Whether you are using margarine for health reasons or are just out of butter, it’s important to know that one size does not fit all when it comes to margarine brands. Some brands are definitely much better for baking than others.
The ideal margarine for baking should contain a relatively high fat content. If margarine is too watery or has a lower fat content, it simply is not suitable for baking up goodies.
Also, when using margarine over regular butter, it is crucial that you choose sticks. Sticks will have a higher fat content over the tubs. In comparison, tubs of margarine are great for spreading on toast or pan-frying something. But for baking? Not so much.
Now that you know what to look for in a baking margarine, here are my top picks.
1. Fleischmann’s Unsalted Margarine Sticks
Most margarine brands will have more water content over traditional butter. However, Fleischmann’s unsalted margarine sticks are not one of them. That is why it is considered one of the better choices for whipping up batches of cookies or other baking recipes and number one on my list.
Key Features: Fleischmann’s contains a higher fat content compared to other margarine brands. Its fat content includes 18% of saturated fat (3.5g) and 12% of total fat (9%).
2. Land O’ Lakes Margarine Sticks
Land O Lakes margarine sticks have long been considered an excellent choice for baking anything from cookies to muffins to cornbread.
Key Features: Land O’ Lakes’ nutritional label states that it has 14% total fat (11g) and 25% saturated fat (5g).
3. Imperial Margarine Sticks
Since the late 1950s, the Imperial brand has been producing margarine sticks for all-purpose use in the kitchen. It is most popularly used in chocolate chip cookies, with their packaging even providing a classic recipe for these beloved treats.
Imperial has a higher fat content than other margarine brands and has been a great choice for a long time!
Key Features: Imperial Margarine has a total fat content of around 11% (7g) and 13% saturated fat (2.5g).
4. Blue Bonnet
Blue Bonnet is another brand that has been around for quite some time. Since the early 1940s, Blue Bonnet has popular among those wanting to add margarine to their dishes.
Key Features: While Blue Bonnet has a little bit lower fat content compared to the other brands on this list (only about 5g (6%) and 2g (10%), you can still use it in some baking recipes. This is especially true if you desire a thinner and crisper cookie.
Ultimately, it depends on what type of cookie is being baked. Yes, margarine with higher fat content will result in a better, puffed up cookie. However, sometimes you want cookie consistency can be a little thinner and crunchier. To this end, if a margarine stick with a lower fat content is used, the result will be a spread out cookie that gets thinner and crispier. Some people prefer their chocolate chip cookies this way, making this a great choice to use.
5. I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Baking Sticks
As expressed before, the key ingredients to a quality baked product are oil, butter, or margarine, and the fat content within the butter or margarine.
Some brands are switching to other plant-based oils like soybean or canola, which is a slightly better alternative to vegetable oil. I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter is one of those brands! Their margarine baking sticks have similar nutritional values to Fleischmann’s sticks.
Key Features: With 3.5g of saturated fat and 11g of total fat, it is easy to see why these sticks can be an excellent choice for baking something delicious!
6. Country Crock Vegetable Oil Sticks
Country Crock products are famous for a lot of things, especially their commercials from the early 1990s. While they are usually associated with their tubs of margarine, they do offer sticks as well.
Key Features: The Country Crock sticks are made with vegetable oil, around 60% per their packaging. What makes these so ideal for baking is the fat content, which stands at about 8g (12%) of total fat and 2.5g (13%) of saturated fat. They do offer other plant-based oil sticks, but these are generally butter and not margarine.
7. Parkay Vegetable Oil Sticks
Parkay is another notorious household margarine name. It is probably the oldest on the list, having been first introduced in the late 1930s. Throughout the years, this stick margarine has held up to producing some tasty baked goods.
Key Features: While margarine sticks used for baking should be unsalted, some salted versions, like Parkay, can be acceptable to use. With a fat content of around 8g (12%) of total fat and some saturated fat, it is known for being used in baking.
A promising sign is that the Parkay packaging generally features fluffy muffins, so perhaps that is a hint that it is suitable for this type of baked product!
8. Earth Balance Buttery Sticks (Vegan)
Considering that baking requires some oil and fat content, vegan alternatives like Earth Balance can be a great choice. While these products are generally dairy-free, they still contain oil and fat.
Earth Balance offers a variety of products with many plant-based oils in them, including a “buttery” baking stick. While it is still salted, its fat content is comparable to some of the dairy versions.
Key Features: These particular sticks from the Earth Balance brand have about 11g (17%) of total fat and 3.5g of saturated fat (18%), making them a solid choice for any vegan baking recipe! Moreover, the brand also offers its vegan customers a soy-free variety.
Margarine Isn’t Necessarily Healthier Than Butter
Unless you are using a margarine brand because it is non-dairy, it is essential to note that it is still up for debate whether margarine or butter is healthier. Obviously, butter is always better for baking. However, if you are set on using margarine, make sure you look into every brand’s ingredients before you make a final choice on which to use in baking.
One thing to mention is the percentages of the daily amount recommended on the label. The oil content in certain kinds of margarine can also be beneficial for baking recipes, depending on what is being prepared. However, keep in mind that the fat content percentages are based on a 1 tablespoon serving.
Most baking recipes will call for a full stick of margarine or even two sticks of margarine. This dramatically increases the fat content that is being added to the recipe. So while the percentages of daily value and grams of fat do not initially appear very high, they are amplified when added to baking recipes. You may end up with a final product much less healthy than you intended, so be please be mindful of this.
The Key to Using Margarine in Baking
In baking, margarine or butter should be combined with the sugar in the recipe then added to the other ingredients. Makes sure you stick to this step as it truly does serve a purpose in the overall formula.
This mixture allows for the sugar to be perfectly blended into the margarine. When the product is baked, everything is more evenly distributed to help produce a better-baked good.
Overall, the key to baking with margarine is to look for brands with the highest fat content and lowest water content possible. I hope this article has pointed you in the right direction and that your baked goods come out spectacularly! Thanks for reading.
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