Best Butter Warmers

Updated October 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

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

29 Models Considered
5 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
196 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 warmers

Last Updated October 2019

Delectable butter is the perfect pairing for a wide array of foods. Its rich flavor and oily texture are the ideal coating for bread and, of course, seafood. The fatty taste of butter complements the delicate flavors of lobster and shrimp. A lobster feast is nothing without miniature warmed vats of butter, ripe for dipping.

Perhaps you’re looking to don your next table setting with individual butter warmers for your guests. Or, if you’re not interested in such a specialized kitchen accessory, perhaps you’d like a stovetop butter warmer instead — you can use it to melt large quantities of butter as well as for heating sauces. That’s right, butter warmers aren’t solely for butter: you can also use them to melt chocolate or cheese for a romantic fondue or to heat up stock for a cozy dinnertime hot pot.

To learn more about butter warmers and which type might be right for your culinary setup, just keep reading.

Melted butter isn’t just for lobster. Enjoy it with delicious steamed artichokes, crispy fresh bread, and a host of other delicious recipes.

Why buy a butter warmer?

You may be wondering why you couldn’t just use a microwave to melt butter. In fact, you could. However, using a butter warmer is more efficient and a lot less messy! Furthermore, it’s easier to melt butter gently using a designated warmer. You’re less likely to burn your butter if you melt it this way.

Butter warmers are versatile in the kitchen, too. As mentioned, you can use a butter warmer to melt chocolate or cheese, two foods which require gentle heat in order to preserve their quality and taste. You can also use a butter warmer to reheat sauces, soups, and other liquid foods. If you’d rather avoid hauling out and dirtying a large saucepan, a compact butter warmer could be ideal.

Key considerations

Types of butter warmers

There are two types of butter warmers on the market: candle warmers and stovetop warmers.

  • A candle warmer usually includes a ramekin made of ceramic that sits atop a metal stand holding a tea light. The tea light flame keeps your butter (or other liquified food) warm. The single-serving design of a candle warmer is perfect for individual place settings. These types of warmers are not stovetop-safe.

  • A stovetop warmer is bigger and usually features a handle. These larger vessels are useful for more than just melting butter. You can use a stovetop butter warmer to reheat or warm large quantities of butter or liquified foods that can be doled out into individual dishes later on.

Butter warmer size

As mentioned, single-serving butter warmers are great for dinner parties. You can place one for each guest for a chic table setting. A large stovetop model, however, allows you to melt butter quickly or reheat liquid foods like broth, chocolate, or cheese for a crowd.

Your dinner plans

The choice between candle warmers and a stovetop warmer comes down to your dinner plans. Are you serving up lobster as a treat for you and your partner? If so, a set of two tabletop warmers would do just fine. Do you need to reheat sauces or melt a lot of butter quickly for your dinner guests? In that case, a stovetop warmer would provide rapid results.

If you regularly find yourself in the kitchen and love to cook, consider adding a stovetop butter warmer to your collection of pots and pans. If you’re also enchanted by the idea of having candle warmers on the table, you may want to invest in several of these as well.

DID YOU KNOW?

The difference between a butter warmer and a traditional saucepan is size. Stovetop butter warmers are the smallest saucepans you can buy.

Butter warmer features

Material and design

Most stovetop butter warmers are made of stainless steel or enameled cast iron. A model with a thick base can help prevent burnt butter. A nonstick model prevents food from sticking and is easy to clean.

Individual tabletop ramekins are typically made of ceramic, which retains heat well, so even if your flame goes out, the butter remains warm for a while. Avoid flimsy ramekins with thin bases to prevent liquids from burning.

Handle

Tabletop butter warmers typically don’t have handles, but stovetop butter warmers should have thick and comfortable handles that make them easy to grip. A grippy handle prevents accidental drops as you transfer melting or reheated foods from stovetop to table. A butter warmer with an oven-safe handle can be stored in the oven to keep the liquid warm and out of the way.

