The saying goes that the secret to good cooking is two ingredients—garlic and butter. This block of golden deliciousness can make even the blandest dishes taste amazing. However, the most important thing is that you add real butter to your culinary masterpiece.
There are so many spreads with imitation butter on the market. While a lot of them are tasty, they will never be the real thing. So, to help elevate your next meal, here is a list of the best real butter brands to be on the lookout for.
What Is a Real Butter Brand?
Before dropping a few names, first, we need to clarify a few things. The most important one being—what qualifies as a real butter brand?
When you’re shopping for butter in the store, it’s not uncommon to pick up a packet that lists a whole laundry list of ingredients. That is a bad sign. Natural, real butter is a very basic food item that requires three basic ingredients to make—milk proteins, butterfat, and water.
You make butter by churning milk that’s been sitting out for around five hours. The churning motion causes the fat molecules in the milk to separate from the liquid and clump together. After you remove the curds and shape them into a block you pretty much get butter.
Depending on what you want to use it for, you can add salt to it or leave it plain. Either way, for something to qualify as real butter it should only include milk, butterfat, water, and maybe salt.
If the ingredients list contains mentions of vegetable oils, like canola, soy, olive oil, etc, then you’re not dealing with real butter, but a butter spread.
These products may have butter as their base but they also contain vegetable fats. This not only impacts the flavor but also the quality of the product. While some may say that vegetable fat is a healthier alternative to animal fat, keto fanatics will beg to differ. Ultimately, it all comes down to what you prefer.
What About Margarine?
Another common conundrum that comes up when discussing real butter brands is margarine. Many people confuse the two since they’re so similar. At times, some will even go so far as to substitute margarine for butter in sweet recipes because margarine is cheaper.
That would be a mistake. Margarine is a combination of around 80% vegetable fats, salt, water, and various preservatives. Those preservatives are exactly why so many call margarine a fake food. However, you’d be surprised to learn that many doctors say margarine is more heart-healthy than butter.
Since it’s derived from vegetable fat, it contains more polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. These types of fat help lower bad LDL cholesterol. But the downside is that a lot of margarine brands contain heaps of trans fats as well. This type of fat actually increases cholesterol and, in turn, the risk of heart disease.
Lastly, there is the issue of taste. Margarine may be a kind of fat, but in terms of taste, it can’t even begin to compete with butter. Butter has a smooth creamy flavor, while margarine makes baked goods dryer and thinner.
So, even though you will have to splurge a bit, don’t skimp on quality butter. It’s the thing that will make or break your next meal.
13 Best Real Butter Brands
Now that we’ve covered the basics of butter, it’s time to get down to business. Namely, here are the best real butter brands you can get your hands on right now.
Some have salted and unsalted varieties while others let customers choose if they want organic grass-fed, or sweet cream types.
• Amul: Salted
• Anchor: Salted, Unsalted
• Berkeley Farms: Salted, Unsalted
• Breakstone’s: Salted, Unsalted
• Cabot: Salted, Unsalted, Whipped Salted
• Challenge Dairy: Salted, Unsalted, European Salted, European Unsalted, Whipped Salted, Whipped Unsalted
• Crystal Farms: Salted Sweet Cream, Unsalted Sweet Cream
• Kate’s Homemade Butter: Salted, Unsalted. This brand also comes in both sticks and tubs.
• Kerrygold: Salted, Unsalted, Naturally Softer Irish Unsalted Butter Tub, Reduced Fat Irish Salted Butter Tub
• Land O Lakes: Salted, Unsalted, European Salted, European Unsalted, Salted Whipped, Unsalted Whipped
• Organic Valley: Cultured Butter, Salted, European Unsalted, Pasture
• Umpqua Dairy: Sweet Cream Salted, Unsalted Sweet Cream
• Vermont Creamery: Salted European, Unsalted European