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Nov 11, 2003 08:11 PM

earth balance no substitute for the real thing

  • l

over the weekend, i tried an absolutely outrageous brownie recipe i saw on the barefoot contessa. as always, i made the recipe exactly as written -- in this case with butter.

the recipe called for A LOT of butter -- it wasn't called outrageous for nothing. because earth balance got such good reviews for pastry in a post below, i decided to give a try in the brownies -- big mistake. the flavor just didn't cut it.

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  1. Yes, that was an extreme test. How much butter was called for? When I make piecrust with it, I use about 6 Tbls. Earthbalance to about 2 cups of flour. Did her recipe call for more than that? Earthbalance is a mixture of oils, including olive oil and maybe, when you have to use a whole lot, you can taste the difference. I haven't had that problem so far, but I haven't used excessive amounts of it. You might try it again in piecrust or another recipe and see if you like it better.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Lauren J.

      I wanted a non-hydrogenated butter substitute that tasted like butter--I found EarthBalance to be my favorite for it's combination of taste and health benefits.

      I love it on bread, on hot vegetables, mixed with olive oil for sauteeing and more. I baked a cake with it and liked it and, yes, even made what I consider to be very good buttery-tasting pie crust.

      But as good as it is, it's not butter. It has different ingredients and properties, so I don't expect it to taste and act identical to butter. I've found that in piecrust, the dough can feel a little softer, so I might need to adjust the flour or liquid. When I melted EarthBalance to dip some Dungeness crab into it, it seemed too "watery".

      I'm still experimenting, so I haven't yet learned what it'll do in all recipes, but I'm enjoying the process and wanted to share with others who might be looking for something like that, too. It may not be perfect in every use, but is it a good substitute for butter? Absolutely!

      1. re: Lauren J.

        How does Earth Balance differ from Smart Balance?

        1. re: Cathy Elton

          They're made by the same company and their oil blends are similar. The most obvious differences between the two are Earth Balance uses 100% expeller-pressed oils and certified non-GMO ingredients and it's saltier than SmartBalance (the salt is used as a preservative).
          They're both good -- I prefer Earth Balance, but someone else might like Smart Balance just as well.
          For lots more info and recipes, you can check out their sites at:


          1. re: Lauren J.

            I've found that it's risking to use Earth Balance in baking, very unfortunately, because it's a good product. However, it is salty ( salt is used as a preservative, as in Smart Balance, and they can't remove it), and it's unclear how to compensate for that exactly when baking. If the recipe calls for salt, you can omit it, but sometimes even taking out that 1/8 to 1/4 of a teaspoon isn't enough and the dessert is ruined, especially when trying to make a non-dairy buttercream. Anyone have any ideas on how to compensate when baking (and cooking, for that matter)?

            1. re: pkr914

              Only three strategies I can think of: (1) use all or part trans-fat-free Crisco instead, (2) all or part good, non-hydrogenated lard, (3) part unsalted butter. I suspect strategy #2 would be healthiest, Crisco's claim to the contrary, though of course for some of us that's out of the question. The unsalted butter would have the best flavor, but I'd have to double my statin dosage if I did that!