Today, there are plenty of butter selections in grocery stores around the world, from American butter to European butter. Professional chefs and the average consumer have turned to Irish butter brands to make flaky, juicy cakes. 

But what exactly is Irish butter? 

How is it different from American or European butter? Why is Kerrygold so popular? Read on for the answers to everything you need to know about.

What is Irish Butter and Why Is So Popular?

Is a butter that has a high butterfat content and a bright yellow hue. The butterfat content is achieved by mixing the fresh cream until it reaches 82% butterfat, which is common practice throughout the European Union. The golden tones of pure Irish butter are obtained from the beta-carotene-rich grass on which Irish cows graze.

While brands like Kerrygold have promoted their butter to the U.S. market in recent years, Ireland’s rich pasture and lush land have always provided a helping hand to make the country’s butter a valuable commodity. Since the 1700s, the south-west coast of Ireland has been known for producing rich and tasty butter. 

In the 1800s, it received even more emphasis thanks to the Cork Butter Exchange, a system for the commercial export of butter in Ireland and Britain. The butter from Ireland is nowadays appreciated by both confectioners and home cooks around the world.

What is the difference between Irish and American butter?

American butter (i.e., Cabot, Land O’Lakes, and store brands) is predominantly sweet cream butter, with a higher water content than Irish butter, meaning that is not as tasty or spreadable. In comparison, most Irish butter is made from the cream of grass-fed cows, which surprisingly produces even sweeter butter than sweet cream American butter.

The average American butter contains 80% butterfat. Irish brands generally follow the European standard for the production of 82% butterfat butter, although there are differences. Beyond butterfat, there is another important difference between Irish and American butter - the United States has a much stricter classification system than Ireland for evaluating butter.

Irish butter vs. butter

All Irish butter is European butter but not all European butter is Irish butter.

The climate, the mixing process and the breeds of cows in different regions and countries of Europe affect the texture, acidity, color and taste of each brand.

As Ireland is part of the EU, all Irish butter is technically classified as European butter. Although we know that Irish producers comply with the EU standard for butterfat content, there are some characteristics that distinguish Ireland's butter from others. European butter is generally unsalted and cultured, while Ireland's butter is often salted and uncultured. The bright yellow hue is a hallmark of pure butter from Ireland. Vibrant color is so highly valued that some butter makers imitate it with artificial colors. 

In the butter tastings, earth notes were also detected in the pure Irish butter, probably due to the healthy landscape of Ireland and the cows fed on the grass.

What is Kerrygold?

Kerrygold is a popular brand of Irish butter that began production in 1962. 

Kerrygold contains 82% butterfat, which results in an uber-creamy, succulent product that is yellow in color from their predominantly grass-fed cows.

Why is Irish butter yellow?

Beta-carotene, which has a bright red-orange pigment, is rich in many plants, flowers and grasses. In Ireland, the humid climate creates fertile soil and extra-green grass, resulting in higher beta-carotene levels. This gives an even more vibrant yellow hue to Irish cow’s milk. Grass-fed cows absorb beta-carotene through their diet and store it in their fat. 

While all butter is naturally yellow, Irish butter is noticeably yellower, thanks to those beautiful green hills.

Irish Butter For Baking

Although the butters can be used interchangeably, Irish butter has more fat and less water than other butters, which gives it a better flavor and makes it a better choice for baking.

Some Of Our Recipes What We've Made With Irish Butter

Marble Cake  | Video Recipe

The cake is a real weekend sweet, but many housewives are wary of it, quite understandably, as you have to make dough, make cream, and even bake it.

Irish Mashed Potatoes (Colcannon) | Video Recipe

Colcannon, a traditional Irish dish, is a celebration of the humble potato and the ideal accompaniment to any meal. It’s irresistibly delicious, try it once and you’ll be hooked!

Sweet Vanilla Ferdinand Cake | Video Recipe

I think that the story of this Ferdinand cake is kind of exciting :-)

ShortBread Cookies | Video Recipe

They are delicious, perfectly sweet treats just dissolve in your mouth. :-) This recipe comes together with 4 ingredients you probably have in your pantry:-)

Club sandwich is also a dish that everyone has their own version. This is our version.

Full Breakfast In A Sandwich | Video Recipe

Easy Salmon Pate From Scratch | Video Recipe

This simple recipe will show you how to make a very tasty salmon pate. I kept the ingredients list simple so the salmon can shine through, but the end result offers exceptionally rich flavor.

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