Homemade Spreadable Butter

Homemade Spreadable Butter

Growing up, we didn’t keep butter in the refrigerator… we liked the spreadable texture of room temperature butter. A stick of salted butter was stored in a covered butter dish on the counter, available to anybody who wanted a smear on toast. It’s the old fashioned way, the way my grandma did it and her grandma before her. I’d spread it on my whole grain toast each morning (the way I usually start my day), watching that gorgeous yellow butter melt into the nooks and crannies of my golden slice of toast. Heaven.

When I got to college, I noticed that my friends all kept their butter in the refrigerator. I was perplexed. Why would you want to do that? Butter won’t spread straight from the fridge. It’s hard and cold, not soft and melty. They cited food safety as a concern– the refrigerator, they claimed, was safer for storing butter. I tried to jump on the chilled butter bandwagon, but it didn’t work for me. It was too hard, wouldn’t melt fast enough, and more often than not left a big chunk of semi-soft butter in the middle of my toast. Blech.

While searching for an alternative I transitioned to margarine, which was spreadable and salty and fine, but not as yummy as butter. I was willing to compromise– the “spreadable” factor was most important for me. Then I learned about the many health concerns attached to most margarines on the market. They’re heavily processed and many contain trans fat, which increases blood cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. Yuck. While butter substitutes are good for certain things, like cooking dairy-free or serving with a kosher meat meal, I vastly prefer the flavor of natural butter. Over time I found some healthier butter substitutes, like Organic Earth Balance Buttery Spread. Trouble is most of them contain soy, which negatively effects my hormones.

I yearned to take my good old fashioned butter back to room temperature for that easy spreading texture… and really, there’s no reason not to have it that way. Butter will last for about 3 weeks in a covered butter dish at room temperature before it turns rancid. Even after it turns rancid, the taste is bad, but it won’t make you sick (though honestly, who wants to eat anything with the adjective “rancid” attached to it?). I bought a covered butter dish from a local vintage market and returned to my roots, keeping my butter at room temperature again. Unfortunately I’m the only butter fan in my house, and sometimes the stick would go rancid before I had a chance to finish it.

Homemade Spreadable Butter

 My little jade-colored chicken butter dish.

The solution came in the comments section of another website (for the life of me I can’t remember which one), where people were discussing this subject of room temperature butter. A woman claimed that she made her own spreadable chilled butter by combining room temperature butter, olive oil, and salt. The resulting butter was spreadable straight from the fridge. I loved the idea, so I gave it a try. The first batch wasn’t very successful– it tasted way too much like olive oil. I tried again with a smaller quantity of light olive oil (which is less olive-y tasting). The light olive oil was better in terms of flavor, but it’s really just processed olive oil, sometimes mixed with other vegetable oils. I decided to try it with grapeseed oil instead, which I often use for frying because it’s light, tasteless, and has no cholesterol.

Jackpot! I’d hit the spreadable butter motherload. Not only is this mixture perfectly textured straight from the fridge, it’s healthier for you than plain butter. Nutritionally speaking, this Homemade Spreadable Butter is lower in saturated fat and cholesterol than pure butter. You can adjust the saltiness (and thereby the sodium) to taste. It contains Vitamin E, a natural antioxidant. I prefer grapessed oil– it is a polyunsaturated oil, which is a rich source of Omega-6, unlike olive and canola oils. Adding it to your butter boosts the health benefits and reduces the negative ones. Light olive oil and canola oil will worktoo (regular olive oil will have too strong an “olive” taste to it– you’ve been warned!).

Now my butter dish sits on my kitchen shelf, a reminder of the good old days. Homemade Spreadable Butter for the win! How do you keep your butter– in the fridge, on the countertop, or not at all?

