Food Lab: Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (butter vs. margarine)


2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup butter (or margarine), softened
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

In order to have a properly controlled experiment, I decided to work with salted butter so that it would be on an even playing field with margarine (which comes salted). This way, I was able to follow the exact same recipe for both batches.

Becel Omega-3 Plus margarineshortbread-becel
Butter (salted)butterbox
Margarine at room temperature –
soft and pliablemargarine-plate
Butter at room temperature –
soft yet firmbutter-sticks
Creaming the margarine with the sugar
– more waterymargarine-mix
Creaming the butter with the sugar
– more paste/dough-likebutter-mix
Cookies are more wet and drop-likecookies-margarine
Cookies are more dense and moldableoatmeal_cookies_sheet

The results:


  • The cookie to the left is the one made with margarine. The dough is more watery making it difficult to handle. You would not be able to roll this dough into balls.
  • The cookie to the right is the one made with butter. This dough is more pliable and less sticky. It is also slightly more golden in appearance. You would be able to roll this dough into balls. For the purpose of this experiment, I used the drop method for both batches of cookies to be consistent. However, if you were to roll the dough into balls you would get a denser, chewier, less flat and more compact cookie.
Taste test time!
Yellow Label: Becel
Pink Label: Butter

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