View Full Version : Where Do You Keep Your Butter (or Margarine?)

05-05-2003, 04:55 PM
I was talking to a few friends this morning and somehow we got on the subject of storing butter. Apparently many people keep there butter or margarine on the counter instead of the refrigerator. This was surprising for me. I have lived in 4 different states in the past 15 years and have never seen anyone keep their butter on the counter.

Obviously a lot of people do it. Maybe it's a regional thing. I know that you can buy a special butter boat or bowl that is designed to keep it cool for several days but some people just keep it out so it stays soft.

What do you do? This is my first time posting a poll, so I hope I'm doing it right.


05-05-2003, 05:04 PM
I don't go through that much butter or margarine to feel safe on keeping it on the counter. I would be afraid it would be rancid the next time I used it.

05-05-2003, 05:21 PM
I keep it in the freezer, mostly because I didn't cook (until recently) and it would spoil otherwise.

05-05-2003, 05:24 PM
I place 3 of the sticks in the freezer and the 4th in the fridge.
We don't go through it fast enough and I'd worry ..

My DH's daughter keeps her on the counter all the time; she thinks I'm weird :D :) ;)

05-05-2003, 05:50 PM
Hmm - something new for me to worry about:eek:

I have always kept my butter (a partial stick) in a butter dish in the cupboard so it would be soft when I needed it. I have been doing this for about 30 years (:eek: :eek: ) and don't recall ever having any problems. There are only 2 of us, so it's not like we go through it real fast either.

05-05-2003, 06:03 PM
I keep it on the counter. I go through fairly fast, and I like to have it soft to spread. Interesting though, I usually buy Land o Lakes unsalted butter, and in the time between the heat on and the air conditioning it would get very very soft. This time I bought a generic butter that the commissary had and in the same conditions it has remained only a little soft. Butter should be butter, but who knows what the 2 companies do differentl.


05-05-2003, 06:57 PM
Mom always kept hers on the counter. I keep mine in the fridge. Mostly because I don't have a pretty dish, and even if I did I don't have anywhere to put the pretty dish.

The extra sticks are in the freezer.


Ms. Chevious
05-05-2003, 06:57 PM
I haven't bought butter in many years - stuff isn't even allowed past the front door in my house!

Growing up though, my mom always kept margerine in the cupboard (in a butter holder thingy).

05-05-2003, 06:59 PM
One "working" stick in the fridge and the others as back-up in the freezer. I've never kept my butter (I don't use margarine) out, except for maybe 1 or 2 rare times when I FORGOT to put it away. Come to think of it, no one in my family does either. Something about the mushy texture just doesn't do it for me.

05-05-2003, 07:08 PM
I use butter only for cooking or baking so it stays in the frig, one stick, and the rest frozen. My SIL uses stick margarine & keeps it sitting in a cabinet in its foil wrapperon a plate. disgusting, it melts and runs all over. so I guess it's "soft" and easy to use.

05-05-2003, 08:04 PM
I use a special crock (which I don't think is a crock of you know what) called a butterbell. Find them at http://www.butterbell.com/ -- it's a little bowl that's suspended upside down in a crock of water. The butter stays soft, yet the water seals out air and seems to keep the butter fresher. I'm a butter snob and buy Plugra or the danish stuff, so I appreciate the better taste of warmer butter, plus the fact that my investment is preserved.

05-05-2003, 08:38 PM
Trying to think of "other" responses, I thought of my hips, but the stuff that hasn't been used yet goes in the fridge. DH says he used to keep butter in a special butter dish -- like the butter belle.

05-05-2003, 08:47 PM
I use the butter bell, too. I love it.

05-05-2003, 08:50 PM
i have a butter bell (2 actually) but I really only use them at holidays when we have people visiting and we're eating unusually indulgent foods. otherwise, DBF and I simply don't use enough butter to warrant it--I've tried keeping the butter bell in the fridge for just us, but that seems pointless. So mostly, we have 1 stick of his "eating butter" and 1 + snibs stick of my "baking butter" in the fridge, with extras in the freezer. But I do love my butter bell and I think it works great--if we had a bigger family or were of a mind to eat butter more often, I really would use it all the time.

05-05-2003, 09:19 PM
I had a butter bell and I thought it was a pretty cool idea, but I stopped using it because my butter went bad pretty quickly. Maybe it's just too hot in Texas (although I do have the a.c. on when it gets cold, so I don't know if that was the problem or not).

