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 in 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 but the Omega-3. We 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. It has a wonderful consistency that is soft, but solid at room temperature. It 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 of the slightly higher smoke point than the Soy-Free. This enables 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. Still she was impressed by how well it performed in all types of recipes. Her Ginger Snap cookies, for example, baked up perfectly with it in place of margarine. The only change was the texture – it 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.
The Facts on Earth Balance Buttery Spreads
Price: $3.99 to $4.99 per 13- to 15-ounce package
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.
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What Others Are Saying ...
Was wondering if it is still the best
Thanks for keeping your info up-to-date! When I tried Earth Balance “margarine/butter” a bunch of years ago, it was vastly superior to anything else I tried. After years, it eventually found its way into most stores but the price has remained high. I finally decided to see if the competition may have caught up – which brought me here first. Your latest comment (3 days ago) tells me you do not think so. I don’t bake, I only use it to butter toast, and not for sandwiches. I’ve been buying the original, or organic. I see I should also try the soy-free and omega 3 (despite the negative commenters here), when or if about the same price.
I should also try the Earth Balance “dressing/spread/mayonnaise” if it’s available for a good price – I do not believe I’ve ever noticed it in a store.
It bakes, cooks, and spreads
As of yet, we haven’t found a brand that can touch this butter alternative. It bakes, cooks, and spreads just like a good margarine, but with natural ingredients and without hydrogenated oils. There is a variety for almost everyone, but despite their slight ingredient differences, all have a similar salted butter taste and consistency that works well in everything from cookies to frosting to savory sauces.