I’m Not Vegan, but I Will Never Stop Buying This Vegan Cultured Butter
I’ve been a vegetarian for the past decade, which means there are entire sections of the grocery store I’ve just flat-out ignored during that time (talking about you, packaged deli meats section and butcher counter!). But while that makes sense, what doesn’t quite make sense is why I’ve ignored the vegan “dairy” section for so long. I don’t follow a vegan diet, sure, but that doesn’t mean I’m not curious about what innovations are being made in that space as I continue to explore what it means to be a plant-based eater.
What finally lured me in was a recipe from Aran Goyoaga’s (the writer and recipe developer behind one of my all-time favorite cookbooks, Cannelle et Vanille) newsletter. Aran sent a recipe for Tahini Shortbread Cookies with Chocolate Chunks back in May, and the first ingredient was “vegan butter.” With no brand name listed as a suggestion, I just put the first option I saw in my virtual cart — Miyoko’s European-Style Cultured Unsalted Vegan Butter — and hoped for the best.
And oh, did the best outcome happen. Now, I won’t say I didn’t have my doubts when I opened the package to find a stark-white, slightly oily block. As I slowly melted cubes of the butter in a saucepan, a tangy smell filled the air (it’s made with cultured cashew milk, after all!). As I set the sheet of cookies into the oven to bake, I couldn’t shake the feeling that these were going to turn out with a slightly “off” taste.
But I worried for nothing — the cookies turned out flawlessly. The aforementioned tangy smell did not carry through to the finished product, and although Miyoko’s butter is made of mostly coconut oil and cashew milk, neither came through at all to overpower any of the other delicate flavors in the recipe. The cookies were crisp on the edges, but slightly chewy in the center — just how I like them. After my initial success with this butter, I bought another package, as I wanted to see how else it performed in some of my other go-to recipes where I’d normally reach for dairy butter.
A perfect peach cobbler? Miyoko’s stands up to the task. My favorite Sunday pancakes? Yup; they fried up with lacy, golden-brown edges in a nonstick skillet slicked with a pat of Miyoko’s. I’m also happy to report that this butter browns beautifully, as I found out when making the Almondy Plum Cake recipe from one of my other favorite cookbooks, Snacking Cakes.
One other thing I absolutely love about this butter: It’s wrapped in a (compostable!) wrapper that has baking measurements on it, just like regular sticks of butter. So if a recipe calls for 6 tablespoons, I know just where to cut to get that amount. Miyoko’s Creamery also makes an option with a hint of sea salt, which is great for spreading right onto toast. And, in case you missed it, this butter made the 2021 list of Kitchn Essentials, which our editors put out every August.
Like I said, I’m not vegan and don’t have any plans to give up dairy. But when a vegan butter tastes and performs this well, why not swap it in? It seems like an easy win in the plant-based department.