Can you freeze butter to make it last longer?

We explain if you can freeze butter, how best to freeze it and highlight the recipes that actually benefit from frozen butter

various blocks of butter in different shapes presented on butter dishes on a table with a pretty gingham table cloth
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Knowing if you can freeze butter is handy, whether you want to save money or make your groceries last longer. And the good news is you can freeze butter - some recipes even call for frozen butter over refrigerated. 

Even if you shop at the cheapest supermarket, it's hard to ignore the fact that throughout the cost of living crisis, food prices have been going up. In fact, the average price of a 250g block of butter has increased by almost 28%, from £1.74 in August 2021 to £2.22 in July 2023, according to the Office of National Statistics

So it's no wonder families want to make the food they buy last longer in order to get the best value for money. We've already covered if you can freeze cheese, whether you can freeze milk and whether you can freeze tomatoes, but now it's the turn of butter.

Can you freeze butter?

Yes, you can freeze butter. If stored properly and depending on the type of butter, it will stay fresh for up to a year in the freezer. 

You can freeze butter in its original packaging, or transfer it into an airtight container to prevent freezer burn. According to fridge freezer manufacturer Bosch, freezer burn is when the water content in frozen food evaporates and accumulates on the surface of the food, forming ice crystals. This can not only discolour the food, but affect its taste and texture. And not in a good way. 

You might prefer to portion up your butter before freezing it, just make sure you wrap it well and use an airtight container. This will prevent it from taking on any odour from any nearby foods (which butter tends to do because of its high fat content). You should also freeze it well in advance of the use by date. 

How long can you freeze butter for?

How long butter will stay fresh in the freezer will depend on the type of butter. Unsalted butter should only be frozen for four to six months, but salted butter will last for up to a year. This is because salt is a natural preservative, helping to draw out moisture and kill bacteria. 

If you're freezing both kinds, you might find it useful to label which is which as food waste expert Katy Hall, the brains behind the Instagram account @canifreezeit, suggests, along with the date it was frozen and when it should be used by. 

How to thaw butter

Butter can be thawed easily, either in the fridge overnight, or leaving it on the side if you are planning on using it that day. If you need the butter to thaw quickly, you can grate it using a cheese grater and it will thaw in a matter of minutes

Unless you're happy to stand on watch, it's better not to microwave frozen butter to defrost it. It's hard to judge the texture and you can very quickly and easily end up with messy melted butter covering your microwave. 

It's a good idea to use the butter within 24 hours of defrosting.

Can you cook with frozen butter?

If you want to use butter instead of oil to lubricate a frying pan, you can use a knob of frozen butter instead, but it might take a little bit longer to melt. If you want the butter to be soft enough to spread or mix in easily, then it's best to use room temperature butter rather than frozen. 

However, if you fancy doing some baking, especially if you want to make biscuits, scones or flaky pastry, then you'll find a lot of recipes call for frozen butter.

If you need a recipe to follow, we explain how to make shortcrust pastry or you could try this Michel Roux rough puff pastry recipe instead. If you want to know what other foods you can freeze, like can you freeze avocado or can you freeze cooked pasta, then we've got you covered.

Sarah Handley
Consumer Writer & Money Editor, GoodtoKnow

Sarah is GoodtoKnow’s Consumer Writer & Money Editor and is passionate about helping mums save money wherever they can - whether that's spending wisely on toys and kidswear or keeping on top of the latest news around childcare costs, child benefit, the motherhood penalty. A writer, journalist and editor with more than 15 years' experience, Sarah is all about the latest toy trends and is always on the look out for toys for her nephew or Goddaughters so that she remains one of their favourite grown ups. When not writing about money or best buys, Sarah can be found hanging out with her rockstar dog Pepsi, getting opinionated about a movie or learning British Sign Language.