Best Butter Dishes

Updated May 2021
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

30 Models Considered
24 Hours Researched
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79 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for Best butter dishes

You pick up a beautiful loaf of rustic bread, cut a slice, and toast it to perfection. Then you proceed to rip it to shreds trying to spread chunks of cold, hard butter from your refrigerator. Sound familiar? If you’re tired of waiting around for butter to warm to a usable texture, a butter dish may be for you.

A butter dish is basically a small plate with a cover that keeps butter fresh on your counter or table for a few weeks. It’s a great — and often stylish — way to store butter on your counter so that it’s always ready to spread. Butter dishes range from simple to fancy and are available in a variety of sizes and materials. They also have various features that you will want to consider as you look for the right one for your needs.

Our buying guide examines all of these factors and gives you an idea of what you can expect to pay.

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Baking recipes often recommend using butter at room temperature, which is easy to do if you keep yours in a butter dish on the counter.

Key considerations

Style

Perhaps you’re searching for a simple butter dish for your family dinner table or something a bit fancier to impress dinner guests. Butter dishes range from simple plastic boxes to intricate crystal dishes suitable for fine dining. As you might expect, the more stylish the butter dish, the higher the price.

Size

Most butter dishes are made just large enough to contain a single stick of butter. If you have a small family or don’t use much butter, a dish this size will probably fit your needs. For larger families or those who use a lot of butter, a larger dish may be more appropriate. These can hold a stick and a half or more, depending on the dish, and they usually cost more.

Microwave/freezer safe

Whether a butter dish can be put in the microwave or freezer depends on the material it’s made of (see below). Ceramic or glass butter dishes might be fine warmed in a microwave but not suitable for the freezer. If you plan to put your butter dish in the microwave or freezer, check the product details first.

To take the mystery out of portion sizes, buy a butter dish that includes built-in measurement lines.

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Features

Material

Butter dishes are made of various materials. Some use the same material for both the plate and cover, while others use a different one for each. You’ll find butter dishes made of the following materials:

Plastic: Butter dishes made of plastic are generally lightweight and often shatterproof. They range from clear to solid opaque colors. Any plastic butter dish you consider should be BPA-free.

Glass: Butter dishes made of glass are attractive and easy to clean. On the downside, it’s easier to chip or break a glass dish than one made of some other materials.

Crystal: One of the best choices for a party or more formal dining occasion, crystal is heavier and more decorative than glass. You’ll have to hand-wash it, however, because heat, detergent, and knocking into other dishes in the dishwasher can cause crystal to chip or crack.

Ceramic and porcelain: Your choice of butter dishes made of ceramic or porcelain is nearly infinite. You can find virtually any color or pattern, including one that matches your dinnerware. Porcelain can be fragile, and both it and ceramic are prone to chipping and breaking. You can find chip-resistant ceramic butter dishes, as well as those that are dishwasher safe.

Other: You can also find butter dishes made of stone, stainless steel, enamel, and wood.

Components

Cover: The cover should sit securely on the base to keep air out and keep the butter fresh. Some covers have a knob or handle on top so you can more easily lift the cover. Most covers aren’t attached to their base, but some are hinged. If your butter dish has a glass, crystal, or clear plastic cover, you’ll be able to tell at a glance how much butter remains in the dish.

Base: Under the cover is the plate where the butter rests. Some bases have a rim around the edge to keep the butter and lid in place. Some have a nonslip bottom. While uncommon, some have measurement marks to make it easy to slice one tablespoon of butter. Some bases have a handle on either end or a lip to make carrying easier.
 

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Did You Know
Salted butter stays fresh longer than unsalted butter in a butter dish on the counter.
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Butter dish prices
 

Inexpensive: At the low end, under $10, you can expect to find simple butter dishes made of plastic. These typically hold a single stick of butter and are best for those who don’t use much butter and aren’t on a quest to impress dinner guests.

Mid-range: Most butter dishes fall in the $10 to $19 range. These are available in a wide range of styles, materials, and sizes to meet most needs.

Expensive: Butter dishes that cost $20 and more include large ones that hold two sticks of butter or more, unique styles, and those made of expensive materials like crystal.

Some large butter dishes have a wooden cover, which can provide you with an additional cutting board.

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Tips

  • Look for lead-free ceramic. If your ceramic butter dish is glazed, make sure it’s a lead-free glaze.
  • Go big. If you have a large, butter-loving family, opt for a butter dish that can hold more than one stick of butter.
  • Keep your butter fresh. Keep the lid on the dish to prevent air from turning the butter rancid. Also, use salted butter, keep less butter in the dish at a time (such as half or a quarter of a stick), and wash the dish often.
  • Check the temperature. If your kitchen is always warm, a butter dish may not be for you. Butter does best at temperatures below 70°F. If your kitchen is warmer than this, keep your butter in the refrigerator or another cool location. Take the butter dish out about half an hour before you plan to use it to let the butter soften.
  • Store your butter properly. Butter on the counter can last a few weeks, in the refrigerator about three months, and in the freezer up to a year.
     
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While most butter dishes are rectangular (to fit a stick of butter), some are round or square.

FAQ

Q. Is it easy to clean butter dishes?

A. Most are durable enough to put in the dishwasher, but you should always check the product description to verify. Crystal butter dishes should be washed by hand in dish soap and warm water. Your best strategy is to clean the dish every time you empty it and before adding new butter. This will minimize bacteria and help to keep the butter fresh longer.

Q. What’s the difference between a butter dish and a butter crock?

A. While some people use these terms interchangeably, there is a difference. A butter dish is simply a dish with a cover that you store butter in for a few weeks. A butter crock, aka butter keeper or butter bell, is a bit different. It is a crock filled with water and a “bell” the butter goes into that rests inside the crock. While you need to change the water every two or three days, butter stored in a crock can last up to 30 days on the counter.

Q. Is keeping butter at room temperature safe?

A. Butter is a dairy product, but thanks to its fat, water, and salt content it doesn’t spoil as quickly as milk or cheese. Butter stored on the counter is good for a few weeks. You’ll know when it’s spoiled because of its darker appearance, unpleasant odor, and sour taste.

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