Here's How Long You Should Keep Butter In The Freezer

If you're an avid home chef, you probably always have a pound or two of butter tucked away in your refrigerator. Who would dare argue against the only pure golden substance able to brighten any old piece of toast or assist in cultivating the most delicious chocolate chip cookie recipe? You might be surprised to discover that butter happened by sheer accident. According to Elaine Khosrova, author of "Butter: A Rich History," butter can be traced back 10,000 years to one sheepherder discovering the wonderful reaction of churned cream (via Food Network).

Undeniably Dairy defines butter as the leftover solids after rapidly mixing cream. The fat within cream begins to cling together, leaving only buttermilk behind. While you may avoid butter because it's mainly composed of fat solids, Healthline explains that butter houses many nutrients and can be used daily in moderation. Most Americans agree with this sentiment and use butter regularly. According to Statista, roughly 298 million Americans used butter in 2020. 

Whether browned to create a rich dessert or added to a pan of roasted potatoes, CBC was right in claiming that butter can make almost anything more delicious. Armed with so many ways to use this yellow-hued flavor enhancer, you may want to store some butter in your freezer for a rainy day. Let's take a look at the different methods of storing this useful fat and how long butter can last when frozen.

How to store butter properly

While Food Network chef Ree Drummond uses an exorbitant amount of butter, you may be a tad more modest and only use a tablespoon or two here and there. If you have a few extra sticks on your hands, knowing the best way to store your favorite meal accompaniment always proves useful when you least expect it. 

According to MasterClass, there are three main methods of storing butter, with the most recommended being refrigeration. If you use butter daily but in moderation, the refrigerator is the best option. You can also keep your butter on the counter, as long as it's enclosed in an air-sealed container. However, the USDA warns that butter will spoil quickly when left out for more than a few days.

Freezing is recommended when you wish to keep your chilled butter longer than 14 days (per MasterClass). Good Housekeeping suggests wrapping frozen butter more than once to prevent your favorite fat from absorbing any harsh smells or flavors while sitting stagnant in cold storage. If you're wondering how long those frigid sticks of butter will last in your freezer, Good Housekeeping says up to three months. (Still, Healthline suggests the longevity of frozen butter may come down to which variety you typically use.)

The in's and out's of frozen butter

The type of butter you buy at the store, coupled with the care you take when packing this luscious food, plays a part in how long butter lasts in your freezer. First and foremost, did you know unsalted butter spoils faster than salted butter? According to a butter maker at Minerva Dairy, Venae Watts, unsalted butter typically turns sour a full month before its salted cousin (via Reader's Digest). This may play a part in the freezing process as well. 

Undeniably Dairy describes how unsalted butter can last up to 5 months in your freezer, while the salted variety can last 4 months longer. Whichever type of butter you decide to freeze, always make sure to follow the recommended protocol to prevent freezer burn.

Healthline outlines some pointers to keep in mind when freezing butter for storage. Not only should you ideally freeze butter long before its expiration date, but you should also wrap your butter in parchment paper, foil, or polyethylene packaging, as opposed to wax paper. You also want to make sure to avoid exposing your butter to any outside air or sunlight. Whichever variety you prefer to enjoy, when stored properly, frozen butter should last for months. As long as you keep these tips in mind, you're sure to have plenty left over to make a classic buttery pound cake.