Can You Use Expired Butter? Is It Safe to Eat?

Are you planning a backyard BBQ? Calculating the amount of pulled pork you’ll need per person can seem daunting. Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered! In this blog post, we’ll provide some helpful tips and tricks for figuring out how much pulled pork to serve at your next party.

What Is the Shelf Life of Butter?

What Is the Shelf Life of Butter?

The shelf life of butter depends on how it is stored and its packaging type. Generally, butter can be kept in the refrigerator for up to three months and frozen for up to a year. Unopened butter can last beyond the printed date if stored properly in the refrigerator, while opened butter can last up to two weeks. Studies have shown that butter can remain safe for many months when stored at room temperature. To prevent spoilage, it is important to keep butter stored at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Generally, butter can last up to one month in the refrigerator and up to nine months when frozen.

How to Tell if Butter Has Expired?

Butter is one of the most versatile ingredients used in cooking and baking. It can be used to make cakes, sauces, and more. But, like any other food product, butter can go bad, and it’s important to know how to tell if it has expired. Here is a guide to help you determine if your butter has expired.

  1. Check the packaging. Most butter is packaged with a “use by” or “best before” date on it. This should be the first thing you look for when determining if your butter has expired. If the date has passed, it’s time to buy a new butter package.
  2. Smell it. Even if the date on the package has yet to pass, it’s still important to check the smell of your butter before using it. If it has a strong or sour smell, then it’s likely gone bad and should be thrown out.
  3. Look at the color. Butter past its expiration date will often have a yellow or greenish tint, as well as small spots or molds growing on its surface. If this is the case, then your butter has likely gone bad and should be thrown away immediately.
  4. Feel it for texture changes. Butter that is nearing its expiration date may start to feel greasy or slimy when touched, indicating that it has gone bad and should not be used in cooking or baking recipes anymore.

By following these steps, you can easily tell if your butter has expired and avoid using food that might make you ill or give off strange flavors when cooked within recipes.

Is It Safe to Eat Expired Butter?

A new report from experts has confirmed that eating butter that is past the expiration date can be safe as long as it is stored properly. According to Dr. William Chapman, a professor of food safety at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, butter that has been stored properly but is past its expiration date is very unlikely to make someone sick.

Dr. Chapman explains that butter fortified with oil will generally last twice as long past the expiration date as pure butter, which is typically considered “expired” after around one to three months when stored in the refrigerator. Butter may still be good for a month if refrigerated and up to a year if frozen.

The professor further suggests that even if the butter has expired, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will make you ill. He states that it is safe to use as long as it doesn’t smell or taste rancid. However, once it goes rancid, it will develop an off-putting flavor that will ruin any recipe you use it for.

So next time you want to use butter and are unsure if it has expired or not, the best thing to do is check the packaging for the “sell by” or “use by” date. If the butter has gone past its expiration date but is still fresh, it should be perfectly safe to eat and will still taste fine.

How to Store Butter Properly?

Storing butter properly is essential for maintaining its quality and flavor. It’s important to keep butter in the right environment to stay fresh and spreadable.

For salted butter, the USDA’s FoodKeeper app recommends leaving it at room temperature for one to two days. The USDA and FDA recommend refrigerating unsalted and whipped butter in the original package.

How to Store Butter Properly?

If you want to keep butter on the countertop, using a silicone cover is the best way to ensure it stays soft and spreadable. This gadget fits easily over a stick of butter and helps maintain its softness.

If you prefer to store butter in the fridge, seal it first and place it on an inner shelf rather than on one of the shelves inside the door. Purely for quality purposes, the Food Standards Agency recommends refrigerating butter over leaving it out on display.

When stored correctly, butter should last up to a week without compromising its quality or flavor.

How to Tell if Butter Is Still Good to Eat?

Knowing if your butter is still good to eat is easy with a few simple steps.

First, cut a knife into the butter, slicing off a small portion. If the color inside is the same as the outside, it’s still fresh.

Next, smell the butter and see if there are any sour or off-flavors. If so, it has likely gone bad and should be discarded.

Finally, look for signs of mold or discoloration. If either is present, throw out the butter immediately.

By following these steps, you can ensure that you always have safe consumption of butter.

How to Store and Freeze Butter for Maximum Freshness?

