Home & Garden Home Is Margarine Vegan? The Ultimate Guide to Vegan Butter Alternatives We're here to spread the truth about whether this butter substitute is vegan. By Elyse Glickman Elyse Glickman Writer Elyse has nearly 20 years of experience in the field of food and drink writing and journalism. In addition to contributing to a variety of food, nutrition, and travel publications, she has developed and managed her own publication, Liquid Living, focused on home entertaining. Learn about our editorial process Published November 30, 2021 Share Twitter Pinterest Email Treehugger / Catherine Song Home Sustainable Eating Pest Control Natural Cleaning DIY Family Green Living Thrift & Minimalism In This Article Expand When Is Margarine Not Vegan? Vegan Margarine and Butter Substitutes Non-Vegan Butter Substitutes Frequently Asked Questions While the first margarine arrived in Europe at the end of the 1860s due to a butter shortage, it was made with beef tallow churned with milk. We've come a long way since then. During the 20th century, further development of margarine—as well as other butter alternative spreads—led to an expanding market thanks to the combined efforts of food technologists, oil chemists, and chemical engineers. But while margarine was once marketed as a healthier alternative to butter, is it a vegan alternative? Produced simply from water, plant-based oils, and salt, margarine can be vegan. However, some kinds of margarine contain animal fats and other non-vegan additives. Here, we discuss the modern-day, plant-based truth about this spread. When Is Margarine Not Vegan? By the United States Department of Agriculture's definition, margarine is no less than 80% fat and no more than 2% salt. Vegan margarine is made from a relatively simple recipe, combining water and plant-based oil, such as soybean or corn, along with salt. However, it is not uncommon to find animal products on margarine ingredients lists. Make sure to look out for whey, lactose, buttermilk, and casein (all dairy products). Likewise, sometimes suet, an animal fat, is included in the mix, along with Vitamin D3 and marine oil derived from fish. Treehugger Tip Our recommendation is to look for margarine or butter substitutes with a clear, certified vegan label rather than sifting through a complicated and questionable ingredients list. Vegan Margarine and Butter Substitutes There's a plant-based butter substitute for every taste and budget, from familiar name brands to artisanal versions sold in specialty stores and online. Whether you prefer simple butter flavor, lightly whipped recipes, or a decadently rich spread, a vegan option is available. Earth Balance Vegan ButterEarth Balance Organic Cocoanut SpreadI Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter It’s Vegan! SpreadCountry Crock “Plant Butter” sticks and spread in olive, almond, and avocado oil varietiesFleischmann's MargarineEllyndale Organics Buttery SpreadMiyoko’s Creamery European Style Cultured Vegan ButterNuvita Organic Buttery Cocoanut OilWildbrine Cultured Cashew Butter AlternativeWild Creamery European Style Butter AlternativePark Butter Vegan Buttery Spread Butter SubstituteMilkadamia Salted Buttery SpreadForager's Project Buttery SpreadWayfare Foods Dairy-Free Salted, Whipped ButterWildbrine European-Style Cultured Cashew ButterOm Sweet Home Non-Dairy Butter Alternative Non-Vegan Butter Substitutes While margarine formulas have improved in taste and quality through the years, there are a few familiar names that should be passed over due to their inclusion of animal-based ingredients. Some brands that are now producing certified vegan spreads have other, earlier recipes still on the market with animal-based elements. Steer clear of: Blue Bonnet MargarineImperial MargarineCountry Crock LightParkay MargarineParkay Squeezable 60% Vegetable Oil Spread Frequently Asked Questions Is butter or margarine vegan? Traditional butter is not vegan because it contains dairy. Some kinds of margarine are vegan, while others are made with animal fats and other non-vegan products. It is best to buy butter substitutes with a certified vegan label. Is Country Crock margarine vegan? Regular Country Crock margarine is not vegan. However, the company offers "plant butter" options that are entirely vegan. Look for spreads made with oil, almond, and avocado oil.