Is It a Butter, Margarine or Spread? They Are Not Created Equal.
You have choices when it comes to sticks for baking. Learn the difference between margarine vs butter vs spreadable butter and when you should use each option.
You may notice there is a wide variety of choices in the grocery store dairy case when it comes to sticks to use for baking. "Butter," "margarine" and "spread" are common types of stick products. It’s easy to be confused by the difference between them. Can you really use just any stick for your baked goods with confidence? The short answer is, "No." Let's explain in more detail.
Different Types of Fats
Let’s first understand what the different choices are. Most of the products you see displayed on the shelves fall into three categories: butter, margarine and spreads. According to USDA regulations, butter and margarine must contain at least 80% fat. In butter, that fat comes from milkfat. But in the case of margarine, the fat can come from vegetable sources or a combination of animal and vegetable sources. The USDA does not specify how much fat should be in the spreads category, so the fat content varies between brands. If it doesn’t say "butter" or "margarine," look at the front of the package to determine the exact percentage of fat. The only way to be sure you are buying margarine is if it clearly states "margarine" on the box.