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๐Ÿงˆ Does Butter Go Bad? ๐Ÿค” Here’s The BEST FAQ For Answers! ๐Ÿงˆ

Have you ever wondered how long butter lasts outside the fridge, or does butter go bad? If you have, then you are not the only one. We have the best FAQ for you right here.

We are sure there are others like you who once have wondered the same.  

If you are a fan of using butter in cooking, baking, or as something you add to make your toast and pancake tastes better, you will run out of it before you even think about this question. 

But for the rest who rarely use it and could barely remember when they even bought it—this question makes a lot of sense. 

So if you are part of the latter and stuck thinking whether the butter you have in the fridge or counter is still safe to use, we got you!

We collected the most frequently asked questions and answered them for you in this post. 

Read on and we will get straight into it!

Table Of Contents

Can you leave butter out at room temperature?

Butter is a dairy product made by churning or stirring milk or cream to separate the butterfat from the buttermilk. 

Because of the dairy content, some think that putting it out at room temperature is a potential risk to growing bacteria which is a factor for making food spoil. 

However, according to experts, including USDA, leaving your butter at room temperature is perfectly fine.

USDA says this is okay as long as you don’t put it out for more than two days.

If not consumed after two days, it may cause the butter to turn rancid.

We think it’s best to also make it clear that rancid butter doesn’t make you sick, but it definitely won’t taste or smell good.

The butter will taste bitter or stale and it will give out a distinctly strong smell. 

Fat oxidizing happens when it is exposed to light, air, or heat.

Two days is still considered safe because butter has low carbohydrates and proteins, which makes it less susceptible to bacterial growth.

But here’s the catch: proper storage is still key to preserving butter outside the fridge.

Butter is very delicate and needs to be stored in an airtight container to retain its original flavor and avoid absorbing odors from its surroundings.

Aside from storage, you may also need to consider the type of butter you have on hand and how it reacts to various environmental factors.

For example, it is better to leave salted butter instead of unsalted ones at room temperature as salt serves as a natural preservative and keeps it protected from bacteria.

On the flip side, it is better for whipped, unsalted, or raw butter to be kept inside the fridge to lessen the chances of acquiring bacteria and in doing so, extend its shelf life. 

Moreover, also keep an eye on the actual room temperature. 

If it’s above 70 Fahrenheit, consider just bringing out the ample amount you need instead of bringing the whole thing out.

How long can you leave butter out?

True—butter is a dairy product but the good thing about it is it doesn’t spoil quickly due to its high fat and low water content. 

And when it comes to its shelf life at room temperature, butter can last within two days. 

Moreover, butter made with salt is likely to keep fresh as the condiment lowers the water content further, making the environment more inhospitable to bacteria.

Should butter be refrigerated?

It all depends on how soon you’ll be needing it and how long you plan to keep it. 

Keeping it in the fridge does help extend its shelf life as this minimizes the chances of bacterial growth, especially in those unsalted, unpasteurized butter. 

Can you freeze butter?

The short answer to this question is: Yes!

If you don’t plan on using it right away, you can freeze butter.

You can even keep it frozen for a couple of months if you want to!

Just ensure you keep the butter uncontaminated from the rest of the stuff you have stored in there to retain its flavor and quality.

Freezing it will help extend its shelf life up to 9 months without any compromise. Here’s how to do it: 

Tools needed:

  • Knife
  • Butter
  • Foil, plastic
  • Airtight container
  • Freezer

Instructions for storing butter in the freezer:

  1. Slice butter in blocks, sticks, or pats. 
  2. Wrap them in foil or plastic. 
  3. Place butter in an airtight container. 
  4. Store them in your freezer.

Here are some points to remember when freezing butter:

  • It’s best to freeze it while it’s still fresh and not when it has almost expired. 
  • For efficiency, cut it into amounts you would normally use in cooking.
  • Use a clip wrap, foil, or parchment paper to wrap the butter before storing it inside the freezer to help retain its flavor and texture.
  • BUT you can also keep the butter in its original wrapping before popping it into the freezer.
  • Make sure to keep it away from meat, onions, or any other food items that have a strong smell. Butter can easily absorb the odor and flavor of those around it.

