Margarine was the spread of my childhood. In the 80s, it was the preferred choice for many families over butter, making it an integral part of many a kitchen. I remember I only ever ate butter at my grandmother’s house because my mother wouldn’t dare have such an unhealthy saturated fat in her fridge! My how things have changed. Nowadays, more people are beginning to realize that margarine isn’t the healthiest option available, and they’re making the switch to various alternatives.
Fortunately, there are plenty of margarine substitutes that can be used in a variety of different cooking and baking situations, and the best pics are:
- Vegan butter
- Macadamia oil
- Avocado oil
Best All-Around Substitute For Margarine: Vegan Butter
Vegan butter is probably the best substitute for margarine. Vegan butter is usually made from a combination of plant-based oils like coconut or avocado as their primary ingredients, unlike margarine which is made from hydrogenated vegetable oils.
Not only does it have a creamy texture and taste similar to margarine, but it also contains beneficial fatty acids such as omega-3. You can use vegan butter on toast, in cakes, cookies, or any other recipe that calls for margarine as a one-to-one substitute.
Regular unsalted butter works if you can’t get vegan butter and are okay with an animal-based substitute for margarine.
Best Raw Cooking Substitute For Margarine: Macadamia Oil
Solid fats and oils don’t work well in raw cooking as you usually have to melt them down to combine them with the other ingredients.
If you have a raw food recipe and want a nutty buttery oil with similar flavor notes to butter or margarine, then macadamia oil is your guy. Macadamia oil is usually made by cold-pressing roasted macadamia nuts so that they retain their nutritional profile and flavor, and it works perfectly in many dishes, from raw treats to baking.
Best Margarine Substitute for Regular Cooking: Vegan Butter
Vegan butter’s come in all different shapes, sizes, and makeups. Most will work for regular heat cooking, but not high heat cooking. The important thing to do is to check the smoke point of the oils that make up the butter, which will give you a good idea of what temperature you can heat it. The higher the smoke point, the more heat it can stand.
Coconut oil works well as a butter substitute in many recipes, with a smoke point of 350°F. Ghee is the best choice if you’re looking for something even more high-heat-friendly, ghee is the best choice.
Best Margarine Substitute for High-Heat Cooking: Ghee
Ghee is the margarine alternative perfect for high-heat cooking. It has a smoke point of 480 degrees, much higher than butter’s 350 degrees. If the dairy part of the ghee bothers you, the way it is processed actually eliminates all the lactose as it comes from clarified butter and not dairy. This gives ghee a very distinct flavor that tastes like butter but richer.
Margarine Substitute that is Closest in Flavor: Vegan Butter
Vegan butter is often closer in flavor to margarine than butter, especially if you find vegan butter made with vegetable oils. Vegan butter can vary quite a bit by brand, and everyone has their favorites. Miyoko’s Creamery Butter is one that keeps popping up as the closest flavor to actual butter, but I haven’t tried it myself.
If you are looking for a vegan butter with the most similar flavor to margarine, your best bet is to find one with vegetable oils or canola oil as a base. After all, margarine made with these ingredients was the original vegan butter! Vegan butter made with vegetable oils will also be the most neutral-flavored substitute for margarine and the most budget-friendly.
Best Healthy Margarine Substitute: Macadamia Oil or Avocado Oil
Both macadamia oil and avocado oil make excellent margarine substitutes when it comes to flavor. Avocado oil is mildly buttery and creamy, and macadamia oil is nutty and buttery. I have both in my kitchen and use them interchangeably.
Nutrition-wise, both contain healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, and avocado oil is high in vitamin E, potassium, lecithin, and other nutrients. If you are looking for a healthy alternative that is solid in texture, then coconut oil is a good substitute as long as you like the flavor.
Best Keto/Paleo/Whole30 Margarine Substitute: Ghee
Keto, paleo, and Whole30 are all buddies with ghee, though paleo and Whole30 purists might debate it, as even though it no longer contains lactose or milk proteins, it is still derived from a dairy source. If you are one of these purists (or a vegan), then macadamia, avocado, or coconut oil are better choices for you.
People used to think so, but there has not been any conclusive evidence that margarine is any better for you than butter. Some people prefer margarine to avoid saturated animal fat, and some prefer butter to avoid refined vegetable and seed oils. Ultimately, it’s up to you – just make sure to read the nutrition label and choose one with simple ingredients that you recognize.
It is not recommended for very high-heat frying. It burns pretty easily at super high temperatures and changes flavor, so it is best used in regular-heat applications, like baking. For higher-heat frying, oils like canola, grapeseed, or peanut oil are better choices than margarine.
It is acceptable to fry eggs with margarine as long as it is not overheated. Be careful not to burn the margarine, which can give your food an unpleasant flavor.