Butter is widely used in our life, but sometimes it can’t be suitable for you. Being a vegan, you are obviously looking for dairy-free products containing only plant-based ingredients. You also may be lactose-intolerant.

Is Margarine for Cooking and Baking Dairy-Free?

Nowadays, margarine is an alternative to butter, which you can buy in any shop. But is it vegan and dairy-free?

What is Margarine?

Margarine is a spread made of vegetable oils, water, and salt. It also includes artificial flavorings and colorings. It’s a cheap substitute for common butter.

The primary oil sources used in margarine:

  1. Seeds of sunflower
  2. Olives
  3. Soy
  4. Canola
  5. Corn


How is it made?

The process of making margarine includes the following steps:

  1. Oil extraction. The first step means the usage of cold pressing or solvents like hexane.
  2. Oil refinement. After being extracted, it may contain a variety of toxins. That’s why it needs refining.
  3. It is used to make fatty compounds solid.
  4. Oils are combined with other types of oils and fats.
  5. This step includes the mixing process of oils with other additives like water, milk, flavorings, and preservatives.
  6. High temperatures are used to kill potentially dangerous microorganisms and bacteria.
  7. This step helps make margarine solid before packaging it up.


Is Margarine Dairy-Free?


In general, this product is a combination of water and different oils derived from plant sources.

But is margarine dairy-free? Most of them are available for a lactose-free diet, but some are not. Brands also use different flavors and preservatives. Some of them may contain animal traces and even milk, which make it non-vegan and dairy.

To be sure that your butter alternative is suitable for you, read the list of ingredients, before buying.

Margarine Ingredients to Look out For

Vegan and dairy-free margarine don’t have these ingredients:

  1. Whey. This liquid remains from milk, and it’s the byproduct of cheese or casein manufacture.
  2. Casein. In other words, it is the main protein found in milk. It is widely used in different foods as an additive.
  3. Lactose. It’s also a part of milk and isn’t vegan-friendly. This ingredient may be even harmful, in case you are lactose-intolerant.
  4. Animal fat. Nowadays, margarine doesn’t have this ingredient, because vegetable oil can replace it. But some brands use it up to date.
  5. Vitamin D3. Lanolin is the main source for it. Being derived from the wool of sheep, it is not suitable for vegans.
  6. Marine oil. It is also an animal-derived product. Now it is not very popular in margarine manufacture, but some producing companies add it to butter substitutes.
  7. Lecithin. This component may be of animal origin or plant-based. Remember, that E322 is soy lecithin, which is vegan and dairy-free.
  8. Suet. Animals’ kidneys are the primary sources for this additive.
  9. Tallow. It is cattle fat, and you can sometimes find it in the list of ingredients.

But what is about palm oil? Because it is plant-based, some people consider it to be vegan, but some do not. The production of palm oil destroys rainforests and is not environmentally friendly. As you can see, its extraction is the main problem for its consumption. But now it’s very hard to find food without this ingredient, especially margarine.

If it is labeled like “sustainable palm oil,” it is vegan. It means that the company is a member of RSPO or Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil.


Is Margarine Healthy?

Margarine and Hand

Made of natural oils, margarine contains unsaturated fats. In comparison with milk butter, which is the source of saturated “bad” fats, the first one is healthier.

But at the same trans fats, which can present in margarine, are dangerous. They cause heart attacks, diabetes, and raise cholesterol in the blood. Nowadays, most brands have removed them from their butter substitutes.

When choosing margarine, always read nutrition facts paying attention to the level of trans and saturated fats.


Are Popular Margarine Brands Dairy-free?

Do you have your favorite margarine and still don’t know whether it includes dairy-derived ingredients or not? Below you’ll find the information about the most popular brands of butter alternatives.

Becel Margarine

It is one of the most popular brands. But is Becel margarine dairy-free? This company produces different types of margarine.

Here I’m going to compare two of them Becel Original and Becel Vegan. Both are free from trans fats and have only 1g (5%) saturated fat per serving.

First of all, let’s have a look at the list of ingredients:

Becel Original Becel Vegan
Canola and sunflower oils 74% vegan Canola and sunflower oils 74% vegan
Water vegan Water vegan
Modified palm and palm kernel oils 6% vegan/not vegan Modified palm and palm kernel oils 6% vegan/not vegan
Buttermilk powder 1% not vegan, dairy Natural flavors vegan
Natural flavors vegan Lactic acid vegan
Lactic acid vegan Vitamin A palmitate vegan
Vitamin A palmitate vegan Vitamin D2 vegan
Vitamin D3 not vegan Natural color vegan
Natural color vegan Soy lecithin vegan
Soy lecithin vegan

Original Becel contains milk and animal-derived ingredients. It’s better to avoid it.

Is Becel Vegan margarine dairy-free? Yes! But, in case, you don’t consume palm oil, it’s not for you.


Blue Bonnet

Blue Bonnet Margarine

Blue Bonnet is high-quality margarine with great taste. There are no trans fats and 8% or 1,5g of saturated fat per serving.

