Non-dairy butter used to mean sketchy oils and zero flavor, but the plant-based diet trend has completely changed the game. In fact, whether you’re vegan or not, you might just consider swapping your usual Land O’ Lakes for for a stick or tub of the dairy-free stuff.
“Most vegan butters are made to function like dairy butter, but contain significantly less saturated fat,” says nutritionist Kelly Jones, RD. “Unfortunately, this meant the use of hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils, or trans fats.”
Though there’s still plenty of debate about whether or not saturated fats are bad for you, trans fats have been linked with a number of chronic health issues.
Luckily, today’s butter alternatives have stepped up their game. Many of the dairy-free butters you’ll see on store shelves now keep saturated fat and cholesterol low without relying on trans fats.
“I love are using olive and avocado oils as their products’ bases, since they provide larger amounts of monounsaturated fats,” Jones says. If you opt for a vegan butter made from soybean oil, though, just choose organic or non-GMO to avoid pesticides. If opting for a palm oil-based product, choose one that’s sustainably sourced.
Otherwise, as long as a product uses these heart-healthy sources of fat, Jones doesn’t mind if the calorie and total fat content are the same as regular butter. “Fat is important for of fat-soluble vitamins and phytochemicals, and helps to promote fullness,” she says.
Whether you need something to spread on toast or bake into muffins, these non-dairy butters are as flavorful as the real thing–and oh-so good for you, too.
“I’ve used Earth Balance sticks for baking for years because they provide the same texture and flavor as dairy butter,” says Jones.
While you might opt for a tub for toast and other eats that can benefit from a flavorful spread, Earth Balance’s sticks work great in all sorts of baked goods.
Perk: They’re available in most grocery stores.
Per serving: 100 calories, 11 g fat (4.5 g sat), 0 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 0 g fiber, 120 mg sodium, 0 g protein
Avocado oil is the base of this flavorful dairy-free butter spread, which “contains half the fat of regular butter and just two grams saturated fat per tablespoon, making it a heart-healthy choice,” says dietitian Charlotte Martin, RDN, CPT.
Per serving: 60 calories, 6 g fat (2 g sat), 0 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 0 g fiber, 90 mg sodium, 0 g protein
When you’re craving a little butter flavor and texture on toast, this whipped Earth Balance spread is a smooth, light must. “It’s certified organic, which may mean better environmental impact for the soy and canola oils it includes,” says Jones.
Per serving: 90 calories, 9 g fat (2.5 g sat), 0 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 0 g fiber, 100 mg sodium, 0 g protein
Since this product is primarily coconut oil, it’s higher in calories, total fat, and saturated fat than regular and dairy-free butters. That said, “I like this product because it’s super versatile and has the shortest ingredient list I’ve seen yet,” says Martin. A perfectly good –in , of course.
Per serving: 130 calories, 14 g fat (13 g sat), 0 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 0 g fiber, 0 mg sodium, 0 g protein
Melt Organic makes a few different dairy-free butter products–and this one has the added benefit of to support gut and immune health.
“This one is higher in total fat than some other dairy-free butters on the market,” says Martin. “However, the saturated fat content is relatively low since they use an oil blend of coconut, palm fruit, canola, sunflower, and flaxseed oil.”
Per serving: 80 calories, 9 g fat (3.5 g sat), 0 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 0 g fiber, 85 mg sodium, 0 g protein
Miyoko’s vegan butter has fewer additives than many other products on the market, but still packs plenty of flavor.
Made with a coconut oil base, it also contains fats from sources like cashews, Jones calls outs. It’s a balanced (and ~trendy~) choice that spreads like the real thing.
Per serving: 90 calories, 11 g fat (8 g sat), 0 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 0 g fiber, 65 mg sodium, 0 g protein
“Country Crock’s recently released plant butter sticks use similar ingredients to other non-dairy sticks, plus avocado oil for a boost in healthy fats,” says Jones. They’re another go-to for baking.
Per serving: 100 calories, 11 g fat (5 g sat), 0 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 0 g fiber, 110 mg sodium, 0 g protein