Difference Between Butter And Margarine
By Andrew Parker - October 19, 2021

Butter and margarine have lots of things in common: both are dairy products that can be used for cooking and baking, and both can contain large amounts of different fats. However, there is a reason why they have different names – after all, they are two different products. Here are the main differences between butter and margarine.

Table Summary

Made by churning creamMade from vegetable oils
Contains higher levels of saturated fatContains unsaturated fats
Sliced baguette on cutting board with butter on plate

Getty Images / Moment / Yulia Naumenko


Butter is a traditional dairy product made by churning cream. It is used for cooking and baking as a frying fat, spread, or even as an essential part of baked goods recipes. As a concentrated source of milk fat, it contains mostly saturated fat. In the 1970s, because of controversial studies associating a high intake of saturated fats with an increased risk of heart disease, public health authorities around the world began recommending people limit their daily consumption of butter.

Margarine, on the other hand, is a modern product designed to taste and look like butter. Made from vegetable oils, margarine contains polyunsaturated fats which might help lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. Unlike butter, modern margarine might contain several food additives such as emulsifiers and colorants.

Butter VS Margarine

The main difference between butter and margarine is that one is a dairy product while the other is made from vegetable oils such as canola oil, palm fruit oil, and soybean oil. Butter is high in saturated fat, while margarine is rich in unsaturated fat and sometimes trans fat.