What milk is in I can’t believe it’s not butter?

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter is a popular butter substitute made by Unilever. It was first introduced in the United States in 1981 and has become one of the most recognizable butter substitute brands. Many consumers choose I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter because they want to avoid real butter and dairy products for health, dietary or ethical reasons. However, some people are confused about what exactly is in this vegan butter alternative if it doesn’t contain real dairy butter. This article will examine the key ingredients in I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and explain what type of non-dairy milk is used in the recipe.


The main ingredients in I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter are:

  • Water
  • Palm oil
  • Canola oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Salt
  • Whey protein concentrate
  • Soy protein
  • Mono and diglycerides
  • Natural and artificial flavors
  • Preservatives
  • Annatto extract (color)
  • Non-dairy milk

The key ingredient we are interested in for this article is the non-dairy milk. I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter contains a small amount of an unspecified non-dairy milk.

Types of Non-Dairy Milk

There are several different types of non-dairy milks that could potentially be used in I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter:

Soy Milk

Soy milk is one of the most widely used non-dairy milks. It is made from soybeans that have been soaked, ground, boiled and strained. Soy milk has a similar consistency to skim milk and is high in protein.

Almond Milk

Almond milk is made from ground almonds and water. It has a nutty flavor and creamy texture. Almond milk is lower in calories than other non-dairy milks and contains vitamins E and D.

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is made from the white flesh of mature brown coconuts. It has a smooth, thick texture and a sweet, coconut flavor. Coconut milk contains healthy fats and is lactose-free.

Oat Milk

Oat milk is made by blending soaked oats with water and straining out the oat pulp. It has a mild, creamy flavor and contains vitamin B12, iron and calcium. Oat milk is naturally sweet and low in saturated fat.

Rice Milk

Rice milk is made from milled white or brown rice and water. It has a thin, watery consistency and a naturally sweet taste. Rice milk is the least allergenic non-dairy milk.

Hemp Milk

Hemp milk is made from hemp seeds that are soaked, blended with water and strained. It has an earthy, nutty flavor and creamy texture. Hemp milk contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Cashew Milk

Cashew milk is made from blended cashews and water. It is creamy with a subtle nutty flavor. Cashew milk is lower in calories than other nut milks and high in vitamin K.

Which Non-Dairy Milk is in I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter?

So which of these non-dairy milks is used in I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter? The exact type is not specified on the product ingredients list, which simply states it contains “non-dairy milk”.

However, based on the other ingredients present, some educated guesses can be made:

  • It is unlikely to be rice milk, since rice milk has a very thin, watery texture that would not mimic real dairy milk well in this spread.
  • Hemp milk’s strong, earthy taste would be out of place in this buttery spread.
  • Cashew milk, while creamy, has a distinct nutty flavor that would clash.
  • Oat milk is a good possibility. It has a neutral, creamy profile that would blend well.
  • Almond milk is another good contender. It’s smooth and mildly nutty, complementing the buttery flavor.
  • Coconut milk is the least likely option, as its sweet coconut taste would not align with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter’s flavor.
  • Soy milk, with its rich, dairy-like consistency and relatively blank canvas flavor, has a high probability of being the non-dairy milk used.

Without being able to directly ask the manufacturers, soy milk seems the most probable non-dairy milk used in I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. Soy milk has a silky, creamy mouthfeel and neutral flavor that allows the buttery taste and texture to take center stage. Given that soy ingredients like soybean oil and soy protein are already included, soy milk would seamlessly blend into this buttery spread’s ingredient profile.

Nutrition Information

Now that we have a likely suspect for the non-dairy milk, let’s examine the nutrition information of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter to get a better understanding of what is inside:

Nutrition Facts 1 Tbsp
Calories 100
Fat 11g
Saturated Fat 3g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 105mg
Total Carbohydrates 0g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 0g
Protein 0g

As we can see, the majority of the calories and fat in I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter come from the various vegetable oils used, including palm, canola, soybean, coconut, and flaxseed oils.

The small amount of non-dairy milk does not contribute significant protein or carbohydrates, though it does add Creaminess and a buttery taste and texture.

Benefits of Choosing I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter

There are several potential benefits of using a vegan butter spread like I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter rather than real dairy butter:

  • No dairy allergens: I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter is dairy-free, making it safe for those with milk allergies or lactose intolerance.
  • No cholesterol: Dairy butter contains dietary cholesterol, while I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter has 0mg cholesterol.
  • Low in saturated fat: I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter is made with plant-based oils and is lower in saturated fat than real butter.
  • Vegan: Suitable for vegans and vegetarians since it contains no animal products.
  • Kosher: Certified kosher, making it suitable for those following a kosher diet.
  • Environmentally friendly: Does not require livestock, potentially reducing environmental impact.
  • Hypoallergenic: Less likely to cause allergic reactions than dairy-based butter.

Potential Drawbacks

However, there are some potential drawbacks to opting for I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter instead of real dairy butter:

  • Highly processed: As a substitute product, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter goes through extensive processing to achieve its taste and texture.
  • Contains additives: Includes preservatives, coloring agents, and artificial flavors to mimic real butter.
  • High in omega-6 oils: The plant-based oils used are very high in omega-6 fatty acids.
  • No real butter taste: For some, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter may not fully replicate the complex taste of real dairy butter.
  • More expensive: Typically costs considerably more than regular butter.
  • Less natural: Made using chemically extracted oils rather than simple butterfat and milk.
  • Lower in nutrients: Does not contain the same vitamin profile as real butter.

Alternatives to Consider

Those looking for a healthier or less processed option may want to consider some alternatives to I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter:

Butter Spreads Made with Olive or Avocado Oil

Butter spreads made using all-natural oils like olive oil and avocado oil contain less saturated fat since they do not hydrogenate the oils. However, they provide monounsaturated fats and have simpler ingredients.

Nut Butters Such as Almond Butter or Cashew Butter

Nut butters can replicate butter’s creamy texture when spread on toast or meals. Choose options with just nuts and salt rather than added oils and sugars.

Vegans Butter Spreads Made from Plant Milks and Oils

Some vegan butter brands use plant milk, oils, and natural flavorings rather than artificial ingredients to create a creamy spread.

Ghee or Clarified Butter

For those who can consume dairy, ghee provides butter flavor without the milk proteins found in regular butter. Ghee has a high smoke point for cooking as well.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Coconut Oil

Drizzling or dolloping extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil on bread, vegetables, or cooked foods imparts a buttery, rich taste. Opt for high-quality, unrefined oils.


In summary, while the exact non-dairy milk used in I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter is not disclosed, soy milk appears the most likely ingredient based on the flavor profile and nutritional content. I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter offers several benefits as a vegan and lactose-free alternative to regular dairy butter. However, it is highly processed and contains many vegetable oils and additives. One can achieve a rich, creamy texture in cooking and spreads using natural oils, nut butters, plant milk butter spreads, ghee or coconut oil instead. When opting for a butter alternative, check the ingredients list and nutrition facts to ensure it meets your dietary needs and preferences.

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