Coconut oil is not butter, and thanks to the plethora of vegan butter options, we no longer have to pretend it is. Gone are the days of smearing oil on toast and convincing yourself that “it’s the same thing!” Vegans have options, and they are glorious. Whether you cook, bake, or use it as a condiment, these vegan butters really taste and perform just like butter. But first, why is regular butter not vegan?
Why is butter not vegan?
Traditional butter is made with churned milk or cream, which usually comes from cows (but it can also come from other animals like goats), and that’s why it’s not vegan. Many people also use margarine, which is similar to butter in texture and color, but it’s usually made with plant-based fat instead of animal fat. (Don’t assume that margarine is always vegan though because it can also contain milk.)
What is vegan butter?
In the past, many vegan consumers opted to use dairy-free margarine or coconut oil in place of butter. But that’s changing now, as many brands are making authentic, plant-based butter products. These usually look and taste like the real thing, but they’re actually closer to margarine products because instead of cow’s milk, they’re made with plant-based oils.
Best vegan butter brands
Next time you’re looking to stock up your pantry with creamy, delicious vegan butter, make sure to check out each of these brands to find the best product for you.
1 Miyoko’s Creamery
Miyoko’s Creamery boasts three different butter varieties: European-Style Cultured Vegan Butter with a Hint of Sea Salt, European-Style Cultured Vegan Butter Unsalted, and Spreadable Cultured Vegan Oat Milk Butter. The first two are nut- and coconut oil-based and work incredibly well for cooking and baking—they even brown! The latter is ideal for those with a nut allergy and for spreading liberally on refined carbohydrates—everything from toast and muffins to pancakes and waffles.
2 Earth Balance
Ask any professional vegan baker what butter they use, and the overwhelming response will be Earth Balance Vegan Butter Sticks. They are an easy one-to-one swap for dairy-based butter sticks which makes for perfect pie crusts, velvety buttercreams, and tender cookies. For condiment use, check out one of the many varieties of the brand’s buttery spreads. You can’t go wrong with Original, but the Olive Oil and European Style are fan favorites as well.
3 Melt Organic
Made with sustainably sourced plant oils, this creamy rendition of butter is great for savory applications. Add a pat or two of the Probiotic Butter to a pasta sauce for a little indulgence, or use the Salted Butter Sticks to create a solid roux for mushroom gravy or vegan gumbo. Complete your meal with some homemade vegan biscuits using the Unsalted Butter Sticks, then slather those with the brand’s original spreadable organic butter. Sometimes, it’s necessary to infuse butter in every part of the meal.Learn more
4 Country Crock Plant Butter
When dairy-based companies jump on the vegan bandwagon, it’s obvious a trend has reached a high point. The company has stepped outside of its iconic brown-gray tub and developed seven different styles of plant-based butter. We bring the spreadable Plant Butter with Olive Oil tub to the table when hosting non-vegan guests.
I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Vegan
Those who grew up with at least one yo-yo diet parent will recognize this margarine brand from their childhood. Now with an It’s Vegan option made from a blend of soybean and palm oils, we really can’t believe it’s not butter. Like its dairy-based predecessor, this product is lower in fat and calories in comparison to both dairy and plant-based butters. Note: the company does not state the source of its palm oil, but the product is Vegan Certified.
To our knowledge, this is the only plant-based butter made with macadamia, and through the power of excellent R&D and vegan magic, it works. The creamy spread is concocted of a macadamia oil blend that provides a salty richness to any dish. Of course, the first thing on our minds is vegan white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. This spread was made for it.
The Cultured Kitchen Better Buttah
For now, only California kitchens have access to this artisan vegan butter. The Whipped Garlic Chive, Cinnamon Date Vanilla, and Original tubs can be found in Whole Foods and natural grocers throughout the state, though expansion is in the works. They’re all made with a sunflower oil base and sustainably sourced palm oil in addition to turmeric, Himalayan sea salt, and a few other seasonings. We love spreading the garlic flavor on savory scones.
There’s a new reason to love this dairy alternative company: it just debuted a European-style butter. Like many Kite Hill products, this is made with cultured almond milk to mimic that luscious, buttery taste and texture. Pro tip: melt this almond-based butter onto one of Kite Hill’s filled pastas for a decadent yet simple weeknight dinner.
9 Wild Creamery
From the creators of your favorite sauerkraut comes a new kind of fermented product—vegan butter. The long-awaited cultured European-style butter alternative from Wildbrine is now available online. The next time you’re whipping up a decadent pasta sauce or just happen to have a nice loaf of crusty bread on hand, go ahead and splurge on the good stuff.
This company is upfront about its ingredients—including palm oil. The ingredient is commonly used yet highly controversial for its damaging environmental effects. However, Flora has promised to vet its palm oil suppliers to ensure sustainable production and sourcing. The brand even sits on the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil to keep an eye on the industry and advance more environmentally friendly practices. Use Flora’s Salted Plant Butter to create decadent sauces or spread liberally on a freshly baked vegan blueberry muffin.
11 Land O Lakes Plant-Based Creamy Spread
Yet another dairy-based company has embraced the plant-based trend. Found at many nationwide supermarkets including Vons and Kroger, this vegetable oil-based spread offers Land O Lakes regulars a solid dairy-free option. While not suited for baking, this spread is excellent for slathering and melting on everything from your morning toast to a mound of mashed potatoes.
12 ForA: Butter
Made from a blend of cocoa butter, coconut cream, and aquafaba, these vegan buttery sticks are perfect for any baking adventure. They boast a 1:1 ratio with the dairy-based variety, so your cookies, cakes, and brownies will be ready in no time.