When I lived in Germany, we always kept the butter out. I really liked it that way. Always ready to spread, and much less likely to "pick up" funny flavors like you can get in the refrigerator.

erin elizabeth
05-06-2003, 05:18 AM
In the summer--the fridge. In the winter--the counter. Just in an Anchor Hocking glass butter dish. I just recently started storing butter in the freezer. My mom always just kept her extra in the fridge, but there were 4 of us. Since it is just me, I don't use as much, but still have to buy two pounds when it goes on sale! Oh, unsalted for cooking and salted for eating (mmmm salted butter on rye toast!).

05-06-2003, 05:23 AM
Always in the fridge. After all, it does say "Keep Refrigerated" on the label! The stick 'in progress' is kept in a glass butter dish.

The IL's however, keep their butter out on the counter in a ceramic butter dish. They are the only ones I know who do this!

05-06-2003, 05:30 AM
I don't think this is so much a regional issue, as an era. When it was an icebox, not a refrigerator, I think most people kept butter on the counter. I think every year, fewer and fewer people leave the butter out.

05-06-2003, 06:27 AM
I keep whipped butter (salted) on the counter year round. Never had a problem with it going bad. I also keep a pound box of unsalted butter (in sticks) and several in the freezer for cooking.

Margarine would never be allowed in my house.


05-06-2003, 06:36 AM
Interesting. I had never even considered keeping butter out. Of course, I have cats and had an instant visualization of fur covered butter; or butter covered fur . . . Yuck.

05-06-2003, 06:46 AM
A few sticks in the fridge, the rest in the freezer. We don't use it as a spread- I only use it for occasional baking. I do know people who keep it on the counter.

05-06-2003, 06:51 AM
Three in the freezer and one in the fridge. I'm thinking about getting one of those fancy dan containers for the counter so I can feed DS more bread and butter to fatten him up. Is the butter bell the same as the thing they sell on QVC?


05-06-2003, 06:53 AM
Originally posted by lhall
Mom always kept hers on the counter. I keep mine in the fridge.

Same here.

05-06-2003, 06:58 AM
Originally posted by lakelady1
Interesting. I had never even considered keeping butter out. Of course, I have cats and had an instant visualization of fur covered butter; or butter covered fur . . . Yuck.

Well, mom's butter dish was covered. Other wise we would have had either no butter, or butter with lick marks on it. :eek: At one point we had 8 cats, but we never had less than 2.


05-06-2003, 07:37 AM
Originally posted by lakelady1
Interesting. I had never even considered keeping butter out. Of course, I have cats and had an instant visualization of fur covered butter; or butter covered fur . . . Yuck.


I keep the "working stick" of butter in the refrigerator, and the extras in the freezer. I'd be wary of keeping it out, especially since I buy unsalted. I no longer buy margarine, but when I did, I bought it in a tub and kept that in the frig.


05-06-2003, 07:44 AM
I keep 1/2 or 1 stick of butter on the counter (depending if it's winter or summer). I just recently switched to unsalted ~ my tastes changed again. :rolleyes: The rest I keep in the freezer.

I grew up on margarine, but when I left home I switched back to butter. ;) :D

I don't store it in anything fancy. Just a covered glass butter dish I picked up at Target. Haven't had any troubles yet and I like to have some soft butter on hand for cooking or spreading. :)

05-06-2003, 07:48 AM
I voted other, because I don't personally use butter or margarine. But since I'm living at home now, I figured I'd say what my family does. We used to have a pretty butter dish that like erin elizabeth, we kept in the fridge in the summer (to keep it from melting) and the counter in the winter (to keep it soft). But then my QVC-watching Mom saw this butter boat (a similar concept to the butter bell):


You fill the outer shell with cold water and place the butter in the inner dish, so it keeps it soft but not melted. My parents and younger sister use a lot of butter (and that's how I was raised), so they go through it pretty fast - and we never needed to freeze it, just refrigerated the extra sticks.

05-06-2003, 08:15 AM
I keep the stick I'm working on in the fridge and the rest in the freezer. I don't go through it very fast, so I would be afraid of it getting rancid.

I do know of people who keep their butter in the cupboard - I only leave mine on the counter when I forget to put it away.

05-06-2003, 09:56 AM
of each butter and margarine in the fridge in the door, in the special compartment,also one # tub for spreading on bread. The rest is in the freezer!

