The debate is over: Here’s the truth about refrigerating butter
Butter can make even the blandest piece of toast taste good. But, when you cut some from a rock hard stick of butter it isn’t easy to spread and can end up ruining your breakfast. So, is it safe to keep your butter out of the fridge so that you can easily spread it on your toast in the morning and get out the door? (Take note of these surprising items you need to refrigerate.)
You’re probably thinking, “Butter is dairy, there’s no way I can leave it out on the counter.” You’re actually wrong; you don’t need to refrigerate butter. The USDA listed butter as the only dairy food that is safe to keep in a power outage.
You would never keep milk out on the counter, so what makes it OK to keep butter out? They’re actually made very differently and that makes butter much less likely to attract bacteria. Butter is about 80 percent fat, which makes its water content much lower and therefore less likely to have bacteria when left out. Butter is also often made with pasteurized milk, which makes it less prone to bacterial growth. The salt in your butter also wards off bacteria growth—but, if you have unsalted butter, it’s best kept in the fridge. (This is why Americans refrigerate eggs and Europeans don’t.)
If your butter is kept in an airtight container, or in a butter tray with a top it will stay good for about a week. They key is to not expose it to oxygen or light. Only leave a small amount of butter out at a time so you don’t have to throw away what you don’t use after a week.
So, there you have it, you don’t need to refrigerate butter. You can say goodbye to dented bagels from trying to spread cold butter on them. Now your breakfast can be made in a flash.