After many revisions and refinements, I’m so excited to present the absolute best-tasting vegan butter recipe. Miraculously, it slices, flakes, melts, and bakes just like the real thing.
When you want only the cleanest dairy-free butter for freshly baked bread like soft Pull-Apart Rolls, this is the one. Plus, you can use it with confidence in all your favorite dishes.
🏆 Top tip
Measure ingredients precisely for the perfect balance of flavor and color. Small variances in this recipe will make a big difference.
⭐ Why it works
- Buttery - the flavor is clean and pristine.
- Smooth - with a rich, creamy mouthfeel.
- Pale - has a light, authentic butter color.
- Hardens - can be molded into sticks, hearts, or round shapes.
- Melts - at the same temperature as dairy butter.
- Browns - for brown-butter recipes and sauces.
- Lactic acid - vegan lactic acid from sugar beets for European cultured butter flavor.
- Recipe ready - for anything that calls for butter
Not only is this vegan butter substitute indistinguishable from traditional butter in baked goods like Sweet Lemon Blueberry Scones, but I love the fact that it's free from the additives found in vegan spreads at the store.
It's much more convincing than those store-bought butter alternatives that resemble margarine rather than butter.
🧈 Vegan butter flavor
Undoubtedly you are wondering what this vegan butter substitute tastes like and how close it is to its dairy counterpart.
When I was creating this recipe, I would think of the fresh butter I had many years ago in Switzerland. The creamy flavors in this homemade vegan butter recipe are as pure as that indulgence and the pristine alps I remember.
It starts with a hint of sweetness. As the silky butter begins to melt in your mouth, a delicate, fresh, grassy flavor from hemp milk is revealed.
Lactic acid from sugar beets gives that kiss of tang that cultured butter has. Finally, the finish is sea salt vanishing on the tongue.
- Avocado oil - Just the right amount helps butter melt slowly at room temperature.
- Hemp hearts - Key ingredient that naturally emulsifies homemade vegan butter to prevent separation.
- Sustainable vegan shortening - Creamy, neutral base essential for the best-tasting vegan butter.
- Sea salt - Along with lactic acid and raw sugar, sea salt gives the perfect balance of flavor.
- Lactic acid - Mimics the subtle tang in cultured butter much better than vinegar or lemon juice. Druids Grove lactic acid, derived from sugar beets, is vegan, non-GMO, and gluten-free.
- Raw sugar - Just a little makes all the difference.
- Virgin red palm oil - Super buttery and naturally red, a touch creates that lovely, pale yellow color.
🥥 No coconut oil
Are you a butter lover that has been disappointed with vegan butter recipes that contain coconut oil? Then you’ll be happy to know I have left the coconut oil out.
To me, that was an important choice. That’s because, on my palate, even refined unscented coconut oil leaves a detectable taste.
It improves the texture in a way that coconut oil can’t. But most importantly, its neutral taste allows all the subtle flavors mentioned above to take front and center stage.
🌴 Sustainable vegan shortening
The sustainably farmed vegetable shortening used in this recipe is made from one hundred percent GMO-free pure palm oil. It's also organic and non-hydrogenated.
Because I am concerned about our environment and animal welfare, I searched to find a brand of shortening that isn't a threat to orangutans or the forests in Malaysia and Indonesia.
Thankfully, as consumers, we have help from organizations like Rain Forest Alliance and RSPO, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.
Today they are working with producers to ensure that the environment, as well as animal and human rights, are protected during harvest.
Thus, we can look for their certification and labeling when buying products. At last, a vegan butter recipe can be a win from every angle.
The vegan butter recipe starts with making milk from hemp hearts. Hemp milk is exceptionally rich in protein and essential fatty acids. I found it helps emulsify the other ingredients in this alternative to butter.
Make hemp milk
For rich hemp milk, simply blend hemp hearts with water. Squeeze thru a men's handkerchief or tight-weave cotton fabric and toss out the small amount of pulp. Your hemp milk is ready to make fresh vegan butter.
