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Can You Refreeze Butter – The Ultimate Guide

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Butter is one of those wonderful foods that just makes everything taste better. Used in cooking, as a spread, or baking, butter is as versatile as it is delicious.

However, if you have overstocked on butter from a local grocers sale, or find you aren’t using your butter quickly enough, you might be wondering if you can freeze butter.

The answer is yes, you can in fact safely freeze butter to be used at a later stage.

Then, you might thaw out your butter, and realize you have once again bitten off more than you can chew. Can you refreeze butter?

There isn’t anything inherently wrong with refreezing butter. It won’t necessarily spoil the butter, but it might have a negative effect on the quality of the butter, reducing the flavor and sometimes changing the consistency as well.

Here is everything you need to know about freezing and refreezing butter.

Freezing Butter

Fresh butter is perfectly fine to freeze, and you can expect great results when you freeze your butter while it is fresh. Butter has a rough shelf life of four months in the refrigerator but can last a year or more when frozen. This gives you some more time to consume your butter.

If the butter is kept frozen the whole time, it will be safe to use after a year, but you might notice that the butter starts to show signs of freezer burn.

When storing butter in the freezer, you should keep it away from odorous foods such as onions, as butter tends to pick up the odor and flavor of foods around it, and this doesn’t work so well when the butter used to bake cookies has a garlicky taste.

Frozen butter can be easily thawed for use, and can be left to thaw on its own for a few hours.

Freezing butter is a great way to stock up on sales, and is completely safe to do.

How to Freeze Butter

Freezing butter is so easy. If it is in the original box or wrapper, you can pop it into the freezer as is. This way, it is easily identifiable and will have the sell-by date still on the packing for you to refer to later on.

The original packing of butter should be adequate to prevent the contents from freezer burn, but you can slip it into a freezer bag if you are planning to store the butter in the freezer for a longer period of time, and this will add some extra protection against the butter picking up other odors and flavors from other food in the freezer.

If the butter has been removed from the box or wrapping before freezing, you can wrap the butter in aluminum foil or plastic wrap, and then place them into a freezer bag or airtight container to freeze in.

If you want to freeze smaller portions of butter, you can cut it up into sticks and wrap them individually, and then place them all in a freezer bag. This will save you from having to thaw a whole block of butter when you just need a small amount.

Thawing Butter

The safest way to thaw frozen butter is to place it in the refrigerator overnight. This way it will not be in contact with any heat and is still cool as it thaws.

If you are needing to thaw your butter quickly, you can pop it into the microwave for 10 seconds, then flip it over and heat for another 10 seconds.

If it starts to melt, remove it from the microwave. Some recipes allow for frozen butter to be used, and others need melted butter, so check what state your butter needs to be in and adjust your thawing methods to accommodate this.

Another great trick to thaw butter quickly is to grate the butter while it is frozen. Pull back some of the wrappers and grate the butter using a cheese grater. The grated butter will thaw out much quicker and will be easy to use once it has softened.

You can also run the frozen butter stick over an egg slicer and lay the butter slices on a platter. They will soften over a short period of time and will be easy to pick up and place on bread or onto a bun for burgers.

Refreezing Butter

Freezing butter is no problem at all, but you might be nervous to refreeze butter that has already thawed out. There is no straight forward answer to how good this is for the butter, and it depends on how the butter was thawed and handled.

When freezing something, the cells in the walls of the products become ruptured, this is why frozen butter will not taste as good as fresh butter. When you freeze, thaw and then refreeze butter, more cells will break down, allowing more moisture to seep out of the butter, and ultimately change the integrity and taste of the butter.

The other issue with refreezing butter is bacteria. Frozen and then thawed butter will develop harmful bacteria much faster than fresh butter, and the bacteria start to develop once the butter begins to thaw.

Refreeze Butter of Different Types

All kinds of butter are fine to freeze, but some differ when it comes to refreezing. Here is a list of the different kinds of butter available and whether or not it is fine to refreeze them once thawed.

refreeze butter

Salted Butter

Salted butter contains 2% salt, and is a common butter to use in cooking and for spreads. The additional salt in the butter allows it to stay preserved for longer in the fridge, so you will not need to freeze it again if you know you will use it within a month or so.

When refreezing salted butter, the salty taste may become more intensified after the second freeze, as more liquid will be lost by the freezing process breaks down the cell walls. However, it is fine to refreeze salted butter if handled properly.

Semi-Salted Butter

Semi-salted butter contains 1% of salt, and like fully salted butter, it can keep in the fridge once thawed for a good few weeks. It does refreeze well, but once again you might notice the butter tastes saltier after the second freeze, although this will not be as pronounced as 2% salted butter.

