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If you thought there were a lot of butter options on the market, say hello to butter dishes. While you might only associate these with formal dinners and holiday gatherings, butter dishes and keepers have more day-to-day solutions than you might think.
Think about a past situation where you’ve been in need of some slightly softened butter that wasn’t solid from the fridge or freezer, and didn’t have the patience to thaw things out or the desire to eat a firm pat of butter on your toast. Butter dishes might just be the solution to your problem! Our favorite one: the DOWAN Porcelain Butter Dish, because it has an effective, airtight seal, as well as ample width and depth that mean you'll be able to store quite a bit of butter.
Here are the best butter dishes currently on the market to help you find your perfect match.
Best Overall: DOWAN Porcelain Butter Dish
What We Love: Airtight seal, holds a large quantity of butter
What We Don't Love: Difficult to cut inside container
This butter dish from DOWAN is set apart from the rest thanks to a few simple but key features. The airtight silicone seal and opaque porcelain prevent unwanted decomposition, the increased depth allows for a large quantity of butter to be stored, and the minimal design blends right into nearly any kitchen.
This airtight seal, according to Chef Devan Cameron, who created the recipe blog Braised & Deglazed, is key when it comes to storage: “What’s important is a sealed lid, because this will prevent oxidation and bacteria from spoiling the butter. It’s important to keep a lid on butter as it will easily absorb flavors around it,” the Netherlands-based author says.
Available in multiple colors, each featuring a wooden lid, this butter dish is wide and deep enough to fit East or West coast butter, plus European options like Kerrygold butter. Users particularly like its simple but spacious design, sturdy construction, and strong seal—and one even bought another one for their sugar.
Material: Porcelain china, ceramic, wood | Dimensions: 6.5 x 4 x 3.1 inches | Weight: 1.7 pounds | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes (porcelain base)
Best Budget: OXO Good Grips Butter Dish
What We Love: Non-slip feet, easy-to-read measurement ticks, side stoppers keep butter secure
What We Don't Love: Lid does not snap or click into place
There’s a reason this butter dish is from OXO's Good Grips line: While this budget-friendly option might appear to be no-fuss, it has features that make it stand out from the crowd. For starters, it has gripping feet on either side to prevent countertop slipping and scratching, as well as tablespoon ticks for easy measuring—regardless of whether you have a short, stout stick of butter or a long, slim one.
It also has raised stoppers on three sides of the dish to keep your butter in place when you're slicing off a piece or scraping some off the top. Plus, the clear lid that displays your butter won't slip off while you're carrying it from the fridge to the table. Reviewers highlight how helpful the measurement lines are, especially when they're making recipes or trying to quickly eyeball how much butter or margarine they have left. Some users also claim that it keeps their butter fresher for longer than previous dishes they've used, and that it's easy to clean.
Material: BPA-free plastic | Dimensions: 7.7 x 2.7 x 2 inches | Weight: 0.3 pounds | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
Best Ceramic: Le Creuset European Butter Dish
What We Love: Glazed interior makes for easy cleanup, can hold two sticks of butter, surface is chip-resistant
What We Don't Love: Heavy lid, larger-than-average footprint
You can’t go wrong with a classic Le Creuset piece that will last for years to come—like this stylish, European-style butter dish. Pick one of the brand's iconic colors that suits your kitchen and don’t look back: Though this sturdy stoneware piece is on the pricey side, it will stand the test of time and plenty of butter passing through. Plus, it can hold more than the average butter dish, perfect for the busy home chef.
But not only can it hold two sticks of American butter (or one of the European-style cultured block of butter), but this stylish dish is also functional. It's coated with enamel on its exterior that resists chips and scratches (including from using metal utensils), and it also sports an almost-nonstick glazed interior that makes it easier to clean—the latter garnering it extra points from many reviewers.
The cherry on top? It is safe for use in the microwave, freezer, dishwasher, and oven up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Material: Stoneware | Dimensions: 6.75 x 5 x 3.5 inches | Weight: 2.3 pounds | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
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Best Crock: Butter Bell The Original Butter Bell Crock
What We Love: Keeps butter fresh and spreadable longer than other dishes, stylish, durable
What We Don't Love: Requires some upkeep with water swapping
You can’t go wrong with a classic! The stylish and practical Butter Bell is available in a variety of ceramic hues for whatever color fits your kitchen best, and it's easy to use once you get the hang of things. Each Butter Bell can hold about 0.5-cup of butter when firmly packed into the bell-shaped lid—just make sure to get those air pockets out and change your water regularly.
The cold water at the bottom of the crock acts as a tight seal when the jar is closed, keeping the butter cool on the inside while protecting it from heat on the outside—keeping your butter at the perfect consistency for spreading. It'll even keep your room-temperature spread fresh for up to 30 days without refrigeration, Butter Bell claims.
Reviewers who have families who go through butter quickly like constantly having fresh butter available, and many others say it looks very nice on their countertop.
Material: New bone china | Dimensions: 4.25 x 3.8 inches | Weight: 1.4 pounds | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
Best for Special Occasions: Crate & Barrel Glass Butter Dish
What We Love: Simple design that can match a variety of table settings, sturdy for glass, easy to clean
What We Don't Love: Smaller capacity than other options
You’d never know from the look and feel of this glass option that it rings up at less than $10. This Crate & Barrel-exclusive option, with its simple yet sweet design, is bound to look great for dinner parties and fancy dinners at home. It will also ensure that you always know if you’re running low on butter, thanks to the clear glass.
