Imperial Butter has been around for more than 50 years and can be used as a spread as well as in several applications including cooking, baking, and flavoring dishes.
So if you’re following a recipe that calls for unsalted butter, can you use Imperial Butter? Does it contain any salt? Let’s find out!
So, is Imperial Butter salted? Yes, Imperial Butter is salted, but it’s not really butter. Aside from salt, its list of ingredients includes purified water, soybean oil, palm kernel and palm oil, salt, lecithin (soy), mono and diglycerides, vinegar, natural and artificial flavor, vitamin A palmitate, and beta carotene (color).
Read on to find out more about Imperial Butter, why it’s called butter when it’s really margarine, and much more.
How Much Salt Is In Butter Vs Imperial Butter?
Butter can be classified into two types: salted and unsalted. The amount of salt in butter can vary depending on the brand, as can the type of salt.
If you want to determine how much salt a particular brand of butter has, you need to refer to the nutritional information on its packaging.
In the case of Imperial Butter, it does contain salt as is clearly stated in its list of ingredients, and the amount of salt can be determined by its nutritional label.
A 1-tablespoon serving (14 grams)of Imperial Butter includes 70 calories, 7 grams of fat, and 105 milligrams of sodium (salt).
Is Imperial Butter Margarine Or Butter?
Imperial is a brand of non-hydrogenated soft margarine that has been around for quite some time.
Its tagline is “crowned with quality,” which has been depicted in old television commercials as a crown appearing on a person’s head who just ate something with Imperial Butter.
Formulations of the product may differ according to the country.
In several regions of the world, Imperial is considered margarine, whereas in the US it is now referred to as a “vegetable oil spread” due to the decrease in the amount of vegetable oil in the product.
Vegetable oil spreads are margarine products with less than 80% vegetable oil by weight. They are sold in sticks, tubs, and squeeze bottles. The stick variants are usually all-purpose and can often be used for baking.
To understand why Imperial is not actually butter, you need to understand what butter and margarine are and how they differ from one another.
Due to its rich and creamy mouthfeel along with its sublime flavor, nothing comes close to butter. It is the preferred choice of fat for cooking applications including baking, making sauces, or simply spreading on bread.
Margarine, on the other hand, is a common alternative to butter made from vegetable oil.
Often labeled as vegetable oil spread, as is the case with Imperial Butter in the US, the taste is close enough to butter, though the richness is missing.
When To Use Imperial Butter
Imperial Butter, aka., Imperial vegetable oil spread, is a great alternative to butter and can be used in many of the same ways in cooking and baking.
Since it is cholesterol-free, it can be a better choice for people to watch their cholesterol levels.
Although most chefs prefer butter over margarine due to its superior taste and quality, margarine and vegetable oil spreads do have their own place in the culinary world.
Baked goods made with margarine will often have a softer texture due to its high water content. Butter is preferred for cookies and frosting where taste is key and the extra water could ruin the final dish.
Butter and margarine may share quite a few similarities and culinary uses, but the bottom line is that the two are fundamentally very different products.
Knowing which would work for what recipe is key for kitchen success and lots of goodies to eat!
Is Imperial Butter Healthy?
Imperial Butter is a product made using hydrogenated vegetable oil and other ingredients that is a much cheaper substitute for butter. However, whether or not it is healthier than butter is still up for debate.
The main difference between butter and margarine is the type of fat involved.
Since butter is an animal product, it has high levels of cholesterol and saturated fats that aren’t present in margarine.
Margarine, on the other hand, has more polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats. However, it also contains trans fats, which aren’t ideal for health.
Imperial Butter has only 0.1 grams of trans fat per 2 teaspoons, which allows it to claim “0 grams” of trans fat in its spreads.
According to the FDA, foods with less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving can be labeled as “0 grams of trans fat.”
Imperial Butter Substitutes
Imperial Butter is a fairly old product available in many supermarkets across the country, as well as several online stores such as Amazon. The demand for Imperial Butter is still high in the US with many people preferring it over butter.
However, if you can’t get your hands on it or are looking for a substitute because you don’t like the flavor, here are some of the best Imperial Butter substitutes to choose from.
Butter has to be on top of this list since Imperial Butter was created as a replacement for it! When baking cookies and cakes, butter is a better option as they end up softer with a better texture and flavor.
Use a 1:1 ratio when substituting Imperial Butter with real butter. Keep in mind though that since butter is a dairy product, it may not be suitable for you if you are vegan, lactose intolerant, or have a milk protein allergy.
Lard is made by rendering the fatty tissue of pigs and has a neutral flavor. When used for baking, it gives the recipe a rich flavor.
Compared to butter, it is higher in monounsaturated fats and oleic acid and has 20% less saturated fats. Since it comes from an animal, lard may not be suitable for vegan and vegetarian recipes.
3. Nut Butter
Since nut butter has a distinct flavor depending on which nut it is derived from, you should know that it can alter the taste of your recipe.
Therefore, when using it in place of Imperial Butter for baking, start by replacing half of the margarine. If you like the flavor produced with your nut butter, try adding more next time.
4. Cream Cheese
Cream cheese is made using milk, cream, and stabilizers, and can be used in place of Imperial Butter in the same amount.
When added to cookies and cakes, cream cheese gives a nice, fluffy texture to the baked goods. It is also easily spreadable and can be used instead of Imperial Butter as a spread.
5. Vegetable Oil
Using vegetable oil as a replacement for Imperial Butter and other margarine spreads is a healthy option and is often given as a choice in many recipes.
Unlike butter and margarine, most vegetable oils have a high burning point, making them more suitable for frying, sauteing, and cooking on the stovetop.
It can also be used for baking and is usually an ingredient listed in ready-made cake and brownie mixes. When using it in place of margarine, use a 1:1 ratio.
Applesauce is made from apples and is a healthy and easy replacement for Imperial Butter.
To not alter the flavor of your recipe, it is best to use unsweetened applesauce, which has a very light taste and texture. Use a 1:1 ratio to create a sweet and soft texture that is ideal for cakes, muffins, brownies, and bread.
Like applesauce, bananas are a great substitute for Imperial Butter to add moisture, flavor, and nutrients to your recipe. With a sweet flavor and creamy texture, they are great for baking and spreading on toast.
The rule for replacing margarine with bananas is to use 1 banana for each stick of Imperial Butter. The best way is to start with half of what the recipe calls for and gradually add the rest if needed.
Bananas are very thick and creamy, so adding too much to your recipe may alter the final texture of your dish. Also, since they are naturally sweet, you may want to hold back on the sugar.
Now that you know all about Imperial Butter, if it’s salted or not, and whether it is butter or margarine, here are a few additional questions we thought you might have.
What is shortening?
Is Imperial Butter vegan?
Imperial has gone dairy-free, but the products on the shelves are still transitioning. You will find the new batches with a “lactose-free” label since they are made without whey or any other dairy ingredients.