options as well. They offer three stick butters made from almond, coconut and olive oil, and a spreadable tub butter  made with olives and almonds.

This is important for those allergic to nuts. Also, even though they’re all  perfect for measuring and baking, the oil base is good for other cooking methods as well. You might use the avocado oil butter for sautéing or even deep-frying-–throw a good chunk in the pan before adding tofu or cauli wings. You can leave the coconut oil base out at room temperature, and you’ll have an easily spreadable stick butter in a matter of minutes. The oil base is obviously great for baking and even sautéing. 

Forager Project vegan butter is a spreadable and flavorful option made from coconut and sunflower oils, maintaining the perfect consistency in the fridge. Wayfare Foods also has a spreadable butter option. It’s made with water, butter beans and sunflower oil, making it soy-free, nut-free, and kosher.

Om Sweet Home is a woman-owned and created brand. Dawn Pascale, of Cliffside, NJ, launched the vegan butter brand after her vegan baked goods, which are also  gluten-free, palm-oil-free, and animal-free. She claims her butter tastes, spreads and whips just like regular butter. If you’re in the area, grab some!

There are plenty of other vegan butter brands such as Milkadamia, Melt Organic, Miyoko’s, and a plethora of others that can be found  around the world. Some, like Fora Foods butter, is only sold to high-end restaurants and not available to individual buyers.

The Conclusion

There are a myriad of taste preferences when it comes to butter, whether salted or unsalted, with or without probiotics, spreadable or not spreadable, nut-based or oil-based. The bottom line is  there are numerous different kinds of butter available to us.  Whether we’re in a large grocery store or a co-op, finding a vegan butter is easier than it’s ever been! We’re so lucky to have a decent selection for every meal. 

As vegans, we often read the ingredient label and dissect everything we see. Of course, buying whole foods is always the easiest option, since what you see is what you get. But  the next time we buy those whole foods for our stir-fry or vegan fajitas, our next birthday cake or frosting, knowing the ingredients in our butter and how it’s made is also important.

If we  cook at home, we do it for health reasons, right? Cooking properly and using the right methods is definitely a learning experience, but it doesn’t have to be hard. Hopefully, choosing the right butter for your next meal just got a little easier.

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