cultured vegan butterThis cultured vegan butter, inspired by Miyoko’s cultured plant-based butter, is great for spreading, cooking, and baking. It’s entirely vegan (dairy-free), gluten-free (grain-free), and soy-free.

If you live in North America, you have most likely come across Miyoko’s butter “made from plants”. Miyoko has a few different products mimicking dairy, but her European-style cultured vegan butter and the European-style cultured unsalted vegan butter are probably the most popular.

The unique thing about Miyoko’s butter is the simple ingredient list. The main ingredients are coconut oil, cultured cashew milk, sunflower seed oil, sunflower lecithin, and salt. No palm oil, no soy, no protein isolates, no flavors, no colors. (None of the ingredients commonly found in the popular vegan buttery spread Earth balance).

Because Miyoko’s butter is cultured, it has a unique, slightly tangy, buttermilk-y flavor. The texture is similar to regular butter, but it’s firmer and crumblier when cold and goes soft quicker at room temperature. This makes sense since the main ingredient is coconut oil. The fact that the butter comes in blocks, like real butter, is also a nice touch.

The only downside is the price. Compared to the aforementioned Earth balance, Miyoko’s cultured butter costs twice as much. It’s also not as widely available. The good news is that you can make your own vegan cultured butter using the same ingredients Miyoko does.

Miyoko's vegan butter

Tips for Making Cultured Vegan Butter

Ingredients

The list of ingredients for this cultured vegan butter is identical to Miyoko’s butter ingredients:

  • Coconut oil: there are several types of coconut oil currently on the market – virgin coconut oil (coconut-y flavor and aroma, colorless), refined coconut oil (neutral flavor and aroma, colorless), and coconut oil with butter flavor (buttery flavor and aroma, yellow color). I went with the coconut oil with butter flavor (the butter flavor is a blend of sunflower, coconut, and mint), but Miyoko uses refined coconut oil, which is why her butter is white as opposed to yellow.
  • Cashews: regular butter is a dairy-product commonly made from milk or cream. To get the same creamy texture, Miyoko uses cashews, which blend into a perfectly smooth cashew cream/milk. 
  • Probiotics: to culture the cashew cream, you’ll need live bacteria. Miyoko doesn’t specify, which bacterial strains she uses for her cultured butter, but I imagine that lactic acid bacteria, specifically streptococcus lactis or lactobacillus bulgaricus, will be the most important ones.
  • Sunflower oil: I have tried making vegan butter with just coconut oil, but the texture was slightly too crumbly. Any neutral-tasting oils, such as sunflower oil, helps to mitigate that and ensures that the butter spreads nicely.
  • Sunflower lecithin: an emulsifier is absolutely crucial to ensure that the coconut oil doesn’t separate from the cashew cream. The main role of emulsifiers is to act as a border between two immiscible liquids such as oil and water, allowing them to create stable emulsions. Liquid lecithin is ideal (it blends better), but powdered lecithin works too.
  • Salt: whether you are making unsalted or salted butter, I recommend adding a little bit salt either way. Cashews are naturally slightly sweet and the salt counteracts that sweetness. 

How to Make Cultured Vegan Butter

Making homemade cultured butter is not difficult at all. It just requires a little bit of time.

  1. Soak the cashews. Add the cashews into a medium bowl, cover them with water, and soak them for at least 8 hours (or overnight) so they soften up and are easy to blend. When the cashews are done soaking, drain the water and rinse the cashews thoroughly.
  2. Blend the cashews. Add the soaked cashews into a high-speed blender together with water and blend until completely smooth. 
  3. Add the live cultures. Pour the cashew milk into a sterilized glass bowl and add the live cultures. Using sterilized non-metal utensils, stir the live cultures into the cashew milk. Metal self-sterilizes, i.e., it kills bacteria, including the good bacteria. so avoid metal bowls and utensils. Make sure the probiotics are well mixed in so the good bacteria are evenly spread throughout the milk.
  4. Let the milk culture. Cover the bowl with the cashew milk with a piece of cheesecloth, and let the cashew milk culture at a consistent temperature for a few hours. The time will depend on the strength of the probiotics, the number of strains the probiotics contain, and the temperature at which the milk is culturing. I used 50 billion probiotic capsules with 20 different bacterial strains, and let the milk culture at 77°F/25°C for 12 hours. You can let the milk culture for up to 18 hours, depending on how strong you want the tangy flavor to be.
  5. Blend. Add the cultured cashew milk, melted coconut oil, sunflower oil, sunflower lecithin, and salt into a blender and blend until just combined. Don’t blend the mixture for too long. If it heats up too much, it may split.
  6. Chill. Pour the liquid butter into silicone ice cube tray (or a butter mold) and freeze/refrigerate it right away. 

