Butter Blends 101

July 18, 2011

Ever wonder what those alternative butters were in the supermarket? Here’s your quick 101 to butter blends and butter substitutes

What are Butter Blends and Substitutes? Butter blends are products that include real butter or butter “flavor” plus vegetable oils to help reduce cholesterol. Butter substitutes contain no butter, are dairy free, and perfect for those who are lactose intolerant.

How to Buy: All blends are not suitable for baking, read labels. For low-fat stove-top cooking, seasoning, or spreads for breads or muffins, these work well.

How to Read the Label: Look for natural ingredients like butter, olive, canola or palm oils. Water should not be the first ingredient. Some blends contain annatto, a harmless coloring agent to provide consistent color in a brand. Many have additives to preserve freshness. Liquid butters and butter “bud” may have only butter “flavor.”

Choices: Most blends have some real butter and all have either hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, or a better choice, a 50-50 blend with olive oil. Butter blends have a texture similar to whipped butters only softer and with more water, packaged in tubs. Liquid butters, in small to large jugs, are the thickness of syrup. “Buds” are powdery and, when sprinkled on hot foods, melt and add a liquid buttery taste.

How to Use: Best for a spread on bread or toast or muffins; can be used to sauté or to cook eggs or egg substitutes; liquid butters can be used like an oil; “buds” work as a seasoning. Most are not good for baking.

How to Store: All whipped blends may be frozen up to 6 months. Refrigerate whipped, liquid, and buds after purchase and in between uses, up to 3 months.

Health Benefits: Lower in cholesterol, they have no trans fats and may have added Omega 3 and 6 for heart health.

Smarter Shopping: Use Pam® spray cooking oils as a replacement to reduce fat and calories and for cooking, baking and frying.