Baking With Margarine Vs. Butter

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Hi Bold Bakers!

IN THIS ARTICLE: You’ll get a clear and concise breakdown of the pros and cons of baking with Margarine Vs. Butter, and hopefully the answer to the age-old debate you’ve been looking for — which is better? 

The Margarine vs. Butter debate has been argued for decades. Both margarine and butter are fats used in baked goods to add flavor, richness, and structure, among other things. They’re both available in sticks or spreads and can be used in baking or cooking in the same way in equal amounts. 

I’m going to approach this from two different angles — the health perspective and the quality of the desserts each yield — and we’ll discuss the basics of Margarine vs. Butter in baking to help you decide which to use for your baked goods. 

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How Is Butter Made?

Butter is made from heavy cream, the fatty part of cow’s milk that is usually removed or partially removed when sold. It is churned, making the rich, spreadable butter that we’re used to. Since it comes from animals, it is high in saturated — or “bad” — fats. It is rich and delicious and makes baked goods taste great.

What Is Margarine, And How Has It Evolved?

Is margarine bad for you? Let’s get this out of the way: margarine has gotten a bad reputation in the past for being full of harmful chemicals, but the margarine industry has made some major improvements in the past few years. Most kinds of margarine used to be made with trans fat — a predominantly man-made type of fat that has proven to vastly increase one’s risk of heart disease, even in small amounts. 

In 2018, the FDA banned trans fats, forcing margarine manufacturers to reformulate using fully hydrogenated oils, which are much better for you. Trans fats can be found on nutrition labels as “partially hydrogenated oils.”

modern margarine? It is:

  • Vegetable fats (such as vegetable oil)

Since vegetable fat is unsaturated fat, it’s also known as “good” fat. On top of that, since it’s plant-based, most margarine is dairy-free and vegan.

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Margarine vs. Butter: The Health Benefits

First, I wouldn’t say I like using terms like “more healthy,” because that can mean different things to different people. It can mean natural, low-calorie, heart-healthy, vegan, etc., which all have very different definitions and can have minimal overlap. 

That being said, let’s go through a bunch of pros and cons of each. 

Butter Pros & Cons

  • PRO: Butter is less processed than margarine.
  • PRO: Butter from grass-fed cows contains nutrients such as vitamin A, Omega-3 fatty acids, butyrate, and conjugated linoleic acid. 
  • CON: Butter can raise one’s levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol which can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and more.
  • CON: Butter is high in calories.

Margarine Pros & Cons

  • PRO: Margarine can reduce one’s levels of LDL cholesterol which can reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and more.
  • PRO: Most margarine is dairy-free and vegan
  • PRO: Margarine is better for your heart than butter, according to the
  • CON: Margarine is high in calories and is usually more processed than butter.

Butter and margarine have roughly the same calories and grams of fat, with around 100 calories and 11-12 grams of fat per tablespoon. They make light versions of both butter and margarine that tend to have fewer calories and less fat.

So which one is healthier? That’s up to you! Neither of these are for you, so they should both be consumed in moderation (everything in moderation, even moderation, as I always say), just like any treat. 

If you value natural, unprocessed foods, maybe butter is better for you. If you have or are at high risk for heart disease, atherosclerosis, or other similar diseases, maybe you should use margarine. You should always consult your doctor first and decide which option is best for you.

Margarine vs. Butter: Which Is Better For Baking?

Margarine and butter can be used interchangeably in baking. Just make sure if a recipe calls for sticks of butter, you use sticks of margarine instead of the spreadable tub or the other way around. This is because the tub and the sticks have different textures that will alter the texture of your baked goods. 

Things To Consider When Baking With Margarine And Butter

When it comes to taste, baked goods made with butter have much more flavor than baked goods made with margarine. 

Margarine also has a much higher water content than butter which yields a softer-textured result, while butter yields chewier results. Cookies baked with margarine have a softer, doughier texture, while cookies baked with butter are crispier on the outside and gooey on the inside. 

So, based on these facts, I prefer baking with butter over margarine.

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Food Budget

It’s really up to your personal preference which to use, but margarine is typically much less expensive than butter, so it may be easier to fit margarine into your budget. 

At the end of the day, both are good options for your baking, depending on your needs. 

Related Recipes

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Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.

Butter, shortening, and margarine are all types of fats that are solid at room temperature. They look pretty similar; if you unwrap sticks of each (especially butter and margarine) and guess by sight, you might not be able to spot any differences with your naked eye. But if you examine them like you might in chemistry class, the differences between butter, margarine, and shortening are very real. Whether you are curious about which is the healthiest option or simply ran out of one and want to trade in another for a baking substitution, learn about the differences between shortening, butter, and margarine for baking or cooking.

What Is Butter?

Butter is made when cream is churned so vigorously, the butterfat solids separate from the buttermilk liquids. The resulting light yellow spreadable substance must be at least 80% fat to be sold commercially. The rest is up to 16% water, and often just milk proteins. Brands of butter vary based on the fat content; higher-fat butters tend to deliver richer flavor. (Irish Kerrygold butter, for example, is 82% butterfat.)

Most stores offer butter in several varieties:

  • Salted
  • Unsalted
  • Sweet cream, which is made with pasteurized cream
  • Whipped, a spread that’s lower in fat and calories than regular butter because air is whipped in to make it less dense

Since butter comes from an animal source, it contains cholesterol and saturated fat. You’ll find it called for in many baking recipes, as it adds nice flavor and great texture to cookies, pie crusts, pastries, and more.

What Is Margarine?

Margarine is made from oil, water, salt, and often emulsifiers, additives, and some flavorings that make it taste and bake similar to butter. By law, it must also be at least 80% fat, but the particular oil—which is listed among the ingredients—is up to the manufacturer’s discretion. Anything less than 80% fat you’ll see labeled as a “spread.” Brands like Country Crock and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter helped popularize the spread trend during the 1990s low-fat craze. (In other confusing lingo, any product you see marketed as “plant-based butter” is margarine, just sold by a trendy modern name.)

Sold in sticks or tubs, margarine and similar spreads sold in your supermarket’s refrigerator can range from 10% fat to 90% fat, which could clearly impact a baked recipe. Check the fat grams on the label: if you’re seeking something similar to butter, it should clock in at about 12 grams of fat per tablespoon. Since margarine is made with oil instead of butter, it includes polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. (Since the FDA’s 2015 ban on partially hydrogenated oils due to their impact on cholesterol levels, trans fats are very rare.)

What Is Shortening?