It's also got a handy knob on top of the lid that is easy to grip and pick up—and, as one reviewer put it, this also helps to keep the glass inside the lid butter-free. Others say the dish is surprisingly sturdy (especially considering its affordability) and very easy to clean, but that it is barely large enough for a regular stick of butter, so make sure to keep that in mind.
Material: Glass | Dimensions: 7.8 x 3.6 x 3.5 inches | Weight: 1.4 pounds | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
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Best Modern: Cooler Kitchen Modern Bamboo Butter Dish with Lid
What We Love: Spacious enough to fit European kinds of butter, lightweight yet sturdy, unique design
What We Don't Love: No airtight seal
What could be more modern than a kitchen item made out of bamboo? Especially for lovers of European butters such as Kerrygold, this large butter dish from Cooler Kitchen could be the right fit. Available in three colors at a budget-friendly price, this Scandinavian-inspired design made of bamboo is durable, as well as microwave- and dishwasher-safe.
Users say that thanks to the dish being made of durable and lightweight bamboo, it won't break easily when dropped (like glass or ceramic might)—nor will it make your butter lukewarm or warm shortly after you set it out (like perhaps a plastic dish might). Plus, bamboo is not a common material for a butter dish, so a few reviewers like that they went with a unique choice that also still offers the design and performance elements that they look for in any other butter dish.
Material: Bamboo | Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 2.5 inches | Weight: 0.5 pounds | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
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The best overall butter dish is the DOWAN Porcelain Butter Dish, which is available in multiple colors and features a silicone airtight seal. Need something budget-friendly and trustworthy? Check out the OXO Good Grips Butter Dish, which is packed with helpful features despite its low price tag.
How We Selected
To find the best butter dishes, which number almost as many as the types and brands of butter out there, tester and dairy expert Jacqueline Weiss used various criteria on what makes a good butter dish and what to look for when buying one to make this list. These include the dish's design, material, size, ease of use, and ease of cleaning. She also sifted through hundreds of customer reviews across various online marketplaces, as well as consulted available product information from butter dish manufacturers.
To gather additional expert insights into buying considerations and frequently asked questions, she spoke to Devan Cameron, chef, author, and recipe developer based in The Netherlands, and Venae Watts, co-owner of Minerva Dairy in Minvera, Ohio.
What to Look for When Buying a Butter Dish
The most common design of a butter dish is a rectangular tray, slightly larger than a stick of butter, accompanied by a domed or rectangular cover that sits on top. Though the shape may be straightforward, you can find a dish that fits your style in the form of colored glass, patterned ceramics, and more. Keep an eye out for any dishes that offer added features like a non-slip base or measurement marks.
Ceramic, plastic, and glass are among the most common materials for butter dishes. But while you might enjoy staring lovingly through clear plastic or uncolored glass at your golden sticks of butter, see-through options might not always be the best choice for every kitchen condition. If your kitchen is prone to excess heat and sunlight, try to find somewhere cool and dark to store it. This contact with heat and light can lead to faster oxidation and decomposition, which can alter the flavor and color of your butter. Your best bet is to keep an eye on things in the summer months to ensure your butter isn’t becoming a victim of the elements.
Most butter dishes are around the same size and relatively light in weight, but if you go for a ceramic keeper or one made of stoneware, it will weigh more. As for size, many are just larger than a stick of butter, so it won’t take up too much countertop room even in small spaces.
Maintenance and Cleaning
Though many butter dishes are dishwasher-safe, you might be better off with a simple hand-0wash in the sink so you can get back to using your dish.
How do I use a French butter dish?
Whether you call it a French butter dish, a butter bell, or a crock, these ceramic jars are not as straightforward as a classic butter dish but can make an excellent addition to your kitchen. To use one, firmly pack the crock with the softened butter of your choice, and invert it into the cold water-filled base. The base, compartment, and lid create an airtight seal that can allow your butter to last longer than the average butter dish. However, there is a bit of maintenance required—change out the water every four or so days for optimal freshness.
Venae Watts, co-owner at Minerva Dairy in Minerva, Ohio, is partial to ceramic for keeping her butter fresh. “It keeps the butter the freshest, it’s easy to clean, and I love the fiesta bright colors I can find—they’re my favorite!” she says.
Can I leave butter out in a butter dish?
Although it is safe to leave butter out of the fridge in a butter dish, there are a few caveats. If you won’t use it within a week or so, keep it cool. Instead of leaving a full stick out at all times, try to leave out what’s needed for the next week and replenish from the fridge or freezer stash as needed.
Where should I store my butter dish?
Radiant heat from your stove and oven can affect your butter, so it’s best to find another spot in your kitchen that isn’t prone to excess light or heat.
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
Jacqueline Weiss was quite literally raised in a cheese shop, first opened in Philadelphia by her grandfather in 1963 and later owned and operated by her father until 2019. She has grown up working with tools of the trade, which she now uses in her Los Angeles kitchen on vegan and non-vegan cheeses. To choose the best options for this article, she consulted third-party and consumer reviews, spoke with experts, and considered functionality, design, and price.
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