I have received several comments and emails over the last couple of months about butter and what I use. I thought it would make a good subject for a post since the holidays are coming up and more of us will be baking.
I have used real butter for a long time. I did occasionally buy margarine when my husband was in college and money was very tight, but even then I bought butter when I could get a good deal on it.
My husband and I think butter is better for you. I don’t want to go into all the details here on why, because the post would be too long, but the main reason is that butter is real food. Even the store bought butter is pretty much real food unlike other products like margarine.
Secondly, it tastes better. If I am having toast or bread and butter, I want the real thing. The taste of butter doesn’t even compare to margarine in my opinion.
Thirdly, I get much better results in my baking with butter. My mom used margarine all the time when I was growing up, mainly because it was cheaper. When I got married and tried baking with real butter, I could not believe how much better the results were. It made so much difference in how things like cookies and cakes turned out.
Now onto the salted vs unsalted question. I use what I have. I know you really should use unsalted in things like baking, but we like salted butter better to eat on toast and bread. So, I use what I have in my fridge.
But, if I use salted butter in baking, I cut back the salt in the recipe. I don’t have an exact amount that I cut back, I just use less. Not sure that is the best answer to the salted vs unsalted butter question, but it is the honest one.
One tip about butter to help with the cost is to freeze it when you get a really good deal on it. This time of year, because of the holidays, butter goes on sale all the time. I buy quite a bit when I get a good deal and freeze it. Last year I froze a lot of butter and what I bought on sale around Thanksgiving and Christmas lasted almost until butter came on sale again around Easter. I have a lot of freezer space so I can do this, but even freezing a little bit ahead will help with the cost.
So, what are your thoughts on using butter? Do you use salted or unsalted?
I too use real butter. I prefer to use un-salted in baking but I like the taste of salted and i just cut back on the salt in the recipe. Margarine is fake or man made and I think the Real thing is better for you. In moderation!!! I mean lets face,I don’t think we should turn into the buttertons! LOL
Erin @ Closing Time
I use both butter and margarine, but my margarine is always non-hydrogenated such as Smart Balance or Promise Healthy Heart. You can’t beat the taste of real butter though, and it certainly is best for baking! I always buy unsalted butter…that is just what we are used to, and most of my recipes call for unsalted butter anyway.
I vote for real butter. It always tastes best.
I totally agree. I love butter. The taste is so much butter. I wanted to know, what is your stock up price? I just recently started using butter instead of margarine and not sure what a good price is just yet. Thanks, and I love your website!
@Erica, Last year I found it for $2 a lb. That is about as cheap as I can get it. Regular price is closer to $2.50 sometimes higher in my area.
Great tips Lynn! Thanks!
I use real, unsalted butter for baking. I agree with you that the results are so much better than with margarine. I also buy it at the holidays and freeze it. My family always knows when I am planning to make chocolate chip cookies when they see sticks of butter thawing on the counter! For everyday use, we use Smart Balance. It is a margarine that helps reduce bad cholesterol. It doesn’t taste as good as real butter, but given a family history of heart diseae, it is an acceptable substitute.
I am so a butter person too! I feel the same way about it being real food. Not that fake butter crap with so many chemicals and stuff. Only real yummy butter for me in my scrambled eggs. yum.
I’m glad you promote REAL butter! 🙂 We love using real butter. I did try the margarine thing, but that was disastrous. For some reason I just don’t have a problem using it like a lot of people. Maybe it stems from my chomping down on sticks of butter when I was a kid, who knows? 🙂
And we usually use salted. Maybe I ought to experiment with unsalted. Can you tell a difference when you use unsalted?
I’m a real butter person too. Land-o-Lakes is my brand of choice (I actually know the family). We typically do have both salted and unsalted around. If I bake with salted, I decrease the salt just like you… otherwise, I try to grab the unsalted to bake with, and use the salted for toast, or corn on the cob!
I too am a real butter user. I use/buy only unsalted. We try to limit our salt intake and the unsalted butter has not been noticed (fingers crossed) I mention and someone will notice. (smile)
You can never go wrong with butter in my opinion. Mmmm . . . butter!!!