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Homemade Spreadable Butter

Homemade Spreadable Butter


  • 1 cup unsalted butter (I prefer organic)
  • 3/4 cup grapeseed oil (I prefer organic), light olive oil, or canola oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt, or to taste

You will also need

  • food processor
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 35 Minutes
Servings: About 2 cups spreadable butter
Kosher Key: Dairy
  • Let the butter slowly come to room temperature. To speed this process, cut the butter into small chunks and separate them from each other. Do not try to speed things up in the microwave, even at half power... you’ll change the texture of the butter.
  • Place the room temperature butter into a food processor along with the grapeseed or light olive oil and salt.
  • Process the butter, oil and salt for 1-2 minutes, scraping the sides of the processor periodically, till all lumps have disappeared and the mixture is smooth and soft. It will be quite liquid, but don't worry, it will firm up in the fridge.
  • Pour the softened butter into a container that can be sealed airtight (like a Tupperware). Refrigerate for 1-2 hours till fully chilled and firm. This Homemade Spreadable Butter will last up to 3 months in the refrigerator. It is spreadable straight from the refrigerator. Do not leave the butter at room temperature too long or it will start to separate. If this happens, you can stir the oil back into the butter before refrigerating again.

Comments (81)Post a Comment

  1. Countertop!
    I loathe hard butter.
    Like you, that’s how we did it growing up and my sisters and I all still keep our butter on the counter.

    Sadly, the top to my porcelain butter dish broke, so our new butter “dish” is one of those Glad plastic disposable containers. Perfect size, washable, sealed top.

  2. I will try this, it looks like a very good idea, I keep the butter in the fridge, when company comes I take a stick out and let it come to room temp before dinner, if there is short notice, you can put the butter in the microwave for 25 seconds, and safely re-chill the butter!

  3. I keep my butter on the counter as well within a covered butter dish made of glass. I do not use plastic for storing. The butter is gone within two days so I do not worry about it spoiling. The house is always cool as well. I hate hard butter too. I keep the extra sticks in the frig and then put one in the butter dish as needed. Works for me and never spoils.

    1. LOL Barbara, this is exactly what I do! Actually, my Grandma did this, too. (my butter dish is the one she used) Mine has set out for up to a week before being all used up. No problem except in the summer when the kitchen gets a little warmer. Then have to use it up quicker cause it wants to melt a bit!

    2. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
      Barbara & Sue, it’s the same at our house – same problem in the summer. This is a GREAT IDEA!!! Can’t wait to try it out 😉

  4. Countertop! Just like my Mama! I found the perfect crystal butter dish at TJ Maxx. I was so excited! Unfortunately, I am like you, Tori, no one else eats butter in my house. I hated throwing away the half stick of butter. This recipe will be the perfect alternative. I will be making it this weekend and having toast all day!!! (Of course, I have toast any time of the day when I need a pick me up, just the smell makes me happy!!)

  5. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I’m glad I’m not alone we always kept the butter out now I am the only one who likes it that way. I love this idea especially for my husband, I don’t like buying him margarine so this is a great alternative! Thanks! PS your recipe for Falafal was perfect tasted just like in Israel!

  6. You make me so hungry. I hope you can help me with the ingredients (basic) for Jewish chicken soup. My grandmother used a fatty old hen. I remember root vegetables, a sprig of parisly and flan-ken, HELP PLEASE as prior to my death I want my sons to taste real Jewish chicken soup. I gave birth to pizza bagels. To much meatball not enough matzo-ball

  7. Butter on the counter rules. I have a butter dish w/lid from the 50’s – mint green and off white. I could never eat it straight from the fridge. We eat it wayyy before it would ever go bad. Toast with butter, peanut butter, and homemade grape jelly. Love.

  8. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I’ve recently started using what’s called a butter bell butter crock. All you do is add fresh, clean water and it keeps the butter fresh for up to thirty days. I also make a mixture similar to what you do, called better butter. It’s called that, because it’s healthier for you than using plain butter. I usually substitute healthy oils like walnut or safflower for the olive oil. It has a more delicate oil flavor and works great for sauteeing, as well.

    1. I thought about a butter bell, but got discouraged when I heard you have to remember to change the water each day. I travel a lot and it seemed like one more thing on the list that I didn’t want to have to think about! I’ll have to try safflower oil sometime. :)

    2. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
      Hey, I was going to suggest a butter bell, too. You do not need to change the water daily — I discussed this with the owner at link to hearthstonearts.com (at Val Day, an SCA event in Kalamazoo), and she said that twice a week is sufficient. I intend on purchasing one from them soon — about $35, but beautiful. Actually, I just took a quick look online — that’s a good price!

