Is Margarine Vegan? Common Ingredients & Brands to Try

Published April 4, 2018
Variety of sticks of margarine

Margarine is a butter alternative many people reach for when in need of a cooking fat. This spread is a household staple, but not all traditional brands qualify as vegan.

What's in Margarine?

Margarine is a plant-based fat and the main ingredients are typically derived from vegetable oils. Although it is not considered a dairy item, some ingredients in traditional margarine come from animal products. The following are some ingredients found in common margarines that aren't vegan friendly.

  • Buttermilk is found in most traditional margarines.
  • Natural flavors are a common ingredient within margarines. Flora Original spread states their natural flavoring contains milk.
  • Whey can be found in some margarines.
  • Lactose may be added into traditional margarines.

Always double check the ingredient label for these hidden ingredients if searching for a vegan margarine.

Vegan Margarine Options

Although margarine may contain animal derived ingredients, there are many vegan margarine products on the market void of any animal-based products. These can typically be purchased at local grocers or health food stores.

  • Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread Made With Olive Oil: This spread is certified organic, vegan, and non-GMO. This butter-like spread is perfect on toast or for cooking. It can be purchased online or at many local stores using Earth Balance's Store Finder tool.
  • Becel Vegan Margarine: Becel has created as lactose-free, gluten-free, vegan "butter" spread. The main oils making up this spread include canola oils and sunflower oil.
  • I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Vegan: I Can't Believe It's Not Butter is the go-to margarine for many people and luckily, they've created a vegan spread for those who need it. This spread is made from soybean oil and palm oil, and it makes a great alternative to the brand's traditional margarine.

Margarine for Vegans

Not all margarine is vegan. Traditional margarines may contain non-vegan ingredients such as buttermilk, whey, lactose, or natural flavors. A wide variety of vegan margarine spreads exist to choose from, but always double check the label for non-vegan ingredients.

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Is Margarine Vegan? Common Ingredients & Brands to Try