Charlene @ A Virtuous Woman
I grew up in a household that used only margarine, and I continued that for a long time (not knowing any better!) But I started reading about butter being better because it’s a real food vs. manufactured, and we switched to butter several years ago. I buy when it’s on sale and freeze it, as well, especially now for holiday baking and cooking.
I love salted butter for straight butter use. When baking, I use whatever I have on hand, unless a recipe specifically says unsalted.
I’m a butter gal and I use both salted (for the table) and unsalted (for baking). The logic I’ve heard- though I have no proof of this- is that they use better cream in unsalted butter since there’s no salt to mask any “off” flavor.
I stock up at Aldi where I pay $1.39/#.
I realize this post is from awhile ago, but I just wanted to add my observation 🙂 I shop at Kroger, so I can’t vouch for other store brands, but on Kroger’s unsalted butter, the ingredients say “Cream, salt, natural flavor.” On the salted butter, the ingredients just say “Cream, salt.” I buy salted because I’d rather risk the salt than whatever the “natural flavor” might be 🙂 (not that it’s a huge risk or anything–just couldn’t think of a better word!
With all the research coming out against margarine, my mom recently switched to real butter. It’s so funny to listen to her go on and on about how much better her eggs taste now that she uses real butter. Her mother never let her use it!
I am really starting to wonder anymore. You hear so many different things.
It bums me out that margarine is getting a bad rap because it is easier for us to use because our son is allergic to milk. This way I buy one thing and cook one way.
@niki, I have dealt with food allergies so I know what you mean. In your case I can see why margarine is the best choice and better than nothing. I would not cook two ways either for that. So, don’t feel bad about using it.
Yep. I’m pretty much a butter girl too. I cook with it and bake with it. We do use a soft margarine for toast, but only one that has no trans-fats. I only buy unsalted butter. I think it gives me more control of how much salt we eat if I use unsalted butter.
I’m curious for those who only use butter, how do you cope with the “hardness factor”. As in butter being too hard to spread on toast or biscuits?
We use all butter here and most of the time it is salted. You have to watch because some brands of unsalted butter have an artificial flavoring added to it. As far as spreading it, we always have a stick left out room temp. just for that.
Rita @ Creatively Domestic
I JUST had this internal debate when I found some butter on sale, and I’m glad you addressed it. I had been buying unsalted, but now I won’t get too stressed about it. Love the new look of your site!
I use salted for savory dishes and unsalted for baking. I will admit that I still buy Blue Bonnet Light margarine for spreading on toast and rolls, only because I always have. I’ll have to look at the store and see what the difference is for spreadable butter. I always have both kinds of butter in my fridge, more unsalted than salted, because I bake a lot 🙂
I’ve used butter my whole life and love it. I usually don’t use alot but a little goes a long way for taste. The weird thing is my 2 daughters like margarine even though they did not grow up with it.
I always buy salted butter.
According to the Darigold website there is approx
1/2 teaspoon of salt in stick of butter
so I adjust from there.
Tamy ~ 3 Sides of Crazy
Long story short, I soooooooooooooooooo agree!!
I’m looking for butter that was made in the 1970s. Not the greese they sale as butter today. Can you help.
To those that wonder about how to get butter soft for spreading on toast etc.:
I will leave salted butter on the counter until used up – at room temp it is spreadable. If you are concerned with doing this, there are little contraptions called Butter Bells – usually ceramic – you soften butter to room temp, fill the top of the bell by pressing it in nice and snug, then invert over the bottom half of the bell which is filled with cool water. You replace the water every so often.
If all else fails, and I need softened butter quickly, I will use the microwave. A full stick can be softened using the Defrost setting – I start with 7 seconds, flip it over, defrost maybe 5 seconds, and so on. After a few flips it will soften up. Just be careful not to do too long or it will start to melt.
FYI – If you ever are trying to soften butter in microwave for baking and it melts, just stir it with a few ice cubes in a bowl until the butter becomes solid again. Works great!