Cultured Butter

Cultured butter is unsalted butter where a bacterial culture is added to the cream before the churning process. This gives the butter and old-country flavor and has a more tangy taste. Freezing cultured butter once is fine, but you should not freeze the butter again.

With the additional bacteria, there is more chance of a bacterial infection after the first thaw, and this will only increase when frozen and thawed again. To avoid having to refreeze cultured butter, freeze it in small portions that will not go to waste.

Specialty Butter

Specialty butter is made with added herbs and spices such as garlic or thyme. This is used in cooking to add an extra depth of flavor. The taste of the spices or herbs might seep more into the butter during freezing and thawing, which is not a bad thing if you are looking for a burst of flavor.

When refrozen and thawed again, the butter might have a more potent taste, and you need to be sure of the ingredients added to the butter to see if they will be fine to freeze again.

Whipped Butter

Whipped butter has more air beaten into it, so it has more volume, it is softer, and spreads easily on to bread. It is not suited for baking for recipes that require plain butter. Whipped butter can be frozen and thawed, but it will lose some of its airiness and not be as light as what it was when fresh.

This will only become worse when it is refrozen and thawed again, with the whipped butter becoming thicker and less creamy over time. It is fine to refreeze, but this will ruin the integrity of the whipped butter overall.


Ghee is clarified butter that originated in South Asia. The butter is melted till the point where the milk solids become separated and settle to the bottom where they brown. The butter is left to simmer until the water evaporates, leaving it with a longer shelf life and higher smoke point.

Because of this, ghee (like this one I found on Amazon) has a longer shelf life than most kinds of butter. It is fine to freeze and refreeze ghee, but there is no point, as pure ghee without any additives can stay good for around 12 months. Freezing it once and refreezing it is not necessary if you are going to use it within a year.

How to Keep Butter Fresh

Butter is always best when enjoyed fresh, but keeping butter fresh is not as easy as many would think it to be!

fresh butter

Here are some simple tips on how to keep butter fresh, for the best taste and quality.

  • Refrigerate butter immediately after purchase, and store it on the refrigerator shelves.
  • If you store the butter unwrapped in the butter compartment in your refrigerator, it should be used within a few short days. If you will not finish it within this time, only place the amount of butter you will need to cover a few days of use.
  • If the butter is left at room temperature for too long, it can develop a rancid taste.
  • Butter keeps best when it is left in its original wrapper. The foil wrapped around the butter helps to prevent spoiling that comes with exposure to air and light and helps protect the butter from aromas and flavors from other surrounding foods.
  • If left unwrapped, both salted and unsalted butter will keep in the fridge for at least 8 weeks. Salted butter can last an additional 4 weeks, as the salt acts as a preservative. However, it is safest to use the butter within 3 weeks of opening.
  • Frozen butter should be thawed for 6 to 7 hours in the refrigerator, or for 3 to 4 hours at room temperature. 
  • Only bring out as much as you will be using for a meal, and return it straight to the refrigerator when not in use.

Freezing Other Dairy Products

Sometimes you can pick up some fantastic dairy deals at your local supermarket and may be confused as to whether or not certain dairy products can be frozen and left for later use.

Here is a list of different dairy products, and whether or not they are safe to freeze.

Cheese – Most cheese is fine to be frozen, but it is important to note that freezing can affect the texture of the cheese. Cheese blocks can become crumbly and dry when frozen and then thawed, so it is a good idea to grate the cheese before it is frozen.

If kept in a freezer bag, cheese can be kept in the freezer for up to 2 months. Cheese should be thawed in the refrigerator overnight.

Milk – Regular milk and buttermilk can be frozen for up to 2 months, and should be thawed in the refrigerator. Both milk and buttermilk can separate after thawing, so you might need to beat the milk or shake it to mix it all again. Frozen and thawed milk is good to use in cooked dishes.

Cream – Whether or not you freeze cream will depend on how you plan to use it. The cream does separate once it has been thawed and needs to be whisked to be reincorporated. Whipping cream which has thawed after being frozen will not whip to the same volume as it would fresh, so thawed cream is better used in baking casseroles. You can also use whipped cream frozen in mounds to top various desserts.

Sour Cream – Do not freeze sour cream. It will become grainy and will separate when thawed.

Yogurt – Yogurt is not great to freeze if it is going to be thawed. It will become grainy and also separate. However, frozen yogurt pops are great to eat as a summer snack.

