Taste Test: The Best Butter
All Buttered Up
For butter that's soft straight out of the fridge, you have two choices: whipped, which is pure butter with air beaten in, or spreadable, which means oil has been added to soften the consistency. Check the label to determine whether the oil used is good for you (such as olive or canola) or worth avoiding (partially hydrogenated).
We tasted these, as well as sticks, and found our favorites -- check out the winners and runner-ups in our five categories!
Best Unsalted Stick
Wild Harvest Organic Unsalted Butter: Organic and economical -- a rare combination -- this stick is slightly tangy, and ultra-creamy. "With a pure flavor and no salt, it's the best choice for baking: Think holiday cookies!" said one taster. ($5.26 for 1 lb.)
Runner-Up: Trader Joe's Organic Unsalted Butter ($4.79 for 1 lb., or $.30 per oz.)
Best Salted Stick
Lurpak Slightly Salted Butter: "Slightly" is the operative word here. With 34 percent less salt than the competition, this Danish butter has a subtle milky flavor that's enhanced rather than hidden: "The sweetness of the cream really comes through," noted one taster -- making the higher price worth it. ($4.99 for 8 oz.)
Runner-Up: 365 Everyday Value Salted Butter ($4.79 for 1 lb., or $.30 per oz.)
Twisted Cinnamon, Honey & Brown Sugar Butter: Baked apples, oatmeal, french toast, piecrusts -- our tasters were full of ideas for using the sweet, cinnamon-y star. 'I love the crunch of the brown sugar crystals," said one panelist. ($3.99 for 7 oz.)
Runner-Up: Land O' Lakes Honey Butter Spread ($2.49 for 6.5 oz., or $.38 per oz.)
Organic Valley Whipped Butter: Nothing's finer slathered on a bagel than this airy -- but rich! -- butter from a co-op of family farmers. Made with sweet cream and salt, "It tastes so fresh!" commented one panelist. ($3.89 for 8 oz.)
Runner-Up: Land O' Lakes Salted Whipped Butter ($2.49 for 8 oz., or $.31 per oz.)
D'Artagnan White Truffle Butter: Just a dab of this earthy, woodsy butter elevates pasta, scrambled eggs, potatoes and even popcorn to gourmet status in seconds. White truffle oil flavoring is punched up with porcini mushrooms and soy sauce for "a supersavory taste that really lingers," one panelist said. ($9.99 for 3 oz.)
Runner-Up: da Rosario Organic White Truffle Butter ($16.95 for 2 oz., or $8.48 per oz.)
Don't stop here!
Find out who won our past Taste Tests like gelato, flatbreads and oven fries!