AskDefine | Define butterfat

Dictionary Definition

butterfat n : the fatty substance of milk from which butter is made

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. the fatty components of butter

Extensive Definition

Butterfat or milkfat is the fatty portion of milk. Milk and cream are often sold according to the amount of butterfat they contain.


The fatty acids of butterfat are typically composed as follows (by mass fraction):

U.S. Standards

In the U.S., there are federal standards for butterfat content of dairy products. Commercial products generally contain the minimum legal amount of fat.
  • Milks
    • skim milk contains less than 0.5% fat, typically 0.1%
    • lowfat milk contains between 0.5–2% fat; 1% and 2% varieties are widely marketed
    • whole milk contains at least 3.25% fat
  • Cheeses
    • dry curd and nonfat cottage cheese contain less than 0.5% fat
    • cottage cheese contains at least 4% fat
    • lowfat cottage cheese contains 0.5–2% fat
    • cheddar cheese contains at least 50% fat relative to the total solids
    • Swiss cheese contains at least 43% fat relative to the total solids
  • Frozen desserts
    • ice cream contains at least 10% fat
    • lowfat ice cream, also called ice milk, contains not more than 2.6% fat
    • sherbet contains 1–2% fat
  • Creams
    • half and half contains 10.5–18% fat
    • light cream and sour cream contain 18–30% fat
    • light whipping cream (often called simply "whipping cream") contains 30–36% fat
    • heavy cream contains a minimum of 36% fat
    • manufacturer's cream (not federally regulated) contains 40% fat
  • Butter (including whipped butter) contains at least 80% fat


butterfat in Bosnian: Mliječna masnoća
butterfat in German: Milchfett
butterfat in Dutch: Melkvet
butterfat in Russian: Молочный жир
butterfat in Slovenian: Mlečna maščoba
butterfat in Tagalog: Taba ng gatas
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