Butter keeper What's up with that?

Since customer care is looking for attention, I will ask the first question. What is the advantage of using a butter keeper? Do you use salted or sweet butter? How long does the butter keep?

  • Posted by: PHIL
  • August 5, 2016


Sam1148 August 6, 2016
I thought about getting one, but I read that in warm rooms the butter can fall out. I only have a window unit in the kitchen and it gets about 80 in there some days. I've been happy with my pewter covered butter dish left at room temp.
I fill it with a 1/2 stick at a time and that lasts most of the week.
BerryBaby August 6, 2016
Never heard of a Butter Keeper until now. I only use butter for baking and sometimes cooking so I keep it in the refrigerator. It's a great idea for those who use butter often.
amysarah August 5, 2016
I stand corrected! Have read otherwise, but must have been mislead. My butter and water often kiss...thank goodness there have been no casualties!
PHIL August 5, 2016
I think you are right cv.
amysarah August 5, 2016
Phil, I love my butter keeper. I've never had a problem with mold - I just change the water every couple of days, and with 3-4 people in residence, we easily go through the stick or so it holds before anything has a chance to grow. I typically fill it with unsalted butter. It's of course easy to take the regular butter dish out of the fridge a little ahead of time, - but I find it really nice and convenient to have it at the perfect spreading temp in a lovely looking container. (Simple luxuries!)
I also have my grandmother's old stoneware lidded butter dish, which she kept on the counter, so it feels kind of homey and natural to me.
Rebecca S. August 5, 2016
Hi there Phil! I'm so happy you asked. The advantage to using a butter keeper is what you've always needed (of course): perfect room temperature, spreadable butter always at your ready. No more torn toasts! It's a classic design that's quite simple and works well with either sweet cream or salted butter. I use unsalted and top my toasts with Maldon salt flakes 'cause I like it fancy.

These keep your butter for a while and, if i'm being honest, I've not tested the exact time because I run through butter in my kitchen quite frequently. There are a few items I will mention here when it comes to maintaining these bad boys: you'll want to make sure you're changing the water frequently. This helps keep your butter fresh-er longer. You should do this 2-3 times a week. Some folks like to use a bit of salt in the butter keeper's water which supposedly helps to ward off mold growth but, I've not done a test on this. Additionally, you'll want to make sure that you're using enough water & butter so as to create that tight seal between both (again, to keep your precious butter fresh!). Finally, because you're leaving the item out, try to keep it away from direct heat sources (oven, stove, toaster). This will help prevent the butter from slipping out of the bell and into the water below.

I can also confidently say that almost every Food52 employee owns one of these and uses it with some frequency. :)
PHIL August 5, 2016
So should the water come in contact with the butter or is the purpose of the water to make an airtight seal?
amysarah August 5, 2016
Yes, the water should be in contact with the butter - to keep the air out of contact.
And Rebecca makes a good point about not keeping it in a sunny spot.
Rebecca S. August 5, 2016
The purpose of the water is to make an airtight seal with the rim of the bell. Also be sure to pack the butter tight in the bell--I didn't mention that previously. You can also read more about our love for the butter keepers (and their design) here: https://food52.com/blog/14648-how-amanda-hesser-s-mom-helped-us-design-an-even-better-butter-keeper

702551 August 5, 2016
The water should *NOT* be in contact with the butter if the butter keeper is packed and used correctly.

It's like an old-fashioned diving bell:


Smear a pat of butter in the bottom of a small cup or glass. Now fill up a saucepan with water. Invert the cup and hold it down in the water. Now no additional/new air can get to the butter. The water provides an airtight seal. This is good for butter.

You can get the same effect if you just use a container with an airtight lid.
702551 August 5, 2016
The secondary benefit of a butter keeper is that it isolates the butter. In the fridge, uncovered butter is sensitive to picking up other scents.
702551 August 5, 2016
The primary advantage of using a butter keeper is that the butter isn't refrigerator-hard. It's usable right away.

People use both salted or sweet butter. Some salt their water to inhibit mold growth so for them, they should opt for sweet butter.

The butter keeps probably close to a week. Remember, in the old days (and even today in many other countries), many left butter on a counter, not in the fridge. Regarding a butter keeper, if you don't use lots of butter, you should probably load up as much as you might use in 3-5 days to maintain optimal freshness.

I don't own one myself, I find that I can wait a few minutes to let refrigerated butter warm up. Admittedly, I'm not one who would category myself as one of those "instant gratification" people.

But that's just me...
ktr August 5, 2016
My parents and grandparents have always just kept the butter in a bowl in a cupboard. There is never more than 4 TBPS kept out and it gets used pretty quickly so I've never seen it go bad.
Recommended by Food52