What is Baking Spread

Your recipe calls for baking spread, and suddenly you find yourself in a panic. What is this phenomenon? Baking spread is essentially a substitute for butter typically composed of bovine fat and other ingredients with low water content sometimes used in baking.

Hello! My name is Michelle, and through my (many) years of baking, I have run into some interesting ingredients, one of them being baking spread. That said, I have had to learn about plenty of “odd” ingredients such as this, and I’m happy to share them with my fellow bakers.

If your recipe needs a baking spread and you’re left scratching your head (oh, I love a good rhyme!), then keep reading. Below, I have mapped out the ins and outs of baking spread. By the end of this article, you will be a baking spread enthusiast (well, maybe).

What is Baking Spread?

Typically, baking recipes are going to call for butter. The rich, creamy, and overall desirable flavor and texture it brings make it an A-list ingredient for plenty of baked treats. But sometimes, that’s not always the case.

Sometimes, you see an ingredient such as baking spread as opposed to butter. What then?

While baking spread might not be the most common ingredient in baking recipes, it doesn’t mean it never shows up. So what is this mystery ingredient, anyways?

Baking Spread vs Butter: Are They the Same?

Contrary to some beliefs, baking spread is not butter. Instead, it is a “butter-like” spread. Baking spread is typically made up of bovine fat and a slew of other ingredients, although sometimes the fat source can be vegetarian, depending on the brand.

Spreads are specifically designed for baking because of their ease of use. They won’t be hard and difficult to work with like butter, giving it more of a margarine-like texture that’s easily spreadable, mixable, and applicable for the majority of baking recipes.

60% Fat Content

What really sets spreads apart from butter and margarine is the fat and water content. Baking spread typically has around 60% fat, compared to butter and margarine which typically have around 80% fat. 

High Water Content

As far as the water content is concerned, baking spread has far more water than butter and margarine. When using baking spread in a baking recipe, you might notice less water or other liquid ingredients are involved.

Why Use Baking Spread?

Since baking spread is (obviously) easily spreadable, it’s a major plus for bakers that are tired of dealing with rock-hard butter. However, being easy to use isn’t the only pro for baking spread.

Due to the high water content, baking spread can create lighter, fluffier, and airier than butter or margarine. This is suitable for certain baked treats, such as cakes or cookies. However, it might not be ideal for some goods, such as brownies, which tend to be a bit denser.


Well, now you know pretty much everything about baking spread. It is similar to butter and margarine but with less fat and more water. If you’re still pondering about this ingredient, check out these frequently asked questions below about what baking spread is.

What is British baking spread?

Baking spread in Britain started as margarine and was known as “Stork”. However, since then, the majority of ingredients (such as hydrogenated vegetable oils and trans fats) found in margarine were banned. This did away with the original baking spread, but Stork is still available. 

What can I use instead of baking spread?

Can’t find baking spread? Not surprising. The good news is, you can use a substitute for your baked treat. The best substitute is margarine since it has similar ingredients and is spreadable. You can also use softened butter, cream cheese, and even tofu.

Is baking spread the same as margarine?

No, but some companies label it as such, especially if it contains less fat and more water than “typical” margarine. Baking spread is fairly similar to margarine originally, though, as both are easily spreadable, and each can be made using vegetable oils as the base.

What baking spread does Mary Berry use?

Mary Berry’s recipes call for baking spread, so you should use them. If you can’t find it, then you can, of course, use one of the many substitutes listed above. Your best option is to go the margarine route. Try to find one labeled as “spread” or “spreadable” for more accurate results.

Final Thoughts

You might not see “baking spread” too often in a recipe, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Baking spread is essentially a product composed of fat and water and is similar to butter and margarine, which is why it is typically swapped with those products.

Have you ever used a baking recipe that uses baking spread? Where did you find it? Share below!

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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  • Nanette

    I needed baking spread for Mary Berry’s coffee and hazelnut praline cake.

  • Yolande

    I will continue to use butter both for flavour and keeping qualities. Also butter is a purer product. Have you seen the list of ingredients in baking spread – it should put you off using it. Certainly, you have to cream butter and sugar together well so some fore-thought is required – butter and eggs at room temperature before you start, but you get a much better resulting cake that has more depth of flavour.

  • David

    Thank you for a helpful article. I’ve been using Flora Buttery for scones but still butter for cakes. I might experiment more.

  • Mr James Rylance

    I came across baking spread for the first time on 10/02/22 when I read it in The Times Magazine fo 03/04/21.