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Which is Better: Butter or Olive Oil?

Posted by John Arlotta on

There are many discussions in the culinary world, but perhaps one of the most hotly debated topics is the one between butter and olive oil: which is better? Some people swear by that creamy butter taste, while others say that olive oil's sumptuous bright taste is king. So, which one wins out? Let's compare the pros and cons of each to see which comes out on top.

Is it Healthier to Use Butter or Oil?

Which is healthier is going to largely depend on the kind of oil you're using. If you're using an oil that contains saturated fat like butter, it's not going to be as good for you as healthful unsaturated fats like monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats and omega-3s. 

Unsaturated fats, which stay in liquid form at room temperature, are considered beneficial because they can lower inflammation, improve blood cholesterol levels, stabilize heart rhythms and more. These "good fats" are foods that come from plants, including vegetable oils, seeds and nuts. 

Is Butter or Olive Oil Better for Your Heart?

We've touched on this a little bit already, but let’s take a closer look. For one thing, butter is made up of 63% saturated fat, whereas olive oil only has 14%

Olive oil also contains heart-healthy monounsaturated good fats and antioxidants. Butter's high saturated fat content, on the other hand, is shown in studies to lead to heart disease and other health issues.

So, if you're looking to make a healthier choice for your heart, olive oil is the clear way to go. Even better, turn to the extra virgin type of olive oil, also known as EVOO. That’s because EVOO contains high amounts of polyphenols, which are antioxidants that increase levels of good, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol that lowers your heart risk. 

Replacing Butter with Olive Oil

In lieu of these findings, it's good to use olive oil in place of butter whenever you can. If you are new to the whole cooking with olive oil thing, here are two of the main differences you'll find when replacing butter with olive oil. 

Taste

As far as taste goes, some people say that butter has a richer flavor while others find that olive oil tastes fresher. Of course, olive oil will have a hard time competing with butter on movie theater popcorn, but it tastes amazing drizzled over anything from salmon filets to salads to ice cream. 

For instance, vanilla ice cream tastes positively decadent when it's topped with Himalayan sea salt and drizzled with olive oil that is infused with the fresh citrus in blood orange or lemon-infused olive oils

Cooking

When it comes to cooking, olive oil has a lower flashpoint, especially when it comes to extra virgin olive oil. That means it can start to smoke and break down at lower temperatures. For that reason, it's not always the best choice for baking at high heat. Butter, on the other hand, has a higher flash point which makes it better suited for things like sautéing and frying.

So, if you're looking to make a healthier choice that doesn't sacrifice taste, olive oil is the way to go. You can use it in place of butter in most recipes with delicious results; really—if you substitute olive oil in most baked dishes it's particularly indiscernible from butter as far as taste is concerned. 

Start Gradually

In your endeavors to eat healthier, you might have noticed that replacing other fats like butter with olive oil keeps coming up as a recommendation by health experts for improving heart health. If you are thinking about making the switch, it's a good idea to do so gradually. 

You can start by using olive oil in place of butter when cooking vegetables or eggs. Once you get used to the taste, you can begin substituting it for butter in other recipes like baked goods or pasta dishes. Be sure to use extra-virgin olive oil for the best flavor and health benefits.

Now that you know all about the heart-healthy benefits of olive oil, as well as how to use it in place of butter, it's time to start cooking! 

Complicated recipes aren't necessary when using olive oil as a flavor enhancer, either. All you have to do is prepare your meats, salad greens or vegetables, select a flavor and drizzle until your heart's content. 

You can also experiment with some of the delicious oil and vinegar recipes in the "Domestic Chefs" Series. The first article in the series features Evan Marks, and in it, he discusses using Arlotta Food Studios’ products in anything from elevated salads to olive oil cake. 

Olive Oil is the Healthier Choice

As you can see, olive oil beats butter as the healthier choice. We invite you to shop our collection of premium organic and kosher flavor-infused olive oils that are sourced in California. 

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