As the saying goes, the secret to a good dish lies in two ingredients – garlic and butter. This golden delicacy can make even the blandest of dishes delicious. Most importantly, however, you’re adding real butter to your culinary masterpiece.
There are many imitation butter spreads on the market. While many of them are delicious, they’re never going to be the real thing. So, to help elevate your next meal, here’s a list of the best real butter brands to keep an eye on.
What Are Real Butter Brands?
Before dropping a few names, first, we need to clarify a few things. And most importantly – what is the real brand of butter?
When you’re shopping for butter at the store, it’s not uncommon to pick up a package that lists a full list of ingredients. This is a bad sign. Natural, real butter is a very basic food that requires three basic ingredients to make – milk protein, milk fat and water.
You can make butter by churning milk that has been sitting for about five hours. The stirring motion causes the fat molecules in the milk to separate from the liquid and clump together. After you take out the curds and form them into chunks, you pretty much have butter.
Depending on what you want to do with it, you can add salt or no salt. Either way, to be true butter, it should only contain milk, creamer, water, and maybe salt.
If the ingredient list mentions vegetable oils such as canola, soybean, olive, etc., then you’re not dealing with real butter, but a butter spread.
These products may be butter-based, but also contain vegetable fats. This not only affects the flavor, but also the quality of the product. While some might argue that plant fats are a healthier alternative to animal fats, keto fanatics would beg to differ. Ultimately, it all comes down to your preferences.
What about margarine?
Another common dilemma that arises when discussing brands of real butter is margarine. Many people confuse the two because they are very similar. Sometimes, some people even substitute margarine for butter in sweet recipes because margarine is cheaper.
That would be a mistake. Margarine is a mixture of about 80% vegetable fat, salt, water and various preservatives. These preservatives are exactly why so many people 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 is derived from vegetable fats, it contains more polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. These types of fats help lower bad LDL cholesterol. But the downside is that many margarine brands also contain high amounts of trans fat. This type of fat can actually raise cholesterol, which in turn increases your risk of heart disease.
Finally, there is the matter of taste. Margarine may be a fat, but it can’t even compete with butter in terms of taste. Butter has a smooth, creamy taste, while margarine can make baked goods drier and runnier.
So, even if you have to splurge, don’t skimp on quality butter. This is what can 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. That said, here are the best real butter brands you can buy right now.
Some come in salted and unsalted varieties, while others let customers choose whether they want organic grass-fed or sweetened cream types.
• Amur: 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 Farm: Salted sweet cream, unsalted sweet cream
• Kate’s Homemade Butter: Salted and unsalted. This brand is also available in stick and barrel form.
• King Carrie: Salted, unsalted, naturally softer Irish unsalted barrel butter, reduced fat Irish salted barrel butter
• Land O Lakes: Salted, Unsalted, European Salted, European Unsalted, Salted Whipped, Unsalted Whipped
• Organic Valley: Fermented Butter, Salted, European Unsalted, Ranch
• Umpqua Dairy: Sweet Cream Salted, Unsalted Sweet Cream
• Vermont Dairy: Salted Europe, Unsalted Europe