The term “shortening” used to only apply to lard, a semi-solid form of fat that comes from the fatty tissue of pigs. In the early 1900s, scientists created an affordable lard substitute with hydrogenated vegetable oil, which was sold under brand names like Crisco. Both now fall under the umbrella term of “shortening.” It is called for in certain piecrust recipes, biscuits, and other baked goods due to the flaky, delicate, and tender texture that it offers. Another benefit of baking with shortening is that can help goodies stay moist longer than if you opted for butter. Unlike butter or margarine, however, it’s completely flavorless.

We bet you’re wondering, “since both are made with vegetable oil, is margarine shortening?” They’re similar, but not the same. The difference between margarine and shortening is that shortening contains 100% fat and zero water.

The fat in shortening is mostly polyunsaturated, with a bit of saturated fat and monounsaturated fat in the mix. Lard is naturally trans fat-free, and since being reformulated in 2007, Crisco contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fats per serving. (This is a negligible enough amount to be listed as 0 grams on the nutrition facts panel.)

The Bottom Line About the Difference Between Butter and Margarine and Shortening

The type of fat is the key feature that makes each of these fat sources differ—and gives each a purpose in classic recipes.

Texture, flavor, color, and shelf life vary based on which fat source you use. Cakes made with margarine tend to be denser and lighter in color, while cakes made with butter taste more, well, buttery, but can end up a bit less tender. Cookie recipes made with butter are more caramelized in color and crispier near the edges; margarine-based cookies are chewy but lack the same flavor punch. Piecrusts made with shortening instead of butter are a blank slate flavor-wise, yet are unmatchable in terms of the fork-tenderness.

Many modern-day bakers tend to prefer the taste of butter, but margarine can be useful to keep baked goods soft, while shortening creates a lovely flaky and light quality. Nutritionally, the difference between margarine and shortening is slim, especially if you consume these fats in small quantities. If you’re aiming to keep saturated fat intake down for a healthier cholesterol level, stick with margarine. Otherwise, we suggest using the fat source called for in your recipe and enjoying baked goods in moderation. Of course, feel free to experiment with any substitutions, making note of any things you like and don’t prefer about the replacement so you remember for next time.

In general, it is possible to use margarine for baking if it is authentic margarine with a high enough fat content. Real margarine can be substituted in equal amounts for butter, although it will provide a different taste to the baked dish. There are several modified or mixed versions of margarine that might not be suitable for baking, however, mostly because they do not have enough fat to cause the necessary reactions in foods and because they have a high water content. It is best to avoid non-fat margarine for baking, as well as products that are packaged as margarine but are labeled as spreads or substitutes. Margarine has different properties than butter so, when using margarine for baking, it can be beneficial to freeze it before creaming, be extra cautious when melting it and be aware of any additives such as flavorings that might have been added during manufacturing.

True margarine is made primarily of fats that are derived from vegetable oils. The definition of “real margarine” is that it must contain at least 80 percent fat, making it equivalent to butter in that regard and making it possible to use margarine for baking almost any type of food. Puff pastry and syrup-based candies are two exceptions unless the recipes have been specifically developed to use margarine. The amount of fat in margarine is sometimes reduced to make a low-fat or non-fat product that might — or might not — be appropriate for baking. In general, margarine that has a fat content of more than 50 percent can be used for baking.


If the amount of fat is reduced in margarine, then it frequently is replaced by water. When using margarine for baking, excess water can quickly turn a batter or dough into a very soupy mess and, thus, should be avoided. Some recipes account for the extra water in non-fat margarines and adjust the remaining ingredients accordingly. In these cases, using higher-fat margarine for baking can result in a batter that is too dry.

If a recipe calls for the margarine to be creamed or whipped with sugar, then it can be done more easily if the margarine is first partially frozen. This will help it to retain its structure while being whipped. Additionally, the melting point for margarine is lower than that of butter, meaning margarine will melt more readily. Some margarine has additives such as flavorings or salt that can affect the taste of the final dish, so choosing the appropriate margarine for baking may involve being aware of its ingredients.

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Margarine or butter? Both provide that delicate, velvety smoothness that makes them so perfect to pair with something as simple as a slice of bread. Spreading a dab of this glorious butteriness to amplify your morning breakfast. Many of us keep both butter and margarine in our pantries, alternating between them whenever we fancy. Though it isn’t unknown for many of us to reach for the butter when it’s time to bake a lovely batch of cookies.

But can you use margarine instead? The answer is yes of course! Though if you’re wondering what is the best margarine for baking, then you’re in for a treat because in this article we’re going to take a look at some of the top brands!

Table of Contents

  • So What’s the Difference Between Margarine and Butter?
  • Can You Use Margarine Instead of Butter When Baking?
  • What’s the Best Margarine for Baking Cookies?
  • Best Margarine Brands for Baking
  • Is it Better to Use Margarine Instead of Butter When Baking?
  • Bottom Line
  • FAQs

The obvious similarities lie in their complexion, bright yellow, and spreadable softness. Though margarine and butter are made from different ingredients, which can often be used alternately in the kitchen. Butter is made from heavy cream, containing higher levels of saturated fat, which can deteriorate one’s health if consumed too often or in large quantities. Whereas, margarine is made from vegetable oils, and contains unsaturated fats. Margarine is usually vegan unless it’s labeled otherwise.

Can You Use Margarine Instead of Butter When Baking?

If you’re looking for a butter substitute, consider using margarine instead of butter in baking. Margarine has a similar taste and texture to butter when spread on toast or pancakes, but both products differ greatly when used in baking recipes. While both margarine and butter can be used interchangeably when cooking, there are some important differences that should be taken into consideration when substituting one product for another.

Baked goods like pie crusts or laminated doughs may turn out differently if softened margarine is substituted because they require cold hard fats like butter or lard instead of soft ones like shortening; this will result in an undesirable texture. These types of recipes usually require solidified fats like butter, rather than liquid ones found within margarine.

What’s the Best Margarine for Baking Cookies?

For baking cookies, tub margarine is the best option. It contains fewer calories and is healthier than other types of margarine. You can also use butter margarine in baking cookies if you let it chill beforehand. This will make it toughen up so that it can hold its shape while being formed into cookie shapes by hand or with a cookie press.

Best margarine for baking

Best Margarine Brands for Baking

When it comes to baking, it’s pretty important to use the best margarine you can find. Try and opt for the sticks instead of tubs of margarine; sticks will have a higher fat content than the tubs. This means that when you’re using it in your recipes, the end result will be moister and flavourful than if you were using butter. Here are some top brands of margarine that can be used in your baking:

  • Fleischmann’s Unsalted Margarine Sticks
  • Imperial Margarine Sticks
  • Land O’ Lakes Margarine Sticks
  • Blue Bonnet
  • I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Baking Sticks
  • Country Crock Vegetable Oil Sticks
  • Parkay Vegetable Oil Sticks
  • Earth Balance Buttery Sticks (Vegan)

Fleischmann’s Unsalted Margarine Sticks

Fleischmann’s Unsalted Margarine Sticks contain the same amount of water as traditional butter, so it is a good choice for baking and cooking. Traditional margarine brands typically have more water content than butter, which means they tend to produce fluffier cookies. However, Fleischmann’s unsalted margarine sticks contain the same amount of fat as butter, making them an ideal choice when whipping up batches of cookies.

