What margarine is dairy free?

For those avoiding dairy due to lactose intolerance, milk allergy, or dietary preferences like veganism, finding a good dairy-free margarine can be a challenge. Many popular margarine brands contain milk derivatives like whey or casein. Thankfully, there are a number of great options for high-quality margarines that are completely dairy-free.

What Makes Margarine Non-Dairy?

Traditional margarine is made from vegetable oils along with some combination of water, salt, flavorings, and emulsifiers. Some types also contain milk derivatives like whey or caseinate. To be considered dairy-free, a margarine must avoid any ingredients that come from animal milk. Dairy-free margarines use plant-based emulsifiers and leave out milk-derived ingredients.

Why Choose Dairy-Free Margarine?

There are a few key reasons why someone may want a dairy-free margarine:

Lactose intolerance – Around 65% of the global population has some degree of lactose malabsorption. Using dairy-free margarine eliminates lactose and prevents uncomfortable digestive symptoms.

Milk allergy – About 0.5% of American children have an allergy to cow’s milk. Dairy-free margarines prevent allergic reactions.

Vegan diet – Vegans avoid all animal products, including dairy. Dairy-free margarines align with a vegan lifestyle.

Kosher requirements – Kosher dietary laws prohibit mixing meat and dairy. Dairy-free margarine is “pareve” and can be used with either milk or meat-based meals.

Health Benefits of Dairy-Free Margarine

Dairy-free margarines offer several potential health advantages:

– May be lower in saturated fat and calories than butter

– Contain healthy unsaturated fats like olive oil or avocado oil

– Are cholesterol-free since they do not contain milk fat

– Often have added vitamins like vitamin D and vitamin E

– Lack the hormones present in dairy products

So for those avoiding milk ingredients, dairy-free margarines provide a healthier alternative to butter that aligns with their dietary needs or preferences.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Dairy-Free Margarine

Here are some key factors to take into account when selecting a dairy-free margarine:

Ingredients – Check that the margarine is made without whey, casein, caseinate, lactose or any other dairy derivatives.

Fat content – Look for options with less saturated fat. Many brands offer dairy-free “buttery spreads” with just 60-70% fat.

Fat source – Margarines made with olive oil or avocado oil provide healthier unsaturated fats.

Flavor – Ensure the margarine tastes fresh and buttery. Unnatural flavors can indicate low quality oils.

Non-GMO – Choose brands made from non-GMO ingredients if this is an important factor for you.

Nutritional value – Comparenutrition labels and choose options with more vitamins and less sodium.

Price – Check pricing to find a dairy-free margarine that fits your budget. More natural options sometimes cost more.

Availability – Look for widely available brands unless you only needa specialty margarine occasionally.

By evaluating these aspects, you can find the healthiest and tastiest dairy-free margarine for your needs.

Reviews of Top Dairy-Free Margarine Brands

Here is an overview of some of the most popular and highest quality dairy-free margarines on the market:

1. Earth Balance Original Buttery Spread

Earth Balance is a widely available dairy-free margarine available in both original and soy-free versions.

Taste – Has a creamy, buttery flavor

Ingredients – Palm fruit, canola, soybean, flax and olive oils. Soy-free version swaps sunflower oil for soybean oil.

Fat/Calories – 70% fat, 90 calories per 14g serving

Key Features – Non-GMO, kosher pareve, free of lactose, whey and casein

Overall, Earth Balance strikes a good balance of taste, health profile and accessibility for a dairy-free margarine.

2. Miyoko’s Cultured Vegan Butter

Miyoko’s is a gourmet dairy-free butter made from cultured coconut and cashew milks.

Taste – Has a rich, buttery and tangy flavor

Ingredients – Organic coconut oil, cashews, safflower oil and natural flavors

Fat/Calories – 80% fat, 100 calories per 14g serving

Key Features – Non-GMO, kosher, vegan certified, nut-based & soy-free

Miyoko’s is a more indulgent, European-style dairy-free butter. It’s excellent for cooking and baking.

