Glorious Butterless Butter

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

I once reeled with shock when I saw a French girl spread butter as thick as cheese on her toast--until I tried it. Then I understood. Butter, glorious butter! Not only does it impart incomparable flavor and texture to baked goods and dishes, but on toast--well, it doesn't get any better. Now for the times when I want a hard butter for flaky croissants, or an unsalted butter for a fluffy buttercream, or a light, whipped one for scones, I make my own non-dairy butter. And then I have to put a lock on it so I don't eat it all up! This recipe can be adjusted to suit your taste or purpose. Be sure to check out the variations on the opposite page. Don't use extra-virgin coconut oil, or it will taste like coconuts.


Lecithin is an emulsifying agent generally derived from soybeans. It will help mix oil and water and prevent separation. If you can find only lecithin granules, you'll need to use two to four times the amount of the liquid lecithin called for.


CULTURED BUTTER Replace the nondairy milk with 1?2 cup plain nondairy yogurt, or add 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to the nondairy milk.

REALLY HARD BUTTER This is helpful for making puff pastry, croissants, and the like. Increase the coconut oil to 2 1?2 cups or substitute deodorized cocoa butter for 1?2 cup of the coconut oil.

WHIPPED BUTTER Increase the canola oil by 1 tablespoon and process at high speed in the blender for about 2 minutes to incorporate as much air as possible.

UNSALTED BUTTER This is often called for in buttercreams and some desserts. Simply omit the salt!



Total Timeunder 4 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

Dietary Considerationegg-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, vegan, vegetarian

Five Ingredients or LessYes

Type of DishCondiments


  • 1 1/2 cups melted refined coconut oil (not extra-virgin coconut oil)
  • 1/2 cup Creamy Soy Milk with No Beany Flavor (page 51), Almond Milk (page 54), Cashew Milk (page 53), or Cashew Cream (page 56), or store-bought nondairy milk
  • 1/4 cup canola, grapeseed, or light olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons liquid lecithin (see Notes)


  1. Place all of the ingredients in a blender and process at medium speed for about 1 minute. Pour into a container of your choice--something made of silicone is great, as it will pop out easily, but any storage container will do (line it with wax paper first for easy removal). Set it in the refrigerator for a few hours until hard or in the freezer to expedite hardening. This glorious butter substitute will keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 weeks or many months in the freezer.


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