Vegan Life > Recipes > Staples > Homemade Vegan Butter

Homemade Vegan Butter

June 17, 2023

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Rich, buttery, and smooth, but without the dairy? This vegan butter is all of that, and it works wonderfully in all kinds of desserts from cake to frosting and everything in between. Plus, it's super easy to make and won't break the bank.

Vegan butter on a wooden slab, sliced.

When I moved overseas from the US, I quickly found out that vegan butter is a luxury in my new home country. We're talking $17 USD per tub, and only-available-in-spreadable-form type of luxury. Since I rely on vegan butter for so many of my recipes, I knew I had to find a quick and easy way to make my own.

I tried quite a few recipes from the internet, but each one that I tried had its shortcomings. One might work in cake, but fall apart in frosting, while another is great for spreading on toast, but not for baking. I didn't want to make a different vegan butter recipe for each occasion, so I got to work making my own recipe.

Thus far, I've tested this recipe as a spread on bagels, English muffins, and toast; and in cake recipes, brownies, pie crusts, fruit crumbles, and frostings. And it hasn't let me down. However, I wouldn't use this vegan butter for frying because the cashews may burn at a high temperature.

Vegan butter spread on toast slices piled on a plate, with a loaf of bread and stick of vegan butter in the background.

Vegan Butter Ingredients and Substitutions

All the ingredients for vegan butter in separate dishes with labels.
  • Raw, unsalted cashews: For a creamy texture. Be sure to use raw cashews instead of roasted, and soak them in advance. You can soak them in water for 2 hours or just boil them for 10 minutes.

  • Refined coconut oil: Also known as deodorized coconut oil, this is the base of our vegan butter, and it's what allows the vegan butter to solidify. After melting, allow the oil to cool back to room temperature before blending, otherwise your vegan butter may separate. If you can only get virgin coconut oil, it will work as well, but you may taste the coconut flavor. However, if you're going to use the vegan butter as part of another recipe like brownies or a pie crust, the flavor probably won't be strong enough to notice.

  • Sunflower oil: Adding a liquid oil softens the texture a bit. You can use other neutral oils here as well such as canola oil, grapeseed oil, or safflower oil.

  • Soy lecithin granules: Be sure that the granules you're buying are vegan, as I've found some that are not. You can also use sunflower lecithin if you prefer not to use soy.

  • Apple cider vinegar: Together with the cashew cream, creates a buttery flavor. Can also be replaced with lemon juice if needed.

  • Salt: Enhances the buttery flavor.

Steph's Tips for Successful Vegan Butter

Allow your coconut oil to cool to room temperature, and refrigerate your sunflower oil and cashew cream before blending.

If your vegan butter mixture separates, it might not be cold enough. Your blender might also be adding heat that's keeping the mixture from emulsifying. If this happens, transfer your mixture to another container and put it in the freezer for 20 minutes before trying again.

A block of vegan butter on a wooden slab, sliced, with a knife to the side.

Storage Suggestions

This vegan butter will keep in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks. However, if you want to keep it longer, it freezes wonderfully and will last for about 3 months. The night before you plan to use it, transfer the butter to the refrigerator and it will be ready the next day.

Before I refrigerate my vegan butter, I wrap it in parchment paper, then seal it inside a freezer bag. You can also use a butter dish or other food storage container to store your vegan butter.

A knife slicing vegan butter on top of parchment paper and a wooden block.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I blend the cashews and water together with the other ingredients directly? I don't recommend that method because the cashews can take 3-5 minutes to blend into a cream. In that time your blender can generate a lot of heat which can prevent the oil and water from emulsifying. If you do blend everything together at once, you will likely need to transfer the mixture to a pan and freeze it until it cools off, then blend it again to ensure that the butter doesn't separate.

Is this vegan butter healthy? Vegan butter of any kind is a high-calorie, high-fat product. Sunflower oil and cashews are generally regarded as sources of healthy fats, while coconut oil's health impact is still being debated. In moderation, this vegan butter can be part of a healthy diet, but when evaluated on its own, it's probably not "healthy."

