This vegan butter is not only a great store-bought alternative, but it’s also free of palm oil, emulsifiers, and preservatives. It’s smooth, creamy, rich, and spreads and melts just like regular butter. While it’s not real butter, it’s pretty close. I love to spread it on a piece of bread, add it to mashed potatoes, or use it in baked goods, such as muffins, cookies, or muffin tops.
Since becoming a vegan, butter is something I have missed dearly. I love food that doesn’t need an ingredient list and butter is as simple as it comes – cream. That’s it! No emulsifiers, no hydrogenation, no artificial flavors, no preservatives. It’s also delicious and makes everything taste better – from foods as simple as a toast, to scones, pies, puff pastry and croissants.
Unfortunately, vegan butter options are pretty slim. If you’re lucky you have either access to Earth Balance or Melt Buttery Sticks. These butter substitutions utilize a blend of fats (including palm oil, which is currently associated with rain-forest destruction due to its rising popularity), emulsifiers and natural flavors to mimic real butter. If you are unlucky you only have access to other margarines that use a process called partial hydrogenation to solidify vegetable oil. This hydrogenation process alters the fat structure which also happens to create compounds called trans fatty acids that are highly toxic to the body.
So it seems that the best alternative to traditional butter is homemade vegan butter with real and sustainable ingredients.
Tips for Making Vegan Butter
Dairy butter is made up of about 80% fat, 10 – 16% water, and 4 – 10% curds and minerals. Refined coconut oil is the best alternative to the typically used palm oil. It’s solid at a room temperature and has a neutral flavor (as long as you get the refined version).
A lot of recipes call for curdled milk because curdling the proteins in plant-based milk creates a layer of savory flavor. The problem with curdled milk is that it separates into curds. So if you curdle your milk, you’ll also need to use an emulsifier to create a homogeneous, smooth emulsion. Since I’m not a fan of emulsifiers, I choose to skip the curdling step and put all the ingredients into the blender together.
The best plant-based milks for this recipe is cashew milk because of its neutral flavor and lower protein content. Avoid plant-based milk with strong flavor – such as coconut milk – and with high protein content – such as soy milk – because milk proteins easily curdle in the presence of acidic medium.
Coconut vinegar works the best as the acid medium because it’s milder than any other type of vinegar, has a smooth finish, and no – it doesn’t taste like coconuts. If you can’t find coconut vinegar, you can resort to apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. Nutritional yeast and salt serve as flavor boosters so you can fine-tune their amount to your own taste.
When blending, put all the ingredients into the blender except for the oils. Salt doesn’t dissolve in oil. So blending all the ingredients without oil ensures that salt is evenly distributed throughout the mixture. The mixture needs to be completely smooth without any grainy bits.
For the best looking butter, I recommend using either an old-fashioned butter mold or a silicone mold. This will allow you to make gorgeous butter sticks/cubes that you can easily slide out of the molds.
Tools You’ll Need
1. Blender (Vitamix 5200) | 2. Measuring Cup (1 cup, Pyrex, Glass) | 3. Measuring Cups (Set of 6, Stainless Steel) | 4. Measuring Spoons (Set of 6, 1EasyLife, Stainless Steel) | 5. Butter Mold (4-Cavity, Silicone)
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This vegan butter is not only a great store-bought alternative, but it's also free of palm oil, emulsifiers, and preservatives. It's smooth, creamy, rich, and spreads and melts just like regular butter. While it's not real butter, it's pretty close.
- 8 Tbsp. almond flour
- 10 Tbsp. unsweetened cashew milk
- 1 1/2 tsp. nutritional yeast
- 1/2 - 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. coconut vinegar*
- 4 Tbsp. olive oil or canola oil
- 1 cup refined coconut oil, melted**
Place almond flour, cashew milk, nutritional yeast, salt, and coconut vinegar into a blender and blend until smooth. The mixture should be completely smooth without any grainy bits.
Pour in the refined coconut oil and olive oil then blend on full speed until velvety smooth and light. Blend the mixture for at least 2 minutes so a lot of air gets in.
Pour the vegan butter into an old-fashioned butter mold or silicone molds. Place it in the fridge and let it set. Depending on the size of your container, it might take several hours for the butter to solidify.
You can use this vegan butter just like you would regular butter. However, I don't recommend using it when high temperatures are involved. This includes frying, broiling, and grilling.
Store leftover butter in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. (The shelf-life will be shorter if using homemade almond milk. The butter will last for however long your homemade milk lasts).
For longer term storage, freeze the butter in silicone ice cube trays. Once set, squeeze the butter cubes out and keep them in a sealed freezer bag for up to 3 months.
* If you can't find coconut vinegar, you can also use apple cider vinegar or lemon juice.
**Make sure you use refined coconut oil. Unrefined coconut oil has a coconut flavor.
This recipe has been adapted from Virtual Vegan.