- Measure water and hemp hearts into a blender.
- Blend to make hemp milk.
- Strain through a tight-weave thin cotton cloth.
- Hemp milk is ready.
Blend vegan butter
If you've ever made homemade mayonnaise, you'll find this recipe easy to understand. The technique is similar, and with four quick steps, your homemade vegan butter is ready to pour into any molds or containers you choose.
- Warm pure vegan shortening with avocado oil.
- Blend hemp milk, salt, sugar, lactic acid, and virgin red palm oil for color.
- Stir shortening and avocado oil to a pourable consistency.
- Process ingredients in a blender to make vegan butter.
👩🏻🍳 Expert tips
- Strain hemp milk through a tightly-woven cloth to make white milk without specks.
- Melt shortening with avocado oil and stir the mixture until it is pourable, but don't allow it to get warmer than room temperature.
- Measure salt, lactic acid, and sugar precisely for the best taste.
- Blend virgin red oil with milk before adding the avocado oil mixture. This gives the vegan butter recipe a lovely, even, pale yellow color and extra-buttery mouthfeel.
- Add the avocado oil mixture to the milk mixture while it is moving in the blender. Pour it into the center of the moving mixture.
- Transfer vegan butter immediately to containers or molds and refrigerate or freeze directly.
Lactic acid is a naturally occurring compound found in dairy foods. It's responsible for a characteristic flavor in milk, yogurt, and cheese. It can also be grown by fermenting non-animal food sources like corn, beets, and cane sugar.
Yes. In spite of the misleading name, when lactic acid is derived from sugar beets, as with Druid's Grove lactic acid, it is entirely vegan. Even though it doesn't contain any lactose or dairy, it has a distinct sour flavor, just like many dairy foods. One can lasts indefinitely and can be used to make all sorts of vegan cheeses.
Yes, it's nutrient-dense and uniquely derived from the red fruit of palm trees. It's very high in antioxidants and vitamins E, A, and K. It's been used medicinally in Africa for centuries and is the preferred cooking oil in many Nigerian specialties.
This healthy oil has a rich buttery flavor that compliments the recipe as well as adds color. Rather than substitute other foods that will change the taste of this vegan butter recipe, I recommend just leaving it out. I think white vegan butter has an elegant look all its own.
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Ultimate Vegan Butter Recipe
- Place avocado oil in a medium-sized bowl and add the shortening. If the shortening is semi-solid, place the bowl over a pot of simmering water. Let it soften while making and flavoring hemp milk. Don't let it melt completely or get warmer than room temperature.
- Stir the mixture occasionally until it is soft enough to pour. Use a spoon to whip avocado oil into the softened shortening until the mixture is smooth.
Make Hemp Milk
- Place water and hemp hearts in a blender. Blend on high for 1-2 minutes. Lay a large handkerchief or square of thin cotton fabric over a bowl. Pour hemp milk in, and carefully gather the top. Squeeze and wring until all the liquid is extracted. Toss out the pulp.
Flavor Hemp Milk
- Rinse and drain the blender. Return hemp milk to blender. Add salt, sugar, lactic acid, and red palm oil. Measure accurately for optimal flavor. Blend briefly on medium speed until the color is uniform.
- With the blender running at medium speed, pour the whisked oil and shortening mixture into the center of the blender. As the mixture thickens, turn the blender speed up. Stop as soon as all the ingredients are mostly mixed.
- Take a spatula and scrape the sides of the vegan butter toward the center of the blender. Blend a final time briefly on high speed until the butter is uniform. You will have a spoonable, fluffy, pale yellow butter.
- Scoop butter into silicone molds or serving dishes and cover. Glass containers with snap-tight lids are also handy. Place immediately in the refrigerator or freezer until firm enough to slice.
- Keep homemade vegan butter for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Butter can also be frozen, stored in a container with a tight lid for 6 months.