Whether you are preparing lavish dishes or simply topping your toast with it, butter is necessary for just about every kitchen. Whatever you use it for, you might wonder about the best way to store butter and how long it can last in the freezer or the fridge? Many of you might be concerned if butter can be refrozen after it has been thawed. We have searched the internet far and wide to answer these questions so that you can safely keep your butter fresh and flavorful.
Butter can absolutely be refrozen, but the quality after refreezing depends on several factors, including how it was originally thawed. Once butter is thawed, there is a risk of bacteria forming. Melted butter can be refrozen as well, but the taste and shape won’t be the same once you defrost it. Also, different types of butter maintain their quality better than others after refreezing, so make sure you are using butter that is freezer friendly.
Refreezing butter isn’t complicated, but you want to make sure you do it properly. To learn about the best refreezing techniques, keep reading!
How To Refreeze Butter
Freezing butter that has already been frozen and thawed is certainly possible; however, experts agree that the flavor might not be as good as it once was, and the butter can be susceptible to bacteria. Freezing it in the right type of container or storage material or bag will help maintain quality, not to mention that certain butters are better than others for refreezing.
Butter Thawing Techniques
Butter should be thawed in the refrigerator and can take six hours or longer to defrost completely. For faster thawing, you can set the butter out on the counter, and it should thaw in about half of the time it would take in the fridge. Slicing the butter up and thawing it will also decrease the time it takes since smaller pieces will defrost faster.
If you’re in a hurry, microwaving frozen butter is an acceptable way to defrost it quickly. But if you microwave it for too long, it won’t just defrost--it will melt! Melted butter will harden again in the refrigerator or the freezer, but the taste and shape might not return to what it once was.
Containers For Refreezing
If your butter is still in its original packaging, you can pop it back in the freezer as is. Be aware that if you freeze it this way, there is a chance that the smells from other foods in the freezer could cause the butter to lose some of its flavor or take on the flavors of the other frozen foods.
If you have already discarded the original box and wrapper, a sealed plastic freezer bag works great and will keep out unwanted odors. An airtight container that is freezer safe is also an option for refreezing extra butter, or you can even wrap butter in plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
Best Butters for Refreezing
Not all butter is the same, and this rule applies when refreezing. Salted butter tends to be better for refreezing. The reason for this is because salted butter maintains its flavor and can last up to 12 months in the freezer. Unsalted butter can also be refrozen, but it begins losing its flavor after about six months in the freezer. Cultured butters are not recommended for refreezing since they already contain bacteria which can multiply during the thawing process.
Curious about when to use salted versus unsalted butter? Read "Should You Bake With Unsalted Or Salted Butter?"
How Many Times Can You Freeze Butter?
There is no rule regarding how many times butter can be refrozen, but keep in mind that every time you thaw and refreeze butter, the butter's quality and taste are compromised. Refreezing butter just once can affect the flavor of your butter, so it only makes sense that the more you refreeze, the worse it might taste. You also run the risk of your butter developing bacteria each time you thaw it.
How Long Does Butter Last After Defrosting?
After defrosting butter, it is best to put it in the refrigerator after you are finished using it to keep it at its highest quality, and so it will last for as long as possible. You can actually keep your butter at room temperature for up to two days, but storing it outside of the refrigerator reduces the length of time that it will stay fresh. No matter where you store your butter, it’s important to examine the butter for signs that it has gone bad. Spoiled butter won’t smell very good, and it might look off-color as well.
How Long Can You Keep Butter In The Refrigerator?
If you quickly put your butter back in the refrigerator after using it, there is no reason why your butter can’t last up to four months. The length of time the butter will keep really depends on how you store it in the fridge.
Storing butter in its original wrapper is best, but if you already threw the butter packaging out, you can seal the butter sticks in plastic wrap or put them in an airtight container or plastic bag. If you store your butter sticks unwrapped in the fridge, that’s fine too. Just remember that the unwrapped butter won’t keep as long, and it will usually only stay fresh for one to two months.
How Long Is Butter Good For After Its "Best By" Date?
Butter, like every other dairy product, has a best by date on it, but is it absolutely necessary to discard or freeze butter by this date in order to avoid any ill effects from a spoiled product? Most experts agree that butter can be safely kept in the refrigerator for about one month after the expiration date if it has not been opened.
If you have opened the package, toss it out two weeks after the expiration date. Always inspect butter after the expiration date for signs that it has gone bad. If it smells bad or is discolored, throw it away! To learn more about the obvious signs of spoiled butter, read "Does Butter Get Moldy? [And What To Do If That Happens]."
Refreezing butter is a useful option if you find yourself with more than you can use and you don't want to waste it. Although it’s possible that the flavor and quality will deteriorate during the process, if you thaw it safely and store it properly, your butter can last for up to a year in the freezer!