Butter design on knife

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Correction 3/14/22: A previous version of this article named Iceland as a Scandinavian country. Iceland is not part of Scandinavia.

An ancient food, butter remains a fascination and obsession for home bakers and Michelin-starred chefs alike today. Julia Child famously said that "with enough butter, anything is good," and she is partially responsible for bringing the ingredient back in fashion for American home cooks who, according to Mental Floss, had been misled to eschew butter for margarine in the name of health in the early 1900s and then later found margarine an acceptable butter replacement during World War II when butter became a scarce commodity.

Thankfully, though, butter is back en vogue in the American kitchen and, per Statista, consumption continues to trend upward. Not only are fabulously imported butters from Europe and Australasia becoming easier to find in America, several revered butter brands have emerged in the U.S. as well. Some of these newer American brands are using traditional European techniques and small-batch production to produce star-quality butter that sells out in minutes, leaving us with a wealth of options in supermarkets and specialty stores alike.

We’ve ranked 20 fancy butter brands to help you discover which products are worth the money — and, for some, the effort to track down — for your at-home culinary ventures. Some of these names sit on grocery store shelves nationwide while others have long been secrets of professional kitchens and bakeries. Those who earned the highest rankings found the sweet spot of being easy enough to purchase without being too widely available to where purchasing the product doesn’t feel as special. These brands also featured a deep, memorable flavor without being too funky for swapping in your favorite recipes.

20. Cabot

Cabot butter

While Vermont’s Cabot has been a dairy aisle staple for years (the Barefoot Contessa herself is a fan), you may be surprised to know the brand also has a premium line of butter. Made in line with European standards at 83% butterfat, this extra-creamy offering is slow churned for extra richness.

While reviews of Cabot butter are overwhelmingly positive, the brand doesn’t quite hold up in comparison to the other fancy options from around the world on this list, though it is by no means a bad option. It’s a top pick from your local supermarket, but it doesn’t have the complexity of flavor that several of these international (and Vermont-based) brands offer.

Cabot sells Unsalted and Salted sticks, Whipped Salted Butter tubs, and Extra Creamy and Extra Creamy Sea Salted Premium Butter sticks to meet a variety of needs in the kitchen, from baking to lathering on your favorite sourdough. Cabot typically retails for around $4 per pound.

19. Lurpak

Lurpak butter

One of two Scandinavian brands on this list, Lurpak is based in Denmark and seeks to combine the best of traditional methods and modern technology. They must be doing something right because the brand’s Salted Butter variety earned the "Best of Class" award at the 2020 World Champion Cheese Contest.

Lurpak’s products are modeled after the European fashion, with a culturing process and lots of butterfat — the traditional varieties boast 84%. However, the brand doesn’t get a high standing in the fancy category as it’s missing out on a depth of flavor coming from other brands that use smaller-batch production and time-consuming methods. The brand has become pretty easy to find in grocery stores across the U.S. and is offered in a range of options like Slightly Salted, Unsalted, Crushed Garlic, among others. Lurpak’s butter typically retails around $8 per 8 ounces, but it can also be found in bulk through Amazon.

18. Smjör

Smjör butter

Smjör is an Icelandic butter that is made from one of the most unique breeds of cows in the world, as there has hardly been any more importation of cattle since Iceland first became a settlement in the 10th century (via The Reykjavik Grapevine). The pasture-raised cows that produce this beloved butter are so isolated on the island that they are free from most diseases found in other countries around the world.

Though Smjör is becoming more commonly found in the U.S., thanks to brands like Whole Foods Market and Amazon, and is one of the lowest in price on this list, the brand’s special cattle have earned it a higher spot. While it isn’t as "fancy" as some of the other contenders, Smjör is still a great pick for elevating your favorite recipes. The brand can be found in Salted and Unsalted varieties. Smjör typically retails around $6 per 8 ounces.

17. Kerrygold

Kerrygold butter

Dedicated home cooks and frozen dinner enthusiasts alike seem to know about Kerrygold. The Irish butter brand has been an explosive hit since it first arrived in the U.S. more than 20 years ago and has become the gold standard for supermarket butter brands.

While Kerrygold has something of a cult following and is more expensive than your average butter stick, we ranked the now-iconic yellow European-style butter here at No. 17 because of its vast accessibility; according to Bloomberg, Kerrygold is America’s second-most popular butter brand after Land O’Lakes. The fact that Kerrygold is more commonly found than other butters on our list keeps it from feeling like a true fancy option these days.

Kerrygold can be found in Unsalted and Salted stick and tub varieties, and the brand also features a range of specialty flavors (including a choice of olive or canola oil) in tubs. Kerrygold typically retails around $4 per 8 ounces.

