How to substitute margarine with butter? (+3 tips)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “How to substitute margarine with butter?”. We look at the technical difference between margarine and butter and how using the two interchangeably could affect our cooking or baking. We will also explore the characteristics of butter and margarine.

How to substitute margarine with butter?

Margarine makes a terrific substitute for butter because their taste profile is very similar. If you are out of butter or on a dietary restriction, then margarine is a good choice for your baking needs. In cakes, doughnuts, or cookies, you can use margarine instead of butter without hesitation.

However, butter does not contribute to the taste of baked goods but their texture as well. It all comes down to selecting the right kind of margarine for your cooking.

Margarine is used in equal amounts as that of butter. If your recipe calls for 1 cup of butter, you will need 1 cup of margarine as a replacement.

What is the difference between butter and margarine?

Butter is high in saturated fats, while margarine is high in monosaturated fats.

Butter is dairy-based; made by churning milk. Butter has 80% fat, 16% water, and 3% milk solids.

Margarine has vegetable oil as a substitute. Vegetable oil has hydrogen added to it by a process called hydrogenation. 

Margarine is usually fortified with fatty acids to add nutritional value. The omega 3 and 6 Fatty acids come from canola or soybean oil.

Margarine has more water and less fat, which owes to being a healthier option. Margarine can be dairy-free or dairy-based. 

Inarguably, butter is superior when it comes to attaining a richer and creamier taste of baked goods.

However, there is not much difference between the two. 

The substitute is not just suited for baking. For cooking or meal preparation, margarine is a great option.

Butter naturally has a yellow color due to the presence of vitamin A. A pigment called carotene causes the hint of yellow. 

Margarine, on the other hand, has yellow food coloring added to it.

How does butter affect the texture of Baked and Cooked Goods?

Most baked goods require you to whip sugar in butter before baking. The reason to cream butter with sugar is to mix it thoroughly and let the air be incorporated into the batter.

The process makes your cakes have soft, spongy, and even texture.

What are your options when selecting margarine?

Margarine is sold in either plastic tubs or as sticks, both of which are a little dissimilar. Margarine is found in both varieties; dairy-free or dairy-based. 

Fat content in margarine ranges from 30- 80 percent. 

Margarine sold in tubs is softer and creamier. Tub margarine is usually free of trans fats. When baking, you can substitute butter with tub margarine if your recipe calls for melted butter. Contrarily, if your recipe calls for softened butter instead of melted, then you might not attain the best texture possible.

If you are making pies or pastries, then using tub margarine could make your product too soft. In case your margarine is low-fat, it will be high in water content which could compromise the quality of your food.

Stick Margarine is harder and resembles butter in its texture. Hence, if you use it for cooking or baking, your commodity will turn out just as fine.

Stick Margarine is high in trans-fat, which could raise your cholesterol level. 

Could the substitution of butter with margarine impact your baked or cooked goods?

You can use margarine instead of butter in case it is a minor ingredient. However, you might want to reevaluate your choice if you are to prepare a recipe that heavily relies on butter for not only taste but texture as well.

Cakes that are baked with margarine will have a denser and more moist crust.

Cookies with margarine will have a chewy and tender texture.

Your pies and pastries will not turn out to be desirable; they will be soft if you use margarine.

If you are making cookies, margarine will help them to retain the shape better than margarine. Before you bake, leave the dough in the fridge to make the fat retain its shape and; get better cookies. Otherwise, the cookies will spread out and get thin while baking.

If you are making a cake, you will need to whip your butter alternate and sugar together. If you use margarine, then the creaming process makes it melt. Melted margarine will not hold air well and produce a cake that is not fluffy. The air incorporation is essential for any baked good that needs to be fluffy and light instead of dense.

In this brief guide, we answered the question, “How to substitute margarine with butter?”. We looked at the technical difference between margarine and butter and how using the two interchangeably could affect our cooking or baking. We also explored the characteristics of butter and margarine.

Citation

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/best-butter-substitutes#baking
https://www.bhg.com/recipes/how-to/cooking-basics/margarine-substitutes/
https://www.atcoblueflamekitchen.com/en-ca/how-to/margarine-or-butter.html
https://www.thespruceeats.com/dairy-free-baking-without-butter-1001576
https://www.allrecipes.com/article/butter-vs-margarine-whats-better-for-baking/

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.

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