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Butter is a dairy product that’s typically made by churning cow’s milk to separate the solid fat and protein components.
It’s a versatile food that’s used as a spread and as an ingredient in baking and cooking. There are several types of butters, including salted, unsalted, organic, flavored, and imported, that are suitable for different uses.
With such a variety of butters on the market, you may be wondering which kind best fits your needs.
The brands on this list meet the following criteria and are considered to be:
- made with minimal, mostly nutritious ingredients
- free from unnecessary or excess preservatives and artificial colors
- widely accessible, except for some specialty butters
Here are the 12 best butter brands for every use.
Land O’Lakes unsalted butter is a go-to for many home bakers, since it’s known to produce consistent results and is available almost everywhere.
It has a fairly mild flavor, making it ideal for baked goods that don’t need a strong butter flavor.
Additionally, Land O’Lakes butter is 80% fat, which means it has more water and less fat than some European and imported brands that may contain up to 84% fat (1).
A higher water content in butter is thought to be best for light pastry doughs, cream puffs, pie crusts, biscuits, and some cookies — but not every baker may agree.
If you pick up Land O’Lakes for your next baking session, remember to choose unsalted unless a recipe says otherwise. Salted butter can change the taste and texture of baked goods.
Plugrá is a European style butter that was specifically designed to produce superior baked goods.
Its butterfat content is 82%, which is slightly higher than Land O’Lakes and most American butters but lower than other European styles and brands (2).
The composition of Plugrá is thought to provide the ideal amount of moisture and fat for pastries and other baked goods. In fact, it’s the preferred brand for many pastry chefs and baking schools.
While baked goods made with Plugrá may be a step above those made with other butters, this brand is not as affordable nor as widely available as Land O’Lakes.
Plugrá may be the best choice for more advanced baked goods that specifically call for it, but for everyday cookies or brownies, Land O’Lakes is always a good option.
As noted on its label, this product is an award-winning butter, and for good reason.
Made in small batches on a Wisconsin farm from pasture-raised organic milk, Organic Valley Salted Butter is high quality.
It has a creamy mouthfeel and a rich, mildly tangy flavor with a hint of salt that pairs perfectly with a slice of toast (3).
Even though it’s more expensive than typical table butters, you don’t need to use much to enjoy the rich flavor. Plus, since salt acts as a natural preservative, salted butter can resist bacteria growth and last longer than unsalted butter (
These qualities make it the best choice to stock up on and always have on hand for everyday spreading. Even if you opt for the unsalted version, it’s still delicious.
Kerrygold is one of the best-known and best grass-fed butter brands. It’s made from milk produced by cows that graze on Irish fields and primarily eat grass (5).
Studies suggest that grass-fed milk is higher in certain nutrients, including anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, than milk from corn- and grain-fed cows.
Grass-fed milk may also contain more vitamin K2, which is important for bone health (
In addition, the diet composition of grass-fed cows can lead to changes in the taste, color, and texture of butters produced from their milk.
For example, Kerrygold has a deeper yellow color than typical butters. This is likely due to the higher amount of beta carotene in the cows’ grass-based diets. Beta carotene is a red-orange pigment that gets converted to vitamin A in your body (
Kerrygold is known for its rich taste and creamy texture. It tastes delicious spread on toast, drizzled over vegetables or popcorn, and in baked goods.
Both the salted or unsalted varieties of Kerrygold are widely available.
Shop for salted or unsalted Kerrygold online.
This brand of grass-fed butter is produced from the milk of cows that graze on pastures across the Southern United States.
It’s 85% fat, which is approximately 5% more than the fat content of most American butters, and therefore has an incredibly rich flavor (9).
The sea salted variety is an especially delicious option for spreading and everyday use, but it also comes in unsalted (9).
Similar to Kerrygold, Vital Farms butter has a deeper yellow color and likely more of certain nutrients than non-grass-fed butters. However, it’s usually more expensive and can be slightly more difficult to find.
Certified organic by the United States Department of Agriculture, Horizon Organic is made from the milk of cows that receive 100% organic feed free from synthetic pesticides (10).
Organic dairy cows do not receive growth hormones, unnecessary antibiotics, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
These practices may produce healthier milk and be better for the environment — though it’s still up for debate (
For example, some studies suggest that organic milk has 62% more omega-3 fatty acids than conventional milk, which are essential nutrients that help fight inflammation in your body that can lead to disease (
For consumers who prioritize organic dairy, Horizon Organic butter is an excellent choice. It’s available at most grocery stores, and comes in salted, unsalted, and spreadable varieties (13).
