IS it ok to use cheap margarine instead of butter?

Does it alter the results or taste at all? I want to bake more but the price of butter puts me off. Tia

Chef_sue119, May 23, 11:02 am

I would never use margarine of any kind. It tastes awful.

Chef_davidt4, May 23, 11:06 am

I would never use margarine either. Its disgusting. I freaked out when i did some research on what goes into marg. Never ever again. I would just stock up when butters on special.

Chef_holly-rocks, May 23, 11:11 am

Unless there are health / dietary reasons for not using butter IMO butter is the only choice. Taking into account the time and power cost involved, I believe that if it's worthwhile doing the baking, the only option is to use ingredients that will give the best possible result. Like holly-rocks I buy butter when it is on special, remembering that any excess can if necessary be frozen until needed. :-))

Edited to add that if freezing butter, IMO it is best to first cut the block into useable pieces. :-))

Chef_245sam, May 23, 11:19 am

I have used marg for baking but not the really cheap ones (eg Pams). Meadowlea or Flora yes. Taste wise no real difference and of course so much easier to cream, as to texture and results it works or seems to exactly the same IMO.
However I do prefer to use butter but not all of us can afford butter in this day and age, budgets etc mean often using marg as much as I detest the stuff.

Chef_cgvl, May 23, 1:54 pm

Thanks all. Wasn't so much asking if you like marg or not, was asking if it worked in recipes. I only use olive oil based margarine or butter, but I thought since I bake for a large family that marg might be the way to go, otherwise its economical just to buy my biscuits etc at couplands or the like. Not that I cannot afford it, I choose to shop smart. Thanks all

Chef_sue119, May 23, 2:08 pm

Good butter (in foil rather than paper - so it is not rancid when you buy it) costs about 3 dollars per 500g on special - which is when I buy it and then freeze immediately. It will keep for over a year.

If you bake with marg - that is how the baking will taste - of marg . if you bake with fresh tasting great grass fed NZ butter - then that is what your baking will taste like :)

If you do not want to use fat in baking then learn to make yeast doughs - lovely loafs or filled strudels can be made with just flour, milk, sugar and yeast. They taste better when eaten within a day or two - so if you want to keep them for any amount of time either freeze or make small portions.

Happy baking.

Chef_fishplants, May 23, 5:42 pm

I don't see how being aware of what is actually in food and choosing to eat well and healthily is being a food snob. The oils in most margs are hideously bad for you. Education beats ignorance every time in my book.

Chef_awoftam, May 23, 5:59 pm

Yes it alters the taste and doesn't work for everything because once it's melted it doesn't reset properly again - you can't make pate with marg for example. In the UK you can buy marg specifically produced for baking and it comes in a block like butter - I think you can get something similar here now possibly, I think its Meadowlea.

Chef_sarahb5, May 23, 6:17 pm

Have to agree with the others - we don't use it (mainly taste and palm oil factor) but I have tried to substitute in the past and found it doesn't work well unless the recipe specifically says you can sub.
Speaking of shopping smart - CD had a sale of export butter last week - unsalted for only $3.50 a 500g pack. That is way cheaper than you can ever find unsalted usually so I stocked up

Chef_antoniab, May 23, 6:20 pm

I always use butter. Buy 500g a week or more it it's on special.

Chef_maximus44, May 23, 6:48 pm

I use margarine for all cakes, biscuits and muffins. I can't taste any different, and my family eat them just the same.

Chef_bronglen, May 23, 6:52 pm

Vegetable oils are mostly unsaturated, which is a problem because unsaturated oils are liquid at room temperature and cannot be used as spreads.
To remedy this problem, the vegetable oils are subjected to a hydrogenation process. This involves exposing the oils to high heat, high pressure, hydrogen gas and a metal catalyst.
This process prolongs the shelf life of the products and makes them harder at room temperature. Hydrogenation makes unsaturated fats resemble saturated fats.
Hydrogenated fats are also known as trans fats, which are highly toxic and strongly associated with heart disease .

