I’m sure that if I tasted it the day before, I would have noticed less. Stick it in the fridge if you’re going on a trip, or if it’s summertime and hotter than 70° in your house. Butter is a little more resilient than other dairy, especially when it’s salted, which helps preserve it. Butter fortified with oil will, in general, last twice as long past the expiration date as pure butter (which you can keep on the counter, by the way). Does butter go bad? The short answer: yes. Recipes you want to make. You’re frying some eggs, crisping bacon, and ready to slather some sourdough toast for a perfect weekend breakfast. It’s mostly a recommendation for how long the butter can sit in the refrigerated section of the store. Room temperature or bust. No give. Here’s the hill I will die on: You should always leave softened butter on the counter. You can allow a few days to weeks after the date. Yes, butter expires. Meanwhile, in the fridge, it can last as long as your box tells you—usually four months in its original packaging. To revisit this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories. In both of those cases, it’s either not being used (because you’re not there to enjoy it) or it’s warm and the butter will start to melt and lose its shape, just like you do in the summer. Butter doesn’t necessarily go bad right after its expiration date as printed on the label. Bon Appétit may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. Butter. Hard as a rock. But, but, doesn't butter go bad? How long does butter last? Margarine has more additives than butter and thus lasts longer. The short answer: yes. Even in the fridge your butter will eventually go bad. It's usually okay to still eat the butter a week beyond that date, but if you're thinking of eating it a … For me, it was an odd, stale, bitter taste with a slightly funky smell. Photo by Alex Lau, Food Styling Judy Mancini, Apple Butter Spice Cake with Cinnamon Crumble. Past Food Expiration Date: 2-3 months unopened, 1-2 months opened. So yeah, don't let your fear of spoiled butter keep you from lavish schmears on your toast. © 2020 Condé Nast. The long answer? Butter can keep for at least a few days at room temp, but I’ve gone close to two weeks before something tasted a little off. Generally, butter retains freshness for at least 3 to 4 weeks past that date, maybe even more. If not, it’s better to discard it rather than risking your health. But that shouldn't keep you from having spreadable butter on hand at all times. The long answer? So if you want to be more cautious, only take out half a stick at a time, or as much as you’d reasonably use in a few days. That date isn’t an expiration date by any means. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. Sure. Your call. To revisit this article, select My⁠ ⁠Account, then View saved stories. I tend to keep a box in the freezer, a stick in the fridge, and one on the counter to be ready for any baking, cooking, or toast situation. Only fools take a stick of butter straight out of the fridge for spreading! Personally I follow the dates on all packages. Expired butter? You should have it covered in some capacity, either in a butter dish or in a French butter keeper, which uses a little water to seal the lid so air doesn’t get in, and keeps things cool inside the crock. I knew immediately. Cooking advice that works. The oils will go rancid if exposed to too much light and heat for too long. Or you could keep trying to spread cold butter like a fool. Air is the enemy of butter, because it oxidizes the fat and makes it spoil. Plus, how to store it on the counter, and in the fridge and freezer. In the freezer, about a year, but it depends if your freezer turns things to weird, dry crystals like mine does. Butter lasts for about 6-9 months in the refrigerator and if there is a "best by" date stamped on the package then it will last for at least a … Restaurant recommendations you trust. This accelerates the process of oxidation, which happens even if you keep the butter in the fridge. I hear you protesting. I hear you protesting. Salted butter does not need to be stored in the fridge since the risk of bacterial growth is so low. Ad Choices. Not necessarily. Check for spoilage signs, and if you’re lucky, you can still use it. Picture this. Butter usually comes with a sell-by date on the label. Not as quickly as you think. All rights reserved. Trying to spread a cold pat o’butter is going to get crumbs everywhere, and there will be no edge-to-edge melting coverage on your toast. He explains that while butter doesn’t have an expiration date, it does have a “best sell date” and once that passes, the taste, color, and texture can change. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement (updated 1/1/20) and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement (updated 1/1/20) and Your California Privacy Rights. For the shelf life of butter, follow that "sell by" or "best by" date you see on the cover. Not as quickly as you think. Butter is a little more resilient than other dairy, especially when it’s salted, which helps preserve it. The dates on the packages are a good place to start. In goes your knife into the stick of butter and...nothing.