This Homemade Vegan Butter shines in all contexts. It yields baked goods which are rich yet not greasy. It has an authentic buttery flavor that doesn’t taste synthetic or like vegetable oil (my biggest gripe with many store-bought vegan butter options currently on the market). When softened, it’s perfectly luscious and spreadable.
As an avid home cook and lover of baked goods, I am known to use a *lot* of vegan butter. While there are many different brands available in stores nowadays, there’s a lot of inconsistency between them. I have an entire article reviewing every vegan butter option I’ve tried, both in terms of flavor and their performance in baked goods, if you’re curious about my criteria.
There was always some drawback: one brand might taste good, but its texture would cause baked goods to come out dark and greasy. Another brand might have the right texture to pull off more complex recipes like croissants, but the flavor was sorely lacking.
My favorite store-bought vegan butter came with a premium price tag that made it hard to justify regular purchase. So I decided to make my own homemade vegan butter, and I haven’t looked back!
Why Homemade Vegan Butter is Worth the Effort
- It’s fresher and with better ingredients. I love knowing exactly what goes into my food and being able to use high-quality ingredients. This recipe is cultured to give it a delicious flavor and some probiotic benefits. It doesn’t have the synthetic, greasy flavor that many store-bought options have.
- It’s palm oil free. Palm oil production is a major driver of the deforestation of many of our world’s rainforests. It’s a primary ingredient in most store-bought vegan butters.
- It’s easy to make. Don’t be intimidated at all! This recipe is super easy to make and it can be easily scaled to whip up large batches which can be frozen for later use.
- It’s customizable. You can add in fresh or dried herbs and spices to make the most delicious spreadable vegan butter, perfect for charcuterie or cooking.
- It’s cost-effective. At the time I’m writing this, a pound of store-bought vegan butter costs over $6 at many regular grocery chains. The really good brands (like Miyoko’s Cultured Vegan Butter) have an even more premium price. For this recipe, there is an initial investment in a few ingredients (like the lecithin powder), but if you get into the habit of making your own butter regularly, you’ll definitely save money in the long-run.
Homemade Vegan Butter Ingredients
- Cultured cashew cream or vegan yogurt. This vegan butter recipe provides two options for a probiotic-rich base. Either you can culture your own cashew cream (more info below for a cashew-free version), or use a store-bought vegan yogurt with live probiotics. If using yogurt, pick a variety that is plain and unsweetened, and make sure that you have tried it before and actually enjoy the flavor!
- Refined coconut oil. Make sure it’s refined variety, otherwise your homemade vegan butter will taste like coconut.
- Neutral vegetable oil. Some good options are grapeseed, sunflower, or avocado oil. You can also use regular canola or vegetable oil. If you plan to use your homemade vegan butter mostly as a spread or to sauté in savory dishes, you can even use olive oil (if you don’t mind the flavor).
- Lecithin. This ingredient is used as an emulsifier — that is, it helps keep all the ingredients blended together, so the oil doesn’t separate and float to the top. You can find lecithin granules at many health food stores (I get mine at Sprouts), or order it online. Either soy lecithin granules or sunflower lecithin granules will work in this recipe. If you can only find it in liquid form, reduce the amount you add, since it’s more potent.
- Salt. Generally I add salt if I plan to use the butter as a spread. If I’m planning to bake with it, I like to leave it unsalted. The great thing about making this vegan butter recipe from scratch is that you can adjust it to suit your needs and preferences!
How to Make Vegan Butter
It may seem a little intimidating, but it’s actually a very simple and straightforward process that just takes a bit of patience! Here is how to make this vegan butter recipe, step-by-step:
Step 1. Prepare the Cultured Cashew Cream
To save time and skip this step, you can instead use a store-bought vegan yogurt with live probiotics.
- Otherwise, measure out 1 cup raw cashews. Add them to a small sauce pot and boil for 10 minutes. Typically when making homemade cashew cream, it’s only necessary to soak them in cool water. However, since this recipe involves fermentation, I prefer to boil them for extra insurance that nothing funky grows in our culture.
- Once cashews are tender, drain them and allow them to cool. Add them to a blender with water and your preferred source of probiotics. Either you will add some store-bought vegan yogurt (make sure that it contains live cultures), or empty the contents of two vegan-friendly probiotic capsules into the mixture.
- Blend until the cashew cream is completely smooth. Transfer to a sterile glass container, such as a clean Pyrex container or a mason jar. (Make sure that the container is as clean as possible to avoid any contamination.)
- Cover the container and allow to ferment at room temperature for 24 hours. Use a clean utensil to give the cashew cream a taste. If you want it to be a little tangier, cover again and let it sit for another 12-24 hours.
Step 2. Blend the Vegan Butter Ingredients Together
Once you have your cultured cashew cream, the most time-consuming part of this vegan butter recipe is behind you! All you need to do now is blend 1/3 a cup of your cashew cream (save the rest to use in a creamy vegan soup or pasta sauce recipe) with the remaining vegan butter ingredients.
Blend the cashew cream, melted coconut oil, neutral vegetable oil, lecithin, and salt (if using) into a homogenous mixture.