How to Serve Cultured Vegan Butter

This cultured vegan butter behaves very similarly to traditional dairy butter and is suitable for many culinary and baking applications. The only major difference is that you need to let the butter soften at room temperature for a few minutes so it spreads and slices easily.

As far as using the butter, you can spread it on a toast, stir it into mashed potatoes (that recipe is in my cookbook), let it melt on a straight-out-of-the-grill corn on the cob, drizzle it over popcorn, use it in baked goods including scones, cakes, pies, and cookies, or whip it into frosting.

vegan butter

How to Store Plant-Based Butter

  • To refrigerate: transfer the butter into an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 7 days.
  • To freeze: transfer the butter into an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.

More Vegan Butter Recipes

There are so many different styles of butter nowadays – regular, cultured, churned, clarified… if you enjoyed this recipe, you might also like this classic dairy-free butter recipe:

  • Dairy-free butter: if you don’t have time to make cultured butter, try this non-cultured version of vegan butter. It’s just as rich and creamy.

If you try any of these recipes, please, leave a comment and rate the recipe below. It always means a lot when you do.

cultured vegan butter
5 from 12 votes

Cultured Vegan Butter

Prep Time: 13 hours 30 minutes
Yield: 32 (1-Tbsp.) servings
This cultured vegan butter, inspired by Miyoko's cultured plant-based butter, is great for spreading, cooking, and baking. It's entirely vegan (dairy-free), gluten-free (grain-free), and soy-free.

Ingredients
 

  • 1/2 cup (68.5 g) cashews, , soaked*
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) water
  • 1 (1) probiotic capsule, **
  • 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) butter-flavored coconut oil, , melted***
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp. (5 ml) liquid sunflower lecithin, ****
  • 1/2 tsp. (2.85 g) salt, , or to taste

Instructions
 

  • Blend the cashews. Add the soaked cashews into a high-speed blender together with water and blend until completely smooth. You will end up with thick cashew milk/cashew cream.
  • Add the live cultures. Pour the cashew milk into a sterilized glass bowl and add the live cultures. Using sterilized non-metal utensils, stir the live cultures into the cashew milk. Metal self-sterilizes, i.e., it kills bacteria, including the good bacteria. so avoid metal bowls and utensils. Make sure the probiotics are well mixed in so the good bacteria are evenly spread throughout the milk.
  • Let the cashews milk culture. Cover the bowl with the cashew milk with a piece of cheesecloth, and let the cashew milk culture at a consistent temperature for a few hours. The time will depend on the strength of the probiotics, the number of strains the probiotics contain, and the temperature at which the milk is culturing. I used 50 billion probiotic capsules with 20 different bacterial strains, and let the milk culture at 77°F/25°C for 12 hours. You can let the milk culture for up to 18 hours, depending on how strong you want the tangy flavor to be.
  • Blend. Add the cultured cashew milk, melted coconut oil, sunflower oil, sunflower lecithin, and salt into a blender and blend until just combined. Don't blend the mixture for too long. If it heats up too much, it might split.
  • Chill. Pour the liquid butter into silicone ice cube tray (or a butter mold) and freeze it until firm, 1-2 hours. Then transfer to a refrigerator to set completely.
  • Store. Transfer the butter into an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 7 days. For longer term storage, freeze for up to 3 months.

Notes

*Soak the cashews in water for at least 8 hours (or overnight) so they soften up and are easy to blend. To quick-soak cashews, pour boiling hot water over the cashews and soak for 1 hour uncovered. When the cashews are done soaking, drain the water and rinse the cashews thoroughly.
**I used 50 billion probiotic capsules with 20 different bacterial strains, including Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Streptococcus thermophilus, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Bifidobacterium lactis.
***You can substitute the butter-flavored coconut oil for refined coconut oil, which is for Miyoko uses in her plant-based butter.
****You can substitute the 1 tsp./5 ml liquid sunflower lecithin for 2 tsp./5 g powdered sunflower lecithin.
*****Nutrition information is approximate and may contain errors. Please, feel free to make your own calculations.
******Prep time doesn't include soaking the cashews (~ 8 hours).
This recipe has been inspired by Miyoko's cultured vegan butter.

Nutrition

Serving: 1of 32, Calories: 98kcal, Carbohydrates: 0.6g, Protein: 0.4g, Fat: 11g, Fiber: 0.1g, Sugar: 0g