Sweet Cream Butter vs Butter: Is sweet cream butter the same as butter?

Published Categorized as Ingredients

Hey! This site is reader-supported and we earn commissions if you purchase products from retailers after clicking on a link from our site.

Butter. Is there really a person on earth who does love the creamy, melt-in-your-mouth, warming sensation of butter? We have it in just about everything without knowing it. We have it on our toast, we have it in our sandwiches, we have it in almost every cake, it’s in the icing, it’s in our sauces, we even use it to fry our veg. It is one of the most versatile and necessary food products on this planet.

And to think, this one thing that can be used in so much, all starts off as a liquid. To get butter, we only really need milk and a little shaking action, and before you know it, voila, butter!

Now, we know butter comes solely from milk, which is turned into cream and then into butter, however, we do have a number of different types of butter, and these differences stem from the ways in which the cream is treated prior to churning.

Today I am going to focus specifically on sweet cream butter in comparison to regular butter and find out if there are any noticeable differences between the two and whether we can use one in place of the other.

Table of Contents

How is butter made?

Butter is made from the fat found in heavy cream which is then condensed into balls. When cream becomes agitated or whipped, the whisking action breaks open these balls and frees the fats. These fat molecules attract each other and combine to make butter.

If this method is repeated for long enough and the cream continues to be churned, the fat will eventually combine and form a solid. The remaining milk is then drained away and the leftover is compressed into a solid lump of butter.

Sweet Cream Butter vs Butter_Alices Kitchen

What is Sweet Cream Butter?

Sweet cream butter is the butter that we all know and love, created using the churning method above. The name indicates the main ingredient – pasteurized fresh cream.

It is ideal for use in baking but can also be enjoyed on bread or cakes or toast. It has a fresh, sweet flavor and a light, airy texture. It is versatile and enjoyed for table use with both sweet and savory goods.

Using the term “sweet cream butter” simply differentiates it from soured or cultured creamed butter which tends to have a slightly sour taste, as opposed to this regular, sweet creamy butter. American butter is typically sweet cream butter and is the most commonly bought.

Salted Sweet Cream Butter

Sweet cream butter can come both salted and unsalted. Typically, salted butter will be used in savory foods and on bread, whereas unsalted works better in baking. This is simply because it has less of a salty flavor and so the sweetness really shines through in those cakes and cookies. Salted butter will have longer shelf life compared to unsalted.

Although you would tend to use unsalted for baking, sometimes the slightly salty flavor can really shine through, particularly if you are making a salted caramel sauce or chocolate dish.

The change in flavor is only slight, however, salt can make all the difference to whatever you are preparing so be cautious of whether or not you are purchasing salted or unsalted butter.

The salted butter name indicates the salted butter definition – butter that has been churned and had a very slight addition of salt included in the preparation.

Is sweet cream butter sweetened?

Despite the name, sweet cream butter is not sweetened. It has a naturally sweet taste, as do lots of products that come from cream. It is also no creamier than any other type of butter you are likely to find in the store – it simply helps differentiate regular butter from cultured butter.

What is Cultured Butter?

In European countries, butter slightly differs from that in the US. The method is the same, however, the cream is slightly soured by bacterial culture (lactic acid) before it is churned. This gives a slightly cheesier, more savory flavor to the butter.

Sweet Cream Butter vs Butter_Alices Kitchen

The leftover liquid of cultured butter is what is used to make buttermilk – this may give you a better idea of how cultured butter tastes. In most instances, it will work just as well as sweet cream butter but will have a slightly tangier flavor.

The regular go-to butter in America is sweet cream, whereas that in European countries is more often cultured butter.

Can I substitute sweet cream butter for butter?

The difference between sweet cream butter and cultured, or ‘regular’, butter is so minuscule that using one in place of the other will make very minimal alterations to whatever you are cooking or baking.

As mentioned, cultured butter will have a slightly more sour taste, but once mixed into your recipe this will not be so prominent.

Final Words

When comparing sweet cream butter vs regular butter, it really depends on where in the world you are. ‘Regular’ butter can mean multiple things in various countries.

The main comparison would be between cultured butter and sweet cream. In the US, sweet cream would be considered regular, and in Europe, cultured butter would be considered regular. The only difference is that the cream used for cultured butter has been cultured and contains acid which gives it a more tangy flavor.

Both are creamy and have a similar texture. Both come available salted or unsalted. The only difference is whether or not you want that extra tangy flavor to your butter. I would say to stick to sweet cream for your baking, but spice things up with cultured butter if you are cooking savory!


Is sweet cream butter the same as butter?

Sweet cream butter is simply the term for regular butter used in America. If you are in European countries. Regular butter would refer to cultured butter which has a slightly tangier flavor than the butter used in the US.

Can you substitute butter for sweet cream butter?

You can substitute butter for sweet cream butter. It will have a slightly sour flavor, but both kinds will work perfectly well in anything you are doing.

How is sweet cream butter different?

Sweet cream butter is made using regular, pasteurized cream as opposed to cultured cream. This gives a fresh, sweet flavor compared to the slightly tangy flavor you will get from cultured butter.

Is sweet cream regular butter?

Sweet cream butter is considered regular butter in America. However, if you are shopping for butter in Europe then it is important to remember that regular butter is the cultured butter.