Do You Really Need To Keep Butter In The Fridge?

Photo: Getty Images.
There's probably a compartment for it on your fridge's door, but do you really need to keep your butter in the cold environs of your refrigerator?
The proper storage of butter is a Hatfields and McCoys-level debate: People are either evangelizing the benefits of keeping butter out on the counter or staunchly against having the good stuff out and ready. PopSugar explains that while there's nothing wrong with either storage method, there's nothing inherently incorrect about leaving a stick out in your kitchen if you know what you're doing.
The site explains that while butter does count as a dairy product, it's made mostly of fat. But salted butter is something different entirely. The salt content makes it even harder for bacteria to grow, so it's totally safe to leave salted butter out on the countertop. That's where the line gets drawn: Salted butter can sit out, but unsalted butter is better left in the fridge.
Advertisement
According to Organic Authority, it's safe to have salted butter out, but it needs to stay in an airtight container, like a butter crock. Exposing it to air makes butter more likely to spoil, though having it out also makes it easier to access, so it'll probably get used up before it has a chance to go bad. Being at room temperature also makes it ready to go at a moment's notice, so there's no struggling to slap a pad of the good stuff on your toast when you get an inkling. Organic Authority adds that salted butter can stay out for up to two weeks.
There is one caveat, however. If your kitchen reaches temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, countertop butter is a no-go. Those living in warmer climes should keep even salted butter in the refrigerator.
As for unsalted butter, which is the preferred butter for baking, it should stay in the fridge no matter what. That may be a pain to seasoned bakers, since they know that many recipes call for room-temperature butter, but erring on the safe side is never a bad idea. PopSugar adds that if you really can't wait for butter to come to temperature, you can grate a fresh-from-the-fridge stick so that it incorporates easier into whatever you're working on. Of course, just because one person insists that having butter out is safe doesn't mean that Twitter doesn't have an opinion. It has thoughts on everything — butter included.
Advertisement