Can you use spreadable butter instead of butter when baking?

When it comes to baking, having the right ingredients is crucial for producing a delicious treat. One of the most common ingredients in any baking recipe is butter. But what about using spreadable butter instead of sweet cream butter? Can you swap them out interchangeably without compromising the quality of your baked goods? In this article, we’ll explore and answer this question.

Understanding the Difference Between Sweet Cream Butter and Spreadable Butter

Sweet cream butter is made by churning fresh or pasteurized cream until it reaches a buttery consistency. It has a pure flavor profile, with no added salt or preservatives.

Spreadable butter is often produced by combining sweet cream butter with oils or water, making it easier to spread straight out of the fridge. Some varieties have added ingredients like salt and preservatives for increased shelf life.

The difference between sweet cream butter and spreadable butter lies largely in their ingredient lists – sweet cream butter is simply churned milk fat with no additives while spreadable varieties tend to have additional ingredients to make them more spreadable.

Types of Baked Goods That Require Specific Types of Butter

While some baked goods may be more forgiving when swapping out sweet cream butter for spreadable, there are certain recipes that call for one type over another. For instance:

  • Shortbread: Sweet cream butter’s purity offsets any bitterness from powdered sugar.
  • Croissants: The higher melting points in unsalted sweet cream butters means croissants can rise higher before melting.
  • Pound cakes: Recipes typically require unsalted sweet cream to prevent an over-salting effect.

The Role of Fat in Baking

Fat plays an essential role in nearly all baked goods. Not only does it add flavor but it also contributes to flakiness, tenderness and moisture retention. As such, different fats react differently with other ingredients during baking leading to distinct final results based on these interactions.

For this reason, some bakers would argue that you should always use sweet cream butter to get the best results. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that spreadable butter can’t be used.

The Pros and Cons of Using Spreadable Butter in Baking


  • Convenience: Spreadable butter is easier to work with as it can be used straight out of the fridge without needing to soften first.
  • Cost-effective: Spreadable butter is often cheaper than its sweet cream counterpart.
  • Availability: In some countries, spreadable butter is more readily found than sweet cream.


  • Salt content: salted varieties of spreadable butters may cause excess salting in recipes.
  • Water content: The water content in spreadable butter can lead to overly soft textures or sogginess.
  • Ingredient consistency: Some recipes rely on the purity of sweet cream butter which isn’t possible with spreadable varieties.

It’s worth noting that while using spreadable butter in baked goods is possible, it may not produce the highest quality results and could potentially throw off flavor profiles if salted. As such, it’s essential always to keep in mind how much element impacts your baking end result.

Substitution Ratio

There is no official ratio of substitution for sweet cream and spreadable butters when baking. However, if you’re confident enough to experiment with substitutions here are some general rules:

To substitute for 1 cup (227 grams) of unsalted sweet cream butter:

  • Use 1 cup (227 grams) of unsalted spreadable butter
  • Add 1/4 teaspoon salt if necessary

To substitute for 1 cup (227 grams) of salted sweet cream butter:

  • Use 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted spreadable butter
  • Add three-fourths teaspoon salt

Tips on How to Use Spreadable Butter in Baking

When using spreadable creams instead there are a few tricks to obtain the best results:

  • Experiment in small increments: try substituting just a portion of sweet cream butter for spreadable to test and see what works best.
  • Room temperature stability: Some spreadable butters may not have quite the same melting point as sweet cream varieties; bring them to room temperature before baking.
  • Consider ingredients’ final moisture when using spreads.


While it’s possible to swap sweet cream butter for spreadable varieties in some recipes, it’s always best practice to use the correct type of butter for your desired end result. If you don’t mind possibly sacrificing some flavor or texture element, then go ahead and work with what you have. However, know that any substitute may vary slightly from your original recipe, so be patient if needing time for experimentation. Ultimately choosing between sweet cream butter and spreadable will depend on both preference and priority – while convenience is great, flavor is king.


Q: What is spreadable butter?

A: Spreadable butter is a type of butter that is blended with vegetable oil or water to make it easier to spread straight out of the refrigerator.

Q: Can you use spreadable butter in baking?

A: Yes, you can use spreadable butter in place of regular butter when baking. However, keep in mind that the consistency and composition of the spreadable butter may affect the outcome of your baked goods. It’s best to follow the recipe and make adjustments as needed.

Q: Will using spreadable butter impact the flavor of my baked goods?

A: Because spreadable butter is often blended with oils or other ingredients, it may have a slightly different flavor than regular unsalted or salted butter. This could impact the taste of your baked goods, but likely only slightly.

Q: Are there any benefits to using spreadable butter instead of regular butter in baking?

A: One benefit to using spreadable butter in baking is that it’s easier to measure and mix into recipes since it’s already soft. Additionally, because it contains less fat than regular butter, it can be a healthier choice for some people. However, this will depend on the specific brand and blend of spreadable butter you use.