Historically, margarine used to be loaded with trans fats. Today there are some trans-fat free varieties available.
But even though a margarine is genuinely trans-fat free, it can still be bad for you.
The vegetable oils used in them, such as soybean and safflower oil, may be seriously harmful on their own.
These types of oils are the biggest sources of polyunsaturated Omega-6 fatty acids in the diet, which we’re already eating too much of
Several studies link excess consumption of polyunsaturated vegetable oils with heart disease.
However imho things taste a hellovalot better if they gave butter in them instead of marg - and saturated fats in small quantities are OK as I reckon we are a dairy country and should also support our local farmers - not some faceless multinational telling us their unhealthy fake butter is not harmful.

Chef_willyow, May 23, 6:52 pm

I buy the 'buttery' ones - usually Meadowlea but last time I went to buy it my local Countdown had it priced a lot higher than usual for some reason so I bought Flora Buttery instead. I think the monkeys at my local Countdown made an error because I see the online price is back to normal. It's not butter but the taste is tolerable. :)

Chef_paora-tm, May 23, 6:57 pm

Omega 6 depletes bone density. Hence the increase in people needing Omega 3 supplements.

Chef_awoftam, May 23, 6:57 pm

This is a subject quite close to my heart ( literally) - I have five stents holding my arteries open.

Chef_willyow, May 23, 6:58 pm

Oh wow.

There is so much misinformation around with food. Unless you look to educate yourself via reading and some research you are a bit buggered really. I see phrases like "It's low G"' flung about with gay abandon by people who obviously don't understand how this actually works - they just think they do as they believe what they read in a magazine or on a food label. Not their fault. The food industry has a lot to answer for.

Chef_awoftam, May 23, 7:06 pm

I have 5 also thanks to a 5-year stint on margarine. I now use only Mainland butter in foil and will not eat commercial food like pies and pastries, all of which are full of marg.

Chef_cjdnzl, May 23, 7:33 pm

i wait for butter to be on sale

saw it recent from $2.90 (for a good brand, something like Anchor or Tararua)

Chef_duckmoon, May 23, 7:38 pm

This - always buy butter on special $3 a block - it keeps for ages but can also be frozen

Chef_sarahb5, May 23, 7:59 pm

I have no problem with using cheap marge in cooking, but most of the time I use canola oil instead. Maybe my taste buds are not as refined as some others but I can't taste or notice any difference.

Chef_susievb, May 24, 7:51 am

plasticfantastic is no good for anything let alone baking

Chef_buckyboy, May 24, 8:18 am

Agree. Why would anyone want to use margarine or canola oil. That isn't food but ultra processed rubbish.

Chef_vmax2, May 24, 10:49 am

Maybe because of the price. Butter and all dairy products have dramatically gone up in price lately. Not everyone can afford that.

Chef_kay141, May 24, 11:07 am

There are always some butter brands on special though. Just buy ahead and freeze.

Chef_bedazzledjewels, May 24, 11:12 am

I mix both. margarine and butter. afterall it's cooking. try it.

Chef_grolaunshucar, May 24, 11:29 am

I can't say whether you can use cheap marge or oil because I don't bake but not everyone can afford to buy extras, has a freezer and even on special, they are still about $4 per block. Sometimes, it appears cheaper but on closer inspection, the blocks are smaller. There are a lot of families who only have so much each week for food and nothing extra. They can't afford to stock up on anything.

It appears to me, that some on some of these boards would do well to spend some time with those who are struggling financially.

Chef_kay141, May 24, 12:39 pm

It depends on your priorities Kay. Butter is high on mine, but not for baking.

Chef_bedazzledjewels, May 24, 12:44 pm

If you go for nutrient dense foods you won't need baking.

Chef_vmax2, May 24, 1:04 pm

Yes, it depends on priorities and for some being able to buy enough to feed a family is at the top. Butter is a luxury for a lot of families and often the price/size is the main concern. That applies to all food. O/P asked whether using marge would work or alter the taste. I doubt she needs a lecture on whether she should only buy butter or whether she should bake or not. If you only bake with butter or like me, don't bake, then you can't answer the question.

Chef_kay141, May 24, 1:09 pm

Given that baked goods are not essential and their only purpose is to give pleasure to people who like sweet things, it seems pointless to spoil them by using margarine.

Chef_davidt4, May 24, 1:18 pm

Not all baked goods are sweet and whether they are essential is a matter of opinion.

