The main difference between butter and margarine is that butter is mainly made of dairy fat while margarine is made of vegetable oil.
Butter is a dairy product we commonly use for baking, cooking, and as a spread. It is made by churning cream or milk to separate the solid components from the liquid. Margarine is an alternative to butter. Although they have the same uses, there are many differences between butter and margarine based on their ingredients and properties.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Butter
– Definition, Features
2. What is Margarine
– Definition, Features
3. What is the Difference Between Butter and Margarine
– Comparison of Key Differences
What is Butter
Butter is a dairy product made by churning the cream of milk. At room temperature, it is a semi-solid emulsion, consisting nearly 80% butterfat. Cow’s milk is the main source of butter, but we can also use milk from other mammals like sheep, goats, and buffalos to make butter. Sometimes, butter contains food colourings and salt, as well. As their names suggest, unsalted butter is butter without added salt while salted butter is a butter with a small amount of added salt. Clarified butter, on the other hand, is the butterfat that remains after removing the milk solids and water.
Butter has a soft, creamy and rich taste and is the preferred fat for many cooking applications. We can use it as a spread, as an ingredient in baking, frying, sauce-making and other cooking methods. Moreover, the United States, India, the European Union, and New Zealand are the top butter producers in the world.
What is Margarine
Margarine is a substitute for butter made from vegetable oil. It is processed from a combination of vegetable oils like palm oil, soybean oil and palm kernel. Since margarine originates from vegetable sources, it usually contains unsaturated fats, which help to reduce low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. This is what we call bad cholesterol. Therefore, margarine is better in improving your cholesterol levels.
However, margarine does not have the same rich and creamy flavour of butter. Although we use margarine as an alternative for butter, they may work slightly differently in cooking. For example, cookies made with margarine will have a flatter shape and less flavour.
Moreover, modern margarine may also contain preservatives and colourings. The content may actually vary depending on the brand.
Difference Between Butter and Margarine
Butter is a dairy fat made by churning the cream of milk from cows while margarine is a substitute for butter made from vegetable oil.
Dairy fat is the main ingredient of butter while vegetable oil is the main ingredient of margarine.
The manufacture of butter involves churning and separation, while the manufacture of margarine involves hydrogenation.
Type of Product
Traditionally, butter does not undergo high processing as margarine. Therefore, we can call butter as a ‘more natural product’.
Type of Fats
While butter is rich in saturated fats, margarine is rich in trans fat.
Butter has a soft, creamy and rich taste, but margarine does not have the rich taste of butter.
Butter has been in use for hundreds of years while margarine is a comparatively recent product; it came into use in the 19th century.
Butter is a dairy fat made by churning the cream of milk from cows while margarine is a substitute for butter made from vegetable oil. The main difference between butter and margarine is that butter has an animal source while margarine has a plant source.
1. Alfaro, Danilo. Everything You Need to Know About Butter. Available here.
2. “Margarine.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 5 Sept. 2020, Available here.
1. “Butter, good butter, fat, nutrition, food, eat, piece of butter, packaging, also, feed” (CC0) via Pikist
2. “Download Butter Bread Knife Free Photo” (CC0) via Needpix
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