Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Aug 20, 2007 05:15 PM

Is There a Reason People Still Use Margarine in Baking?

I haven't used margarine in decades, but notice that it still shows up in plenty of recipes, including those posted on this board. I assume that even though it doesn't impart butter's great flavor, it results in a texture some people find preferable?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Yes, since it is pure fat (with no water) it has textural advantages in things like pie crust, where one is trying to minimize water-mediated gluten formation.

    1. Three other reasons that come to mind....

      1. Allergies to dairy
      2. Kosher desserts
      3. Older recipes may have used margarine because that was what was used at the time they were created...possibly because of cost, or perceived health benefits at the time vs. butter.

      1 Reply
      1. re: 4Snisl

        #3... I sometimes catch myself posting recipes that call for margarine because they were recipes from my mom or my grandma from the 70's, 80's, but I always use butter, as does my mom. Whenever I see margarine in a recipe, my brain automatically reads butter. Of course, then there are the recipes with oleo from even earlier! I've kept the original wording for all the recipes in my family cookbook.

      2. Some people - my mother comes to mind - gag at the smell of butter. That's the only reason, aside from habit, that I can think of to use margarine.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jillp

          #1, Margarine costs about 1/4 what butter costs
          #2, Margarines do have a good flavour, if made from corn oil, or soya oil (others are good, too)
          #3, A lot of butters may as well be shortening for all the flavour they have, and that's the salted butter.

          I prefer to use butter, and buy and freeze the better brands when on sale to use in baking AND on the table. In the between times without any in the freezer and no sales, margarine is a perfectly acceptable substitute.


        2. Vegetarians/vegans use it as a substitute for butter since you can buy margarine that contains no animal products.

          1. Some of us can't stand the flavor of butter (or margarine for that matter). For me margarine has a slightly better flavor ... not much but enough that I don't gag!