Your butter is expiring soon and now you’re wondering if you can extend its shelf life by freezing it. The answer is, yes! But how long exactly? Can you freeze butter for more than six months? The answer to this, well, is a tad more complicated. Read on to find out more about the different types of butter and how long you can freeze each of them.
How Long Does Butter Last in the Freezer?
Generally, butter lasts for four months before expiring. But its shelf life extends if it is properly stored in the freezer at 0 to below 40 degrees F.
Now for the important question. Can you freeze butter for more than six months? The answer is, it depends.
The length of freezing time actually varies with the type of butter, how it’s packaged, and its “best by date.” Some types of butter can be frozen for longer periods. Salted butter, for example, can be stored in the freezer for up to a year and still keep its quality. On the other hand, unsalted butter can be frozen for up to 12 months. But its peak quality will stay for only up to six months, similar to sour cream when it’s stored in the freezer.
Additionally, other kinds of butter such as spreadable butter and vegan butter have their own shelf lives. Spreadable butter can last in the freezer between six months to one year, just like unsalted butter. On the other hand, vegan butter can only last up to three months.
The packaging of the butter is also a factor in extending its shelf life. Butter sticks, for example, can be frozen directly in their packaging. For extra protection, you may wrap the butter stick in aluminum foil, just like how you freeze cream cheese. You may also place it inside an airtight plastic bag.
Another indication if your butter can be frozen for a long time is the “best by date”. This date is usually for food products. Unlike an expiration date, best by date indicates how long the quality will last. It does not indicate how long before the butter expires. Because of this, you can still use butter in your cooking even if it’s past its best by date.
Just make sure that it has no molds and does not smell stale or decomposed. These characteristics indicate that the butter is already spoiled.
Is It Safe to Freeze Butter?
Butter can be safely frozen. Putting butter in the refrigerator will extend its shelf life from two weeks to two months. On the other hand, depending on the type of butter, if placed in the freezer, its shelf life can be extended up to a year.
However, if butter is stored for too long, it may lose its taste and eventually then pick up odor and flavor from other frozen items. Freezer burns may also affect the butter. Freezer burns occur when the moisture of any food item disappears and becomes ice. This causes the item to become shriveled, dry, and tough.
To keep its quality, store the butter in the freezer while it’s fresh. Don’t freeze it when the best by date is near. Also, make sure to use butter within 30 days once you’ve removed it from the freezer.
How to Freeze Butter?
Generally, you can store butter by wrapping it with aluminum foil or plastic wrap. After wrapping, place the butter in the freezer. Butter has different types as stated. And each type has its own method of freezing in order to keep its quality.
This kind of butter has 2% salt. Chefs and home cooks commonly use salted butter both in cooking and spreads. Because of its salt content, this kind of butter can be stored for a long time. Keep it in its original packaging then place it in a freezer bag before storing it in the freezer. Doing so will allow the butter to keep its fine flavors.
Compared to salted butter, this butter has no added preservatives that can extend its shelf life. Therefore, the safest way to freeze this butter is to place it in the back of the freezer. If you’re using unsalted butter, it is fine to take it out from the freezer for an hour to thaw. Don’t forget to put this back in the freezer after using it!
Also called “whipped butter”, this kind of butter is usually prepared in tubs. Freezing it in the tub may affect its quality and taint it. To freeze this butter, it is best to remove the butter from the tub. Then you can either freeze it in a large block or chop it into smaller pieces. Wrap it in a clear plastic sheet then place it in a ziplock. This kind of butter absorbs flavors so doing this will stop the butter from contamination. Label the butter with its best by date and store it in the freezer away from food products with a strong odor.
Just like spreadable butter, you may want to split this into smaller pieces. However, instead of using plastic, store vegan butter in glass containers such as mason jars. Doing this blocks unwanted flavors and odors from contaminating the butter. Make sure to seal the container well so that the butter will not absorb any odors.
If you’re planning to make your own butter, make sure you remove all the buttermilk. Buttermilk is the sweet liquid substance that occurs during churning. After removing the buttermilk, slice your homemade butter into smaller proportions then wrap them in wax paper. Place the wrapped portions inside a freezer bag. Don’t forget to label your freezer bag before storing it in the freezer!
Learn to make the different buttermilk substitutes in How to Make Buttermilk: Best Homemade Buttermilk Substitutes
Thawing Frozen Butter: Does It Need to be Done?
While there are recipes that use frozen butter, softened butter is still mainly used in most baking recipes. The safest way of thawing butter is by placing it in the refrigerator or at room temperature overnight. Depending on the temperature, the thawing process could take six to seven hours.
But if you want to know how to soften frozen butter more quickly, here’s a trick. Grate it instead. Take the butter from the tub then grate it using a cheese grater. If you’re using a butter stick, pull some of the wrappers back. The grated portions will thaw faster compared to the whole butter.
You can also thaw your butter in a microwave. Put it in for 10 seconds then flip it over and repeat. However, this is the last option since the butter might melt. Melted butter is not really used in baking and desserts. If you have melted butter, use it for sauteing meat or drizzling on vegetables.
Can You Refreeze Butter Once It’s Been Thawed?
While it is safe to refreeze butter when it’s thawed, its taste will be affected. Just like any other food product, butter has cells on its surface. When you freeze butter or any food product, these cells rupture. That’s why fresh ingredients are better than frozen.
Aside from the change in taste, bacteria may also grow when you freeze thawed butter. Compared to fresh butter, thawed butter from the freezer can develop bacteria faster. The bacteria then begin to develop as the butter thaws.
Can You Use Frozen Butter for Cooking?
Yes! If you’re looking for flaky biscuits or pie crusts but can’t be bothered with folding and resting to make layers, then we have the perfect tip for you. Simply grate in frozen butter which will create the same effect in half the time. Try these recipes below with frozen butter for easy flaky layers that melt in your mouth!
- Homemade Flaky Biscuits – Generously slathered with melted butter, these buttermilk flaky biscuits are a soft, buttery, tangy dream.
- Light and Flaky Scones – Just by looking at this recipe’s simple ingredients, you would think that the end product will be any ordinary scones. But the addition of frozen butter will give you the lightest and fluffiest scones that taste gloriously rich and sweet.
- Butter Flaky Pie Crust – You only need four simple ingredients to make this rich buttery flaky pie crust recipe: salt, butter, flour, and water. Then simply fill with your desired pie fillings; you can go for a sweet apple pie filling or go savory with sausage and potato filling!
Yes, You Can Definitely Freeze Butter.
But, depending on the kind of butter you’re using, its shelf life will vary, and even its freezing methods. So don’t forget to follow the tips we mentioned so that you can preserve your butter’s intricate flavor!