Ingredients of Original Soft Spread:

Water vegan
Soybean oil vegan
Palm oil and palm kernel oil vegan/not vegan
Salt vegan
Mono- and diglycerides (aren’t labeled vegetable) not vegan
Soy lecithin vegan
Propylene glycol monostearate possibly not vegan
Sodium benzoate vegan
Potassium sorbate vegan
Calcium disodium EDTA vegan
Whey not vegan, dairy
Citric acid vegan
Natural and artificial flavors vegan
Vitamin A palmitate vegan
Beta carotene (color) vegan


Is Blue Bonnet margarine dairy-free? No, because it contains whey that belongs to the class of milk proteins.

Country Crock

Another margarine that tastes like butter, and works as a cheaper substitute for it. One serving contains 0 grams of trans fats and 6% or 1g saturated fat.

Ingredients of Country Crock Original:

Purified water vegan
Soybean oil vegan
Palm and palm kernel oil vegan/not vegan
Salt vegan
Soy lecithin vegan
Vinegar vegan
Natural flavors vegan
Vitamin D3 not vegan
Vitamin A palmitate vegan
Beta carotene vegan


Is Country Crock dairy-free? Yes, there are no milk-derived ingredients. But the presence of vitamin D3 makes is not veggie-friendly.


Let’s compare two Fleischmann’s margarine to find out which one is milk-free:

Original Unsalted
Liquid soybean oil and partially hydrogenated soybean oil vegan Liquid corn oil and partially hydrogenated soybean oil vegan
Whey not vegan, dairy Whey not vegan, dairy
Salt vegan Salt vegan
Vegetable mono- and diglycerides vegan Vegetable mono- and diglycerides vegan
Natural and artificial flavor vegan Soy lecithin vegan
Vitamin A palmitate vegan Potassium sorbate and calcium disodium EDTA vegan
Colored with beta carotene vegan Phosphoric acid vegan
Vitamin D3 not vegan Vitamin A palmitate vegan
Colored with beta carotene vegan
Vitamin D3 not vegan


Well, is Fleischmann’s margarine dairy-free? No, it is not. Both versions contain whey.

There is an exciting thing about the unsalted one. According to the information on the internet, it is lactose-free. But at the same time, it has whey, which is the milk derivative. It is one of the butter alternatives that has 1,5g trans fats, and 2g or 10% saturated fat per serving. So be careful when buying it.



The producing company claims that Flora Original has 100% natural ingredients and is registered with Vegan Society.

Plant oils (sunflower, rapeseed, linseed, and sustainable palm oil) vegan
Water vegan
Salt vegan
Sunflower lecithin vegan
Vinegar vegan
Natural flavorings vegan
Vitamin A vegan

There are no milk and animal derivatives. What is more, this company uses palm oil produced without any harm to the environment. No trans fats and 1,7g of saturated fat.

But is Flora margarine dairy-free? At first sight, it is suitable for those who are lactose intolerant. According to the information given on an official site, it may have milk traces due to the supply chain. They recommend buying Flora Dairy Free.



One serving of this butter alternative has 2,5g or 15% saturated fat and no trans fats.

Let’s find out is Imperial margarine dairy-free:

Modifies palm and palm kernel oil vegan/not vegan
Soybean oil vegan
Water vegan
Salt vegan
Whey powder not vegan, dairy
Soy lecithin vegan
Vegetable monoglycerides vegan
Potassium sorbate vegan
Citric acid vegan
Natural and artificial flavor vegan
Calcium disodium EDTA vegan
Vitamin A palmitate vegan
Vitamin D3 not vegan
Beta carotene vegan

This margarine is dairy because of whey powder and unsuitable for a vegan diet.




The brand claims that the product is lactose and gluten-free. What is more, it is 100% vegan. Their margarine is free from trans fats and includes only 1g or 5% saturated fat.


Canola oil vegan
Modified palm and palm kernel oil vegan/not vegan
Salt vegan
Dextrose vegan
Vegetable monoglycerides vegan
Soy lecithin vegan
Potassium sorbate vegan
Natural flavor vegan
Annato vegan
Tumeric vegan
Vitamin A palmitate vegan
Vitamin D2 vegan

Is Crystal margarine dairy-free? Yes, there aren’t any milk derivatives. The company is also on the way to switch to Certified Sustainable Palm Oil.


The 5 Best Dairy-free Margarine and Butter Substitutes

If you want to buy 100% vegan margarine, look for products labeled as a “vegan non-dairy spread”. Sometimes they can also be called “vegan margarine,” “vegan butter,” “butter substitute,” or “non-dairy buttery spread.”


There is a quick review of the most popular brands producing dairy-free butter alternatives.

Earth Balance

It’s a great vegan substitute, perfect for baking and cooking. No trans fatty acids and 3g or 15% saturated fat per serving. According to reviews, it’s the best vegan butter for baking.

List of ingredients:

Natural oil blend (palm fruit, canola, soybean, flax, and olive oils) vegan
Filtered water vegan
Less than 2% of salt vegan
Natural flavor (gluten-free) vegan
Pea protein vegan
Sunflower lecithin vegan
Non-dairy lactic acid vegan
Naturally extracted annatto vegan

This plant-based product is lactose-free and certified vegan. It doesn’t contain gluten. Pay your attention that all versions of Earth Balance organic margarine are made without animal derivatives.

