Butter vs. Olive Oil: What's Better?

When the editorial team cooks with butter, the question arises: Is it better than olive oil?
Maryse Chevriere


Two cooking fats, butter and olive oil (along with canola oil), are among the more commonly used ones in home kitchens, but which is better? As someone who grew up in a non-butter household (genetic high cholesterol runs in the family), it was not a commonly used fat, as butter is an animal product so it’s not ideal for people on low-cholesterol diets. But when our editorial team set out to make recipes using lovely butter from Real California Milk, we realized that sometimes, butter is better.

Or maybe better isn’t the right word; perhaps different is what we’re looking for. Both olive oil and butter have their place in the kitchen and in cooking different recipes, but there are times when butter just makes that much of a difference in the dish. When cooking vegetables such as the lemon asparagus recipe below, it adds a rich sweetness to the dish that’s nicely balanced out by the acidity of the citrus juice. And it's great when scrambling eggs, or finishing off a steak.

It all depends on what you’re looking for and the dish you’re making, and sometimes butter and olive oil work well together. If you find yourself in the mood for butter or happen to have an ample amount of unsalted butter (best for cooking and baking) on hand, then try your hand at some of these delicious recipes below. (Also remember that butter is a food you can freeze, so don’t get rid of an extra butter!)

Panko-Crusted Veal with English Peas

It may seem like a lot of butter, but I was amazed at how the crust on each piece of veal just soaked it right up... 

— Will Budiaman





Sautéed Shrimp with Pineapple

Pineapple and shrimp may seem like a surprising pairing, but when sautéed in butter...

— Molly Aronica







Butternut Squash Pasta with Sage Brown Butter

Browning butter creates a deep, almost nutty flavor... 

Carly Goldsmith






Sautéed Asparagus with Lemon Butter Sauce

This quick and easy seasonal side dish would make a great accompaniment to grilled steak or pork chops... 

— Maryse Chevriere





Goat Cheese Risotto with Broccoli Rabe

Hello all, I am the risotto queen, nice to meet you. Wait, what? True story...

Francesca Borgognone





Crêpes with Chicken and Morels

Savory crêpes make for a nice light weeknight meal...

Arthur Bovino