16. Beppino Occelli

Beppino Occelli butter

This butter is truly a statement piece for the table. Beppino Occelli‘s products are hand-embossed with a unique shape and wrapped in wax paper. But is there more style here than substance? Thankfully, not. This nearly-pure white butter has an ultra-creamy taste that lends almost sweet.

Beppino Occelli’s Italian butter is made from raw milk with a deep commitment to the local alpine environment and processed by hand with wooden blocks to get that stylish signature shape. While the brand has received countless accolades, it sits lower in the pack for its singular variety and lack of complexity in flavor, as multiple reviewers described it as being a little bland in comparison to the others on this list. Depending on where you shop for this brand, Beppino Occeli’s butter can range in price from $9 to $12 per 9 ounces, or just over two stick’s worth of butter.

15. Plugrá

Plugrá butter

Plugrá is one of many European-style butters on this list. According to the French-American Cultural Foundation, European-style butter differs from your average American brand as it features at least 82% butterfat — 2% more than most butters found in North America and often in the UK as well.

Many European-style butters (particularly the French ones) are also cultured, which means a fermentation process occurs before churning. This is why these products have a distinct tang, similar to yogurt or sour cream. Plugrá is particularly good for baking, as it has a high percentage of butterfat but the flavor isn’t as overpowering as many cultured butters can be.

Though Plugrá is modeled after European traditions and standards, it’s actually produced in Kansas City, Missouri. Plugrà has a nutty, grassy flavor, and it’s offered in Salted and Unsalted varieties at the grocery store, plus, the brand offers a 1-pound Unsalted variety for professional kitchens. However, we placed it low on the list for its wide accessibility that keeps it from feeling fancy and the lack of transparency in the production process in comparison to the others on this list. Plugrà typically retails around $2.50 per 8 ounces.

14. Ploughgate Creamery

Ploughgate Creamery butter

Ploughgate Creamery is another heralded American dairy brand from Vermont, and it’s especially famous for producing cultured butters with unique specialty flavors. Butter maker and Ploughgate founder Marisa Mauro is widely celebrated in the culinary world for her old-school approach to dairy. Fresh Vermont cream is made the European way by adding live, active cultures for a taste that’s almost cheese-like.

Mauro and Ploughgate certainly deserve high marks for producing a show-stopping ingredient; Terroir Review described the salted version as having "punctuations of flowery crystals" that "provide a welcome crunch." Still, the butter may be best suited for more adventurous home cooks, especially at $9 per 8 ounces. Ploughgate Creamery’s butter comes in Unsalted, Coarse Sea Salt, and the popular Vermont Maple varieties, among other inventive flavors. The brand also produces ghee and baking staples. All of these items are available via Ploughgate Creamery’s online store as well as through select retailers nationwide.

13. Paysan Breton

Paysan Breton butter

Payson Breton is made in Brittany, France, which is famous for its star-quality dairy products. Though the brand’s butter is only 80% butterfat (more similar to American than other European companies), it has received wide acclaim for its salty-sweetness, beautifully fluted border, and pretty packaging.

The cows that make Payson Breton’s butter are part of a cooperative of family farms and the company prides itself in an entirely local production. Their products go through a fermentation process to get the traditional, French-style tang. Payson Breton offers a wide range of butters depending on your salt preference with Sea Salt, Guérande Salt Crystals, La Pointe de Sel, Semi-Salted, and Unsalted.

However, it hits a bit lower than the other French butters on this list, as other contenders seemed to have more acclaim and more complex flavors one might expect from a fancy product. Depending on where you shop, Payson Breton’s butter can be found for as low as $5 per 8.82 ounces, or just over a half-pound.

12. Lewis Road Creamery

Lewis Road Creamery butter

New Zealand’s Lewis Road Creamery is a shining example of the quality butter produced on this beautiful island-country. The brand is so confident in its product that it claims to produce the best butter in the world. It’s also one of the least expensive offerings on this list, though still more expensive than your average supermarket butter.

Lewis Road Creamery gets spectacular milk from grass-fed cows that graze across Canterbury, New Zealand. The brand utilizes the Fitz Churn method which removes buttermilk from the product. It’s adored by New Zealanders and Americans alike (per Houstonia). Though it meets the sweet spot for accessibility (it can be easily found via Amazon, Whole Foods Market, and through several other regional grocers) and is at a middle-range price point for fancy butter, we ranked it in the middle of the pack simply in comparison to the other impressive contenders on this list. Lewis Road Creamery typically retails around $6 per 8 ounces.

11. Vermont Creamery

Vermont Creamery butter

Founded in 1984, Vermont Creamery is one of the most widely adored American butter brands in the food world for its French-style tanginess and high fat content. The cream for the brand’s butter comes from a local Vermont co-op (first established in 1919) that includes cow’s milk from 350 family farms that produce antibiotic- and growth hormone-free milk.

