Updated Review! Otherwise known as dairy-free, non-hydrogenated margarine (yikes! I know, the “M” word), Earth Balance Buttery Spreads have dominated the dairy-free and vegan butter alternative scene for quite some time. And for good reason…
Recently upgraded with a new look and shape (they are cute and sturdy square tubs), Earth Balance Buttery Spreads come in an array of varieties to keep almost everyone happy: Original, Soy Garden, Soy-Free, with Olive Oil (also soy-free), Organic, and Omega-3.
Among our team of reviewers, we’ve sampled all of the varieties, except for the Omega-3, and have found that each acts as a slightly salty butter sub that bakes, cooks and spreads like margarine, but with natural ingredients and without hydrogenated oils. In fact, I think Earth Balance Buttery Spreads have gained quite the following with health-oriented consumers who aren’t even on a dairy-free diet!
Earth Balance Buttery Spreads are sold in almost every grocery store I shop in, but the Original, Organic and Soy-Free varieties seem to be the most readily available. Of those, I typically purchase the Soy-Free, because I do a lot of “free-from” recipe testing.
As you can see, it is whipped to near perfection, and has a wonderful consistency that is soft, but solid at room temperature, and melts just as it should when it hits the pan or oven. Though I usually bake with oil rather than butter alternatives, I love Earth Balance Soy-Free in oatmeal cookies. It also makes fantastic dairy-free caramel, delicious homemade frosting, and is a flavorful base for dinner sautes.
Sarah is partial to Soy Garden or the Original, because they have a slightly higher smoke point than the Soy-Free, enabling her to make her higher heat baked good recipes, like popovers and brownies. She also finds the Soy-Free to be a touch softer and saltier than the others.
Hannah actually thought the Soy-Free spread could use a pinch more salt when used simply as a spread, but she was impressed by how well it performed in all types of recipes that she had previously used stick margarine for. Her Ginger Snap cookies, for example, baked up to an identical appearance and taste, with a texture that was close, but just a touch cakier.
Between the lot of us, we’ve enjoyed the Earth Balance Buttery Spreads when making Simple Toast and “Butter”, Snickerdoodle Blondies, Mylk Chocolate Frosting, Vegan Butter-Poached Potatoes, Browned Butter Vanilla Cupcakes, Vegan Girl Scout Samoa Cookies, Popovers, and Gluten-Free and Vegan Iced Nog Bread.
Certifications: Earth Balance Buttery Spreads are Certified Kosher Parve. One variety is Certified Organic. They are also labeled as vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO, but I didn’t note any certifications.
Dietary Notes: By ingredients, Earth Balance Buttery Spreads are dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free (take note that they do use pea protein, though), vegan / plant-based, and vegetarian. Select varieties are also soy-free. Nonetheless, check with the company on their manufacturing processes for all varieties if potential allergen cross-contamination is an issue for you. Processes and labeling are subject to change at any time for any company / product.
For More Product Information: Visit the Earth Balance website at www.earthbalancenatural.com.