Fleischmann solid margarine stick, 1 pound -- 18 per case.

Imperial Margarine Sticks

Since the late 1950s, the Imperial brand has been producing margarine sticks for all-purpose use in the kitchen. It is most popularly used in chocolate chip cookies and other baked goods, but it can be used to sauté veggies or cook up a batch of quesadillas too.

Land O’ Lakes Margarine Sticks

Land O Lakes Margarine Sticks have long been considered an excellent choice for baking anything from cookies to muffins to cornbread. It’s made without artificial preservatives, colours, or flavours and contains no trans fats. The stick form makes it easy to use in recipes where you don’t want the container touching food.

Blue Bonnet

Blue Bonnet has been popular among those wanting to add margarine to their dishes. While Blue Bonnet has a lower fat content compared to the other brands you can still use it in some baking recipes. Depending on what type of cookie is being baked and how thinly you want them sliced.

Conagra blue bonnet solid margarine stick, 1 pound -- 30 per case.

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Baking Sticks

Some brands like I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter are switching to other plant-based oils like soybean or canola, which is a slightly better alternative to vegetable oil.

Country Crock Vegetable Oil Sticks

Country Crock Vegetable Oil Sticks are made with 60% vegetable oil, no high fructose corn syrup, and few ingredients. They’re also a great option for baking because they don’t melt easily and the flavour is similar to butter.

Parkay Vegetable Oil Sticks

Another great option for baking is Parkay Vegetable Oil Sticks. This brand has been around for years and is most likely the oldest product on the list. Throughout its long history, it has held up to producing some tasty baked goods. If you’re looking for an unsalted margarine stick that’s easy to find at grocery stores, this is it!

Earth Balance Buttery Sticks (Vegan)

If you’re looking for a vegan alternative to butter, Earth Balance Buttery Sticks (Vegan) is a good choice. This brand offers many different flavours that can be used in baking and cooking as a substitute for other oils and fats.

Earth balance vegan, lactose free, non-dairy, gluten free, no msg, non-gmo buttery sticks 16 ounce (pack of 6)

Is it Better to Use Margarine Instead of Butter When Baking?

Margarine is often thought of as a substitute for butter, but it’s not as good. Margarine can have more water and less fat when compared to regular butter, which means that baked goods made with margarine will have a different texture. The high-fat content in real butter provides not only richer flavour but also helps to give baked goods their texture. If you want to use margarine instead of butter when baking, make sure you choose one that has 80% or more fat.

Bottom Line

So, what’s the best margarine for baking? It all depends on your baking needs. Butter provides your baked goods with better flavour, and can be used in more recipes than margarine. However, margarine can do the same, if chosen wisely. Depending on the texture you desire from your baked goods, margarine can be used as a substitute if you want to avoid dairy or are watching your fat intake.


Which Margarine is Best for Baking?

When baking, butter margarine is the best alternative, with its high-fat content making it an excellent choice for muffins and cornbread, and lower fat content making it great for baking cookies.

Which Margarine is Best for Cakes?

Old-fashioned ingredients like Stork margarine work better in cakes than butter, as you’ll find yourself getting a better rise on the cakes when Stork is used.

Which Butter or Margarine is Best for Baking?

Unsalted butter is best for baking, as well as butter margarine, for those who wish to use margarine instead of butter, this margarine will provide your baked goods with that delightfully moist texture.

Can I Use Margarine Instead of Butter for Baking?

Margarine is the most commonly used substitute for baking cookies, cakes, donuts, and can be used in the equal amount of butter your recipe calls for.

Not everyone is a fan of butter, and if you’re a part of the anti-butter club, you likely scratch your head when it comes to baking. After all, plenty of baked treats call for butter – not margarine or other butter alternatives. 

The good news is that you can successfully substitute butter for margarine in your baking recipes. The key is to find high-fat, low-water margarine. Too much water content and your dough or batter will become too thin and wet for success. Sticks tend to work better than tubs.

But which brand has the best margarine? While there are many top-notch kinds of margarine out there, they’re not all created equally – especially when it comes to baked goods. That’s why I’ve hand-selected these top eight margarine brands so that you can be confident in your treat with no mishaps along the way.

Howdy! I’m Michelle, and I’ve been baking for the last ten years. While I have a slight obsession with butter, I’ve still dabbled with margarine here and there. I’m adding my favorite margarine brands, plus some other top choices based on reviews and features.

Let me “butter you up” with these top eight margarine brands for baking.

  • 1. Land O Lakes
  • 2. Imperial
  • 3. I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!
  • 4. Country Crock
  • 5. Fleischmanns
  • 6. Melt 
  • 7. Earth Balance
  • 8. Buckeye Flex
  • FAQs
  • Get Ready to Bake with These Top Margarine Brands!

Land O Lakes

Land O Lakes has been around for over 100 years. They’re my personal favorite brand for margarine. Not only is this company’s margarine delicious, but their margarine sticks have an impressively high-fat content.

Needless to say, Land O Lakes is a brand you can trust, whether you’re using margarine for baking cookies, cakes, cupcakes, or other baked goodies. 


If I had to pick a runner-up behind Land O Lakes margarine, I’d definitely go for Imperial. Imperial is one of the cheapest choices on the market, making it the go-to for those baking on a budget.

But don’t let the low price fool you. These margarine sticks have a surprisingly high-fat content that is ideal for baking – so much so that the company plastered a chocolate chip cookie recipe right on the back.

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!

I can’t believe you’re not using I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter margarine sticks! Okay, that was a bit of a tongue-twister. But in all honesty, I can’t believe you’re not using it.

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter was a staple in my home growing up, and I have many fond memories of baking goodies with my mom using this margarine.

Now that I’m all grown up (or at least I like to think I am!), I still use this margarine here and there. I’m a big fan of their cooking spray, but the margarine sticks also work well for baking.

Country Crock

Another name I recognize from childhood – and you might, too – is Country Crock. Like most other households, my family was a big fan of those delightful tubs of Country Crock (which eventually got used as a storage container for leftovers – am I right?).

But while their tubs may take center stage, Country Crock offers wonderful, high-fat margarine sticks for baking. That said, save the tubs for baked potatoes and toast. Opt for the sticks when making muffins and cupcakes.


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Are you looking for margarine with impressive creaminess and flavor? Then Melt margarine sticks are exactly what you’re looking for.