  9. I put my butter in a small wide mouth canning jar with a plastic lid. I leave it on the counter and only put in the amount I think I will use for the week. Each Shabbat, I start a new jar. This allows me the taste of pure butter that spreads easily and I can keep track of how much butterfat I am eating. Everyone in my family gets their own jar. (That way I always have butter available for my use!)

  10. My solution. Make 2 slices of toast, lay some squares of cold butter on one slice and top it with the other slice, turning the slices over after about 30 seconds so that both slices of bread get melty butter on them.
    Ya…your solution is way smarter!

  11. I use the French butter bell. But I also make my own butter and have it down to a science of whipping it just beyond “done”. So it’s spreadable from the fridge, but not so whipped you can’t it in recipes

  12. The “butter bell butter crock” is also known as a “French Butter Dish”. I have a beautiful handmade pottery piece which my Mother used when I was a child. When I don’t need soft butter I discard the water and place the dish into the fridge for a later time.

  13. I actually store butter in the freezer, and keep one stick in the fridge since I use it so slowly — just for baking or the occasional scrambled egg. Anyway, our apartment is always so warm — if butter gets left out too long, it ends up a puddle!

  14. My butter is on the counter in a Mama Ro covered butter dish, and its never gone bad.
    Your spread reminds me of when I saw a demo for mixing butter, olive oil and lecithin, and now I wish I had the recipe, they called it “Better Butter.”

    1. The recipe for Better Butter is from Laurel’s Kitchen by Laurel Robertson. I’m very familiar with it because I have a paperback copy from the late 1970s and it’s a favorite in my cookbook collection. It’s amazing how on-point her nutrition advice still is. She developed the Better Butter recipe as an alternative to the trans fats in margarine; having a spreadable product was a bonus. The lecithin prevents separation.

      Hopefully in the last 2+ years you’ve found the recipe, but if not, another blogger has it here:
      link to gracefultable.wordpress.com

  15. Butter on the counter in my Portmeirion Butter dish. Love soft real butter! If I am worried no one will eat it in time… I only put out half a stick at a time.

  16. Since I use unsalted butter extensively, I always keep my butter in the fridge. However, I am intrigued by your recipe Tori so will give it a try, but since I use Macadamia Nut Oil here in the islands, thought I would attempt using that oil first and see what happens. Since I do the shopping as well as the cooking (my sweet wife does the KP work), I always eagerly await your offerings and have never been disappointed. Mahalo for all you do for us.

  17. I bought a special butter container made out of stoneware that has 2 pieces. You fill the bottom part with cold water and then fill the top part with butter. It keeps it cold but spreadable without it needing to go in the fridge.

  18. Thank you for this recipe. i have been trying to do things more for myself since i stopped working 2 years ago. i have all my cleaning supplies i make homemade, and costs are dirt cheap. i wish to make my own butter someday with a churn, but for now i will try this. If it gives it a homemade twist to it, i cant wait to do this!

    1. Sophia – making your own butter doesn’t require a churn, besides, a churn full of butter would be quite a bit!

      Try making a mason jar’s worth – here’s Robert Krampf of The Happy Scientist website demonstrating the process and explaining how it works:

      link to thehappyscientist.com

  19. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I keep my butter in a butter dish on my counter, too! My sister, Val and I do that, my other 2 sisters don’t. I love having toasted bread with butter and tahini, yum!! Ever try that? My dog loves tahini, too! I also used TJ’s pumpkin butter on toasted bread. (If I have matzo crackers, butter spreads easily when soft, then I add tahini on it. Delicious and filling, too!).
    Thanks for another great recipe, will have to try to make this when I get grape seed oil. 😀

  20. This recipe has been around for some time. But the quality of your work with the step-by-step approach is superb. I’m doing my best to bring more people onboard to your website.

  21. Thank you so much for this. I love using grapeseed oil and here where I live the price has come down quite a bit (for some reason). My mother-in-law and I used to do something similar years ago. I love your idea better. And I am crazy about your chicken butter dish. 1) I love that vintage green glass and 2) I am a chicken fanatic.