Cream cheese – Full-fat cream cheese can be frozen, but it does vary with results and may have a different texture. It should be used quickly after being thawed, and you should not freeze low-fat cream cheese.

Saving Your Butter from Freezer Odors

One of the downfalls of freezing and refreezing butter is that it might pick up some unsavory odors of other food items when in the freezer. Butter has a tendency to steal away any flavors or odors of foods stored around it, even when frozen, and this can completely ruin the taste of the butter when it is time to be used. 

There is a way to avoid this though. The best and most surefire way is to use up the frozen butter before it has time to absorb some aromas from around it, meaning your frozen butter will need to be consumed within a few weeks. Although if you are looking for a longer storage solution, this isn’t always the best option.

If you want to odor-proof your butter, there are a few options to choose from, You can wrap your butter in heavy-duty aluminum foil, or wrap it in multiple strong layers of plastic wrap.

You can then slip the aluminum or plastic-wrapped butter into a freezer bag as extra insurance, and try to remove as much air from the freezer bag as possible before freezing.

If you have a vacuum sealer, even better, it will reduce the risk of any smells contaminating your delicious butter. Anything that is thick and completely covers the butter should do the trick to keep odors and flavors out.

Surprising Foods Which Are Safe to Freeze

Don’t stop with just butter – stock up on as many good deals as you can and freeze some extra food to extend your budget, and to make meals a little bit easier to put together.

frozen herbs

Here are some surprising foods that are freezable.

Herbs – If your herb garden is growing too fast, or you will not be able to use up all the fresh herbs you have bought from the store, you can simply pop them into the freezer.

The best way to do this is to place the herbs, whether it be rosemary, parsley, sage or thyme, into an ice cube tray and cover with water. This can be plopped directly into stews, soups or sauces. You could also freeze the herbs in tomato paste or olive oil instead of water.

Garlic – Before your garlic starts sprouting, you should peel the cloves and mince them through a garlic press, add the minced garlic into a bowl and pour in some neutral-flavored oil, then place a teaspoon heap onto a baking sheet.

Place the baking sheet into the freezer, and once the garlic-oil mixture is firm, you can place the pieces into a freezer bag and pop them into stews and soups when needed. The garlic will keep for up to a month without losing flavor.

Fresh pasta – Surprisingly enough, fresh pasta can be frozen well. Freeze a sheet pan full of raw pasta for around 20 minutes until the pasta is firm, and then place the pasta into a freezer bag. The pasta will keep its integrity and taste for up to a month in the freezer.

Raw egg whites – Raw egg whites are fine to freeze, but do not freeze cooked egg whites. Pour the egg whites into an ice cube tray and freeze as-is. Remove the ice-cubed egg whites the day before use and thaw them in the refrigerator overnight.

Refreezing Butter

Freezing butter is fine, and the butter can last in the freezer for a good few months. However, if you thaw out your butter and realize you might have to refreeze it again, be sure to watch out how you handle the butter.

Try and keep it away from any contaminants and keep it as cool as possible. Wrap it up in a protective layer to be frozen, and place it in a freezer bag just to be sure.

While you can get away with refreezing butter after an initial freeze, you should avoid freezing it a third time, it will lose so much of its quality and taste.

Related Questions

How Long Can You Freeze Butter?

Salted butter can be frozen for up to 12 months, while unsalted butter can be kept in the freezer for 6 months. Ensure that the butter is wrapped in its original wrapping, heavy-duty aluminum foil or inside a heavy-duty freezer bag to ensure it remains as separate from other foods as possible, and to try and stop freezer burn from ruining the integrity of the butter.

Can Frozen Butter Go Bad?

Once thawed, if the butter is left at room temperature for too long, the oils in the butter can become rancid. It is best to freeze butter in smaller quantities to ensure that you only use a small amount at a time, and will not have to refreeze whatever butter you do not use.

How Can You Tell if Butter Has Gone Bad?

It is fairly easy to tell if butter is fine or not. If the butter has a discoloration, a sour smell or a sour taste, you should discard it. Once thawed, refrozen and then thawed again, the butter can quickly harbor harmful bacteria, and any signs of the butter being off should be taken seriously. Rather use smaller quantities and leave the bulk of the butter in the freezer for further use.

Does Real Butter Need to Be Refrigerated?

Kept at room temperature in an airtight container, real butter can stay good for around 2 weeks. If the room temperature rises past 70 degrees Fahrenheit, the butter should be put into the refrigerator. Unsalted butter is best kept in the refrigerator, so be sure to know which butter you are dealing with to better understand handling and storage.

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