My no-butter spread still tastes like butter plus is made with healthy fats. The spread is in the container; dairy butter is on the left for comparison.
I am so excited!

But first- if you've noticed a shift towards gluten-free and dairy-free recipes lately, good noticing!  I. Love. Dairy.  I even milked a cow every day as a teenager so I had the fresh great stuff.  But sometimes people have health problems with certain foods.  So far we've discovered that two of my children get stomach aches when they drink milk.  One of my daughters has excema on her arms that just has not cleared up.  It usually comes and goes, especially in the winter, but she's had it for two months straight.  So I've taken all dairy and wheat items out of her diet to see if those common allergens could be a reason for it.  I'm still cooking normally for everyone else, but have necessarily been experimenting with this other way of cooking.  And here's the latest and greatest:

Butter.  Sort of.  It tastes like it, anyway.  And spreads beautifully.  It even cooks like butter.  I've creamed it with sugar and made a cake, made brownies, melted it on muffins, spread on toast, made honeybutter, and made dairy-free cream of broccoli soup with it.  Yum.

The idea was sparked by reading a label on a small tub of honey butter.  Turns out there was no butter in it at all, but tasted as though it did.  Reading through the list- hydrogenated soybean oil, honey, citric acid, soy lecithin, artificial colors and flavors- it occurred to me that if THEY could make something taste and spread like butter, then maybe I could, too.  So I started researching what the flavor components were in butter and what other foods contain them too.  It was fun to read about- ketones, diacetyl, acetoin, reactions between aldehyde and niacin.  (But, dang it, how come if I was setting a good example of work, study, and loving to learn, I had to remind my daughter every 20 minutes to get back to her schoolwork?!)

Anyway, I found some foods that naturally have some of the same flavor components as butter, and used one that covered the bases.  It's the ingredient that makes ALL the difference in flavor here.  Liquid aminos.  Or just use soy sauce, which is about the same thing.  If you prefer to avoid soy completely, nutritional yeast flakes will give a similar flavor.  Vinegar also works, in the same tiny amount.  The cornstarch, coconut flour, or xantham gum thicken the water so it will better stay mixed with the oils.

This is spreadable when used straight from the fridge.  It’s fantastic on toast, muffins, and waffles.   It has about the same fat-to-water ratio as dairy butter (80:20).  You can cook with it just like real butter, too.  It can be creamed with sugar for cakes and cookies.  Use it cold from the fridge to do this, and don’t beat it longer than about 45 seconds or it begins to melt a little.  This spread can be mixed with an equal amount of honey to make honey butter.

If you’d like a firmer consistency, like sticks of butter, increase coconut oil to ¾ cup and reduce liquid oil to ¼ cup.

Turmeric and paprika give it a nice color without  affecting the flavor.  Turmeric adds bright yellow so a little goes a long way, and paprika lends a warm pinkish orange.  Both will deepen after a day. Combine a pinch of each (just under 1/16 tsp) for the best color.  If you make this using olive oil, the buttery spread has a greenish hint to it which paprika helps eliminate.

Dairy-free Buttery Spread

2 Tbsp. water
1 tsp.  cornstarch OR coconut flour OR 1/4 tsp. xantham gum
1/8 tsp. liquid aminos or soy sauce or vinegar OR scant ½ tsp. nutritional yeast
½ tsp. salt
A pinch each turmeric and paprika, optional (for color)
½ c. coconut oil, softened just til creamy and stirrable
½ c. olive oil or other liquid oil like canola

In a glass 1-cup measuring cup, stir together water and coconut flour.  Microwave until it boils, stir until smooth.  (You’ll need 3 T water if boiling this in a pan on the stove.) Mix in the liquid aminos, salt, turmeric and paprika.  Set aside to cool. 

After it’s cooled to nearly room temperature, mix in the coconut oil, then whisk in olive oil until smooth.  Put mixture in the fridge to chill.  Stir after it starts to thicken, about 15-30 minutes. 

Store covered in the refrigerator.  Makes just over 1 cup. (9 ½ oz, or 3 T. more than 2 sticks of butter)

If you want a firmer consistency to form “sticks” of butter, after it’s just started thickening in the fridge and you’ve stirred it, pack it into whatever molds you have.  I use mini loaf pans, filling them on a scale so each stick weighs 4 ounces.  Put in the freezer to solidify. After they’re hard, pop them out of the molds and store in ziptop bags or wrapped in plastic.  Label and keep in the freezer for longer storage, or keep in the fridge for shorter-term use.



Robina Gaines
07/06/2013 13:46

Thank-you sooo much for this post. Two and half years ago I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. So okay no wheat no gluten I can do that. Then this year my symptoms came back. Now, no dairy and no corn. So I goggled butter substitutions. Eureka and this post came up. Thank you Thank you! This is heaven sent:)

12/12/2013 22:48

This recipe looks wonderful. You wrote you have used this recipe to make honey butter too. I was wondering how much honey to add to this if you wanted honey butter?

12/14/2013 19:36


To make honeybutter, the typical amount is to use equal amounts by weight. If you start with 8 oz. of butter (or non-dairy butter!), then you'd need 8 oz. of honey. Honey, however, is more dense, and 8 oz is only 3/4 cup for it. SO- 1 cup of 'butter' and 3/4 cup honey.
The butter must be softened first. Beat or whip until combined, store in the fridge.

06/04/2014 19:27

Hi just wondering if the coconut oil can be substituted? I have high cholesterol so cant have coconut oil. thanks

06/08/2014 18:52


The recipe is dependent on the hardening properties of coconut oil.
However, most the research I've read about coconut oil is that it does not contribute to high cholesterol level; the studies from the 1970s that showed damaging effects were done on hydrogenated coconut oil, which is full of trans fats. In addition, coconut oil's saturated fats are medium-chain fatty acids, which are considered much better than long-chain fatty acids, present in animal fats. Dr. Mercola and Dr. Oz recommend it; the Mayo Clinic doesn't. Please do your own research on this. :)
Here's one article in favor of coconut oil: http://healthimpactnews.com/2014/the-coconut-oil-myths-exposing-some-common-myths-surrounding-coconut-oil/

09/10/2014 13:17

This recipe looks great! How long will it last in the fridge?

09/12/2014 14:06

A long time, refrigerated or frozen. I forgot about one container of this, sitting in the back of the fridge, and pulled it out about nine months later. It was still good. It may pick up some flavors from foods it sat next to when it sits for extended times, but as long as the oils haven't turned rancid, or mold grown- neither of which happened with that old batch- it's still good.

Lynda Meyer
12/29/2014 22:11

Just found you and love your site. I wanted to say, regarding yeast, that I had a terrible time getting bread to rise. I am a longtime successful baker and have taught breadmaking. I couldn't figure out what was wrong until I finally realized that my city had started treating water w chloramine. It does not go away like chlorine, boiling doesn't help and Brita filter also made no difference. I now always make sure to have some bottled water on hand or will just use milk. Many people in my area are upset by chloramine. Guess I should research it!

07/13/2015 01:27

This sounds (and looks) great! Just wanted to ask if I could use coconut aminos for the liquid aminos?

07/16/2015 22:40

I have not personally tried using coconut aminos. However, since it is an aged product-- the aging develops the flavor compounds--, it should work just as well.

I'd love to hear how yours turns out!


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