Difference Wiki

Butter vs. Fat Spread: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on December 25, 2023
Butter is a dairy product made from churned cream, rich in saturated fats, while fat spread is a processed blend of oils and fats, often with added water, emulsifiers, and sometimes dairy.

Key Differences

Butter, traditionally made from churned cream, is a natural dairy product known for its rich flavor and high saturated fat content. Fat spreads, on the other hand, are manufactured products, often made from a blend of vegetable oils and may include additives to improve texture and shelf life.
The texture of butter is typically solid at room temperature and melts easily, providing a unique taste and texture in cooking and baking. Fat spreads are designed to be spreadable straight from the refrigerator and are often less suitable for high-temperature cooking due to their lower smoke points.
Butter is renowned for its natural, creamy taste and is often preferred for its flavor in culinary applications. Fat spreads may contain various flavorings and are generally chosen for their health benefits or dietary restrictions, such as lower cholesterol or vegan diets.
Nutritionally, butter is high in saturated fats and cholesterol, which can be a concern for heart health. Fat spreads are typically lower in saturated fats and may contain beneficial unsaturated fats, depending on their oil composition.
The production of butter involves a simple process of churning cream to separate butterfat from buttermilk. In contrast, the production of fat spreads involves more complex industrial processes, including blending different types of oils, hydrogenation, and the addition of emulsifiers.

Comparison Chart

Base Ingredient

Made from cream (dairy)
Made from a blend of vegetable oils


Solid at room temperature
Spreadable from the fridge


Natural, creamy taste
Variable, may have added flavorings

Nutritional Content

High in saturated fats and cholesterol
Typically lower in saturated fats

Usage in Cooking

Preferred for flavor in baking
May not be suitable for high heat

Butter and Fat Spread Definitions


Butter can be used metaphorically to describe something rich or luxurious.
His voice was smooth like butter.

Fat Spread

Fat spread can refer to any spreadable substance with a high-fat content, not necessarily dairy.
The recipe called for a vegan fat spread.


Butter is also a term in cinematography for smooth, flowing camera movement.
The director wanted the camera to move like butter in that scene.

Fat Spread

In a broader sense, fat spread might be used to describe the distribution of fat in cooking or on a surface.
The fat spread evenly in the skillet.


Butter is a dairy product made by churning cream until it solidifies.
She spread butter on her morning toast.

Fat Spread

Fat spread might also be used metaphorically to describe something that covers an area broadly.
The news of their success spread like fat over the city.


In slang, 'butter' can describe something that is exceptionally good or impressive.
Those new shoes are butter!

Fat Spread

In nutrition, fat spread can refer to a product used as a healthier alternative to butter.
For a healthier option, they switched to a low-fat spread.


In colloquial terms, 'butter' can refer to flattery or excessive praise.
He's just buttering you up for a favor.

Fat Spread

Fat spread is a processed food product made from a blend of oils and fats, designed to be spreadable.
She used fat spread instead of butter on her bread.


A soft yellowish or whitish emulsion of butterfat, water, air, and sometimes salt, churned from milk or cream and processed for use in cooking and as a food.


Can butter be used in vegan recipes?

No, butter is a dairy product and not suitable for vegan recipes.

Is butter suitable for high-heat cooking?

Yes, butter can be used for high-heat cooking, but it may burn at higher temperatures.

What are the health benefits of fat spreads?

Many fat spreads are lower in saturated fats and may contain beneficial unsaturated fats.

What is butter made from?

Butter is made from churning cream, which is derived from milk.

Are fat spreads more spreadable than butter?

Yes, fat spreads are designed to be more spreadable, especially when cold.

Are fat spreads vegan?

Some fat spreads are vegan, made without any animal products, but not all.

Can butter be lactose-free?

Some butter varieties may have very low lactose content, but they are not completely lactose-free.

Are there cholesterol-free fat spreads?

Yes, many fat spreads are made without cholesterol.

How long does butter last in the fridge?

Butter can last several weeks to a month in the fridge.

Do fat spreads contain dairy?

Some fat spreads may contain dairy, while others are dairy-free.

Can butter be organic?

Yes, there are organic varieties of butter made from the milk of organically raised cows.

Do fat spreads have a lower smoke point than butter?

Yes, many fat spreads have lower smoke points compared to butter.

Are fat spreads processed foods?

Yes, fat spreads are processed foods, made by blending various oils and fats.

Is salted or unsalted butter better for baking?

Unsalted butter is generally preferred for baking to control the salt content of the recipe.

Can you bake with fat spreads?

Some fat spreads can be used for baking, but they may alter the texture and flavor of baked goods.

Do fat spreads have added vitamins?

Many fat spreads are fortified with additional vitamins like vitamin D and E.

Are there trans fats in fat spreads?

Some fat spreads may contain trans fats, but many are now made without them.

Is butter a good source of fat for a keto diet?

Yes, butter is a suitable high-fat, low-carb option for a keto diet.

Can butter be frozen?

Yes, butter can be frozen for extended storage.

Is butter considered a whole food?

Yes, butter is considered a whole food as it is made from cream with minimal processing.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons