Family Health


Is Butter Healthy, Actually? What Science Says

Wooden board with cut block of butter on white background

Is Butter Healthy, Actually? What Science Says

Butter is a staple in many homes around the globe and is used to add flavor to dishes. This dairy product is made from the protein and fat elements of beaten cream. Butter, at room temperature, is an ingredient that is semi-solid and has about 80% fat.  It can be used for baking, pan frying, sauce making, melted as a condiment, and many other cooking methods. Butter is commonly made from cow's milk; however, it can also be produced using yak, buffalo, goat, or sheep milk. There has been a long-standing debate among health enthusiasts and nutritionists as to whether butter is healthy.  This article will compare the benefits and nutritional values, of butter and, whether butter is healthy or not.

A butter pat melting on a black cast iron frying pan.

©Moving Moment/Shutterstock.com

A Beginner’s Guide to the Origins of Butter

In Elaine Khosrova's book, the discovery of butter traces back 8,000 B.C. to Neolithic-era Africa. In approximately 2,500 B.C. a Sumerian tablet explains the process of making butter, by milking the livestock. Furthermore, the majority of butter was made by hand until the 19th century. Farm families would use wood presses to press the butter into bricks and sell them for extra income at stores and markets.

Is Butter Healthy?

Butter has been criticized over the years because of its high saturated fat content which claims that it has contributed to obesity and heart disease.  However, recent studies doubt that butter may not be as harmful as previously thought. A study in 2010 has said that butter causes a far less rise in blood fat levels after a meal than flaxseed oil, olive oil, and canola oil. In another study in 2016, researchers found that eating butter may be better for your overall heart health than consuming vegetable oils.

Butter Nutritional Information

To understand whether butter is healthy or not you need to look at its nutritional composition. Butter is also a good source of vitamins and minerals that include Vitamin A, D E, B12, and K2. According to the USDA one tablespoon (14.2 g) of unsalted butter includes:

Unsalted Butter
Total Fat12 g
Saturated Fat7 g
Transfat regulation0.5 g
Cholesterol30.5 mg
Sodium1.6 mg
Potassium3.4 mg
Total Carbohydrates0 g
Protein0.1 g

How to Make Butter From Cream

Typically, butter is made from cows' cream, which is separated from the top of the milk. Churning causes the fatty particles to bind, separating the cream into butter and then leaving leftover buttermilk. To ensure no wastage you can use the leftover buttermilk to create a yogurt dip by adding crushed garlic and grated cucumber.

Use it when baking healthy breads, and surprise your family with traditional Chakalaka South African bread which I guarantee will impress the whole family. You can even make it from scratch with ingredients that you already have in your pantry. Super easy and it only takes 5 minutes to prepare.  This bread freezes well too, and can last for 3 months in the freezer.  However, there won’t be much left. (Make 2 batches).  Spead it with a slice of butter, eat it alone, or add a spread of hummus or tzatziki. I guarantee you that this South African homemade bread will make you and your family want more.

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Block of fresh butter sliced on wooden cutting board against blue table

How to Make Butter From Cream

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)


  • Author: Kay Keene
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 200 g 1x


Units Scale
  • 600 ml double cream
  • A bowl of iced water
  • Salt
  • A jar with a tight-fitting lid, blender, hand mixer, or stand mixer


  1. Pour the double cream into a jar or your desired machine. First, set the speed to low, then turn it up to medium speed. If you are using a jar, shake vigorously. You will begin to feel it get thicker and separate. If you are using a mixer, the butter will cling to the machine. It will take about 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Once the butter has hardened, pour the remaining buttermilk into a cup and use it to make a dip. Take the butter out and put it in a bowl. Pour the ice water over the butter and press the remaining buttermilk out of the butter. Continue to pour the ice water over it and squeeze the butter until the water is clear. Next, add some salt and mix. It will last for up to a week in the fridge.
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes


  • Calories: 475
  • Sugar: 20 g
  • Fat: 40 g
  • Saturated Fat: 25 g
  • Carbohydrates: 20 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 1 g
Vegan non-dairy products. Plant-based alternative dairy products – milk, cream, butter, yogurt, cheese, with ingredients - chickpeas, oatmeal, rice, coconut, nuts
One of the main benefits of vegan butter is that it is suitable for people who follow a vegan or plant-based diet.

©Rimma Bondarenko/Shutterstock.com

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Close Up shot of a knife spreading butter on a piece of bread, tasty food being prepared for breakfast or lunch. Spreading Vegan Butter On Rye Bread Without Dairy And Eggs.

How to Make Home-Made Plant Butter

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)


  • Author: Kay Keene
  • Total Time: 8 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 batch 1x


You may be shocked to hear how simple it is to make your own dairy-free, plant-based butter. It only takes a few minutes to make it. When compared to store-bought vegan butter, it is more cost-friendly, and you can tailor the saltiness or sweetness to your desire. All you need is a blender, a measuring cup, and a container to store it in. 


Units Scale
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt


  1. First, melt the coconut oil in a warm water bath. The oil should melt within a few minutes and should not be hot.
  2. While the coconut oil is melting, add the sea salt, olive oil, cornstarch, and vinegar to a blender alternatively use a hand blender and blend until cloudy and frothy.
  3. Next, add the melted coconut and blend for one minute.
  4. Finally, put the mixture into a jar or container with a lid and leave it in the fridge for a minimum of 8 hours.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 hours

Conclusion Is Butter Healthy?

Whether butter is healthy or not it all depends on your overall health. In general, butter is healthy when consumed in moderation with a well-balanced diet consisting of fruits and vegetables. So go ahead and add a little bit of butter to your breads and vegetables and enjoy.

Related Articles

To top