3. Country Crock Plant Cream

Country Crock Plant Cream is a more affordable, widely available dairy-free margarine.

Taste – Has a mild, creamy taste

Ingredients – Almond oil, coconut oil and non-GMO sunflower oil

Fat/Calories – 60% fat, 60 calories per 11g serving

Key Features – Soy-free, nut-free, gluten-free, plant-based

This budget-friendly option works well for lighter uses like spreading on toast or vegetables.

4. Forager Project Cashewgurt Garlic & Herb Spreadable Cheese

The Forager Project makes dairy-free “cheezes” from fermented cashews, including this spreadable option.

Taste – Rich, tangy, creamy with garlicky herb flavor

Ingredients – Organic cashews, extra virgin olive oil, non-GMO sunflower lecithin

Fat/Calories – 67% fat, 90 calories per 14g serving

Key Features – Soy-free, vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free

With its cheese-like flavor, this zesty spread is ideal for bread, crackers, sandwiches or dips.

5. Green Valley Organics Lactose Free Butter Spread

Green Valley Organics offer a simple dairy-free butter spread.

Taste – Clean, lightly sweet flavor

Ingredients – Sunflower oil, palm fruit oil, filtered water, sea salt

Fat/Calories – 36% fat, 45 calories per 14g serving

Key Features – Very low fat, lactose & casein free, non-GMO

For a basic margarine with less fat and calories, Green Valley Organics is a sensible choice.

Dairy-Free Margarine Recipes

One great use for dairy-free margarine is baking. Here are some recipes that swap margarine for butter with delicious results:

Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

– 1 cup dairy-free margarine
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 3/4 cup brown sugar
– 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
– 2 1/4 cups flour
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– 10 oz dairy-free chocolate chips

1. Cream together margarine and sugars.
2. Mix in vanilla.
3. In a separate bowl, combine flour and baking soda.
4. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients.
5. Stir in chocolate chips.
6. Scoop dough onto cookie sheets.
7. Bake at 375°F for 8-10 minutes.

Dairy-Free Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients for dough:
– 3 1/2 cups flour
– 1 packet yeast
– 1 tsp salt
– 1/4 cup sugar
– 3/4 cup dairy-free margarine, melted
– 1 cup non-dairy milk

Ingredients for filling:
– 1/4 cup dairy-free margarine, softened
– 3/4 cup brown sugar
– 2 tbsp cinnamon

– 1 cup powdered sugar
– 2 tbsp non-dairy milk

1. Make the dough by mixing flour, yeast, salt and sugar. Add melted margarine and non-dairy milk. Knead into smooth dough.
2. For the filling, mix together softened margarine, brown sugar and cinnamon.
3. Roll out the dough into a rectangle. Spread filling over dough.
4. Tightly roll up the dough lengthwise. Cut into rolls.
5. Place rolls in a baking dish and cover to rise for 30 mins.
6. Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes until golden brown.
7. Mix powdered sugar and non-dairy milk for glaze. Drizzle over baked rolls.

Types of Non-Dairy Milks to Use in Cooking

When baking or cooking with margarine, you’ll need to use non-dairy milk in place of regular milk. Here are some common types:

Soy milk – Made from soybeans. Has creamy texture and protein. Can have strong bean flavor.

Almond milk – Made from ground almonds. Mild nutty flavor. Low in calories.

Oat milk – Made from oats. Creamy with mild oat taste. Higher in calories than almond milk.

Coconut milk – Made from coconut. Rich, thick and naturally sweet. Strong coconut flavor.

Cashew milk – Made from cashews. Creamy texture with subtle nutty taste. Low protein.

Hemp milk – Made from hemp seeds. Earthy flavor. Thinner texture than other milks.

Any of these non-dairy options can be substituted 1:1 for regular milk in recipes when using dairy-free margarine.

Storing Dairy-Free Margarine

To maintain freshness and quality, here are some tips for storing dairy-free margarine:

– Keep refrigerated after opening. The cooler temperature prevents spoilage.

– If recipe calls for softened margarine, leave refrigerated amount on the counter for 1-2 hours before using. Don’t melt completely.

– For longer term storage, freeze extra margarine for 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before using.

– Avoid temperature fluctuations. Don’t leave margarine on counter for extended time or return to fridge while still warm.

– Check expiry date and don’t use past this date. Consume within a month or two of opening for best flavor and texture.

– Make sure lid is tightly sealed between uses to prevent moisture loss and absorption of fridge odors.

Following these simple guidelines will keep your dairy-free margarine tasting great. Discard if you notice any changes in appearance, smell or texture.

Common Brands of Dairy-Free Margarine

Here is an overview of some popular national brands marketing dairy-free margarine spreads:

Earth Balance – Offers both original and soy-free dairy-free margarines. Available in sticks, tubs and squeeze bottles.

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter – Several vegan spreads available including olive oil blend and avocado oil blend.

Country Crock – Makes a plant-based margarine from almond and coconut oils. Also offer dairy-free sticks.

Smart Balance – Dairy-free margarines made with olive oil, avocado oil or a vegan buttery spread.

Brummel & Brown – Organic nut-based spreads made from yogurt cultures and non-dairy milk.

Melt – Dairy-free sticks and tubs with blended vegetable oils. Also offer soy-free options.

There are also store/generic brands of non-dairy margarine available at most mainstream grocers. Check ingredients to confirm dairy-free status.

Cost Comparison of Dairy vs Non-Dairy Margarine

Dairy-free margarines often cost a bit more than those containing milk ingredients:

Brand Product Size Price
Land O’Lakes Salted Butter Sticks 1 lb $4.29
I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Vegan Spread 1 lb $5.99
Store Brand Margarine Sticks 1 lb $2.29
Country Crock Plant Cream Spread 15 oz $3.49

As shown, dairy-free options are generally $1-3 more compared to regular butter or margarine. But specialty European-style dairy-free spreads can cost as much as $8-10 per pound.

For those needing to avoid milk ingredients, the extra cost is worthwhile. But budget-conscious buyers can save by choosing generic dairy-free brands when possible.

Is Margarine Vegan? What to Look For

Whether margarine is vegan depends entirely on the specific ingredients:

– Traditional margarines contain dairy derivatives like whey or casein. These are not vegan.

– To be vegan, margarine must be made from plant-based oils without any animal products.

– Some brands market their spreads as “vegan margarine”. But always check labels to be sure.

Here are some tips for finding vegan margarine:

– Look for dairy-free, lactose-free and pareve labels. These indicate no milk-based ingredients.

– Avoid whey, casein, caseinate, lactose or milk solids in ingredient list.

– Seek plant-based oils like soybean, olive, coconut and sunflower oil.

– Check for certification by vegan societies like V-Label or Vegan.org.

Popular vegan margarine brands include Earth Balance spreads, Miyoko’s vegan butter, Melt vegan sticks and Country Crock plant butter. With so many options now available, finding high quality vegan margarine is easier than ever.

Nutrition Comparison: Butter vs Margarine

Butter and margarine have some nutritional differences:

Nutrient Butter Margarine
Fat 11g (7g saturated fat) 12g (2g saturated fat)
Calories 102 100
Cholesterol 30mg 0mg
Sodium 90mg 330mg

Key points:

– Butter contains more saturated fat and cholesterol.
– Margarine offers cholesterol-free plant-based fats.
– Margarine tends to be higher in sodium.
– Calories are similar.

For heart health, margarine has some advantages. But for low-sodium diets, butter may be preferable.


Finding a delicious dairy-free margarine is now easier than ever with so many excellent options on the market. Top brands like Earth Balance and Miyoko’s offer great flavor and quality. For baking, spreads like Country Crock Plant Cream perform similarly to butter. Dietary factors like vegan, kosher or allergen-free can all be accommodated with the right dairy-free margarine. While cost is a little higher compared to regular butter and spreads, the versatility and peace of mind of these products makes them well worth it for those avoiding milk ingredients.

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