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter

Recently the company introduced a vegan version of their famous spreads.


Purified water vegan
Soybean oil vegan
Palm oil vegan
Palm kernel oil vegan
Salt vegan
Soy lecithin vegan
Natural flavors vegan
Vinegar vegan
Vitamin A palmitate vegan
Beta Carotene vegan


In this case, palm oil is marked vegan, but why? Because the company uses it only from certified sustainable sources.

Their spreads don’t contain artificial preservatives like potassium sorbate and are Vegan Action certified. 2g saturated fat per serving and no trans fats make it the best butter alternative for eating.

Miyoko’s Kitchen

European Style Cultured Vegan Butter by Miyoko’s kitchen doesn’t contain lactose, gluten, and soy.  There is also no palm oil, genetically modified ingredients, and trans-unsaturated fatty acids. One serving contains 8g or 17% saturated fat.

Organic coconut oil vegan
Filtered water vegan
Organic sunflower oil vegan
Organic Cashews vegan
Organic sunflower lecithin vegan
Sea salt vegan
Cultures vegan


Melt Organic

This butter alternative is plant-based, vegan, and non-GMO. It is also free from soy, gluten, and any artificial flavors and preservatives. The company uses palm oil from Columbia produced without any harm to rain forests. Being free from trans fats, it has 3,5g (19%) saturated fat.

Non-dairy spread ingredients:

Expeller-pressed organic oil blend (virgin coconut oil, high oleic sunflower oil, palm fruit oil) vegan
Water vegan
Tocopherols (100% free of soy) vegan
Natural flavor vegan
Organic annatto extract flavor vegan



Salted Whipped Butter by WayFare is vegan, non-GMO and milk-free. The company claims that it tastes like a real one. The spread doesn’t contain palm, soy, and gluten. The product made without trans fatty acids has 5 or 25% saturated fat per serving.

WayFare dairy-free base (water, organic butter beans) vegan
Vegetable oil blend (coconut and safflower oil) vegan
Sea salt vegan
Cultured Dextrose vegan
Calcium Citrate vegan
WayFare natural flavors vegan
Sunflower lecithin vegan
Konjac root powder vegan
Natural colors vegan
Vitamin E vegan


You can also try Salted Whipped Butter and Sweet Cinnamony Whipped Butter, which are also plant-based and lactose-free.

Healthier Vegan and Dairy-Free Butter Substitutes

These butter alternatives you can easily use for baking and cooking:

  1. Coconut oil. It’s the most famous substitute for butter. It is vegan, lactose-free, and available in shops. It is solid at room temperature and becomes liquid when warmed. Replace the regular butter in your recipe with the same amount of coconut oil, to get delicious food.
  2. Unsweetened applesauce. It’s great for vegan cupcakes or muffins. Remember not to add more than 1 cup of it to your recipe, or your food may be mushy.
  3. Mashed avocado. This fruit is rich in “good” fats and can easily replace dairy-free margarine in baking.
  4. Mashed banana. It works with cakes, muffins, and cookies. Use the equal amount of it for the butter. Your food will have a distinct banana flavor.
  5. Pumpkin Puree. This product can also substitute butter in baking. It adds sweetness, orange color, and creamy taste to your food.
  6. Sunflower, olive, canola, and vegetable oils. All of them you can use as butter alternatives for cooking.


Homemade Dairy-Free Margarine Recipe


Is Margarine for Cooking Dairy Free?

If you don’t want to think about what brand of margarine is dairy-free, you can make it at home, using only healthy ingredients. Here is the recipe of delicious vegan butter alternative.

What you need:

  1. Refined coconut oil 240ml or 1 cup
  2. Homemade Margarine
  3. Canola oil 2 tbsp. (you can use avocado oil)
  4. Unsweetened soy milk 80ml (almond milk is also suitable)
  5. Apple vinegar 1 tsp.
  6. Nutritional yeast 1 tsp.
  7. Pinch of turmeric
  8. Salt 0.5 tsp.

How to make vegan butter for baking and cooking:

  1. Melt your coconut oil and combine it with canola oil in a blender.
  2. Mix the vinegar and unsweetened soy milk, until you get the texture of buttermilk. Add the mixture and other ingredients to your blender.
  3. Blend it well.
  4. Pour it into a container; it would be better to use a butter dish. Now you have to refrigerate it because it needs time to set. Usually, it takes a couple of hours.


I hope, now you know what margarine is dairy-free and how to choose the best tasting butter substitute for you.

Always pay attention to the list of its ingredients and percentage of fats. Remember that you can prepare it at home, to be sure that your butter alternative is really free from products you want to avoid.

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About the Author

Joshua Howard

I'm a healthy living blogger who loves to help people who care about having an eco-friendly home environment and a healthy lifestyle. With proper nutrition I helped my brother to cure gastritis and my father to normalize his blood pressure.

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