The Key Step You Shouldn't Skip When Storing Butter In The Freezer

Freezing foods you're not going to immediately use is a strategic move, and if you have extra sticks of butter or some that are about to expire, you can absolutely toss them in the freezer too. It's natural to be a little skeptical about freezing this dairy product, since it can be a little tricky to thaw entire sticks, and you may not need all that butter at once. But if you do it right, which doesn't take much effort, you can easily circumvent this issue.

Ideally, you'll want to store butter in its original packaging since the sticks are already tightly wrapped. For optimal convenience, however, there's one key step you want to remember to do: Cut the sticks of butter into slices so you can defrost smaller amounts each time you need them. If you're baking something delicious, pumpkin banana bread for example, you'll likely only need a few tablespoons of butter, and it's much easier to have them pre-portioned than to saw into a hard stick of the frozen stuff. If you're whipping up a flaky pie crust, you'll need to have the butter cubed before you even begin. And if you're just looking to use a pat on a baked good or a salmon filet, you can pull a slice right out of the freezer.

How to freeze and defrost pre-portioned butter

Another key to freezing pre-cut portions of butter is to package them as well as they were originally. The simplest method is to first slice your dairy product into tablespoons as they're marked on the wrapper. This way you know exactly how much you're getting each time without having to label your frozen packages. Then wrap each slice tightly in foil or plastic wrap; place them all in a freezer bag and squeeze out the air. As an alternative, you can use a long strip of parchment paper to wrap all your portions, sandwiching each one between a layer of the paper. If you're all out of plastic bags, you can seal your slices in a freezer-friendly airtight storage container.

When you need to use a little butter, all you have to do is transfer it to the fridge the night before you need it, just like you would with chicken or fish. If you need to defrost butter in a hurry, you can also try grating it and letting it sit out on the counter, where the small shards will come to room temperature much more quickly. Unsalted butter will stay good in the freezer for up to nine months and salted butter for a year, but we're guessing you'll use it up long before then.