Lurpak, a type of Danish butter, is one of the highest quality imported butters available in the United States.
While most salted butters are made from just cream and salt, Lurpak also has lactic acid bacteria, or lactic cultures. Adding these bacteria to butter leads to fermentation, which contributes to a tangier, sharper taste (14).
Lurpak is known for its distinct “cultured” butter taste and rich mouthfeel that feels homemade. You can spread it on toast or use it for frying, drizzling, and baking.
Look for Lurpak at specialty stores or in the imported aisle of your supermarket.
Price: unavailable online
Bordier is an artisan French butter, produced by Jean Yves-Bordier in the Brittany region, that’s prized by chefs and foodies.
Its taste is so rich that it’s often described as a main ingredient instead of a condiment. Bordier is classically paired with radishes, but it can be used in a number of ways.
Bordier butter’s exceptional flavor, creamy texture, and variety of colors are a result of the slow culturing and churning process, as well as the seasonal differences in the grasses and feed on which the cows graze (15).
Eating Bordier butter is an incredible treat. It’s very difficult to find in the United States and online, but it may be imported by select gourmet food shops.
Fourth and Heart Ghee is a special kind of butter classified as clarified butter (16).
Ghee is made by melting butter and skimming off the milk solids so that mostly just the fat is left.
This process reduces the lactose content, making it a suitable option for those with lactose intolerance and a shelf-stable product that can last for up to a year.
Ghee has a higher smoke point than regular butter, so it can be used in high heat cooking without degrading and turning into unhealthy trans fatty acids (
Fourth and Heart Ghee, in particular, is a high quality brand that’s made from the milk of grass-fed cows. It’s a great choice for frying but can also be used for spreading, drizzling, and baking.
You can find Fourth and Heart products at health food and specialty stores, as well as some large grocery stores.
Although butter is typically made from cow’s milk, there are a variety of specialty butters made from the milk of other mammals.
Meyenberg Goat Milk Butter has a tangy taste similar to goat cheese and a creamy texture that resembles cow’s butter (18).
Though not the case for everyone, some people with intolerance to cow’s milk are able to tolerate goat’s milk products better and find them easier to digest (
What’s more, goat milk butter melts quickly and is a great option for drizzling and cooking.
Vermont Creamery Maple and Sea Salt Cultured Butter has all of the same delicious qualities of regular butter plus an added sweet and salty taste.
This product is 86% butterfat, made with bacteria cultures, and sweetened with fresh Vermont maple syrup.
As a result, it’s incredibly rich and creamy, mildly tangy, and slightly sweet (20).
Use it as a spread on toast, muffins, or waffles, or drizzle it over roasted root vegetables.
While the company that makes this sweet butter is based in Vermont, they distribute widely across the United States and can be found at some large grocery chains.
Even though butter is traditionally made from the milk of mammals, there are several vegan butter substitutes without animal products.
Earth Balance Olive Oil Buttery Spread is one of the best options on the market, based on ingredients, taste, and availability. It mimics the taste and texture of regular butter and can be used on toast and in cooking.
Furthermore, it’s primarily made of vegetable oils and provides over 20% of the Daily Value (DV) of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in 1 tablespoon (14 grams). ALA is an omega-3 fatty acid that has been linked to a decreased risk of heart disease (21,
This spread is also made without soy, which can be a common ingredient in vegan substitutes, and is a suitable option for those with soy allergies.
The best butter brand for you depends on your cooking needs, taste preferences, and dietary considerations.
While butter is not necessarily a health food and shouldn’t be used in excess, you can still choose a high quality butter made with minimal ingredients.
In general, choose brands that contain minimal ingredients and do not have unnecessary additives. For most butters, that means just cream, salt, and lactic cultures.
If you’re watching your sodium intake, opt for unsalted butter so that you can keep the salt content of your meals in check.
For butters that may contain more nutrients, look for grass-fed and organic varieties that you can use for spreading and cooking. If you need butter for baking, remember to consider the fat content.
For a special treat, try one of the imported or specialty butters on the list.
There are several butter brands and varieties that differ based on fat content, ingredients, texture, taste, farming and production practices, and affordability.
You can choose from salted or unsalted, European style, cultured, imported, grass-fed, organic, and even vegan butter.
To make the best choice, consider your price point and whether you need it for cooking, spreading, or baking. If you’re interested in options that may be slightly healthier and better quality, explore grass-fed or organic varieties.