The Very Best Butter Brands According to Our Test Kitchen Experts
Serious bakers, we know you want the very best butter for your recipes. We tested the most popular brands to find it.
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When you take baking as seriously as our Test Kitchen team does, you inevitably start to get into the most minute details regarding ingredients. In our kitchens at Taste of Home HQ, it’s not uncommon to hear our pros debating the pros and cons of canned pumpkin or different techniques for making the flakiest biscuits.
One of the hottest topics in our Test Kitchen, though, is which brand makes the best butter.
Butter is the backbone of so many baking recipes, so using the most delicious brand is crucial for successful bakes. So what’s the very best? Our culinary team put nine brands to the test.
What Our Test Kitchen Looks for in the Best Butter
Butter is an incredibly difficult ingredient to judge. With just two ingredients—cream and salt—it’s more challenging to decipher the subtle differences between brands. It all comes down to the proportion of salt to cream and the quality of the dairy itself. Of course, our Test Kitchen was up to the challenge. When searching for the best butter, our experts considered the following:
- Texture: Is the butter creamy and smooth? Does it spread well over bread?
- Flavor: Does the butter have the right level of salt? Is it too salty for salted butter? Are there any other qualities worth noting?
- Appearance: How does the butter look? Is it more yellow or white?
Our Test Kitchen-Preferred Butter Brands
In this deliciously rich test, four brands rose to the top. These butters are the crème de la crème.
Best Butter for Everyday: Land O Lakes Salted Butter
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What brand does our Test Kitchen reach for time and time again? That’d be Land O Lakes. This iconic butter brand is the one you’ll find stocked in our Test Kitchen’s refrigerators, and this blind test only confirmed its place on our shopping list.
Sticks of this butter look creamy and pale—lighter in color than most brands but absolutely creamy with just a whisper of salt. Because of the lower salt content in this butter, it’s a great choice for baking. You’ll find that your recipes turn out as expected instead of overly seasoned.
On its own, Land O Lakes butter was perfectly satisfying. The dairy used in this butter gave it a luscious flavor and texture that would make it a welcome addition for every mashed potato recipe or on top of a steaming hot baked potato or a great base for flavored compound butter.
Since Land O Lakes is readily available anywhere you do your grocery shopping and works well in any application, our Test Kitchen had to call this the best everyday butter.
- Price: $3.89 per pound
- Price per ounce: $0.24
Best European-Style Butter: Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter
Taste of Home
This blind taste test proved to our Test Kitchen that Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter is worth all the hype. With higher butterfat content than most mass-market butter brands, Kerrygold delivered big time on flavor and texture.
Before our testers even tasted this butter, they knew there was something different about it. Kerrygold has a buttercup yellow hue that looks tempting, like the kind of butter you can’t wait to spread over an English muffin or slice of banana bread. This distinctive hue is thanks to the grass the dairy cows enjoy.
And the cream from these grass-fed cows also contributes to Kerrygold’s distinct flavor. It’s incredibly rich with a pronounced flavor that had a few testers say they could taste the hills of Ireland. Paired with the right amount of salt and a delightfully spreadable texture, this was definitely the best butter for topping homemade bread.
Kerrygold was the priciest option in our test, but worth every penny for special treats.
- Price: $3.48 for an eight-ounce package
- Price per ounce: $0.44
Best Value Butter: Challenge Butter
Taste of Home
If you’re a cost-conscious shopper or are baking big batches, you probably are looking for more budget-friendly options to add to your grocery cart. For a budget-friendly butter that still tastes delicious, our Test Kitchen recommends Challenge Butter.
This pale butter delivered a mellow, creamy flavor that satisfied our Test Kitchen panel. It also seemed to spread more smoothly than other options. Combined with that perfect hint of salt, Challenge Butter is a great choice for your pocketbook and for topping freshly baked dinner rolls.
- Price: $3.47 per pound
- Price per ounce: $0.22
Best Pasture-Raised Butter: Vital Farms Salted Butter
Taste of Home
Vital Farms Pasture-Raised Butter is the butter brand to buy if your fridge is full of free-range and cage-free eggs. Vital Farms uses milk from family-owned dairy farms where cows are allowed to graze freely all year long.
And our testers could taste the difference. Our pros noted a subtle sweetness in this butter brand that often comes from grass-fed cows. Paired with the perfect level of salt, our Test Kitchen crew agreed that this was a terrific option for conscientious shoppers. Not to mention it would taste great melted over a stack of pancakes and maple syrup.
Also worth noting: Vital Farms boasts 85% butterfat while most American butter hovers around the 80% mark and European-style butter has about 82%. That little bit of extra fat provides a richer flavor and creamier texture.
- Price: $3.00 for an eight-ounce package
- Price per ounce: $0.38
What Our Butter Test Taught Us
Finding the best butter was no joke for our Test Kitchen! This blind tasting was incredibly challenging. Parsing out the differences between nine brands all made with the same ingredients required a fine-tuned palette and a lot of patience. Our team learned a few things during this test:
- You can find great butter at any price point: In this test both premium butter brands like Kerrygold and budget options like Challenge earned top marks. There are tasty options available whether you’re looking to save or splurge.
- Spend extra when it really counts: If you’re making a recipe where butter really is the star (think shortbread or biscuits), splashing out for a package of Kerrygold or Vital Farms is worth the expense. The fine differences in the flavor are most impactful in these recipes. You’ll also notice a top-of-the-line butter when using it as a spread on top of bread, rolls, waffles and other treats.
Craving comfort food in a hurry? Grab a box! We snagged seven to find the best boxed mac and cheese.