I am fond of my Butter Bell

Ah, that makes sense - the picture shows the bell filled to the top, but I suppose the idea would be to not have that actually occur.

Along with @ClutchLinkey’s comments on “spillage” I may well have to give one of these a try :slight_smile:


The photo on the article is not best practice, I never load mine full of butter, but just fill the top of the bell so the water and butter never kiss.

In Wisconsin summers the butter stays put, but I’ve heard that butter evaporates in Texas heat so YMMV.


Yeah, I looked it up after learning this. Never knew!

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You need to change the water and clean things occasionally. The water is mostly there to keep the butter cool, but also basically cuts the butter itself off from air to limit the chance of rancidity and off odors getting to it.

Thing is though that butter is fine, and perfectly safe at room temp even in an uncovered dish. The moisture content of butter is low enough that mold and what have aren’t generally a concern. And fat is pretty stable at room temp. Rancidity and off flavors aren’t a problem if you move through butter at a reasonable pace.

Butter is usually kept room temp outside the US, most often without a butter bell. Most of my Irish family uses uncovered plates or bowls. Stick them in the cabinet to keep dust and bugs away.

Where temps are warmer that’s where the butter bell comes in handy, cause it’ll keep the butter from melting. Ceramic is also popular if you are not in Texas.

I use a stainless steel double walled butter dish. It keeps things from melting just as well as a butter bell. But it’s less complicated and messy. Our butter doesn’t liquify unless we have temps in the 90s for a couple days straight. In which case we fridge the thing at night and the butter thermos keeps thing cool through the day.


Sometimes shorter packs show up here on the East Coast and eventually into my fridge. It’s always a little strange to be confronted with a different size stick o’butter.


I used to just keep it in a covered butter dish on the counter, and it seemed to keep well enough.

I grew up with a lot of Irish butter around. So always been intimately familiar.

In Europe sticks are generally a 1/2lb and sort of rounded, like a bar of soap. Bit shorter than the long US sticks too. We use it often enough our butter dish is euro butter style, shaped to fit the Kerrygold puck, and more of a butter pot with lid than the covered plate style.


In our house with a cat who jumps onto the counters when we’re not looking and knocks things over (or off), the most stable common butter dish seems like a safer choice.


A few people mentioned Irish butter and then part of the post devolved into gushing about one particular brand - Kerrygold?

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It’s the major Irish brand, and the only one available widely in the US.

It’s pretty damn good butter. But its very trendy right now because grass fed butter will save your soul or something.

Fine by me. We used to have a cousin mail it to us. Otherwise it was a 2 hour trip to an expat store. Now i can get it at my regular grocery.


Kerrigold makes a “soft” spread version of their salted butter just FYI.

Yup. The butter in my fridge looks like this.

It’s always fun to watch when people discover those small cultural differences.


Presumably Mark is still fond of his butter bell 5 years later.

But as a poster noted at the link, the water seal seems to just add problems rather than solve them since we can form airtight seals with other kinds seals that don’t encourage mold. A quick Google didn’t show up any confirmation that butter bells actually preserve butter any better than just an ordinary container. I’m not saying that absence of evidence is proof that they don’t work rather I would love it if someone could provide sound evidence that they do. Without such evidence I don’t find the sales pitch for butter bells to be very convincing given the inconvenience of having to change messy water every few days.

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Advice on this? If I walk, I slide all over the place and lose my balance, but swimming also doesn’t get me very far.


A few drops of some potent disinfectant added to the water should do the job…

Barbara Dunshee makes a gorgeous version of this:


I know it’s just anecdata, but I’ve never had a problem with mold and the water really isn’t messy. I like the looks, find butter plates to get very smeary, find the crock has a smaller footprint than a flat butter holder, and like the way the water seals away bugs and dust, even if its effect on rancidity isn’t well studied.


This is a lesson Canadian bakers learn early on. I vividly recall The Butter Talk with my mom where she explained American butter sticks and why recipes refer to that. She taught me how to convert from the bricks we use. This cultural difference often came up in sitcoms and kids’ shows on Canadian TV as well.


Yes! Also uncut 1 lb blocks, usually foil-wrapped. “sticks”, usually 4 x .25lb aren’t common here, central Ontario, Canada. If you cook much, you have to learn this pretty early

Trade-off is we gots bag milk and it’s best milk.


Those are fairly common in the US as well. Default at wholesale for food prep use, and common at warehouse clubs. But there’s usually at least one brand in the grocery store case as well, since they’re useful for big volume situations. My sister uses them a lot when she’s baking heavily, as it’s easier to deal with than opening 25 individual sticks.

There are also half sticks available 1/8lb nubby little things for folks who don’t use a ton of butter. They mostly seem to come in 1/2lb boxes, still 4 to a box. As well as 2x.25lb half pound boxes with just two sticks. And individual .25lb sticks.

It’s very flexible butter situation here in the US.