What Is a Butter Bell, and Why Do You Need One?

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There's nothing more frustrating than trying to spread cold, hard butter over toast — and that's where the butter bell comes in. A viral TikTok video by Lindsey Eats (@lindseeatsla) has introduced their audience to the butter bell, also known as the butter crock.


Invented in France in the 19th century, this handy dandy countertop container allows you to safely store butter at room temperature so that it's spreadable at all times. Yes, that freaks out most Americans, but here's the science behind it.

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Butter is mostly made up of fat, with a touch of water and a bit of protein. Because of its composition, it's less likely to become unsafe to consume and more likely to go rancid instead (becoming oxidized and simply tasting bad when consumed). That process happens when butter is exposed to light, oxygen, and heat.

So, yes, storing your butter in the fridge is one way to prevent it from going rancid, ‌but‌ you can also use a butter bell to achieve the same effect without refrigeration.

The butter bell is comprised of two parts: a crock and a lid with an upside down bowl. To use a butter bell, you simply pour a little cold water into the crock and fill the lid to the brim with butter. (Mind you, you must use real butter, not whipped butter or margarine.)


When you place the lid on the crock, the surface of the butter should touch the water, creating an airtight seal that slows down the process of rancidity. Just remember that you'll need to change out your water regularly — if your kitchen runs warm, we recommend at least daily.

If the concept is still freaking you out, try entering the realm of butter bells with salted butter — the salt helps to preserve the butter even further, which might give you a little peace of mind.


Ready to buy your own? Butter bells come in many styles and we linked a few of our favorites below.



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