Aside from the flavors, these margarine sticks are crafted with various fruits and plant oils, allowing the margarine to contain heart-healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fats. It’s also USDA-certified organic, a label plenty of people are looking for in this day and age.

Earth Balance

Where are my vegan bakers at? Earth Balance is the best choice for those who want to use margarine but want to avoid any type of dairy.

And don’t worry – just because these margarine sticks don’t contain dairy doesn’t mean they’re destined for failure. The fat content is surprisingly on-par with the margarine mentioned above, ensuring lovely baked goodies every time.

Buckeye Flex

When something is marketed specifically for baking, you know you’ll get an excellent product for all your baking needs – and that’s exactly what the Buckeye Flex margarine sticks are all about.

With high-fat content specifically designed for baking, you can feel confident that your goodies will come out perfect every time. Yum, yum!


What is the best margarine to use?

The best margarine will have a high-fat content and be a stick, not a spread. My personal favorite is Land O Lakes, but any of these brands will be excellent choices for your baked goods.

Do bakers use margarine?

I’ve known bakers who use butter (like myself) and some that use margarine. There is really no “rule” for bakers when it comes to which ingredient they use for their treats, so don’t think that you’re not making “real” goodies like a baker if you opt for margarine!

Is Blue Bonnet margarine?

Blue Bonnet has margarine sticks that are wonderful for baking! They didn’t make my top eight list, though, solely because they have a slightly lower fat content. This means that baked goods may not turn out exactly how you planned. For instance, cookies may be thinner and crispier – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing!

Get Ready to Bake with These Top Margarine Brands!

There you have it, folks! The top eight margarine brands for baking. While I am personally a big fan of Land O Lakes, any of these margarine companies will do justice for your baked treats.

I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It’s been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

Nothing is more frustrating than putting time and effort into baking, only to have the recipe fail. Sometimes cookies spread too much or not enough, they may be burned on the bottom, but raw in the center. There are many common reasons cookies fail, but the truth is, it’s not you, it’s often the margarine or spread you use.

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Nothing is more frustrating than putting time and effort into baking, only to have the recipe fail. Sometimes cookies spread too much or not enough, they may be burned on the bottom, but raw in the center. There are many common reasons cookies fail, but the truth is, it’s not you. It’s often the margarine or spread you use.

Recently, many margarine and spread stick brands have drastically lowered the percentage of oil in their sticks and replaced it with water. In fact, many brands can’t call themselves margarine because they do not meet the legal standard (80% vegetable oil) for margarine. Measuring accurately is one of the keys to baking success. As you can imagine, not having the right amount of oil can affect how your baked goods turn out.

Land O Lakes® Margarine contains 80% vegetable oil, which is vital in making sure you get great results every time you bake. Reducing oil and replacing it with water can cause your baked goods to flatten, go stale faster and not brown.

With Land O Lakes® Margarine, you will get consistent results every time you use it to make your baking the best. Delight your family and friends with quality baked goods, and they’ll be asking for your recipes and your secret ingredient.

Got a craving but out of butter? Try a substitute for butter in cookies and beyond!

When it comes to baking cookies, cakes and even pastries, the creamy goodness of butter provides a rich flavor that’s tough to beat. (That’s precisely why the team at the Taste of Home Test Kitchen uses butter to test most recipes.) But when the munchies come calling, and the butter dish is empty, consider these common butter substitutes.


Margarine is possibly the most-used butter substitute for baking cookies, cakes, doughnuts or just about anything else for that matter. Margarine can be used in the equal amount of butter a recipe calls for. Margarine actually helps cookies keep their shape slightly better than butter, so if the shape of your cookies is really important to you, consider this butter substitute. Here’s the actual difference between butter and margarine.


Like margarine, shortening is a smart butter substitute when baking (here’s the difference between all three). It can be used in the same amount as butter called for in a recipe, but unlike margarine, it lacks flavor (and water), so bakers will often add a bit more. (But if you have buttered-flavored shortening, you’re golden!) The lack of water also means extra tender and soft baked goods.

Olive & Vegetable Oil

You might be out of butter but you likely have a bottle of oil on hand, so grab that bad boy and bake up some treats. Oils work best for muffins and quick breads, but you can use them for cookies as well. Try ¾ cup olive or vegetable oil for every cup of butter called for.

Coconut Oil

When you’re out of butter, swap in coconut oil in equal amounts for nearly any baked good. Not only does coconut oil give sweets a little tropical flair, but it’s a great butter substitute for cakes, brownies, quick breads, muffins, corn bread and yeast breads. It’s one of few butter substitutes that makes cookies crunchy. If you don’t want too much coconut flavor, use refined coconut oil.

Pumpkin Puree

If you love pumpkin, swap it in for the butter in your treats. Multiply the amount of butter in a recipe by ¾, and you’ll know how much pumpkin puree to use. (In other words, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of butter, you’d use ¾ cup of pumpkin in its place.) It’s both a fat and a sweetener for quick breads, cakes, cupcakes, bars and cookies. Remember that pumpkin will change the color of your cookies (hope you like orange!) and yield a dense product.


Applesauce is a longtime healthy butter substitute for anyone looking to lighten up cookies, quick breads and other baked goods. Whether you’re watching your weight or not, grab a jar of applesauce the next time you’ve got a craving. Start by replacing half of a recipe’s butter with the applesauce, and you should be enjoying chewy, sweet cookies and other treats in no time.

Greek Yogurt

Creamy…yummy…low-fat…it’s Greek yogurt! Try it in equal amounts of butter when baking cakes and cookies for ultra-soft snacks with less fat. Depending on the brand of yogurt, your cookies may have more or less of a tangy flavor.


Fix your cookie craving with a mashed banana. Your cookies will be a bit dense and, of course, offer a slight banana flavor, but this is a smart, healthy option when you’re out of butter. Bananas are also great butter substitutes for cakes, cupcakes, muffins and quick breads. In general, one banana is equal to a stick of butter so replace the butter in equal amounts of mashed banana.

Whether salted or unsalted, butter can’t be beat when it comes to baking cookies and other treats. But the next time you have a snack attack and don’t have any butter around the house, grab a glass of milk and bake up a batch of yumminess with a no-fuss butter substitute.