Vermont Creamery’s cultured butter offering is an excellent grocery store pick that will enhance the flavor of your favorite baked goods, dinner dishes, and even your morning toast. However, we placed the brand here at No. 11 for its wide availability that may make it seem more like an everyday butter instead of a special ingredient that’s worth the extra bucks. It can be found in Cultured Butter with Sea Salt and Cultured Unsalted sticks, as well as Sea Salt Cultured butter in tubs. Vermont Creamery butter typically retails around $3 per 8 ounces.

10. Delitia

Delitia butter

What happens when you combine the creams and milks from family-run farms in Parma and Reggio Emilia — Italy’s most iconic cheese destinations — to make butter? A spectacular, experiential ingredient. This is Delitia Butter of Parma, which is made with 83% butterfat for some supreme dairy that will have you looking for new ways to use it.

Delitia’s fragrant, delicate butter is easier to find than ever, thanks to companies like Amazon, Whole Foods Market, and iGourmet. However, this butter is only offered in an Unsalted variety and some may find it too expensive for what you get, which is why Delitia is not ranked higher on this list. However, like all of the others ranked below it, Delitia Butter of Parma is worth trying (at least once) if you have the opportunity. Depending on where you shop, Delitia Butter of Parma can be found for as low as $8 per 8 ounces.

9. Isigny Ste. Mère

Isigny Ste. Mère butter

The French take their butter as seriously as their wine, and the country has a special Appellation d’Origine Protégée (AOP) designation that highlights a brand’s dedication to certain traditional methods (via La Cuisine Paris) as well as the specific, prestigious regions they source milk and cream from. Isigny Ste. Mère is of the AOP d’Isigny Beurre, where Normandy’s finest cows have been producing famed dairy products for four centuries.

It’s available to purchase on Amazon, as well as through some high-end specialty food stores and online retailers. It’s available in Salted, Unsalted, and Pastry Sheet varieties, as well as in "butter baskets." However, this ingredient comes at a high price and compared to some of the other butters on this list, it’s not the best value for the flavor. Depending on where you shop, Isigny Ste. Mère can be found for as low as $7 per 8.82 ounces.

8. Banner Butter

Banner Butter

Atlanta’s Banner Butter has finally put the South on the map for small-batch cultured butter made the old-school way. Coming in at No. 7 on our list, this pick offers a "deep, almost cheese-like flavor" and a unique texture that makes it perfect for finishing sauces and dressing seafood.

Banner Butter is made the European way with a higher butterfat percentage than U.S. standards and utilizes a special churning method that allows cream to ripen and good bacteria to populate, creating its signature tanginess. The butter-making processes at Banner take a whopping 20 times longer than commercial butter methods, but you can taste the dedication to quality.

We ranked Banner here for its dedication to the craft, growing adoration in the food world, and accessibility (it will be easier to find in-store in the eastern half of the U.S. but can be easily purchased online). Banner Butter is offered in Sea Salt, Smoked Sea Salt, and Unsalted varieties, as well as various specialty and seasonal flavors. Banner Butter typically retails around $7 per 5 ounces, or just over one stick of butter.

7. Lescure

Lescure butter

Lescure is another fabulous French option that’s full of history and deep complexity of flavor. The brand’s products are part of the AOP Charentes-Poitou (one of the country’s Protected Designation of Origin certifications) and features a range of butter products offered in 80-84% butterfat.

The cream and milk come from cows that graze across a rich, nutrient-dense terroir (a French word for soil, or natural environment), which accounts for Lescure’s unique flavor. Lescure has a seven-step production process that includes 16-hour fermentation and hand-kneading stages. It’s pretty easy to find the brand nowadays via online specialty food retailers and some upscale specialty food stores.

Lescure offers a nice range of options for every type of home cook and culinary project with Salted and Unsalted varieties across various fat percentages, sizes, and shapes, which helped to secure its high standing. Lescure typically retails around $10 per 8.8 ounces, or just over a half-pound.

6. Animal Farm

Animal Farm butter

Nestled in Orwell, Vermont, lies an aptly named dairy-lover’s destination called Animal Farm. This place sells highly coveted butter for $60 a pound (before shipping) and rarely goes on sale to the public. Most of it goes to Chef Thomas Keller and his restaurant group and a local co-op in Middlebury, Vermont, according to MyRecipes, so if you get the chance to purchase some (or take a trip to The French Laundry), take it.

Produced from a herd of 10 Jersey dairy cows, Saxelby Cheesemongers sells Animal Farm’s cultured butter online that features a whopping 87% butterfat. A 24-hour culturing process, plus a bout of hand-kneading on a wooden table, makes for a spectacularly sweet cream butter that is worth the hype. However, due to the unpredictability of when the butter becomes available (up your chances by signing up for email updates from Saxelby!) and the sky-high price point, Animal Farm loses a few marks for being a bit too fancy for the average home cook, but cracks our Top 5.

