Can You Freeze Butter?

Butter can get pretty expensive these days, at least where I live. So whenever there’s a sale, I take advantage, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you did the same.

Now there’s a bunch of butter in your fridge. And you already know that you won’t use all of it before the date on the label. While this dairy product often keeps well for a few weeks past that date, your supplies might be large enough to last for a whole lot longer. That begs the question: can you freeze butter?

Sliced bread and butter
Photo by Jude Infantini.

Can You Freeze Butter?

Fortunately for all of us, you can freeze butter. And unlike sour cream or milk, it freezes very well. Of all available dairy products, butter probably freezes best.

The process of freezing and defrosting butter doesn’t affect it much. The taste and texture stay pretty much the same, and even butter producers say you can freeze it for months (BT).

Knowing that, let’s get into the ins and outs of the freezing process.

Banana bread butter and milk
Photo by Whitney Wright.

How To Freeze Butter?

The whole process is straightforward, and if you don’t need to portion the butter, it takes a total of a minute or two. Here’s how it goes:

  1. Portion the butter. You should use the thawed butter within 30 days (LL), so if a whole stick is too much for such a period, cut it into a few smaller ones. Or if you want to have ready-to-go portions for cooking, cut the whole thing accordingly. Of course, you can leave the stick as-is if you’re going to use it as a spread.
  2. Package the butter. If you’ve cut the stick into smaller pieces, wrap each one in aluminum foil. If not, leave it in the original packaging (LL). Then, for some additional protection, place the portions in freezer bags. Feel free to put more than one into a single bag. Squeeze out air from the bag and seal it tightly.
  3. Add a label with name and date to each bag if you find it helpful. I have a rather small freezer and know what’s in it, so I don’t bother with the labels.
  4. Put the freezer bags into the freezer.

That’s it. The butter can stay in the freezer while keeping its quality for up to 4 months (LL, maybe more.

Bread and butter
Photo by Toa Heftiba.

How To Defrost Butter?

When it comes to thawing butter, there are many options. It all depends on how much time you have and what you need the butter for. Here are the most popular ones:

  • Overnight in the fridge. Transfer the butter from the freezer to the refrigerator in the afternoon or evening. It should be ready to use the next morning.
  • Cut thin slices and leave at room temperature. If you need the butter for your sandwiches soon, cut a few slices of frozen butter, spread them on a plate, and wait about 15 minutes until the butter softens. Instead of cutting slices with a knife, you can use an egg slicer if you happen to have one.
  • If you need the butter ready for spreading in like 5 minutes, grate some with a cheese grater. The surface area of grated butter is much larger than one of sliced butter, so it defrosts much more quickly.
  • Thaw in a microwave. Make sure you use short time intervals like 10 to 15 seconds, turn it upside down often, and check for readiness after every interval. Otherwise, you might end up with melted or super soft butter, and I’m pretty sure that’s not what you’re looking for.
  • Melt the dairy product on the stove. If you plan on melting that butter in cooking, you might as well throw it in frozen on the stove and wait until it melts. Keep it on low heat while melting.


  • Freezing butter is perfectly okay and doesn’t require either time or equipment. Just make sure it’s wrapped well and chuck it into the freezer.
  • Frozen butter will retain quality for at least 3 to 4 months, possibly more.
  • There’s a variety of ways to defrost butter. It all depends on how much time do you have until you need it.
  • Eat the defrosted butter within a month.


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