Generally speaking, try to avoid stovetop warmers that have plastic or plastic-coated handles.

Dishwasher safe

Some butter warmers are dishwasher safe; you can easily pop them in the dishwasher for quick cleanup. For convenience, some tabletop warmers have dishwasher-friendly ramekins and bases. Of course, you could always wash your butter warmer by hand, too.

Butter warmer prices

An inexpensive set of four ceramic tabletop warmers shouldn’t cost more than $25. Most of these include tea lights, but you’ll need to buy additional votives for future use. You may also find elaborate tabletop warmer sets that include accessories like lobster crackers, knives, and crab forks. Expect to pay at least $25 for a warmer set with seafood tools.

Stovetop warmers are not sold with accessories. The price for this type of butter warmer typically ranges from $20 to $60. However, some brand name stovetop butter warmers may cost even more.

EXPERT TIP

In a pinch, you can use your stovetop butter warmer to reheat small servings of soup.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Are you prepping for a dinner party and planning to break out your single-serving butter warmers? Don’t forget to check if you have enough votives for each warmer. Buy a few extra, just in case.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Don’t leave your stovetop butter warmer unattended. Butter and other liquids may burn, even in a vessel with a thick base.

  • Use caution around candle-operated butter warmers. Long sleeves and clumsy movements could inadvertently knock over your open flame.

  • Consider investing in a set of small fondue forks for dipping.

  • Use flavored butter instead of plain butter for an interesting twist. You can flavor it on your own or purchase ready-made versions, such as chive or garlic butter.

  • Consider a stovetop model with a spout for easy pouring.

  • Having a dinner party? Outfit your table with individual butter warmers, but have melted butter on the stovetop at the ready in case your guests run out of their liquid gold.

  • You can also use ceramic ramekins apart from their metal stands to serve cold sauces or oil blends for dipping bread.

Other products we considered

The Salton Gravy & Sauce Boat Warmer is a unique option for warming sauces and butter right at the table. The plug-in unit stays warm even after it’s been unplugged and features a wide spout for pouring. The Crabaholik Seafood Tools Set is a wonderful starter set for a couple. It includes everything you need to enjoy a delicious seafood meal for two.

If you have the rest of the utensils required for a lobster dinner but need a few extra warmers, the Artestia Ceramic Butter Warmer Set includes four adorable ceramic ramekins. Their thick bases prevent burning, and the metal stands are sturdy enough for safe tabletop use. Finally, the Farberware Classic Butter Warmer is a stainless steel stovetop unit with a long heat-safe handle (up to 350°F). The pot heats evenly without scorching and can be cleaned in the dishwasher.

A butter warmer is more efficient than a microwave when it comes to melting butter, in large part because it’s less messy.

FAQ

Q. How long will my candle butter warmers keep butter warm?
A.
This largely depends on the tea light used. Most standard tea lights should last for a couple of hours, which should be sufficient for most meals. Ceramic ramekins are ideal for multiple-course dinners thanks to their propensity for heat retention. Remember never to leave a lit candle unsupervised.

Q. Can I cook foods with a stovetop butter warmer?
A.
It’s not recommended. You can use a stovetop warmer to reheat and melt foods, but it’s not the right cookware for other types of food prep. Butter warmers don’t hold a whole lot of food, and the shape is not ideal for cooking most foods.

Q. Will butter burn if I keep it warm for too long?
A.
Butter and other foods are likely to scorch if left on a stovetop butter warmer. However, a quality tabletop butter warmer should keep your butter warm without burning it. The tea light should be far enough from the flame that it doesn’t touch the ramekin base, and the vessel should be thick enough to prevent overheating.

Q. Is butter unhealthy?
A.
Butter is a calorie-dense, fat-filled food, but that doesn’t mean you should completely eliminate it from your diet. It’s filled with essential nutrients, including vitamin A and vitamin E. As with all foods, enjoy butter in moderation.

The team that worked on this review
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Karen
    Karen
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor
  • Steph
    Steph
    Writer

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