Our Favorite Recipes with Butter

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Gooey Butter Cake

A friend gave me a quick version of this gooey butter cake recipe using a cake mix, but I prefer baking from scratch, so I made my own version. My family can’t get enough! The middle will sink a little; this is normal. This dessert is delicious served warm or cold. —Cheri Foster, Vail, Arizona

Wisconsin Butter Burgers

It’s no secret that Wisconsinites love their dairy—so much that they sometimes top their burgers with a generous pat of butter.
My recipe is a lot like the butter burgers you’ll find in popular restaurants all over the state. —Becky Carver, North Royalton, Ohio

Herb-Buttered Baby Carrots

The herb butter can be used for everything from vegetables to roast chicken, turkey, game hens—let your imagination be your guide.—Sandra Corey, Caldwell, Idaho

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Dreamy Polenta

I grew up eating polenta, so it’s a must at my holiday gatherings. Traditional recipes require constant stirring, but using my handy slow cooker allows me to turn my attention to the lineup of other foods on my spread. —Ann Voccola, Milford, Connecticut

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Layered Yellow Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

This yellow cake will become your go-to recipe for birthdays, but the tender cake with flavorful chocolate buttercream is truly perfect for any occasion. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Lemon Popovers with Pecan Honey Butter

My mom passed this recipe down to me many years ago. We love the delicate lemon flavor with the pecan honey butter. The popovers are a nice addition to any dinner, but they’re especially delicious at breakfast with a bowl of fruit and yogurt. —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas

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Buttery Herb Roasted Chicken

Roasting chicken is always such a comforting thing, especially when you can pick the herbs right from your garden and pair them with some fresh citrus to smear across the bird! My family can’t get enough of this herb-roasted chicken recipe. —Jenn Tidwell, Fair Oaks, California

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Easy Biscuits

Whip up this buttery, easy biscuit recipe to serve with breakfast or dinner. The dough is very simple to work with, so there’s no need to roll with a rolling pin; just pat to the right thickness. — Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Kentucky Butter Cake

I found this Kentucky butter cake recipe in an old cookbook I bought at a garage sale and couldn’t wait to try it. I knew it had been someone’s favorite because of the well-worn page. —Joan Gertz, Palmetto, Florida

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Homemade Pierogi

Pierogi, dumplings stuffed with a filling, make for a wonderful change-of-pace side dish. —Diane Gawrys, Manchester, Tennessee

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Sauteed Tarragon Radishes

Who says radishes only belong in salads? These sautéed radishes are cooked in wine and tarragon, and may just change the way you look at radishes forever. These can be served on their own, or added to your favorite au gratin recipe. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Oma’s Apfelkuchen (Grandma’s Apple Cake)

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Grilled Veggies with Caper Butter

We enjoy the tart, peppery taste of capers. No one likes a bland veggie, and caper butter helps peppers, squash and zucchini shine. —Danyelle Crum, Indian Trail, North Carolina

Aunt Rose’s Fantastic Butter Toffee

I don’t live in the country, but I love everything about it—especially good old-fashioned home cooking! Every year, you’ll find me at our county fair, entering a different contest. This easy toffee recipe is a family favorite. —Kathy Dorman, Snover, Michigan

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Blood Orange Caramel Tarte Tatin

I never had blood oranges until I moved to California. Their growing season is pretty short, so I use them in everything I possibly can. Whenever I have something to go to, my friends demand that I bring this dessert. The sweet orange flavor pairs perfectly with brown sugar and looks so lovely. —Pamela Butkowski, Hermosa Beach, California

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Butter & Herb Turkey

My kids love a turkey meal, and this one falls off the bone. It’s the ideal recipe for special family times and holidays. —Rochelle Popovic, South Bend, Indiana

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Classic Butter Pie Pastry

This all-butter pie crust makes a flavorful, flaky pie. It is easy to handle and bakes to be golden brown and beautiful—just like Mom’s! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

Chive Garlic Bread

A purchased loaf of French bread gets a real boost with a few simple ingredients. Garlic and chives make the savory slices irresistible. Along with lasagna or other Italian meal, we munch them until the last crumbs have vanished! —Kim Orr, West Grove, Pennsylvania

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Buttery Whiskey-Glazed Pearl Onions

I always have pearl onions on hand to add to stews and vegetable dishes—they’re great pickled, too. Every Thanksgiving, I make this glazed onion dish. It can easily be made ahead and reheated. —Ann Sheehy, Lawrence, Massachusetts

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Holland Butter Cookies

My great-grandmother’s Holland butter cookies have been passed down in my family from generation to generation. This recipe uses only five ingredients that are usually already in the house. For different holidays, I swap the almonds for cherries, walnuts or ginger. —Tineke De Rosa, Blairstown, New Jersey

Holiday Hot Buttered Rum Mix

My family loves serving this rich and delicious beverage around the holidays. It can be made with or without alcohol, so everyone enjoys it! —Alisa Pirtle, Browns Valley, California

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Vanilla-Butter Sugar Cookies

These butter sugar cookies are one of my favorite cookies to bake for Christmas. The dough recipe is versatile, so you can use it for other holidays, too. Children like to help with the cookie decorating. —Cynthia Ettel, Glencoe, Minnesota

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Buttery Mashed Potatoes

These creamy, buttery mashed potatoes use simple ingredients. The tricks are to use Yukon Gold potatoes and then to warm the cream and butter before adding them to the potatoes. —Rashanda Cobbins, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Carrots Lyonnaise

This recipe from a junior high home economics class was brought home by my sister Laurie. My family liked it so much that it became a part of our Christmas dinner tradition. — Elizabeth Plants, Kirkwood, Missouri

Flaky Butterhorn Rolls

The recipe for these dinner rolls, slightly sweet and so very flaky, was my mother’s. They are simple to prepare because kneading skills are not required and the dough is easy to handle. My grandchildren have renamed them “Grandma’s croissants”! —Bernice Smith, Sturgeon Lake, Minnesota

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Tender Pecan Logs

Folks always ask me to make these tender nutty logs. Not overly sweet, they’re just right with a steaming cup of coffee or tea. —Joyce Beck, Gadsden, Alabama

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Cheddar and Chive Mashed Potatoes

My husband swears my cheddar mashed potatoes are the world’s best. We always have some in the freezer. Sometimes I dollop individual servings in muffin cups and reheat them that way instead. —Cynthia Gerken, Naples, Florida

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Dutch Letters

These S-shaped super flaky butter pastries filled with almond paste and topped with crunchy sugar are popular in both Iowa and Holland during the Christmas season. Here’s a recipe that will let you make and enjoy them all year round. —Shirley De Lange, Byron Center, Michigan

Cast-Iron Loaded Breakfast Biscuits

These loaded breakfast biscuits are full of hearty breakfast ingredients like eggs, bacon, mushrooms and cheese! They are perfect to bake up on the weekends, then freeze for a quick weekday breakfast. A gluten-free flour blend can be substituted for the all-purpose flour. —Courtney Stultz, Weir, Kansas

Cranberry Butter Crunch Bark

One Christmas I dreamed this recipe up when making buttercrunch toffee. It is an addictive treat that disappears fast.—Heather Ferris, Vanderhoof, British Columbia

Nutty Butter Munchies

My sweet tooth flared up, so I had to get baking. Peanuts and pecans are everywhere in Louisiana, so I worked them into my buttery drop cookies. —Zenola Frazier, Tallulah, Louisiana