I need to soften my vegan butter for baking. How long should I leave it out for? The amount of time your vegan butter requires to soften will depend on the temperature of your home. On average, 30 minutes should be sufficient, but check it before using. It should be creamy but not liquefied.

Is this vegan butter spreadable? Yes! It will get hard in the refrigerator, as real butter would. But if you leave it out a few minutes before spreading it will soften up nicely.

What kind of container or mold can I use to shape my vegan butter? I bought some long silicone molds from a baking supply store for my vegan butter. Since they're flexible, it's very easy to get the vegan butter out after it's hardened. You can also use any small food storage container; I recommend lining it with parchment for easy removal.

Can I use virgin coconut oil? I recommend using refined (deodorized) coconut oil if you can get it, but if it's unavailable or unreasonably priced in your area, virgin coconut oil also works in most cases. If you use unrefined (virgin) coconut oil, your butter will have a slight coconut scent and taste, but in my opinion, it's not as noticeable as you might expect. Especially if you'll be using this vegan butter in baking recipes with stronger flavors, you may not even notice any coconut taste at all.

Can I make my vegan butter darker yellow? This vegan butter has a pale yellow color from the soy lecithin granules, but if you'd like it a little darker, feel free to add some turmeric. A small pinch will do. If you add too much, you'll end up with bright yellow butter.

A side view of vegan butter on a wooden block, sliced.

Ways to Use This Vegan Butter

This vegan butter is perfect for spreading, creaming, and baking. However, I don't recommend it for frying because the cashews may burn. Here are my top suggestions:

Spread it:

Toss it:

  • Pasta

  • Veggies

Mix it:

Sweets:

Homemade Vegan Butter

Yield1 2/3 cups (395 mL)

Prep Time15 minutes

Cook Timen/a

Total Time3 hours

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Add your pre-soaked cashews and water to a blender and blend until a smooth cream forms. Then transfer the cashew cream to a container and chill in the freezer or refrigerator until it’s cool to the touch.

    Left: cashews and water in a blender; Right: cashew cream in a blender after cashews and water have been blended.
  2. Measure out 1/3 cup of cashew cream and transfer it back to the blender together with the remaining ingredients. Blend until all the ingredients are well-mixed.

    A top down view of blended vegan butter mixture, still in the blender.
  3. If your oil and water is separating after blending, transfer the mixture to a container and put in the freezer for 15-20 minutes to cool down. Then, blend it again.

  4. Once your mixture has emulsified (isn’t separating), pour it into silicone molds or a small food storage container, then refrigerate until it solidifies. This should take 2-3 hours, but will vary depending on the size and shape of the mold you use.

    Vegan butter mixture in two silicone molds, with a cloth to the side.
  5. Spread on toast or use in your favorite baking recipe!

Notes & Hints

Cashews should be soaked in water for 2 hours or boiled for 10 minutes, then drained before blending. Measure before soaking.

Nutrition Data

Serving Size: 1/27 of recipe; Calories: 104Fat: 11 g.; Saturated Fat: 8 g.; Cholesterol: 0 mg.; Sodium: 36 mg.; Carbohydrates: 0 g.; Fiber: 0 g.; Sugar: 0 g.; Protein: 0 g.; Vitamin A: 0 mcg. RAE; Vitamin B12: 0 mcg.; Vitamin C: 0 mg.; Vitamin D: 0 mcg.; Calcium: 0 mg.; Iron: 0 mg.; Potassium: 9 mg.; Zinc: 0 mg.

Note: This data should be used only as an estimate. Please see the nutrition section of my terms and conditions for more information on how this data is calculated.

Four vegan dishes: Creme Brulee, Detroit-style pizza, General Tso's Tofu, and Lemon Tart

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A stack of toast slices with melting vegan butter on top.
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