Storing and freezing butter can be a great way to keep it fresh for longer. Here’s how to successfully store and freeze butter for maximum freshness:

  1. Store Butter in its Original Packaging: Ensure that the butter is stored in its original packagings, such as parchment paper, foil, cling wrap, or its original container. This will help to protect it from outside elements and prevent freezer burn.
  2. Place Butter in a Freezer-Safe Bag or Container: After packaging the butter properly, place it in a freezer-safe bag or container before putting it in the freezer. This will help ensure that the butter is protected from the elements while it is stored in the freezer.
  3. Freeze Unsalted Butter for up to Five Months: Unsalted butter can typically be stored in the freezer for up to five months before beginning to lose its freshness and going off. You can usually freeze salted butter for up to nine months before it starts to go bad.
  4. Check Best By Date: If you are still determining how long your butter has been stored, always check the best-by date on the packaging and discard any butter that has passed its expiration date.
  5. Toss Any Butter with Freezer Burn: If your frozen butter develops any signs of freezer burn, it is best to throw it away and start over with a new batch of fresh butter.

By following these simple steps, you can successfully store and freeze butter for maximum freshness!

Alternatives to Butter that Have a Longer Shelf Life

  1. Ghee: Ghee is a clarified butter that is made by heating butter and removing the milk solids and water. It has a higher fat content than butter and a longer shelf life. It can be used in many recipes instead of butter, but you may need to adjust the amount used according to the recipe.
  2. Shortening: Shortening is a type of fat made from vegetable oils, usually hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. It has a longer shelf life than butter and can be used as a substitute in many recipes.
  3. Lard: Lard is a type of fat derived from pork fat or other animal fats. It has a longer shelf life than butter and can be used as a substitute in many recipes.
  4. Vegetable Oil: Vegetable oil is made from plant sources, such as soybeans, corn, safflower, sunflower, and canola oil. It has a longer shelf life than butter and can be used as a substitute in many recipes.
  5. Applesauce/Pumpkin Puree/Mashed Bananas/Mashed Avocado/Prune Puree/Bean Puree/Nut Butter/Yogurt/Buttermilk: These are all alternative ingredients that have a similar fat-to-water ratio to butter and can be substituted in many recipes instead of butter.
  6. Liquid Butter Alternative (Phase Oil): This type of oil is made from vegetable oils and is often used in restaurants and hotels as an alternative to butter due to its longer shelf life.
  7. Unsalted Butter: Unsalted butter has no salt added to it, unlike salted butter, which contains salt for flavor. Unsalted butter has a longer shelf life than salted butter since it contains no salt, which could cause it to spoil more quickly.


Can Butter Expire in The Fridge?

It is widely accepted that butter stored in the fridge can last up to a month past the printed date if it is unopened. If the butter has been opened, it can last up to two weeks. In addition, butter can be well-wrapped and frozen for six to nine months. However, it will stay fresh longer if kept in the refrigerator as refrigeration slows down the process of oxidation, eventually leading to spoilage. Butter fortified with oil will generally last twice as long past the expiration date as pure butter. Meanwhile, butter stored in the refrigerator can last as long as four months in its original packaging and up to a year in the freezer.

What Does Rancid Butter Smell Like?

Rancid butter is identifiable by its powerful smell and darker yellow layer. The odor of rancid butter is more technically known as the molecule butyric acid, also known as a short-chain fatty acid (SCFA). This SCFA smells sour or rancid, like sweaty feet, rotten cheese, or vomit. Spoiled butter develops funky or putrid smells that are usually faint and sour. If the butter smells off, such as sharp or “funny,” it is likely to be rancid. You developed salted butter to prevent spoilage and mask the taste of rancid butter. To determine if the butter is still fresh, cut a small slice from the block or stick and examine the color and smell. If both appear to be the same as the outside, it is still fresh; however, if there is a difference in color or smell, it is likely to be rancid.

Can I Use Butter 2 Months After the Expiration Date?

It is possible to use butter two months after the expiration date, provided it has been stored correctly. Unopened butter can safely be used within 2-3 months, while refrigerated butter is generally safe to use for up to a month past its expiration date. It is best to freeze the butter for long-term storage, which lasts 6-9 months. While butter that has passed its expiration date may still be safe to eat, it will likely have lost some of its flavors. Venae Watts, a fifth-generation dairy farmer and owner of Grazing Fields Farm, notes that when stored and handled properly, butter can last for quite some time past its expiration date. Ultimately, butter can still be eaten and used in recipes despite what the expiration or sell-by dates say.


We hope you found this article helpful in deciding whether or not to use expired butter. We know that food safety is a top priority, so as always if you’re ever unsure, it’s best to err on the side of caution and discard any expired products. Thanks for reading!


Leave a Comment