Butter has been a staple ingredient in cooking and baking for centuries, a dairy product made from churning milk or cream. Whether it’s slathered on warm toast or used to bake a delicious pie, it’s known for its creamy goodness and versatility. But how does hemp oil, derived from the seeds of the hemp plant, compare? It’s a healthy, nutty, and earthy oil that presents so many possibilities.
So, if you’re looking to push the boundaries in the kitchen, read on! If you’re curious about other options, check out our definitive user’s guide of 42 different types of cooking oils and fats.
Comparing hemp oil vs butter
|Solid or Liquid?||Liquid||Solid|
|Smoke Point (Fahrenheit)||330 degrees||300 – 350 degrees|
|Good for Cooking…||Raw, low heat||Raw, low heat|
|Common allergens||Hemp seed, cannabis||Lactose, casein|
Differences between hemp oil and butter
The biggest difference between hemp oil and butter is that hemp oil is in their ingredients. Hemp oil is plant-based and butter is animal-based. Hemp oil comes from the hemp plant, while butter comes from animal milk.
Hemp oil and butter are both gluten-free and keto-friendly. But while hemp oil is also paleo-friendly and vegan, butter isn’t. Depending on the source of the butter too, it will have different flavor profiles. For example, sheep butter straight off the farm is a lot more pungent than cow butter from the supermarket! Remember, good quality butter won’t contain any palm oil. (Palm oil is often added to reduce production costs or increase the spreadability of the butter.)
As far as primary fats go, butter is predominantly saturated fat, while hemp oil is rich in healthy unsaturated fats like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Baking and cooking with hemp oil vs butter
Both hemp oil and butter have relatively low smoke points — 300° – 350° for butter and 330° for hemp oil — which makes them better for cooking raw and low-heat items.
While butter is a creamy, rich ingredient that compliments a wide range of sweet and savory recipes, hemp oil has quite an intense flavor which makes it best used as a finishing oil for soups, salads, dips, and dressings. For other recipes, “water” it down with another, more neutral oil, like olive oil. A good rule of thumb is to use 1 part hemp oil to 3 parts neutral oil, but you can adjust the ratio based on your personal tastes!
And don’t forget to keep in mind that butter can come salted or unsalted! Salted butter adds more of a savory touch that can enhance the flavors in a bake or dish, while unsalted butter gives you more control over the overall saltiness of your creations.
Can hemp oil and butter be substituted for each other?
In my experience, hemp oil and butter aren’t good substitutes for each other—in most cases. While they do have similar smoke points, their flavors are vastly different. I’d only recommend substituting if the recipe benefits from a strong nutty and grassy taste. But even then, using slightly less or “watered down” hemp oil is the right way to go.
If you need a good substitute for butter, there are so many other options depending on what you’re using it for, from vegan butter for vegan diets to coconut oil for a healthy sub. Ghee and avocado oil work well for sautéing or pan frying. For hemp oil, wheatgerm oil is a great all-around substitute.
Nutrition: Hemp oil vs butter
Although both options have a similar total fat content (14g per tablespoon for hemp oil and 14.2g for butter), the ratio of fats within that are very different. Hemp oil is high in healthy polyunsaturated fats (11g) that have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, has all nine essential amino acids, and is completely free of cholesterol.
Butter is high in saturated fats (7.3g) that have been associated with an increased risk of heart disease when consumed in excess and is quite high in cholesterol at 30.5mg, but it does contain some good monounsaturated fats (3g). Both are low in trans fat.
Considering their nutrition facts, hemp oil is generally considered a healthier option than butter. But of course, in my experience moderation is key when it comes to using any type of oil or fat in cooking.
|Per tablespoon (15mL)||Hemp oil||Butter|
|Polyunsaturated||11 g||0.4 g|
|Monounsaturated||2 g||3.0 g|
|Saturated||1 g||7.3 g|
|Trans||0 g||0.5 g|
|Total Fat||14 g||14.2 g|
|Cholesterol||0 mg||30.5 mg|
The primary fat source is bolded.
How to store hemp oil and butter
To keep butter fresh and prevent it from going bad, it’s best to store it in an airtight container or wrap it tightly in wax paper. Place it in the fridge, preferably in the butter compartment or on a designated shelf. It tends to absorb flavors from its surroundings, so it’s a good idea to keep it away from strong-smelling foods.
Hemp oil should be stored in a cool, dark place, such as a pantry or cupboard, away from direct light and heat sources. Much like flax oil, it’s not an oil you want to heat as it’s very sensitive and will oxidize. Keeping it in the fridge will help prevent it from degrading and losing its quality. It’s best to use hemp oil within 3 – 6 months after it’s opened.
Hemp oil vs butter: Which is better?
Butter is my personal go-to in many baking and fish recipes because of its versatility and creamy flavor, but hemp oil is definitely a unique addition to a fresh green salad or roasted root vegetables to add a unique twist. So, while butter is more of an “almost everything” cooking fat, hemp oil is a fantastic finishing oil that is sure to find its place in any kitchen!
Want to read on? Find out how hemp oil and coconut oil compare!
Hemp butter isn’t the same as hemp oil. Hemp oil comes from the seeds of the hemp plant, while hemp butter is made by blending the hemp seeds with oil or butter and has a creamy consistency.
Both hemp oil and olive oil have their own beneficial properties. Hemp oil is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and contains all 9 essential amino acids, while olive oil has plenty of monounsaturated fats and antioxidants.