Open your fridge right now. Look at the top shelf on door and peer into the butter prison. Your butter is begging for you to let it out so it can come to room temperature and be the creamy, dreamy, spreadable dairy that it was meant to be. Maybe personifying butter is not the best way to get you to want to use it, but it’s the truth. Room temperature butter is better.
We’ve all been there—trying to spread cold, hard butter on toast and watching it rip through the golden brown bread. Or wanting to make a grilled cheese and having to carefully arrange thin pats of butter all over the bread for even distribution. I refuse to use cold butter unless I’m making biscuits, and with the holidays around the corner, I’m begging you to do the same. Nothing ruins a fresh baked dinner rolls than fighting butter that can’t possibly melt fast enough to get into every nook and cranny.
I didn’t grow up with room temperature butter around the house. In fact, my family used margarine for most of my life until I convinced them that it was both healthier—at least when it comes to trans fats—and tastier to use real butter. My dad would wrestle with cold butter to not completely tear through Eggo waffles for breakfast, and his trick was to warm up the syrup to melt everything together at the end. I eventually convinced them to put half a stick of butter in a covered butter dish on the counter so that nothing would be wasted, and on holidays we would upgrade to a full stick. Always worried about spoilage, the butter dish would end up in the fridge at the end of the meal and the partially melted butter would seal the lid to the base, defeating the purpose of using it in the first place.
It's Okay To Leave the Butter Out
How I Store My Butter
Once I moved out of my childhood home and had control over my own butter, I tried a few ways to keep it fresh and spreadable. I had a brief affair with a butter bell—the French way to store butter in a crock suspended over water to give it an air-tight sea. But one time, all of my butter fell into the water, so I decided it wasn’t for me.
I bought a few novelty butter dishes that ended up not being airtight enough. And then I found the perfect butter dish at a Le Creuset outlet: an eggplant-shaped cocotte that fits a stick of butter with a little wiggle room, is fun to look at, and is dishwasher safe. It’s an immediate conversation piece whenever I use it in a video or friends see it at my house, and it’s fabulous to put out at a dinner party.
Try Something Similar: Le Creuset Mini Round Cocotte
I fill my eggplant butter dish every other week with a stick of salted butter—the salt is a natural preservative so it lasts longer than unsalted butter. The butter is ready for swooshes and spreads on demand. It also melts more quickly when added to warm foods like noodles or vegetables and when making brown butter for baked goods. It is probably the simplest and most instantaneous form of joy in my life, and I hope you follow suit. Hey, it's never too late to make a food resolution: softened butter or bust.