A lot of us have grown up with the conclusion that since butter is made from cream it belongs in the refrigerator. I mean, if you were to leave milk or yogurt out at room temperature, it wouldn’t be long before it spoiled. However, there is one key difference between butter and all other dairy products. At least 80% of butter is made out of fat. This high fat to low water ratio reduces the chance of bacteria to form, therefore allowing it to sit at room temperature for longer.
Most butter labels do recommend to keep the butter in the refrigerator, however, the FDA and USDA have not taken a stand on this. They have explained that when properly covered, butter can be left at room temperature for a couple of days. Butter is great at resisting contamination and shows signs of spoilage immediately. So there is no chance that you would accidentally ingest rancid butter.
This being said, it is important to keep in mind how long your butter will be kept out. If you are planning on keeping that butter long-term, then it might be a good idea to keep it in the fridge. But if for a couple of days you want to wake up to creamy and spreadable butter, by all means, keep it at room temperature.
TIPS FOR KEEPING YOUR BUTTER AT ROOM TEMPERATURE
Prolonged exposure to air may lead to spoilage. This is why it is important to keep your butter covered in a butter dish that protects it from air and light. This will keep your butter at a constant temperature, cool enough that it won’t disintegrate.
Make sure to check your home’s thermostat. It is very important that your kitchen’s temperature doesn’t go above 70°F. If it is higher than that, then it might be a better choice to keep your butter in the fridge.
THE TYPE OF BUTTER MATTERS
There is a very important difference in how long unsalted butter and salted butter can stay outside of the fridge. If you are going to leave your butter out on the counter for multiple days, make sure you buy salted butter. The salt added adds an extra layer of protection against spoilage and bacteria. Unsalted butter, however, will survive a couple of hours on the counter without spoiling. Just make sure to always put it back in the fridge.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Keeping butter at room temperature keeps it soft and spreadable for immediate use. It will make your mornings joyful and your toasts delicious. However, keeping it in the fridge will make it last longer and maximizes its freshness. Where you keep it is up to you. You can make a hybrid system where you leave it out the night before a big breakfast and store it in the fridge afterward. The possibilities are endless. Just feel peace in knowing that your butter will not spoil if kept a couple of days on the counter.