Plant-Based Butter vs Margarine: Difference and Comparison

While using plant-based butter and margarine, it is obvious to notice that both the butter substitutes are fairly similar in taste, color, and consistency.

In terms of dairy, plant-based butter is not made with dairy. On the contrary, sometimes margarine is made with dairy.  

Plant-based butter is essentially entirely made from oils based on plants. In contrast, according to DA of US, margarine must include at least 80% fat, and to achieve this requirement milk can be added.

In this article, the chief aim is on differentiating plant-based butter and margarine. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Plant-based butter uses natural ingredients like nuts and oils, whereas margarine contains hydrogenated vegetable oils.
  2. Plant-based butter offers a more natural taste and texture, while margarine can have a more artificial flavor.
  3. Plant-based butter is a healthier option due to its natural ingredients and lack of trans fats, whereas margarine may contain unhealthy trans fats.

Plant-Based Butter vs Margarine 

Plant-based butter is made from nuts, seeds, or coconut oil, while margarine is made from vegetable oils. Plant-based butter has higher fat and calories than margarine, but it is considered to have a richer flavor. Margarine has a more neutral taste and lower saturated fat.

Plant Based Butter vs Margarine

Plant-based butter is gluten-free and dairy-free butter manufactured with plant-based oils from almonds, avocados, and olives.

With a boost in alternative diets such as veganism, gluten intolerance, and vegetarianism, plant-based butter is a non-dairy healthy substitute for normal butter.  

Margarine is a kind of vegetable-based spread used during cooking and baking. In France, it was initially created and since has been used across the world.

It is quite identical in use and consistency to butter. It also comprises small traces of vitamins and additional healthy fatty acids. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonPlant-Based ButterMargarine
InterpretationIt is a non-dairy butter substitute that is normally made by merging water with a plant-derived oil.It is a butter substitute commonly made from animal fats or vegetable oils.
DiscoveryIn 2004 by Miyoko SchinnerIn 1896 by Hippolyte Mege Maurice
Alternative namesVegan butterOleo, Marge, and oleomargarine
Type of fatPolyunsaturated fatTrans fat
Fat amount11g70.2g

What is Plant-Based Butter? 

Plant-based butter is chiefly made from plant-derived oils and is high in fat and calories. The nutrition content of plant-based butter especially fatty acid composition can vary, depending on the kinds of additives and oils used.

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An increased intake of plant-based eating patterns is linked with merits for the environment.  

Plant-based butter is a convenient vegan substitute when cooking and on toast. It is a good alternative for individuals who have been an allergy to dairy or are lactose intolerant.

Plant-based butter is also suitable for individuals with an allergy to shellfish, eggs, or fish.  

Conversely, plant-based butter might contain other possible allergens. This butter might contain tree nuts and soy. For instance, who are allergic to tree nuts then Miyoko’s Cultured Vegan Butter is not preferred due to the usage of cashews as ingredients.  

Plant-based butter is the best way to mimic the texture and taste of butter in cooking or toast. But there are other nutritious vegan alternatives also like pumpkin puree, mashed banana, etc.

Plant-based butter is calorie-dense food that must be used in moderation with an overall healthy diet. 

What is Margarine? 

Margarine is a spread commonly used for baking, cooking, and flavoring. Although, it was originally manufactured for animal types while today most margarine is consumed made from vegetable oil. France is the margarine’s origin place.  

The foodstuff was chiefly named oleomargarine mainly from Latin for oleum means olive oil and Greek margarite means pearl indicating luster.

Later, the name was shortened to margarine. Due to margarine’s versatility, it can be used as an ingredient like doughnuts, cookies, pastries, and cakes.  

Margarine might be chosen for a range of reasons consisting ease of availability, lower cost, a perception that it is healthier compared to butter.

Also, for a desire to avoid animal products consumption and a simple personal preference to Butter or other spreads on taste account.  

Modern margarine is manufactured mainly of water and refined vegetable oil. In the United States some places, it is colloquially described as oleo which is short for oleomargarine.

In Australia and Britain, it can be described colloquially as marge. 


Main Differences Between Plant-Based Butter and Margarine 

  1. Nutrition comprises in one tablespoon of plant-based butter are calories (100g), sodium (120g), monosaturated fat (5g), saturated fat (3.5g), and polyunsaturated fat (2.5g). In contrast, nutrition comprises in one tablespoon of margarine are calories (100g), cholesterol (0%), monosaturated fat (5-6g), saturated fat (2-3g), and polyunsaturated fat (3.4g).  
  2. Some of the popular brands of plant-based butter in the market are Miyoko’s Kitchen, Earth Balance, Melt Organic, Wayfare Whipped, and Milkadamia Salted Buttery Spread. Meanwhile, Country Crock, Nuttelex, Vitalite, Becel, Maypole Dairy Company, and Chiff Margarine are some of the famous brands that manufacture margarine.  
  3. Plant-based butter is higher in heart-healthy monosaturated fat and lowers in saturated fat which is good for health. On the other hand, when it comes to heart health, Margarine tops butter as it contains unsaturated good fats.  
  4. The downsides to consider of plant-based butter might be highly processed, high in omega-6 fatty acids, and contain potential allergens. On the flip side, margarine increases cholesterol, decreases insulin response and immune response are its downsides.  
  5. The ingredients included in plant-based butter are a blend of palm fruit, flax, olive, canola, and soybean oils and also consist of natural flavor, soy lecithin, salt, lactic acid, etc. Conversely, margarine is made from salt, water, oil, and a few additional ingredients like emulsifiers. 
Difference Between Plant Based Butter and Margarine


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Last Updated : 16 July, 2023

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