The brand of butter that you buy may be influenced by where you shop, the price of the butter and even the packaging. most people don’t take the time to realize that not all butters are created equal and that the flavor can vary quite a bit from brand to brand. In a recent test, the magazine Real Simple tasted and compared 78 different brands of butter to pick out their favorites in a variety of different categories.
Best Unsalted: Land o’ Lakes, which had a very creamy flavor and smooth texture. This is a favorite butter for baking.
Best Salted: Kate’s Homemade, which is “batch churned the old fashioned way” and is studded with crystals of sea salt
Best Organic: Organic Valley Unsalted, much more flavorful than other organic unsalted butters and made from antibiotic and pesticide free milk. This is another good choice for baking
Best Whipped: Organic Valley, made from butter with air whipped into it for a light, spreadable consistency. Great for topping toast, potatoes, etc.
Best European-style: Plugra Unsalted, uses less water and more butterfat than regular butters, this one is intensely rich and creamy.
The magazine also gave a nod to Country Crock Spreadable butter, which is a blend of butter and canola oil that is good as a spread and topping, and to Brummel & Brown Made with Nonfat Yogurt as a “butterlike”-spread, as another good topping. Land o’ Lakes Light butter was smooth and mild, again made for spreading on toast. None of these choices are good for cooking or baking because they contain things besides pure butter, but they’re not bad choices (in addition to all of the high scoring brands mentioned above) to keep in your fridge for bagels, toast and other foods that might need a little smear of butter.