How Long Can Butter Sit Out (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 25-30 days

Butter is a dairy product and it is made when milk or cream is churned. The butterfat and buttermilk are separated from each other. During the churning process. It is completely fine to leave your butter out for some time, but in that situation, the type of butter is also matters.

For using good and best quality butter, keep it covered and use it within 10 days. If you want to use it for a longer span then it is highly recommended to freeze it in the freezer at certain temperatures. All food products including butter will eventually spoil one day.

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How Long Can Butter Sit Out?

Usually, the best temperature to store butter is at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The dairy products need to be stored at a cool temperature for their choicest state. If you keep the butter out of the refrigerator for a long time, it will become dark in color.

The taste and door of the butter out from the refrigerator may also change with time. That is why it is essential to keep it in the refrigerator. How long a butter can sit out at room temperature is highly depends upon the weather and temperature of the room.

Salted butter has fewer chances as a comparison to unsalted butter of spoiling. Go for the salted butter, if you want to leave it out. Also, the temperature of your kitchen or room is above 70 degrees then it is better to store the butter in the refrigerator.

To maintain the delicious flavor of the butter, it will be better to wrap it in aluminium foil or an airtight plastic freezer bag before putting the butter into the freezer. It will take at least 30 -60 minutes to settle itself in a softer state for spreading.

Thus, it is important to take out the butter from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes prior to use. Once you take out the butter from the freezer, it will be best for the coming 30 days to use.

Storing ConditionsExpiry Time
At Room Temperature2 hours- 1 week
In Refrigerator30 days

Why Can Butter Sit Out So Long?

The pasteurization lowers the bacteria count in the cream which enhances its safe level. Once the butter is made, its physical properties protect it automatically from bacterial growth. Due to the churning process, the water content level is high. The water molecules help in separating and being surrounded by the fat, which is almost impassable to the bacteria.

That is why there are fewer chances of bacteria growing on the salted butter. This factor expands the long-life shell of the butter. According to the suggestion of Peter Cassell from the FDA, good quality butter can be stored for up to ten days at 68 degrees Fahrenheit. There are so many factors that affect and make a butter prone to contamination.

It does not matter whether it’s made with pasteurized cream, salt or left to sit in a cooler room. If the temperature is moderately cool then it can sit down for ten days outside from the refrigerator. If the climate is frigid then a good quality butter can be stored for up to 20 days at a temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit.


Pasteurized milk is used to made butter. There are very low chances of bacteria growth in the fresh butter. The water content in the butter is also low, salt is added to it which inhibits the bacteria.

It is recommended that if you want to preserve butter at room temperature then use French Butter Keeper. It keeps the butter in a small pot that is immersed in the cold water. Smell plays an important in knowing the state of the food product.

If you have kept the butter at room temperature for a long time, smell it before using it. Its smell can tell you whether it is in good condition or in bad.



Last Updated : 23 February, 2024

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