We’ve all been there, you toast the perfect piece of sourdough and it’s just screaming for some lashings of salty butter, but when you grab it from the fridge and try to spread it, well, things start to fall apart, quite literally. Hard butter is a food lover’s worst nightmare. But, thankfully, you can turn that solid arch-nemesis soft quite easily with a specialized French butter keeper (or trademarked “butter bell”).
This nifty apparatus lives outside the fridge and keeps your butter at exactly the right consistency thanks to a little water, an airtight seal and its ingenious design. From the outside, it resembles a small cookie jar but once you lift the lid things are a little different. The underside of the lid is fitted with a small cup which you pack full of butter. Then, you pour some ice-cold water into the base (also known as a crock) and replace the lid. Now, the top of the butter is submerged in the water and is subject to just the right amount of insulation and cooling.
With a good butter keeper, your butter will remain fresh, flavorful and, most importantly, spreadable for almost 30 days. Here, four of the best butter keepers on Amazon to get you that deliciously soft spread you deserve.
1. Norpro Marble Butter Keeper
Perfect for butter lovers who appreciate aesthetics, Norpro’s butter keeper is made from elegant marble stone. This means each individual piece is unique and varies in terms of color, veining and pattern to ensure it truly stands out. Of course, it’s about more than just looks, the marble is also a natural insulator and promises to keep your butter cool yet malleable. It can hold a full stick or roughly 4 ounces of butter at a time, which will keep fresh, sweet and spreadable for up to a month (though the water should be changed every two to three days).
Pros: This butter keeper is bound to add a touch of class to any countertop.
Cons: It’s less traditional than the other butter keepers on this list, so it may not be the right pick for purists.
2. Le Creuset Butter Crock
Trust the French to add a little more butter. Le Creuset’s butter keeper can hold up to 1.5 sticks of butter—that’s the most of the models on this list—and will keep it right at room temperature for easy spreading. In typical Le Creuset fashion, it pairs classic French styling with hard-wearing materials and is light yet durable. The high-fired stoneware is coated by a hard-wearing enamel glaze that is non-porous, so your butter keeper won’t absorb flavors, chip or stain. It’s also, conveniently, dishwasher safe. Plus, you can pair it with all your other Le Creuset cookware.
Pros: It comes in four different fun colorways.
Cons: It’s at the pricier end of the spectrum.
3. American Mug Pottery Butter Keeper
Adding an American flair to the authentic French design, this butter keeper was handcrafted in East Liverpool, Ohio by the folk at American Mug Pottery. Fashioned from quality stoneware, each butter keeper is made using the old-fashioned slip-cast method and finished by hand in a factory that was built in the 1900s. It can hold one stick of butter and keep it fresh and free from spoilage for up to 30 days without refrigeration. In addition to this navy blue, the butter keeper is also available in red, turquoise, yellow and white.
Pros: It’s the most affordable butter keeper on this list and buying it means you support local artisans.
Cons: The design could be a little too minimalist for some.
4. Butter Bell Crock and Spreader
Modeled after the original French butter bell, this design has rustic charm in spades. It’s crafted from new bone china clay which is glazed in a high-grade ceramic mixture and fired at more than 2,000 degrees to create a stunning scratch-resistant finish. Each butter bell features an eye-catching vine-like embellishment to add to its aesthetic appeal. It can keep up to one stick of butter and features an airtight seal to further preserve flavor and freshness. A testament to the impeccable quality, each purchase is back by a limited 2-year warranty.
Pros: You get a bonus wood spreader and holder, which is made from sustainable Oregon Alder wood.
Cons: The set will set you back more than 50 bucks.