7 of the Best Types of Butter You Probably Haven’t Tried (Yet!)

Learn about the different types of butter.

Think there is only butter? Oh just wait until you experience the many, delicious types of butter.

Butter used to be persona non grata in the nutrition world, but since there has been a shift away from low-fat and instead the focus has been on the quality of the fat, recent health studies have shown that lower saturated fats in the diet may not lead to better cardiovascular health. In fact, butter may be a healthier fat choice than some of the frankenfood alternatives out there in the food aisles. Butter is a whole food, after all,  and it can and should be eaten as part of a healthy diet. Moderation, as with many foods, is the key, but first, you need to know about the different types of butter.

If you are new to butter or returning to eating butter, you may not realize that there are different types of butter available in the market. You may even find it confusing to know which one you should use for cooking, eating, and baking. Not only can you be missing out on some of the most amazing different types of butter, but using the wrong butter can lead to costly mistakes, like using the wrong butter in a recipe.

Learn about some of the tastiest different types of butter and how best to use them below.

7 Different Types of Butter

1. Grass-Fed Butter – Grass-fed butter is made from cream that comes from cows that have been allowed to graze naturally on grass. Grass-fed butter is not only better for cows; cows were not designed to grains and the other stuff in feed, but it has a distinctly fresher flavor than conventional butter. Worth the extra money.

2. Salted – Salted butter is also known as regular, conventional, or American-style butter. It is made with at least 80 percent butter fat and made from pasteurized milk. Salted butter is known as a finishing butter, or a butter that would taste great on toast and pancakes. Salt is added to temper the sweetness of the cream and to make miracles come true in your mouth.

3. Unsalted – This the same as regular salted butter, just with no salt. Unsalted butter works better in baked goods, sauces, and dishes that you don’t want to end up being too salty. After all, you can add your own salt to taste.

4. European Butter – European-style butter is the stuff of dreams. It has much less moisture content (coming in with 82-86 percent butter fat) and is much more dense as a result than American-style butter. It is also cultured, or fermented, which gives it a lovely tanginess. Butter can vary by country, so Irish, French, and German butter are all different from each other and from American-style butter. European-style butter works really well in baked goods because of the low moisture content.

5. Ghee – Ghee is clarified butter, or butter that has been rendered to remove the milk solids and water leaving just the liquid gold of butter fat. Used in Indian and Southeast Asian cuisine, ghee has a higher smoke point and is more shelf-stable–it can even be stored on the counter. Like coconut oil, if left out of the fridge ghee may become liquid at room temperature (depending on the room temperature) and will solidify when stored in the fridge.

6. Spreadable Butter – A combination of regular butter and vegetable oils, like olive oil, this butter product maintains a soft texture even when refrigerated making it ideal for spreading. Do make sure to read the label to check you aren’t buying something with other ingredients or fillers. Spreadable butter with olive oil can be a good compromise between taste and watching calories from fat. Spreadable butter is not recommended for baking.

7. Clotted Cream – Clotted cream is similar to butter, but it is made differently so that clots of cream develop, rise to the top, and are separated. It is part of a traditional cream tea in England and tastes most delicious when served on scones along with some jam.

Related on EcoSalon

The 3 Best Vegan Butters (Plus 3 Recipes!) for Your Next Grilled Corn on the Cob
Foodie Underground: Everything in Moderation
Did I Just Spend $8 on Butter?

Butter image via Shutterstock

Jen Wallace

Jen Wallace shares her indie life by writing about making, creating, cooking, learning, playing, decorating, and pretty much anything else that strikes her fancy from indie biz tips to the modern history of the American hemline.