Can You Replace Butter With Margarine in a Pie Crust?

Butter is a crucial ingredient in baking because it can be easily whisked and maintain air. On the other hand, margarine shares similarities in appearance, taste, and smell with butter, making it a common substitute in confectionery products.

So, the short answer is yes—you can definitely use margarine instead of butter (and vice versa) to make a good pie crust.

Now, when it comes to taste and quality, butter tends to yield better results. However, working with margarine is much easier, especially in warmer environments. 

I discovered the convenience of using margarine in baking due to my son’s food allergies. Since he is also allergic to milk, I often opt for margarine when making pie crusts. Thankfully, there are dairy-free margarine options available too.

It’s worth noting that margarine comes in different varieties. Some contain milk, while others are exclusively made from vegetable ingredients. If you’re looking to avoid milk or animal-derived materials, it’s important to consider these factors when selecting your margarine.

Can You Use Margarine Instead of Butter?

Absolutely! All the butter-containing recipes on this website can be made with margarine or a combination of butter and margarine. My collection includes delectable pies, cookies, cakes, and even savory snacks like my crispy, thin cheese waffles.

homemade cherry pie

Homemade Pie Crust With Margarine

Yield: One 10-inch (25 cm) diameter pie
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

A simple yet deliciously flaky pie crust using margarine.


  • 14 oz/400 g bread flour
  • 8 oz/230 g margarine
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup/240 ml cold water


    1. Begin by mixing the sifted flour with sugar and salt.
    2. Cut the cold margarine into small cubes.
    1. Combine the flour mixture with the margarine. Knead for a short time, making sure not to melt the margarine. You can do this by hand, using a stand mixer or a pastry blender.
    2. Gradually add cold water until the dough comes together. To achieve that flaky texture, don't work the dough until completely smooth, - allow small pieces of margarine to remain.
    3. Cover the pie dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. You can store this homemade pie crust with margarine in the fridge for up to 3 days before using it, or you can freeze it.



The amount of water may need to be adjusted depending on the type and quality of the flour.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 111 g
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 340Total Fat: 24.7gSodium: 54mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 4g

Note: Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

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What Types of Dough Can You Make With Margarine?

Let’s explore the types of dough you can make with margarine. Margarine works well for various pastries, including:

  • Pie crusts
  • Short dough
  • Cookies
  • Puff pastry
  • Croissants

Both butter and margarine are suitable for these sweet and savory pastries. You can even combine butter and margarine in equal proportions if you’d like. Just remember to ensure that the consistency of both ingredients is the same for proper blending.

If you opt for margarine in your pie dough or other pastries, it’s essential to pay attention to the fat content of the margarine you choose. Ideally, select margarine with a fat content of 70% or higher. Lower fat content margarine tends to have a higher water content, which can result in a dry and crumbly dough.

A baked round cherry pie with a lattice crust on top, displayed on a plate. A triangular piece has been cut out and is placed on a separate plate.

Can You Add Margarine to Buttercream?

Now, let’s talk about using margarine in buttercream. While you can certainly use margarine instead of butter, it’s important to note that this substitution will impact the taste of the final product. Butter has a lower melting point compared to margarine, which gives icings made with butter a more pleasant taste.

When using margarine in buttercream, you might experience a greasy sensation in your mouth due to the higher melting point of margarine. However, you can still achieve great results by combining butter and margarine in equal proportions. This is especially useful in warm environments, as it makes the job of creating buttercream easier. Just ensure that the butter and margarine have the same consistency for proper mixing.

So, whether you choose to use margarine or a combination of butter and margarine, feel free to experiment and find the balance that suits your preferences and the specific demands of your baking endeavors.

What is the Difference Between Butter and Margarine?

Let’s delve into the difference between butter and margarine. Butter is a food derived from animals, commonly made from cow’s milk. However, it can also be produced using milk from other mammals like buffalo, goats, or sheep.

On the other hand, margarine is created through industrial processing primarily using vegetable fats and oils, although animal fats can also be used. The main raw materials for margarine are typically sunflower, soybean, or corn oil.


Now, let’s talk about butter in more detail. It has a long history and has been a staple in various cuisines for thousands of years. The mention of butter can even be found in the book of Genesis in the Bible. Similar to cheese, butter is created through a natural process called churning, where the cream layer formed on the surface of milk undergoes mechanical manipulation.


In terms of composition, butter contains a minimum of 80% milkfat, making it a rich source of energy. It naturally contains essential vitamins like A, D, E, and K, which are beneficial for our bodies. Additionally, butter includes other valuable substances such as lecithin, selenium, and lauric acid. One of the remarkable qualities of butter is its stability at high temperatures, making it suitable for both baking and cooking purposes.

In the early 20th century, butter was often deemed harmful due to its saturated fat content. Saturated fats were believed to raise cholesterol levels and increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases. However, recent research has challenged these notions. It has been found that saturated fats actually improve the lipid profile of the blood and, with their vitamin K2 content, contribute to reducing atherosclerosis and osteoporosis.

So, while there are ongoing discussions and evolving perspectives on the health effects of butter, it remains a natural and versatile ingredient with unique properties in the culinary world.


Let’s dive into the story of margarine. It was invented by French chemist Hippolyte Mége-Mouriés in the 1860s as a substitute for butter. The goal was to create a spreadable, easily transportable, and more affordable alternative to animal fats. Margarine initially served as part of the military supply for the Napoleonic army.

Mége-Mouriés named his invention “oleomargarine,” crafted from a blend of beef fat and milk. This new and inexpensive product bore a striking resemblance to butter in terms of appearance and texture. Interestingly, the name “margarine” was derived from its primary ingredient, margaric acid, originating from the ancient Greek word “μάργαρος” (margaron), meaning pearl.

As time went on, plant-based margarine emerged in the early 20th century as a cost-effective alternative to butter. During its development, experts believed that a product made from vegetable oils was healthier than animal-derived butter.


Margarine can be produced through hydrogenation or by creating a water-in-oil emulsion. Hydrogenation, a process that solidifies or semi-solidifies oils while generating saturated fatty acids, also leads to the formation of trans fatty acids (TFA), which have adverse effects on blood vessels.

However, modern methods now exist to eliminate the production of trans fats. Water-in-oil emulsion production, conducted at relatively low temperatures, does not result in the formation of trans fatty acids. Additionally, other types of fats, such as palm oil, are incorporated into margarine.

In 2018, the FDA banned partially hydrogenated oils, including those found in margarine, to reduce trans fat consumption and improve cardiovascular health. A recent study from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health compared the nutritional composition of margarine products to butter after the ban went into effect. The study found that margarine and butter blend products now contain significantly less saturated fat, cholesterol, and no man-made trans fat compared to butter.

While certain kinds of margarine may contain added vitamins, it’s important to note that these vitamins are not as valuable as the natural vitamins found in food.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, butter and margarine are two distinct substances with different origins and compositions. However, both can be used for baking purposes. You have the option to replace butter with margarine when making a pie crust, and you can also use margarine for various cakes and icings. However, it’s important to acknowledge that the taste and quality of these creations may differ from those made with butter.

Based on the information provided in my blog post, you can make an informed decision on whether to use butter or margarine in your pie, cookie, or cake recipes. If you find this information interesting or useful, feel free to share my post with your friends.



My name is Debora, the founder of My Delicious Sweets, and a qualified confectioner with broad experience in the confectionery industry. On my blog, I will share important, interesting, and fun facts about food, along with some of my favorite recipes.

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