The debate between margarine and butter has gone on for years. Margarine was originally made to replace butter as a healthier non-dairy alternative. But is it really better?
The answer isn’t as simple as you might think, and in this article, I’ll explain the pros and cons of both spreads to help you make a decision about which is right for you. Let’s get started!
Comparing margarine vs butter
|Margarine (hard stick)||Margarine (soft)||Butter|
|Solid or Liquid?||Solid||Solid||Solid|
|Smoke Point (Fahrenheit)||410-430 degrees||410-430 degrees||300-350 degrees|
|Good for Cooking…||Raw, low heat, moderate heat||Raw, low heat, moderate heat||Raw, low heat|
|Allergens||Soy, corn, etc||Soy, corn, etc||Lactose, casein|
Differences between margarine and butter
Margarine is typically made from vegetable oils, such as soybean, corn, or canola oil, while butter is made from animal fat, usually cow’s milk. This means that margarine is a plant-based alternative to butter, making it a popular choice among vegetarians and vegans.
Margarine is extracted using a process called hydrogenation, which converts liquid vegetable oils into a solid form. This process also adds trans fats, which have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. However, many brands now offer trans-fat-free options.
Butter, on the other hand, is made through churning cream or milk, resulting in a solid, creamy texture. Butter is a solid at room temperature but softens when exposed to heat. Margarine is generally soft and spreadable, so it’s great for spreading on toast!
Hard stick vs soft margarine
Margarine comes in two main forms: a hard stick and a soft spread.
Hard margarine is solid at room temperature and typically contains more saturated fats, while soft margarine is spreadable and often made with oils that are high in unsaturated fats.
As a result, soft margarine is generally considered a healthier option than hard stick margarine. However, soft margarine is usually made from partially or fully hydrogenated vegetable oil and might still contain trans fats.
Baking and cooking with margarine vs butter
Margarine typically has a higher smoke point than butter, meaning it can withstand higher temperatures without burning. This makes it a good option for sautéing, frying, and roasting. However, margarine can have a slightly different taste and texture compared to butter, so it’s not the best for baking.
Butter, with its lower smoke point, can burn more easily, but it’s an excellent choice for baking, as it adds a rich, creamy flavor to baked goods and helps them achieve a light, flaky texture. Butter is also a great option for low-heat cooking, such as braising and sautéing meats, veggies, and mushrooms!
So, when it comes to specific recipes, it’s important to consider the role of the fat. For example, if you’re making pie crust or biscuits, butter is going to give you the best flavor and ability to create a flaky texture. However, if you’re making a stir-fry, margarine may be a better choice due to its higher smoke point and ability to handle high temperatures.
Can margarine and butter be substituted for each other?
Margarine can also be used wherever you would usually use butter in a recipe, and vice versa. Margarine has a similar taste and texture to butter, but I find margarine changes the flavor of your dish slightly. Butter has a rich, creamy flavor, while margarine has a slightly milder butter taste that can seem artificial.
In addition, margarine is usually softer than butter due to its lower percentage of saturated fat, which may affect the texture of baked goods.
Nutrition: Margarine vs butter
Butter is higher in saturated (unhealthy) fat than margarine, but it is a natural product that contains important nutrients like vitamins A, D, and E. On the other hand, most margarine products are cholesterol-free and higher in unsaturated (healthy) fat, which can help improve heart health.
Based on these differences, many health experts recommend choosing margarine over butter for overall health. However, it’s important to note that not all margarine products are created equal. Some margarines can contain trans fats, which have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. When shopping for margarine, look for options that are trans-fat-free and made with liquid vegetable oils.
Ultimately, the healthiest option for you will depend on your individual needs and dietary preferences. It’s always a good idea to speak with a healthcare provider or registered dietitian if you have specific questions about your diet.
|Per tablespoon (15mL)||Margarine (hard stick)||Margarine (soft)||Butter|
|Polyunsaturated||3.4 g||3.0 g||0.4|
|Monounsaturated||5.5 g||6.3 g||3.0 g|
|Saturated||2.1 g||1.6 g||7.3 g|
|Trans||0 g||0 g||0.5 g|
|Total Fat||11.3 g||11.2 g||14.2 g|
The primary fat source is bolded.
How to store margarine and butter
Margarine should be stored in the refrigerator to keep it fresh for as long as possible. It’s important to keep margarine in its original container and make sure the lid is tightly sealed to prevent any air or moisture from getting in. Margarine can also be frozen if you need to store it for an extended period of time.
Butter can be stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature, depending on how quickly you plan to use it. But butter can go bad, so I recommend keeping it in the fridge if you plan on using it over a couple of weeks. If you want to keep it for longer than that, you can store it in the freezer. When storing butter at room temperature, it’s important to use a butter dish with a lid to protect it from air and light.
Margarine vs butter: Which is better
For me, when it comes to cooking and baking, butter is the clear winner.
While it is higher in saturated fat than margarine, butter simply can’t be beat when it comes to flavor and performance in the kitchen – just make sure not to overheat it!
Of course, it’s important to remember that everyone’s dietary needs and preferences are different, and what works best for one person may not work for another. Ultimately, the choice between margarine and butter is a personal one, and it’s up to you to decide what is best for you!
In general, margarine is considered to be healthier than butter due to its lower saturated fat content and lack of cholesterol, although it’s important to choose a margarine product that is trans-fat-free and made with liquid vegetable oils.
Margarine is often used instead of butter due to its lower saturated fat content and lack of cholesterol, which can benefit heart health. Additionally, some people prefer the milder taste of margarine over the rich, creamy flavor of butter.
Becel, like other margarine products, is generally considered to be a healthier option than butter due to its lower saturated fat content and lack of cholesterol. However, it’s important to choose a Becel product that is trans-fat-free and made with liquid vegetable oils.