5. Échieré

Échieré butter

One of the biggest names in butter, France’s Échiré is a favorite of chefs and savvy home cooks alike. It’s also among the oldest brands on this list and has been around for more than 120 years. While pricey, Échiré has become more widely accessible for the home kitchen and can sometimes be found at neighborhood grocery stores (including some Trader Joe’s locations), but it’s also available for purchase on Amazon and via select specialty food retailers.

Échiré prides itself on using the ancient practice of churning butter in wooden churns, and it is one of the last remaining dairies to continue this tradition. Like Lescure, it’s also part of the AOP Charentes-Poitou and received the Prix d’Excellence Française in 2015. Though it’s an excellent all-purpose butter that works especially well for baking, Échiré is one of the most expensive on this list, and we think there are a few other options that offer more to home cooks in terms of flavor and price.

The brand offers Doux (unsalted) and Demi-Sel ("lightly salted") varieties in sticks, rolls, pastry sheets, baskets, and recharges, or single-serve portions. Échiré typically retails around $10.50 per 8.8 ounces.

4. Devon Cream Company

Devon Cream Company butter

The English county of Devon may be recognizable to those who love British baking or enjoy the English afternoon tea tradition. But while Devon is famous for its clotted creams, the region also makes top-quality butter. Arguably the best butter in Britain, Devon Cream Company‘s golden, silky smooth butter is truly delightful and worthy of a top ranking.

The cows that make this fancy butter graze along the British countryside before their milk is churned in the traditional fashion and the butter is wrapped in a golden foil. The butter is only offered in a Lightly Salted variety, which may not be a top pick for bakers, but it’s certainly worth pairing with a favorite loaf of bread. Still, the lack of varieties is what kept it from inching even higher on this list of the best fancy butters. Devon Cream Company typically retails around $10 per 8 ounces.

3. Pascal Beillevaire

Pascal Beillevaire butter

Beloved by names such as David Leibowitz and Gwyneth Paltrow, Pascal Beillevaire is not only a prestigious French butter brand, but it also a top fromagerie to visit in Paris, according to Goop. The brand is named after its founder, a native of Vendée Breton, where the milk is sourced and butter produced, and Pascal is passionate about bringing his sublime dairy products to consumers, whether that be by bike or by hand in his shop.

These products are made with raw milk and abide by all of the steps of a traditional French dairy from centuries ago. The salt is even meticulously harvested. The only problem for those of us in the U.S. is that you can only purchase Pascal Beillevaire products from specialty food retailers, which is why it doesn’t earn the tip-top spot. The brand’s butters are offered in unique varieties, just like its cheeses and other dairy products. There’s a seaweed butter; Beurre Cru, which comes unsalted or with crunchy sea salt; and Beurre Espelette, which features the Espelette pepper that’s native to Southwest France, make for a unique collection of products to try. Depending on where you source it from, Pascal Beillevaire’s butter can be found for as low as $9.60 per 125g, or 4.4 ounces.

2. Bordier

Bordier butter

France’s Bordier is often considered by many in the culinary world to be among the best butter brands on the market. This is because of Bordier’s determination to return to traditional methods, where the butter is kneaded by hand on a wooden table instead of being processed with factory equipment. This means it takes 12 times longer to produce a batch of Bordier in comparison to the average commercial brand. Plus, it’s produced in Brittany, which is famous for its top-tier dairy cows.

Bordier’s butter is a tough find in the U.S., but it is becoming increasingly easier to find depending on where you live. Upscale specialty foods stores are your best bet for in-person shopping, while some high-end online retailers have also begun carrying the brand (just watch out for sky-high international shipping rates). Between prestige and exclusivity in buying options, Bordier secures the second-highest spot on our list. Bordier typically retails around $14 per 125g, or 4.4 ounces, in the U.S.

1. Rodolphe Le Meunier

Rodolphe Le Meunier butter

One of many on this list that have been thought of as the best butter in the world, Rodolphe Le Meunier is one of the most highly regarded brands out there and is adored by the one-and-only Nancy Silverton (via Saveur).

Named after the famed fifth-generation affineur (a French word for a cheese ager and purveyor) Rodolphe Le Menuier, who produces the butter in the Loire Valley, the process is as traditional as it gets. His team sources ingredients from local French farms, makes the butter in a wooden churn, and molds it by hand.

Between rave reviews from experts and home cooks alike, the middle of the pack price point, and level of accessibility, this one earns top marks. The brand offers its butter in Unsalted and Salted varieties, and it can mostly be found online via high-end food retailers. Rodolphe Le Meunier can be found for as low as $8.99 per 250 grams, or 9 ounces.