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Cauliflower Gratin

Cauliflower gratin is a lower-carb side dish that pairs well with pork, ham or beef. It’s so creamy and delicious that even the kids will ask for seconds! If you like a little crunch, sprinkle buttered bread crumbs over the top after 30 minutes of baking. — Mary Zinchiak, Boardman, Ohio

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Buttery Orange Sugar Cookies

My husband’s grandmother made a variety of cookies every year for her grandkids at Christmastime. She would box them up and give each child his or her own box. This crisp, orange flavored cookie is one of my favorites from her collection.—Heather McKillip, Aurora, Illinois

Miso-Buttered Succotash

Miso-Buttered Succotash

The miso paste in this super simple and healthy canned vegetable recipe gives depth and a hint of savoriness. To brighten the flavor profile even more, you could add a splash of your favorite white wine. —William Milton III, Clemson, South Carolina

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Buttery Bubble Bread

Homemade bread can be time-consuming, difficult and tricky to make. But this fun-to-eat monkey bread, baked in a fluted tube pan, is easy and almost foolproof. If I’m serving it for breakfast, I add some cinnamon and drizzle it with icing. —Pat Stevens, Granbury, Texas

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Pumpkin Waffles with Orange Walnut Butter

This is so delicious! Bring a flourish to the breakfast table with these unique and flavorful waffle. —Brandi Davis, Pullman, Washington

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Bake-Sale Lemon Bars

The recipe for these tangy lemon bars comes from my cousin, who is famous for cooking up farm feasts. —Mildred Keller, Rockford, Illinois

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Creamy Orange Caramels

Each Christmas I teach myself a new candy recipe. Last year I started with my caramel recipe and added a splash of orange extract for fun. This year I just might try buttered rum extract. —Shelly Bevington-Fisher, Hermiston, Oregon

Grilled Corn in Husks

If you’re new to grilling corn in the husk, season the ears with butter, Parmesan cheese and parsley. It’s especially good! Be sure to give the corn a long soak before putting it on the grill. Hot off the grate, the kernels are moist and tender with a wonderful, sweet flavor. Nancy Zimmerman, Cape May Court House, New Jersey

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7UP Pound Cake

My grandmother gave me this 7UP pound cake recipe. On top of being delicious, this 7UP cake represents family tradition, connection and love. —Marsha Davis, Desert Hot Springs, California

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Granny’s Apple Scalloped Potatoes

This scalloped potatoes with apples dish is delicious with breaded baked pork chops, which you could cook at the same time in another cast-iron pan. We are retired and it’s just the two of us, but you could easily double the recipe. —Shirley Rickis, The Villages, Florida

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Buttery Cornbread

A friend gave me this homemade cornbread recipe several years ago, and it’s my favorite of all I’ve tried. I love to serve the melt-in-your-mouth side hot from the oven with butter and syrup. It gets rave reviews on holidays and at potluck dinners. —Nicole Callen, Auburn, California

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Buttery Grilled Shrimp

This grilled shrimp recipe is easy and delicious! These shrimp are great with steak, but for a special occasion, brush the sauce on lobster tails and grill. —Sheryl Shenberger, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Buttery Spritz Cookies

This tender spritz cookie recipe is very eye-catching on my Christmas cookie tray. The dough is easy to work with, so it’s fun to make these spritz cookies into a variety of festive shapes. This is hands down the best spritz cookie recipe ever. —Beverly Launius, Sandwich, Illinois

Buttery Radish Baguette

My dad and brother are crazy for radishes, and this peppery baguette appetizer is a big-time favorite. Add a sprinkle of fresh dill or parsley on top. —Kathy Hewitt, Cranston, Rhode Island

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Butter-Dipped Biscuit Squares

These are the easiest and best biscuits I’ve ever made. They’re light and buttery and they go well with virtually any meal. —Rebekah DeWitt, Star City, Arkansas

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German Butter Pound Cake

Cardamom and lemon zest mix with almond and vanilla flavors to add zip to a classic butter pound cake. —Kristine Chayes, Smithtown, New York

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Bread Pudding with Nutmeg

I always make this bread pudding recipe for my dad on his birthday and on holidays. He says it tastes exactly like the bread pudding with nutmeg he enjoyed as a child. —Donna Powell, Montgomery City, Missouri

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Chocolate Eclairs

With creamy filling and fudgy frosting, this chocolate eclair recipe is extra special. —Jessica Campbell, Viola, Wisconsin

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Lemon-Butter Spritz Cookies

This recipe makes a lot of terrific cookies! It’s great for Christmas when all the kids and grandkids visit. They can help decorate the cookies-not to mention help eat them! —Paula Pelis, Rocky Point, New York

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Buttery Sweet Potato Casserole

Whenever we get together as a family for major holidays, my kids, nieces and nephews literally beg me to make this sweet potato casserole. It goes together in minutes with canned sweet potatoes, which is ideal for the busy holiday season. —Sue Miller, Mars, Pennsylvania

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Hot Buttered Cider Mix

Put the butter base for this beverage in a decorative jar and attach a copy of the recipe for a great gift from your kitchen. You can omit the brandy for a kid-friendly version. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Thumbprint Butter Cookies

These buttery little rounds add beautiful color to a platter of treats. Fill the thumbprint in the center with any fruit preserves you like. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Roasted Potatoes with Garlic Butter

A platter of golden and orange potatoes can serve double duty as your dinner centerpiece. —Elizabeth Kelley, Chicago, Illinois

Favorite Baked Potato Soup

My husband and I enjoyed a delicious baked potato soup at a restaurant while on vacation and I came home determined to duplicate the flavor. It took me five years to get the taste right! —Joann Goetz, Genoa, Ohio

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Brown Sugar Pound Cake

This tender pound cake is the first one I mastered. You’ll want to eat the browned butter icing by the spoonful. It tastes like pralines. —Shawn Barto, Winter Garden, Florida

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Big & Buttery Chocolate Chip Cookies

Our version of the classic cookie is based on a recipe from a California bakery called Hungry Bear. The chocolate chip cookie is big, thick and chewy—perfect for dunking. —Irene Yeh, Mequon, Wisconsin

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Frosted Cashew Cookies

We savor these cookies at Christmas, but they’re special year-round with coffee or tucked into a lunchbox. I won a ribbon with these cookies at my county fair. —Sheila Wyum, Rutland, North Dakota

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Garlic-Butter Steak

Made in a skillet, this quick-and-easy garlic butter steak is restaurant-quality and sure to become a staple at your house, too! —Lily Julow, Lawrenceville, Georgia

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Lemon & Rosemary Butter Cookies

