Difference Between Butter and Margarine

Butter vs Margarine

Butter and margarine are essential part of our breakfast, butter is a natural product and Margarine is a manufactured alternative. We get butter from the milk of animals, usually cow, while Margarine is prepared after a complicated process. Butter and Margarine are great source of fats for human, and are also used in making different food products.


Butter is one of the dairy products, which we use everyday like milk and eggs. We use butter as spread and use in cooking like baking and sauce making. The main constituents of butter are butterfat, water and proteins. Generally, it is used in pure form, but preservatives and salts are also added to increase the shelf life. Butter is soft at room temperature and liquid on higher temperatures, while it solidifies in refrigerator. Color of butter varies from white to yellow, depending on the feed of animal, whose milk has been used to extract butter. In health perspective, one tablespoon of butter contains 420 kilojoules of energy, which usually comes from saturated fat and is a source of cholesterol for the users. Due to this reason, butter causes certain health issues, particularly cardiac problems. Ghee is another product manufactured from butter, which is nothing but butterfat.


Margarine was manufactured as a substitute of butter in 1869, and now countless varieties of margarine are available in the market. Margarine is usually prepared from the vegetable oils; hydrogen gas is passed through liquid oils to solidify them. Margarine has no cholesterol and saturated fats are also in very less quantity or completely absent. Margarine contains poly saturated fats, which are unhealthy for human, according to experts. Vitamins A and D are usually added to margarine to enhance their nutritional value; salts, artificial color and preservative are added to make it useable for long time. According to research, tarns fat present in margarine can enhance insulin levels in blood, which increases the risk for diabetes.

Differences and Similarities

Butter and margarine have equal calories, i.e. one teaspoon contains 100 calories in both cases. Butter has animal origin and manufactured from the milk of mammals, whereas margarine is prepared from the vegetable oils through the process of hydrogenation. Butter consists of saturated fats and cholesterol, and Margarine is composed of trans-fats and no cholesterol. Butter is better in taste when compared to margarine, so taste conscious people prefer butter in any case. Both are used in cooking, particularly in baking but they are not recommended for frying. Margarine has long shelf life than butter. In economical terms, margarine is cheaper than butter. Doctors recommend margarine to reduce the risk of heart disease but it may cause diabetes.


Butter and margarine are source of fat, which is essential for the proper function of body. Cholesterol in butter is injurious for health so margarine is better in this regard, as it has no cholesterol. Butter contains saturated fats, which makes it rich and trans- fats in margarine differentiate it from butter. Good taste of butter makes it ultimate choice for many of us.

  • Cygnia

    Somebody seriously needs to open up a book and get their facts straight. This article is all over the place with typos and confused information. There aren’t many “absolutely nots” in my life but, eating margarine/ any foods containing hydrogenated/partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats) is one of them. Margarine contains hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils (all trans fats) that are FAR worse than any saturated fat you can eat! These oils are artificial food, which is why they have been PROVEN (unlike saturated fat) to cause heart disease, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes type 2, ADHD in kids, digestive disorders, etc. Just you know the difference, hydrogenated/ partially hydrogenated oils are created when polyunsaturated fat molecules are “forced” to become artificial saturated fat molecules – they are literally fake saturated fat that are metabolized very differently from naturally occurring saturated fats (like those found in butter and virgin coconut oil). For an in-depth understanding of dietary fat (and to get the real scoop by someone with scientific training in dietary fats), read Dr. Mary Enig’s book, “Know Your Fats: The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils, and Cholesterol” (2001). Dr. Enig is a world-renowned PhD researcher in lipids chemistry with 40 years experience publishing scientific literature on dietary fats and oils. Naturally-derived saturated fats are essential for optimal absorption of fat soluble nutrients like Omega 3s, Vitamins A, D, K, E, etc. We run the risk of nutrient deficiency if we eliminate all (natural) saturated fats from our diet. With that said, the art and science of fats nutrition is about balance and moderation. Each type of fat (monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated fat) delivers different metabolic functions, so it isn’t about one type of fat over another, but about correctly balancing them. Dr. Mary Enig recommends that 85% of our dietary comes from saturated and monounsaturated fat, and 15% from polyunsaturated fat. For a butter substitute, I absolutely love “Melt” – it’s a new butter substitute that’s really rich and creamy and adds a great taste in low heat-cooking (e.g., frying up eggs). I have tried just about all of them (Brummel and Brown, I Can’t Believe [How Bad This Tastes], Smart Balance, Earth Balance), and this is the best one I have found. Melt is also organic, high in Omega 3s and medium chain fatty acids (the good fats!), and no artificial colors, additives, or weird chemicals so common to margarine and other butter substitutes.