Step 3. Allow the Homemade Vegan Butter to Firm Up
Pour the butter into a container or mold of choice. If you plan to use this homemade vegan butter recipe to bake with, it can be useful to pour it into 1/2 cup portions to match the standard volume of a stick of vegan butter. I picked up this handy silicone butter mold which also has score marks for each tablespoon. But any sealable container will work just fine!
Troubleshooting your Homemade Vegan Butter
Colors showing up on the surface of my cashew cream culture. Can I still use it?
If you are noticing any odd colors or smells from your cultured cashew cream, I recommend scrapping it and starting over. Sometimes pink surface color is harmless, but it is still likely to impart an unpleasant flavor. There are a few things you can try to avoid any contamination.
- Boil your cashews prior to blending. This is an extra precaution I like to take to ensure that the only yeast or bacteria growing in our culture are the the live probiotics we introduce — just the good stuff!
- Make sure your fermentation vessel is extremely clean. Give them a scrub with warm soapy water or run them through the dishwasher with a hot cycle. If you want to be extra safe, you can pour in some boiling water before use. Carefully swish it around and pour it out. Also make sure whatever lid you’re using is equally clean.
- Use a glass or ceramic fermentation vessel. You can technically ferment the cashew cream in something made of high-quality food-grade plastic, but if you’re having issues with contamination, I recommend trying either a glass or ceramic container. The reason is that if you have scratched the plastic over time, those scratched areas can house bacteria and be difficult to clean thoroughly.
The cashew cream is not tasting tangy after letting it ferment.
This could be an issue of having priobiotics or vegan yogurt that are expired or not fresh. Because probiotics are live beneficial bacteria and yeast, they are sensitive to light and temperature. If you are repeatedly having issues where your cashew cream doesn’t seem to be fermenting, try using a fresh bottle of probiotics or a new container of nondairy yogurt. Make sure to double-check that there are, in fact, live cultures in your vegan yogurt, too!
Another possibility is that your kitchen is very cold, which is slowing down the activity of the probiotics. Try to keep your culture in a warm spot in the kitchen. I like to put mine on top of the fridge where it gets a little bit of heat from the appliance. If it’s wintertime and particularly chilly in your home, you can try leaving your culture inside the oven with the oven light on. That produces a little bit of warmth.
The homemade vegan butter has an odd flavor.
There are a couple of things to check here. First, if using a store-bought vegan yogurt in place of the homemade cultured cashew cream, have you made sure that you actually enjoy the flavor of the yogurt? The brand you use will definitely impact the flavor of your homemade vegan butter.
Make sure it’s an unsweetened, plain variety. I would recommend using a brand that tastes good to you even on its own. My absolute favorite vegan yogurt is by Culina. It has a thick texture, simple and minimal ingredients, and a delicious tangy yet neutral flavor.
Another thing to consider is the flavor of the oil you are using. Make sure your coconut oil is refined, otherwise you may be picking up a slight coconut flavor in your homemade vegan butter. Also make sure that you enjoy the flavor of whatever vegetable oil you are using. Each oil has its own flavor profile.
Your Homemade Vegan Butter should keep for up to 2 months in the fridge. Keep it in a sealed container so it doesn’t dry out.
It can also be sealed and frozen for several months in the freezer.
Cultured Vegan Butter
- high powered blender
- 1/3 cup cultured cashew cream recipe follows, OR store-bought unsweetened plain vegan yogurt
- 1 1/2 cups refined coconut oil melted
- 3 tablespoons neutral oil such as grapeseed, sunflower, avocado or canola
- 3 tablespoons sunflower lecithin granules (reduce to 2 teaspoons if using liquid lecithin)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt optional
Cultured Cashew Cream
- 1 cup raw cashews soaked at least 4 hours or overnight (see notes* for substitutions)
- 1 cup water
- 1 heaping tablespoon unsweetened plain vegan yogurt OR 2 vegan-friendly probiotic capsules
Make the cultured cashew cream
- Drain and thoroughly rinse soaked cashews. Add to a blender along with 1 cup water and process until completely smooth.
- Transfer to a glass container with a lid. (Ensure that your container is perfectly clean to avoid any unwanted bacteria from growing in your culture.) Add 1 heaping tablespoon vegan yogurt, or the contents of 2 probiotic capsules into cashew cream and stir to combine.
- Cover and set in a warm place to culture for 2-4 days. Taste the mixture periodically and move on to the next step when it has reached your desired level of tartness.
- The mixture should taste pleasantly tart and be slightly bubbly, but it should not smell funky or change colors in any way. If you observe any strange smells or colors, discard and start your culture again, ensuring that all your containers and utensils are clean.
- If you have an Instant Pot, you can speed up this process by using the yogurt function. Pour the cashew cream mixture directly into the pot, or place in the sealed glass container on the rack insert above a few cups of lukewarm water. Incubate for 8-10 hours.
Make the vegan butter
- Measure out 1/3 cup cultured cashew cream. Store the rest, and see the notes** for recommendations for use.
- Add cashew cream to a blender with remaining ingredients. Note that the salt is optional. Blend until everything is combined, lecithin granules have dissolved, and mixture has taken on a light buttery color.
- Pour butter into containers of choice and refrigerate to harden. If you’re planning to use this butter in baked goods, it can be useful to refrigerate it in 1/2 cup portions, as this is the volume of a standard stick of butter.