Cooling lemon and aromatic rosemary make these butter cookies stand out at the holidays. I use them to punch up the cookie trays for potlucks or as gifts.—Elizabeth Hokanson, Arborg, Manitoba

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Yellow Cake with Buttercream Frosting

This is a classic scratch cake. The homemade buttery frosting and crisp, sugared edges really make it stand out. —Aria Thornton, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Stollen Butter Rolls

My family members enjoy my stollen so much and say it’s just too good to be served only on holidays. I created this buttery, less-sweet dinner roll version. —Mindy White, Nashville, Tennessee

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Grilled Cabbage

The first time I made this, I couldn’t believe how good it was! We served it with grilled burgers and our dinner was complete. I never thought I’d skip dessert because I was full from too much cabbage! —Elizabeth Wheeler, Thornville, Ohio

Frosted Butter Rum Brickle Bites

The rum, real butter and toffee bits made these cookies my husband’s new favorite. If you’d like them less sweet, skip the frosting and sprinkle the cookies with confectioners’ sugar while still warm. —Cindy Nerat, Menominee, Michigan

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Cranberry Cake with Almond-Butter Sauce

Make room for this recipe in your collection. Tart cranberries and sweet almond glaze turn this potluck cake into something truly special. —Betsy King, Duluth, Minnesota

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Swiss Cheese Bread

This bread will receive rave reviews, whether you serve it as an appetizer or with a meal. For real convenience, you can make it ahead of time and freeze it! —Karla Boice, Mahtomedi, Minnesota

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Amish Sugar Cookies

These easy-to-make, old-fashioned Amish sugar cookies simply melt in your mouth! I’ve passed this recipe around to many friends. After I gave it to my sister, she entered the cookies in a local fair and won best of show. —Sylvia Ford, Kennett, Missouri

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Browned Butter Red Potatoes

I’ve been making my version of Dad’s potatoes for years, and it goes great with any meal. Browning the butter gives the potatoes a whole new taste. —Anne Pavelak, Endicott, Washington

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Butter Pecan Fudge

Toasted pecans add a nutty crunch to this creamy fudge, perfect for holiday giving. People always seem to rave about its wonderful caramel flavor. —Pam Smith, Alta Loma, California

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Classic Chocolate Cake

If you need to learn how to make chocolate cake from scratch, this easy homemade chocolate cake recipe is a perfect place to start. It appeared on a can of Hershey’s cocoa way back in 1943. I tried it, my boys liked it, and I’ve been making it ever since. —Betty Follas, Morgan Hill, California

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Icebox Rolls

I remember my mom making these rolls almost every Saturday so they’d be ready to bake on Sunday for company or someone just dropping by. Although they take a little time to prepare, they’re really not all that difficult to make. And there’s nothing in the stores that can compare to them! —Jean Fox, Welch, Minnesota

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Mimosa Butter Cookies

You can add many different flavors to butter cookies to make them your own. Try an alternate type of citrus zest, or add an alternate liquid to change things up. —Sara Lark, Raton, New Mexico

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Chicken in Lime Butter

“A few ordinary, on-hand ingredients make this moist and tender chicken something really extraordinary! The flavor added by the rich, buttery sauce with a splash of lime juice is unmatched. It’s been a hands-down winner at our house for 20 some years,” says Denise Segura of Draper, Utah.

Pecan Butter Tarts

I searched for the perfect butter tart for ages. After many attempts, I discovered this favorite that begs for a scoop of ice cream on top. —Susan Kieboam, Streetsboro, Ohio

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Double Delights

You get the best of both worlds with these chocolate and vanilla cookies. They’re an appealing addition to any cookie tray. I usually serve them at the holidays, when they’re often the first cookies to disappear, but you can have them any time of year. —Ruth Ann Stelfox, Raymond, Alberta

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Pecan Pie Cobbler

I couldn’t find a recipe, so I took it upon myself to devise this amazing dessert that combines the ease of a cobbler and the rich flavor of pecan pie. It tastes even better with ice cream or whipped topping. —Willa Kelley, Edmond, Oklahoma

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Buttery Ganache Cookie Cups

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Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits

Every bite of these flaky biscuits get a little kick from cayenne pepper and sharp cheddar cheese. They’re a nice accompaniment to soup and stew.
—Kimberley Nuttall, San Marco, California

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Butter Pound Cake

Whether garnished with fresh berries and sprigs of rosemary or just served plain, this rich cake is fabulous. It bakes to a beautiful golden brown and it’s definitely a keeper! —Edgar Wright, Silver Spring, Maryland

Chocolate-Tipped Butter Cookies

These wonderfully moist morsels are too tempting to resist. They melt right in your mouth. Rather than sprinkling the chocolate tips with nuts, you can roll them in red and green jimmies or leave them plain. —Charolette Westfall, Houston, Texas

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Lemon-Butter Brussels Sprouts

Kick up these stovetop lemon Brussels sprouts with fresh lemon zest. Even my toddler will eat this up! — Jenn Tidwell, Fair Oaks, California

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Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

I like to try different fun fillings in these soft rolls, and each one is packed with cinnamon flavor. They are definitely worth the overnight wait. —Chris O’Connell, San Antonio, Texas

Garlic Bread

Ever wonder how to make garlic bread? This homemade garlic bread is the answer! Minced fresh garlic is key to these flavor-packed crusty slices, which our big family would snap up before they even had a chance to cool. —Grace Yaskovic, Branchville, New Jersey

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Beer and Pretzel Caramels

Beer and pretzels are a natural combination—mix them with smooth caramel and you have an awesome candy. The guys will go wild over these crunchy, chunky chews. —Jenni Sharp, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

These easy pumpkin cookies are pleasantly spiced. Everyone enjoys the soft, cake-like texture, too. —Lisa Chernetsky, Luzerne, Pennsylvania

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Old-Time Butter Crunch Candy

Both my children and my grandchildren say the season wouldn’t be the same without the big tray of candies and cookies I prepare. This one’s the most popular part of that collection. We love the nutty pieces draped in chocolate. —Mildred Duffy, Bella Vista, Arkansas

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Butter Pecan Layer Cake

Pecans and butter give this cake the same irresistible flavor as the popular butter pecan ice cream flavor. —Becky Miller, Tallahassee, Florida

Stilton, Bacon & Garlic Smashed Potatoes

Bold, savory flavor from bacon, Stilton cheese and fresh garlic take mashed potatoes to a whole new level. This side dish is so rich and satisfying, it could be eaten as an entree! —Jamie Brown-Miller, Napa, California

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Garlicky Herbed Shrimp

I love shrimp. Love garlic. Love herbs. Cook ’em in butter and what could be better? —Dave Levin, Van Nuys, California

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Pecan Meltaways

This sweet, nutty pecan meltaways recipe is a tradition in our house at Christmastime, but the treats are delightful any time of the year. —Alberta McKay, Bartlesville, Oklahoma

