Many years ago (too many to count!) I posted a fun little recipe for corn buttery spread. I later tweaked it and included the delicious new version in the 2nd edition of Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook. Today, I’m updating our online recipe with that newer version, which I now call dairy-free light buttery spread.
Homemade Dairy-Free Light Buttery in an Instant!
This rich, savory recipe isn’t exactly like butter, but it has that buttery umami which tastes amazing spread on toast, English muffins, and other breads. I also love it melted atop corn on the cob, steamed broccoli, rice, you name it! It has a fulfilling mouthfeel and flavor, is cheaper than store-bought, and is much lower in fat than butter (less than 4 grams per tablespoon compared to 11 grams in butter). I enjoy it generously! But I know some of you still have questions, and I have answers …
Does this Light Buttery Spread Work in Baking?
While it can be a completely functional and tasty ingredient in baking, it’s not a direct substitute for butter. It adds a little starch and less fat, which can affect your baked goods differently than butter, which is mostly emulsified fat. For baking, I recommend using my Homemade Dairy-Free Butter Alternative Recipe.
Can You Cook with this Light Buttery Spread?
Yes! It won’t perform exactly like buttery spreads from the store, but you can use it for sauces. I would use oil for sautéing, but you can add this as a finish or once other liquids are added.
Do I Need to Grind the Cornmeal First?
I recommend it, if possible. Even though you are blending the cooked mixture, the consistency comes out smoother if the cornmeal or polenta is finely ground in advance. If you have corn flour (not cornstarch) you can substitute it without pre-grinding. It just isn’t an ingredient I regularly stock.
Do You Have a Corn-Free Option?
For this recipe, I do not. Corn actually provides some of the underlying flavor, and also aids in the texture. I don’t know off hand of a grain or flour that will provide the same properties. However, my Bakeable Dairy-Free Butter Alternative Recipe is corn free. If you are simply avoiding GMOs, look for organic or non-GMO verified cornmeal.
Is there a Good Substitute for the Coconut Oil?
If you’re worried about coconut taste, refined coconut oil is very neutral in taste and is readily available. If you have issues with coconut, you might try a refined palm oil. Unfortunately, there are only a few plant-based sources of high saturated fat, which is needed to help this light dairy-free buttery spread set up.
Special Diet Notes: Light Buttery Spread
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, vegetarian, and keto-friendly for some diets.
- ¼ cup yellow cornmeal or dry polenta
- 1¼ cups water, plus additional as needed
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- ⅓ cup coconut oil (use refined for no coconut taste)
- ⅜ teaspoon lemon juice
- Pinch sugar (optional)
- Put the cornmeal or polenta in your spice grinder and whiz until powdered, about 30 seconds.
- In a small saucepan, whisk together the ground cornmeal, 1¼ cups water, and ½ teaspoon salt.
- Place the pan over medium heat, and bring the mixture to a boil while whisking. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, whisking often, until a thick polenta consistency forms, about 15 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the coconut oil. Let cool for 5 minutes.
- Scrape the cooked and cooled cornmeal mixture into your blender. Add the lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon salt, and sugar (if using). Blend until emulsified and smooth, about 2 minutes.
- Taste test and blend in a pinch sugar (if desired to balance the flavor) and up to ¼ teaspoon additional salt, if needed.
- Pour the mixture into a container, cover, and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
- Whip the spread with a whisk or hand mixer, adding water as needed if it is too firm or not creamy enough for your needs.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.