Chef_kay141, May 24, 1:21 pm

Perhaps you could share your baking recipes which do not require butter.

Chef_hestia, May 24, 1:30 pm

Baking recipes with butter:

Take some meat and some veges, put in casserole dish with lots of butter and salt and pepper. Bake in oven for 1 hour.

Chef_vmax2, May 24, 1:38 pm

Baking recipe without butter:

Take some meat and some veges, put in casserole dish with lots of olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake in oven for 1 hour.

Chef_davidt4, May 24, 2:06 pm

Yes, of course. However the original poster wrote this in #6 "Not that I cannot afford it, I choose to shop smart."

Chef_davidt4, May 24, 2:10 pm

Like I said Hestia, I don't bake!
Just out of interest, Countdown's cheapest margarine this week, Homebrand, is $1.50. Their cheapest butter is the very good Tararua at $4.40. Why would anyone not spend the extra $2.90 to put real butter in their bodies instead of processed muck? That's well worth it, I think. Like I said, priorities matter. And that's avoiding the argument about whether baking is better than a bag of apples or carrots.

Chef_bedazzledjewels, May 24, 2:13 pm

I think you have misinterpreted Dazz's comment. I take it to mean that she gives butter a high priority but does not do much (or any) baking. I am the same.

(edited to add)


Chef_davidt4, May 24, 2:13 pm

Rubbish bj, of course you bake - meat and veg with butter, olive oil or even coconut oil.

Chef_vmax2, May 24, 2:15 pm

Ha ha DT4! And what a wicked thought, Vmax!

Chef_bedazzledjewels, May 24, 2:16 pm

Because that extra $2.90 would buy something else, a loaf of bread, 1k of apples etc. Many families need to weigh up every cent spent. And for many shopping around is not an option. There are many outside the large cities who have no jobs, 1 supermarket and for some it will take $20 worth of petrol to get there. The economy is not improving for a great number and some are losing their jobs every day. Many small businesses have closed and while they may only employ 10 staff, that 10 families on the breadline. That may explain why foodbanks are extremely busy and continually running out of supplies. I find the belief of many on here that we can all afford the best quality at whatever price quite unbelievable.

Chef_kay141, May 24, 2:45 pm

What you say is true kay, and it sounds like you have experience in the matter. But as dt4 pointed out above that isn't the situation for the OP.

Chef_vmax2, May 24, 2:53 pm

O/P said the price of butter was a consideration. Maybe she wants to bake more instead of buying baked goods so it could be a case of making the money go further.

Chef_kay141, May 24, 2:58 pm

Look around and you will find lots of recipes that are low in in butter, and even some that replace it with oil. Moist cakes, such as carrot, banana or chocolate cake are often very successful with oil as the fat content. Biscuits are not as crunchy, but a chewy biscuit or slice base is acceptable. Just try a few recipes.
You can also substitute apple puree in some recipes as a replacement for some of the butter and sweetening.
They're not exactly the same, but OK.

Chef_punkinthefirst, May 24, 3:32 pm

Then what are you doing in here?

Chef_hestia, May 24, 4:00 pm


1 1/2 cups cornmeal
2 1/2 cups milk
2 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil

1. Pre-heat oven to 200°C.
2. In a bowl combine cornmeal and milk. Allow to stand for 5 minutes.
3. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.
4. In a large bowl mix together flour, baking powder and salt. Mix in the cornmeal mixture, eggs and oil until smooth. Pour batter into the pan.
5. Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Chef_hestia, May 24, 4:00 pm

we ditching margarine and going bk to unsalted butter

Chef_kevymtnz, May 24, 4:03 pm

To stick up for butter and the health benefits of it in comparison to margarine and fake oils. To show people there are healthier choices out there. I LOVE BUTTER!

Chef_vmax2, May 24, 4:08 pm

Ha I think you are all food SNOBS!
I enjoy my edible spreadable margarine any and all days of the week!

Runs out quick before I get something thrown at me he he he he!

Chef_susievb, May 26, 4:01 pm

He he he he. It's not as if the oils in margarine are fake oils.

Chef_hestia, Jul 16, 9:59 pm

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