When you are ready to thaw, simply move it from the freezer to the refrigerator or leave it at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours. 

If you didn’t anticipate the time and need it sooner than 3 to 4 hours, you can also:

  • Grate the frozen butter so that it gets sliced into smaller pieces and then leave to thaw at room temperature
  • If you are baking, set it next to the oven so that the heat can help it melt faster
  • Set it up in the microwave for 10 seconds. If it hasn’t softened the way you want to after 10 seconds, put it back for another 10 seconds until you reach the consistency you prefer.

There are also instances when you don’t have to thaw it before you can use it. 

In some recipes, like when making certain biscuits and pie crusts, cold butter can help create a flaky texture as it cooks inside the oven. 

Learn more about how to freeze butter in this FAQ guide!

Does butter go bad?

By now the answer to the question, does butter go bad should have been clear. 

Butter does go bad after some time. 

However, unlike other dairy products, it doesn’t spoil as fast. 

Its resilience is fairly high, even if it’s made of milk.

How long is butter good for after the expiration date?

As long as you keep the butter inside your fridge at or below 40 Fahrenheit; you can use it within a month after its printed date if it remains unopened, especially if it is a butter with oil.

But if it’s already opened but stored correctly, it can last within 1 to 2 months past its expiry date.

If it’s stored in the freezer, whether unopened or opened, considering it’s properly stored, it can last for 6 to 9 months after the expiration date.

Just keep in mind that the longer it takes for you to use it after its printed date, there’s a huge possibility that there will be changes in its texture and color.

It might lose its creaminess and may not be as good as when you have just bought it, but still good for you to use.

How to tell if butter has gone bad

There are quite a few indicators that can help tell you if the butter has gone bad.

The first indicator you should check is the color.

If the overall color looks pale, especially on the inside once it is cut, there is a high likelihood the butter has already gone stale. 

It only means that the butter might have been exposed to air and started to oxidize.

Another sign that it’s gone bad is if there are any molds. 

If you happen to see it on your butter, it is better to dispose of it immediately.

Lastly, check the smell of the butter.

Since butter has a very delicious smell when it’s fresh, it is easy to know if it’s not good to use.

Rancid butter usually smells sour or cheesy.

The good part of knowing these signs is that there is no need for you to taste it to see if it has gone bad, and the appearance and smell will give it away.

So if you see this on your butter, never think twice about throwing it away.

If they don’t taste good enough to spread across your toast, they are not to be used as an ingredient in any recipes either.

How long does butter last?

The shelf life of your butter will depend on the storage condition, storage methods, and the type of butter

The type, storage condition, and storage methods greatly affect the shelf life of your butter. 

When stored correctly in the refrigerator, butter (opened or unopened) can last for up to three months. 

Also, according to usdairy, unsalted butter stays fresh for 5 months in the freezer while salted one is consumable for up to 9 months—of course, with proper storage.

The bottom line

Manufacturers have labeled products with their best by or expiry dates to ensure that products will be consumed according to their recommended date for the best quality or flavor.

Butter is not an exception to this.

So if you don’t use butter a lot, make sure that you remember the storage tips we shared in this post so that you don’t waste money by just letting the butter go rancid.

The next time you go grocery shopping, you can buy a lot of butter without any fear or apprehension. 

If you don’t get to use them right away, you can always just store them inside the freezer. 

If it will be some time after you’ve done grocery shopping before you can get home and start cooking, you won’t be afraid of butter melting right away as long as you’re not parked where the car will be exposed to direct sunlight or exposed to any elements.

How To Freeze Butter 🧈

How To Freeze Butter 🧈

Freezing butter will help extend its shelf life up to 9 months. Follow these simple steps on how to properly store your butter in the freezer.

Ingredients

  • Knife
  • Butter
  • Foil, plastic
  • Airtight container
  • Freezer

Instructions

  1. Slice butter in blocks, sticks, or pats. 
  2. Wrap them in foil or plastic. 
  3. Place butter in an airtight container. 
  4. Store them in your freezer. 

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