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Browned Butter Spice Cookies

If you like spice cake, you’ll love this recipe! Browned butter, dark chocolate and a splash of rum produce an unconventional spice cookie that’s guaranteed to please. —Kristin Kenney, Newport Beach, California

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Icebox Butterhorns

These beautiful golden rolls just melt in your mouth! People will be impressed when these appear on your table. —Judy Clark, Elkhart, Indiana

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Cinnamon Coffee Cake

I love the excellent texture of this easy cinnamon coffee cake recipe. Always a crowd-pleaser, its pleasing vanilla flavor enriched by sour cream may remind you of breakfast at Grandma’s! Make it the night before a holiday to save time in the morning. —Eleanor Harris, Cape Coral, Florida

Shortbread Hearts

These flaky cookies melt in your mouth. Dipped in chocolate, they look festive.—Barbara Birk, St. George, Utah

Favorite Chicken Potpie

This is the best chicken potpie recipe! Chock-full of chicken, potatoes, peas and corn, this recipe makes two golden pies, so you can serve one at supper and save the other for a busy night. —Karen Johnson, Bakersfield, California

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Sticky Cinnamon-Sugar Monkey Bread

You can do all the prep work for this monkey bread the night before. I prepare the dough pieces and put all the sauce ingredients in the pan so it’s ready for the morning. You can sprinkle chopped nuts in with the dough pieces before pouring the sauce on and baking. — Diana Kunselman, Rimersburg, Pennsylvania

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Homemade Corn Muffins with Honey Butter

I turn classic corn bread muffins into something special by serving them with a honey butter. They’re gone in a flash! —Suzanne McKinley, Lyons, Georgia

Everybody who’s even remotely into baking knows that cookies need a bit of fattening up to enrich the flavor and make sure they come out of the oven exactly the way you want them. Without a fattening agent, such as butter, your baked goods will not have the structure and tenderness that makes them so scrumptious and irresistible. It also goes without saying that butter adds a particularly rich flavor note to cookies, which highlights the sweet deliciousness of all the other ingredients you choose to throw in. 

Many bakers nowadays opt for putting margarine in their cookie mixes instead of butter, mainly due to the fact that it’s generally considered to be healthier. Are you wondering how using margarine in baking will affect the taste of your cookies? You’ve come to the right place then! In this article, we’ll go over the main differences between margarine and butter in the context of cookie-making. 

Butter and Margarine

On the surface, there is not much separating margarine and butter. While to the trained taste buds, the differences in flavor are pretty clear, the inexperienced might have a tough time discerning the subtleties and arrive at the conclusion that the two taste pretty much the same. 

Once you get more familiar with both ingredients, you should start noticing the differences easily, though. The taste of butter is incomparably richer than that of margarine – the best way to test it out for yourself is to take two slices of toast, with butter on one, and margarine on the other. You’ll quickly notice that butter is much creamier, whereas margarine packs a lot less punch, all the while remaining fatty and combining quite well with toasted bread. 

The main differences between butter and margarine lies in the different fats used to create each product. Butter is made using heavy cream, sourced from cow’s milk, and is therefore classified as a dairy product. This is why buttery cookies have that unmistakable, milky flavor and a creamy texture. Margarine, on the other hand, is sourced chiefly from vegetable oils, such as cottonseed, corn, or sunflower oil. 

Seeing as both are very good sources of fat, margarine and butter can be used in baking, and are sufficient in providing tender, textured, and delicious homemade cookies

What Exactly is Margarine and Can You Use It In Cookies?

As we already mentioned, margarine is created using vegetable oils, as opposed to churned milk or cream. This is the primary reason why it is considered healthier than butter – oils sourced from vegetables are considered unsaturated fats, meaning that they remain liquid at room temperature. These fats help lower the levelsleels of cholesterol in your blood, as well as ease inflammation and lower the risk of heart disease. 

However, not every kind of margarine is good for you, and in fact, some of the products out there may even carry more negative health effects than butter. 

Make Sure to Choose the Right Margarine

Just like in the case of any other food product, margarine comes in many shapes and forms. Not all of them are full of the healthy, unsaturated fats you want to include in your diet. Outside of the United States, you might come across margarine that contains trans fats, which are associated with an increased risk of heart and blood vessel disease, which is precisely what you’re running away from when making a health-motivated switch from butter to margarine. 

Another important distinction to make is between stick and spread margarine. Margarine sticks are made using a mix of saturated and unsaturated fats, with the former allowing it to take up a solid form. 

Spread margarine is the best in terms of the fats it contains, but a lot of the spread margarine brands are heavily diluted with water, resulting in a poor flavor, especially when used for baking. All in all, you should keep a close eye on the types of fats in each product when picking out margarine for baking (or any other purpose, for that matter).  

It’s also worth keeping in mind that, when consumed in reasonable amounts, butter isn’t going to have a sizable impact on your well-being, so you shouldn’t write it off just yet. 

How Do Margarine Cookies Compare to Butter Cookies?

Regardless of whether you bake with butter or margarine, you’ll still end up with the same end result, provided that you know what you’re doing, with that result being delicious, mouth watering cookies. However, you need to keep in mind that there will be some differences depending on the type of fat you decide to use. 

Butter cookies will have a more gooey texture, and due to the slow melting time of butter, their texture will be near-perfect, crunchy on the outside, and gooey on the inside, perfect for fluffy chocolate chip cookies, for example. Of course, you can always flatten your butter cookies to make them crispier if you like them that way. 

Margarine cookies, on the other hand, will be thinner and more spread out compared to butter cookies baked with the same ingredient ratios. The reason behind this is the fact that margarine has way more water, and its fat content is lower. When baking margarine cookies, make sure to check up on the oven more frequently, as they’re easier to burn. 

Other Delicious Alternatives

For one reason or another, some people opt out of using butter in their cookies. Whether it’s due to dietary restrictions, the high fat and calorie content, or simply because they want to try something new, increasing droves of bakers choose to bake with butter alternatives instead. The most obvious one of those is margarine, which is also the most similar to butter in its flavor. However, it’s far from the only game in town. Here are our top picks of some other fatty ingredients you can use instead.

  • Coconut oil: using coconut oil in your cookies will give them a unique, tropical flavor, on top of making them a bit crunchier than usual. It’s easy to oversaturate your cookies with the coconut aroma, and one way to avoid it is by using refined coconut oil.
  • Avocado: your avocado cookies will come out looking slightly green and won’t have the same decadent flavor, but it’s definitely the healthiest butter substitute out there. It also allows you to retain the gooey texture.
  • Almond butter: on top of containing way less saturated fats than regular butter, the almond alternative will allow you to reduce the amount of sugar in your recipes, as it is naturally sweet. 

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