Can You Refreeze Butter?

by Charlie

Butter is a staple in most households given its ability to add flavor to just about anything. Stocking up on butter is a smart way to save some money because buying in bulk typically costs less in the long run. If you have lots of butter on hand or just want to make it last longer, freezing it is a great option. Butter is a food item that surprisingly lasts well in the freezer. Some people also freeze butter for certain recipes, such as making scones. 

So maybe you froze that butter thinking you’d use it to make scones and then you didn’t feel like baking, so now you’ve thawed it out but it’s looking like you won’t be able to use it all in time before it goes bad, can you put it back in the freezer after it has thawed? 

Can you refreeze butter? Yes, you can refreeze butter. There isn’t anything wrong with refreezing your butter but it could potentially reduce the quality of the butter. The flavor and consistency of the butter may change after being thawed and refrozen. Butter is okay to keep in the refrigerator for about 4 months and in the freezer for up to one year. 

Freezing Butter

Butter can last in the freezer for up to 12 months. Some people freeze their butter after stocking up when it is on sale since butter can be a more expensive grocery item. You can freeze butter by simply putting it in the freezer in its packaging. You can also add aluminum foil or a ziplock bag to seal it up more tightly. 

If your butter has been taken out of the packaging prior to freezing, it can be wrapped in aluminum foil or placed in a plastic bag. Be sure to avoid storing butter next to strong smelling foods such as onions or garlic since butter tends to easily absorb surrounding odors.

How to Thaw Butter

The best way to thaw butter is by placing it in the refrigerator overnight. If you need to thaw the butter quickly you can microwave it for 10 seconds, then rotate it and microwave for another 10 seconds.

If your butter is still frozen and you need to melt it quickly, you can grate the frozen and then it will melt much more quickly. 

Depending on how the butter was thawed and handled, it is safe to refreeze it. However, there is no way to tell whether or not the quality of the butter will suffer from refreezing it. The butter could lose some of its moisture and flavor from being refrozen. 

Butter that has been thawed and refrozen also runs the risk of growing bacteria. Different types of butter run different types of risks when it comes to refreezing. Salted butter could actually become more salty tasting after being thawed and refrozen. Cultured butter should not be refrozen due to it already having bacteria in it and the higher risk of harmful bacteria growth when refreezing. 

Keeping Butter Fresh

To get the most out of your butter here are a couple of steps you can follow to keep it fresh and flavorful: 

  • Keep butter in its original packaging if you won’t be using it all up quickly.
  • Store butter in the refrigerator (or freezer) immediately after purchasing.
  • Avoid leaving butter out on the counter for too long. 
  • When thawing frozen butter, leave in the fridge for at least 6 hours.
  • If your butter is frozen, use it up before it has time to absorb unwanted tastes and odors.

Can Frozen Butter Go Bad?

Yes, frozen butter can go bad. Frozen butter has a shelf life of about 12 months. Also, butter can become rancid if left on the counter for too long. It is ideal to only freeze butter in small amounts to ensure that you use it all in a timely manner and don’t end up having to refreeze it, damaging the quality. 

It shouldn’t be too difficult to tell if butter has gone bad. If your butter has changed in color, odor or texture then it probably isn’t safe to eat. Also consider how long ago it was purchased. Refrigerated butter is good for about 4 months, while frozen butter is good for about 12 months. If you notice a sour smell or taste then the butter has most likely gone bad.

How to Use Frozen Butter

Frozen butter can be used in a number of ways. Some recipes may require you to thaw or melt the butter.  If this is the case, you can easily thaw butter quickly by microwaving it. You can also cut the butter into smaller pieces to help it melt faster. Some baking recipes require butter to be frozen such as scone recipes. When baking scones, you will have to grate the frozen butter and mix it with the dry ingredients to achieve a certain texture.

Final Thoughts

Overall, yes, you can refreeze butter. Do we recommend it? Not necessarily. There is a good chance that freezing your butter will compromise some of the quality in terms of the texture and flavor. Also, you run the risk of bacteria growing and having your butter absorb undesirable flavors from foods that surround it in the freezer. 

Freezing butter is a practical way to preserve it for a longer time if you’ve decided to buy a large quantity at once. Just make sure to only thaw out what you need to avoid needing to refreeze it. Storing butter in its original packaging is the most practical way to store it in the freezer but if you want extra protection, you can add additional packaging such as aluminum foil and/or a ziplock bag.

By taking a few easy steps, you can keep your butter fresh and preserve the quality. Proper storage and handling techniques are the key to great tasting and long lasting butter. Pay close attention to any butter that you have refrozen or held on to for what seems like a long time. 

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