Butter is a kitchen staple with a wide range of uses, from baking and pan-frying foods to spreading on bagels and adding to pasta. It’s made when dairy milk is churned, which separates the solid fats from the liquid to produce buttermilk. Depending on the ingredients and production method, butter may be salted, unsalted or clarified.
When it comes to keeping butter fresh, it couldn’t be easier — just pop it in the fridge alongside all your other dairy products. But what if you’ve bought your butter in bulk and don’t want it to go bad? You’re probably wondering, can you freeze butter?
The quick answer is yes, but the longer answer just a little bit more complicated.
Can You Freeze Butter?
According to the U.S. Food Safety website, butter that’s frozen from the date of purchase should last for 6-9 months. It can be left at room temperature for 1-2 days, and can be refrigerated for 1-2 months from the date of purchase.
Can You Freeze Butter In Its Original Packaging?
Yes, absolutely. It’s the most sensible way to do it, because it gives you access to the sell-by date. Wrap the container in aluminum foil or put it into a freezer bag then pop it into the freezer.
If you’ve already thrown out the original packaging, don’t worry. Simply wrap your butter tightly in aluminum foil or cling film, or pop it into a freezer bag before it goes into the freezer. Label it with the date, so that a few months down the line you don’t drive yourself crazy trying to remember how long it’s been in there.
Can You Freeze Butter With Added Oils?
With spreadable butter products, which typically have added olive oil or vegetable oil, like canola oil, the situation is different. While you can freeze these butter spreads, the packaging they come in unusually isn’t freezer-grade.
Land O Lakes, which makes a range of butter spreads as well as butter, says on their website that “the original packaging may crack or break if frozen.” They recommend removing the product from the original container and placing it in a freezer-grade container. Once in a freezer-grade container, their butter spreads can be frozen for up to 4 months if frozen before the use-by date on the package.
How Do You Defrost Butter?
When it’s time to defrost your butter, pop it in the refrigerator. You’ll have to wait for up to 7 hours for it to be ready to eat, so make sure you plan ahead. A good tip is to move it from the freezer to the refrigerator before you go to bed; by morning it’ll be in top spreadable condition.
One exception is if you’re following a recipe that calls for melted butter. In this case, you don’t need to wait for it to thaw. You can just melt it from frozen, either on the stove or in the microwave.
To speed up the thawing process, grate your butter with a cheese grater, says AllRecipes. A few minutes after it’s grated, it should be good to use.
Can You Use Frozen Butter?
Yes, sometimes. In fact, some baking recipes call for frozen butter over fresh, says AllRecipes.
One example where you’ll want to use frozen butter is in a flaky pie crust, which will be all the better for the light layers that form when frozen butter melts during the baking process. All you have to do is grate frozen butter directly into your flour mixture, then combine with your fingertips.