How Long Should Butter Last In A Countertop Crock?

Nothing sends roommates into a heated debate faster than the simple act of setting a butter dish out on the kitchen counter overnight. Though conservative estimates from the USDA recommend using pantry butter within a day or two, storing butter at room temperature is generally considered safe. According to Insider, this is because most grocery store butter is pasteurized, which prevents microbial growth, and the salt in salted butter allows for an extra layer of protection. But even if you're willing to risk leaving your butter in a standard butter dish, it will probably be safe to eat for up to 10 days, or so FDA rep Peter Cassell told Buzzfeed.

There may be a smarter option, however. Recently, the air fryer- and Instant Pot-set has turned their attention to the nifty little contraption known as the butter crock. Alternatively called the butter bell, butter keeper, or French butter dish, this unassuming and old school ceramic storage container is built to store butter at room temperature (per The Spruce Eats). It's been around since the 16th century, when it was invented in France to prevent butter from going bad long before the days of industrial refrigeration (via Food Network).

But does this trendy, aesthetically-pleasing gadget actually extend the shelf life of your Kerrygold?

Butter lasts longer in a butter crock than a standard butter dish

To use a butter bell, you fill the bowl of the lid with pre-softened butter, add some water to the bottom of the crock until it's level with the bottom of where your butter will sit, and fit your lid into the crock so that the butter remains sealed safely inside (via Southern Living). Butter Bell warns customers to be sure to use regular butter, not margarine or clarified butter. The water in your crock should be changed every few days, meaning that this method does require a tiny bit more upkeep than your standard butter dish (per Martha Stewart).

Taste of Home suggests that a butter crock will keep your butter fresh for up to a month, about three times longer than that 10 day recommendation from Cassell. A butter bell typically holds half a cup of butter, or one stick (per Butter Bell). So if you go through at least a stick of room temp butter every month, you're in the clear. According to Bon App├ętit, you might need to adjust your strategy in the summer, however. Butter crocks should be stored in the refrigerator on particularly hot days, when the higher ambient temperatures can turn your butter rancid in a snap.