As food debates go, what to do with butter is one of the most contentious. People have strong feelings about whether it should be refrigerated or left out on the counter.
We can see both sides of the argument. On one hand, you wouldn’t leave a cup of yogurt or glass of milk on the counter to consume whenever you want. But on the flip side, who hasn’t been hastily making toast in the morning only to be slowed down by rock-solid butter?
As it turns out, it’s perfectly fine to leave butter on the counter most of the time, though there are some stipulations. For starters, while butter is obviously dairy, it has a higher fat content and lower water content than milk or yogurt, so it’s less susceptible to bacteria. Good news for fans of salted butter — bacteria is even less likely to grow on salted butter.
It’s also important to note this goes for pasteurized butter, so if you live on a farm or are super into the farm-to-table life, you’ll want to keep your butter in the fridge. Unsalted butter is best kept in the fridge at all times, too.
If you are leaving it out, it’s best to keep butter in an airtight butter crock or dish rather than just on a plate. Keep in mind that if room temperature in your kitchen exceeds 70 degrees F, it’s best to move the butter into the fridge. So, in the summer months, you may want to stick to that rule.
All in all, if you’re a soft butter fan, you can rest easy — just keep in mind the temperature and type of butter you’re using. If you want to be extra careful, take out just the amount of butter you think you’ll use in a few days to put in the butter dish rather than the full stick.
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