Why You Should Think Twice About Buying Butter From Aldi

When it comes to butter, cheaper is not always better. While many great deals abound at Aldi, budget shoppers beware: Butter is not one of them. For starters, butter is not much of a bargain at Aldi. Due to all-time high of butter consumption (thanks, in part, to high-fat trends like bulletproof coffee) and a global butter production bottleneck, butter prices are on the rise.

Then there is quality to consider. With Aldi brand butter so close in price to brand name butters, it may be worth cutting costs elsewhere and sticking with the glorious, golden spread produced by your favorite brand. And chances are, your go-to might be imported from Ireland. The Kitchn affirms that Kerrygold is one of the most popular butter brands consumed in the U.S. with good reason — it's also the best, in their opinion.

Ireland has long been known for its decadent butter. In fact, Irish butter has been tantalizing palettes for as long as 3,000 years (via NPR). While Kerrygold pure Irish butter is no longer churned by hand, it is still a product of pastoral tradition: Kerrygold's cows are raised on pasture, and that makes a huge difference.

Irish butter is the best

Kerrygold also tops Extra Crispy's list of the best butters from the grocery store (though, to be fair, Aldi's butter was not included). Among its praises, Kerrygold is heralded for a sweet-salty flavor and luscious taste.

Kerrygold even holds its own when paired against fancy (and much pricier) butters — the kind that might require a special shopping trip. John Winterman, Managing Partner at Bâtard and butter aficionado, told Extra Crispy, "Talking about how good Kerrygold is is like talking about how good Casablanca is." In other words, a classic is a classic because it's universally understood to be great.

What makes Kerrygold so unarguably, and downright delicious? Irish butter is actually a whole different breed of butter, according to Real Simple. European butter is worlds apart (or, an ocean apart at least) from American butter. The biggest difference boils down to butterfat: European butter contains 82 percent butterfat, while American butter batches typically top out at 80 percent. This may seem like a negligible difference, but American butter's higher water content contributes to a different flavor and texture. Notably, Irish butter is touted as being much more spreadable than American butter. Its higher fat content also contributes to superb baked goods, from extra flaky pie crusts, to delectably buttery biscuits (via Wide Open Eats).

The best butter is yellow

Another distinction is apparent to the naked eye: Irish butter is known for its vibrant, golden hue. The sunny yellow color is attributed to Ireland's lush pastures. Cows that graze on grass will produce milk with higher levels of beta-carotene. This milk, when used in butter production, imparts the butter's now-signature yellow tone.

American butter, in comparison, can often look a little sallow. Business Insider attributes the bland color to the fact that most American creameries source their milk from grain-fed cows, rather than grass-fed. But get this: Anemic American butter from corn-fed cows actually has a history of being dyed for cosmetic reasons (via National Geographic). Some commercial dairy producers, according to The New York Times, use annatto to amp up the yellow in their butter. No stranger to the dairy industry, annatto — derived from seeds of the tropical achiote tree — is also used to impart a yellow-orange glow to certain cheeses.

Aldi's Irish butter

Aldi diehards might remember the days of Kerrygold butter, which Aldi once stocked as a seasonal item at reportedly-low prices (via The Aldi Nerd). The grocery giant began to phase out Kerrygold from its dairy cooler in 2018, according to Aldi Reviewer. In its place, they rolled out their own brand of Irish butter: Countryside Creamery Pure Irish Butter. According to the label, it is indeed a product of Ireland, and does not contain any added coloring to masquerade as grass-fed butter. It's worth noting it only contains 80 percent butterfat. As an Aldi's regular buy, you can find this soft spread consistently at Aldi stores for a very reasonable price.

Though, even The Aldi Nerd gives higher flavor marks to Kerrygold over Aldi Countryside Creamery standard spreadable and stick butter, saying the difference is unexplainable, but also undeniable. To be fair, Aldi Reviewer says the house brand costs a bit less than what Aldi sold Kerrygold for previously. They report that it looks and tastes a lot like Kerrygold — with bonus points for containing less sodium. Their opinion is that it's a decent substitute. Some may say, however, there is no substitute.