05-06-2003, 10:29 AM
I keep some salted butter in a glass covered butter dish on the counter. My mom always did this and I do it too. I've never had problems with the butter going bad and I live in the tropics. It usually keeps it's shape in the dish as well -- it doesn't melt all over, unless it's too close to the stove. I use good French butter, usually. I keep unsalted butter in the freezer for baking and such.

05-06-2003, 11:47 AM
Originally posted by Curleytop
of each butter and margarine in the fridge in the door, in the special compartment,also one # tub for spreading on bread. The rest is in the freezer!

Wow. Usually Bea and I seem to go off in completely different directions, but my answer is almost word-for-word, except my tub is 1 pound and is unsweetened butter.

This thread reminds me of when I was newly married. I'd been helping my mother-in-law's sister in the kitchen and noticed a plate of butter on top of the clean dishes in one of her cabinets. I pulled the thing down, started to laugh and laugh and said something like "You accidentally put your butter away in the cabinet." She laughed with me and never did simply tell me that was where she'd always kept it, and till reading this today I assumed this was an eccentricity all her own...

05-06-2003, 12:57 PM
Well, I bake a ton, so I keep my working POUND of butter in the fridge and extra POUNDS of butter in the freezer! I almost always buy unsalted.

But I leave sticks out to soften for recipes. And sometimes it'll be a few days before I actually get around to using those soft sticks. Glad to hear I won't get ill from it.

Wendy w
05-06-2003, 01:00 PM
I keep 1 or 2 sticks in the refrigerator and the rest stays in the freezer. I thought that my sister is the only person who keeps her butter out on the counter. Of course, she keeps lots of things that shouldn't be left out on her counter. :rolleyes: :eek:

05-06-2003, 02:35 PM
I grew up keeping the "working" stick in a butter dish on the counter and several pounds on hand in the freezer....I've carried on the tradition. I have to have soft butter and I hate microwaving it. DH thinks I'm crazy, but he has finally stopped putting the butter in the fridge thinking I forgot to.
We're in Mississippi so it's hot HOT but never have a problem with it melting out of shape.

05-06-2003, 03:03 PM
I keep my butter in the fridge. I don't go through it that quickly, but I've never had it go bad on me, so have never seen any need to freeze it.

From time to time, if I put butter out to soften for a recipe and end up not using all of it, I'll leave some out in a regular butter dish on the counter.

05-06-2003, 05:46 PM
I keep the working stick of butter in the butter compartment in the fridge and the rest in the freezer, but when I was growing up we always kept the "in use" butter in a covered butter dish in the cupboard. It was salted butter and I think we used it up pretty fast, but it never went bad or melted. I use unsalted and don't usually use it up as fast, but maybe I'm being too cautious. Actually, there are a lot of products that I refrigerate after opening because that's what the label says that we always just kept in the cupboard when I was a kid, and they kept ok.

05-06-2003, 06:04 PM
we keep butter in our french butter keeper (similar to the butter bell)...and I love that it is always ready to go. The rest stays in the fridge, and unsalted stays in the freezer until I need it for a recipe.

05-06-2003, 06:12 PM
weird! didnt know people kept it on the counter!!!

i always keep a few sticks in the fridge, and the rest in the freezer (i buy it when it is on sale). i only use butter for baking, so i dont go through it fast. i use brommel & brown yogurt spread for toast or bread.

05-06-2003, 06:58 PM
I never knew people put butter on counters or in the freezer..hmmm I have been very sheltered. I also didn't realize it could go bad! I either use it quick enough or have been lucky?

05-16-2003, 02:25 PM
Hi again, Heide! It's amazing the threads I find you on!

Same with me -- Mom kept hers out on the counter. I don't use it much except for baking, so I keep one or two sticks in the fridge and the rest in the freezer. I always have plenty on hand for baking though -- at least four sticks! I don't bake nearly as much as I used to (because it's so dangerous to have baked goods around), but I want to be prepared whenever I have a good excuse to make something decadent.

I also grew up with margarine and have switched to butter. I figure, I have that stuff so seldom, that I might as well have the GOOD stuff if I'm going to indulge!

Becky :)

06-14-2003, 10:32 AM
I keep mine in the fridge. I'd never heard of keeping it out on the counter until this thread. I buy unsalted, and I'm a little too wary of it going rancid to keep it on the counter.