There are some foods that vegans need to go without a good alternative to, but butter is not one of them.
I literally can’t tell the difference between a good vegan butter and dairy butter that I had in the past.
I’ll go through all the best vegan butter alternatives in this post, from best to worst.
The Best Alternative: Store-Bought Vegan Butters or Make Your Own
When I first went vegan, I found a few different “vegan” or “plant-based” butters around the vegetarian section of most grocery stores.
The most popular brand is probably Earth Balance, who makes butter spreads in a few different flavors.
The Original Earth Balance tastes almost identical to dairy butter.
They can be used when baking in place of butter in recipes, on toast, or in anything else that typically calls for butter.
Unfortunately, Earth Balance does use palm oil, and for this reason alone you may not consider Earth Balance products to be vegan. Those linked posts will expand on the issues with palm oil if you’re interested in learning more about the controversial ingredient.
Personally, I avoid palm products, even ones that are labelled “sustainable” like Earth Balance uses.
Instead, I strongly suggest that you make your own vegan butter (I make my own butter and vegan heavy cream). It’s easy, takes about 20 minutes, and works out to something like $1 a batch.
This is the best guide to a spreadable vegan butter you’ll ever find, I made several different DIY recipes before finding it, and it’s my go-to recipe now.
Vegan Butter Alternatives When Cooking
If those direct substitutes above are not an option for you (maybe you’re cooking right now?), the best substitutes are oils.
If you look at vegan butter recipes, the good ones at least, you’ll see that they mainly consist of:
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
In most recipes, you can substitute butter or vegan butter for either or these oils in a 1:1 ratio.
If you have both on hand, use both. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of butter, use 0.5 tablespoons of coconut oil, and 0.5 tablespoons of olive oil.
A Final Alternative: Vegan Butter Alternatives for Breads
If you’re just used to using butter as a spread on bread, toast, or some other grain, consider trying something new.
The best part of going vegan for me has been trying new foods and loving some of them.
Try out other common spreads with similar textures like nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew, etc.), or even a hazelnut spread.
It will of course change the taste, but not in a bad way.