Can You Freeze Butter?

You took advantage of that Costco deal, hmm?

sticks of butter on a wooden cutting board
Photo: Courtney West/Southern Living

It's a wonder the internet searches that can come from a simple trip to Costco. This time, it was the big box of butter that got me.

It wasn't until I got home that I realized I had purchased an unreasonable amount of the stuff. With the holiday baking season solidly behind me, I immediately had visions of a future Saturday in the not-too-distant future when I would sadly chuck the expired yellow boxes into the trash. Then I remembered for most every problem, there is a solution that begins with a quick internet search. Minutes later I was merrily transporting my butter stock to the deep freezer for safe keeping and vowing to never again buy a single box.

Both the cost savings and the convenience of buying butter in bulk has me hooked, but before I convince you to do the same, there are a few things you should know about how to freeze butter.

Following these tips for freezing butter will help ensure the quality, texture, and flavor of your favorite kitchen staple and mine stays top notch—and we all know no self-respecting home cook would ever stand for anything less.

How To Freeze Butter

If you've ever tasted butter that has picked up some funky flavors from sitting in the fridge too long, you won't question the measures needed to ensure the same doesn't happen with your stockpile of frozen butter.

U.S. Dairy recommends storing butter in its original packaging, but you can also opt to wrap it in either plastic wrap or foil, and place it into a freezer-safe airtight container.

frozen butter

As long as you label the packaging with the date you froze it (or the date by which it should be thawed, depending on your personal freezer-labeling system), you'll be in the clear.

Will Freezing Butter Alter the Taste?

According to Land O'Lakes, freezing butter will not affect its taste or texture, which is good news if you're planning to bake up a batch of your famous chocolate chip cookies.

As long as you follow our instructions for properly freezing butter (particularly the part about its freezer shelf life), there's no reason your butter shouldn't have the same taste and textural qualities as the sticks sitting in your fridge.

How Long Can You Freeze Butter?

You'll need to freeze the butter prior to its "Use By" date. And, once you pull it from the freezer, Land O'Lakes recommends using it within 30 days.

Beyond that, the timeline for freezing sticks of butter varies depending on whether the butter is salted or unsalted. Salt acts as a preservative, so salted butter has a longer shelf life, no matter where it's stored, than unsalted.

U.S. Dairy recommends freezing unsalted butter for a maximum of five months, whereas salted butter can be frozen up to nine months.

Can You Freeze Butter Substitutes?

Now, what about those butter spreads and margarines that come in plastic containers? Chances are the containers are not freezer grade, which means they could split, crack, or break while in the freezer. For that reason, Land O'Lakes does not recommend freezing any of their spreadable products unless transferred into a freezer-safe container first.

butter on a plate

How To Thaw Butter

Transfer frozen sticks or block of butter to the fridge, and give it 24 hours to thaw. After that, it's ready to use any way you'd normally use butter.

If you need to bring your butter to room temperature quickly, use a box grater to grate the frozen stick. That handy trick will greatly speed up the process of thawing butter for baked goods.

The best part about freezing butter is that you'll likely never find yourself with a shortage. Just buy a fresh package (or four) when your freezer supply starts getting low. The only caveat is that you'll need to allow ample time for it to thaw in the refrigerator properly.

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