  22. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    Shopping around in a kitchen store, I found what is called a “butter keeper”. I believe it is used in France. It is a cup like top that you fill with room temp. butter and then invert it into it’s holder filled with cold water. Water has to be changed every few days (which I often forget to do). It keeps butter on the counter for weeks at a time without going rancid. We love it!

  23. Another simple solution to your rancid butter problem is to only put half a stick of butter in your covered butter dish on the counter.

  24. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    I use a butter bell. I change the water twice a week. Always tastes fresh. Make sure to use bottled water for changing water. I can’t wait to try your butter spread recipe.

  25. Hey there! I love this idea. I always have at least 1/2 a sick of butter in my butter dish on the counter :) I have thought about the butter bells however I got leary after reading an article saying some contain lead (especially if from China). Looking forward to chilled spreadable butter, but I bet I will still have some on the counter too :)

  26. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    Countertop! But, since moving to Las Vegas, the summer heat does not allow the butter to last very long. This is the perfect solution. It gets so hot here, the butter will practically melt right on the counter. Thanks so much for a great tip!

  27. I don’t use canola oil for any thing as it is not good for you. It has been sold to the public by the food industry hyoe and every one knows that they are not interested in most cases in our health, but in making the most money they can from a product. Check out the history of canola oil and find out for your self.It is also a GMO product.

    1. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
      Evidence please Joan.

      Nothing wrong with Canola oil – in fact it has some great properties vs other oils.

      That said, the big change in usage of oils originates NOT with the “big bad evil food conglomerates”, but rather with the supposed vegan/vegetarian/health crowd inaccurately labelling things like peanut oil and lard as inherently “bad”. (Lard is one of the greatest food storage inventions ever, as it holds on the shelf for months), thereby prompting a *required* change, which the producers (corporations) then HAD to provide, since the market for these “old evil oils” was regulated into non-use by restaurants. I was a cook at the time this started in the 80’s…the switch from traditional oils to the supposed “healthy” oils was a joke among those of us working with it daily.

      I suggest a firm background in biology, chemistry and food science before repeating the catch phrases of many groups. GMO isn’t *automatically* bad, any more than anything else is. We’ve been genetically modifying crops for tens of thousands of years (one of the greatest examples is maize/corn – which has saved MILLIONS of lives because of man’s intervention and modification of the plant’s genome).

  28. Hi Tori,
    My mother found a beautiful antique, beautifully decorated sterling silver butter dish several years ago, and being a practical woman thought, what the heck, I’ll use it as a butter dish! That’s what it’s for! This butter sits on the countertop, kind of in an out-of-the-way/cool corner so it doesn’t go bad. And we eat it for toast/waffles/banana bread in the morning, sometimes for bread or even as a simple way to dress up pasta and fish. So it doesn’t go bad, although we try to be judicious about it when we use it.

    The rest of the butter is indeed kept in fridge or freezer and mainly used in baking for American-style sweets. If the countertop stick is done we rotate one out of the fridge.

  29. Marie [email protected] says:

    I love your recipes and ilove reading all the comments.

  30. I also like the spreadability of softened butter. I am single, so I cut a stick of butter in half and keep it on the counter in a plastic covered dish that came with the fridge. I like your dish better and may hunt one up for myself.

    The 1/2 stick works very well for me. The other 1/2 sits in a sealed plastic bag until it’s needed.

  31. I have a recipe for Better Butter from years ago:
    1 C. vegetable oil
    1 C. butter, very soft (2 sticks)
    2 TBSP. filtered water
    1/4 teaspoon liquid lecithin
    Blend until very smooth and refrigerate. It spreads easily right from the refrigerator.

  32. I loved reading this article. My aunt used to leave the butter on the counter in her butter dish. I thought ,that can’t be good for you! well she has since long passed and I too leave my butter on the counter and buy 4 Lbs every time it goes on sale and put it in the freezer. I love the taste of real butter and am tired of all the fake things out there. within reason it is good for us. I love having soft butter for a muffin in the afternoon with a cup a coffee! thanks for all your knowledgeable articles.

  33. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    Yep! Butter left out on the counter top is soft and yummy! It’s the best! The only dairy-free “butter” that I’ve found that tastes good is Soy-Free Earth Balance Butter. I have a kid who can’t have dairy…period. Do you know of any recipes to make non-dairy butter-like “butters”?

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