Can butter be left out on the counter? What kind of butter is safe kept at room temperature, and how do you store it? I have the answers.
Growing up, my Mom kept everything in the fridge. And I mean, everything. Butter was no different. She would put the butter on the table just as dinner was served. Going to cut the butter was a crap shoot, only because you didn’t know if it would slice, let alone not slip on the knife and fly across the table. And, if said hard butter was caught before hitting the floor, try spreading it on a slice of bread.
No. Can. Do.
Though as much as I love my sweet Mama dearly, I’ve changed a few practices since I’ve moved out and started my own family. Starting with the butter.
So I thought I would put all those questions to rest, on whether or not butter can be left out on the counter. Here’s a few things to consider.
Can Butter Be Left Out On The Counter?
First of all, it depends on the butter. Salted or unsalted. Let me just say that everyone can make butter. All butter is, is heavy cream whipped into oblivion, until it is thick and spreadable, and basically turns into butter. It’s solidified fat. And, very delicious fat, at the very least. Most commercially produced butter is pasteurized, which is processed and combats bacteria for our safety. And too, because butter is comprised mostly of fat, it helps keep the bacteria away.
First of all, what kind of butter are you considering leaving out on the counter?
Most experts agree that salted butter is fine to leave out at room temperature anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. I’m here to tell you that we keep a container of salted butter, that we store in the cupboard, rather than the fridge, at all times. A quick grab and spread on a slice of toast. The salt in the butter also does its part ot help keep it fresh. Room temperature is key here for this type of butter. However, I’m going to share another very important tip here:
If the room temperature rises over 70, then it is best to store butter in the fridge. This is an important tip also.
No matter what kind of butter, it shouldn’t be stored simply on a plate, uncovered, for any great length of time. Salted butter can be stored in any airtight container, whether it’s a butter crock or a glass butter container, it’s the latter solution that we choose around here. And, it’s airtight. Very important.
Keep the air out! The more air tight you can get, the fresher the taste of the butter you’ll get.
But before I sing the praises of keeping salted butter on the counter, just briefly, let me explain why unsalted butter needs to be stored in the back of the fridge to keep it from going bad. Homemade, raw milk, or any butter that is not pasteurized should also be refrigerated. The FDA considers these food temperature control for safety, and must stay in the refrigerator when not in use.
I hope I’ve answered all of your questions about whether or not it’s safe to leave butter out on the counter.
Salted is safe to leave at room temperature. Unsalted needs to stay in the fridge. Follow these rules of thumb, and you’ll be good to go.
Speaking of butter, here is an UNBELIEVABLY DELICIOUS flavored butter recipe!!
Learn something new every day! Thx Brooke. Love your FB Lives too. Keep them going and Vanna Fed in line! : )
Leslie Watkins says
Love this!! A great reminder on unsalted butter. I rarely keep unsalted and there may be some who might fill our butter crock with it! Thanks for sharing!
Amy Lynn Fedigan says
Although it has always grossed me out a bit, I have been a long time member of the” salted butter on the counter club”. My mom did this as well- I trusted her instincts and figured it never made me sick, or any of us, in all these years! I am glad to have this confirmation though! And… your Christmas Edition of the Garden House?! Spectacular!!!!
Sending love from the Fedigans of Milford, CT!
I have a preference towards the pure salted Irish butter, I leave it out on the counter top so that it is room temperature and spredable. I like to look back to our early ancestors and their ways and truly believe practices from back then we’re good and still are a way in many facites of our lives . Hope some of our traditions will continue to be carried on in the family for many more Holidays .
Converted T. Soft says
I ‘ve had food certifications for many years, and have been strict at my business and at home with keeping butter within proper temperature guidelines.
At one point I went from using margarine to butter all the time, but I ran into the common buttering bread issue (Destroyed bread) because butter was too cold to spread.
After many arguments with people who never got sick from butter on the counter, I tried it.
As of the time of this comment I have enjoyed 4 years of a non stressful butter spreading life from butter sitting on the counter at home, and I didn’t get a food born illness.
At the business the butter is refrigerated and we use a cheese slicer/grater to manage the yellow brick like food.
Great write up .