The Best Butter Dishes, Recommended by the Pros

Keep your butter at the best temperature for spreading with these dishes, including our favorite: the Le Creuset Stoneware European Butter Dish.

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Best Butter Dishes
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Butter dishes are the unsung heroes of your kitchen. They allow you to keep butter fresh on the countertop, so it's easy to spread, and they protect your butter from soaking up all the flavors in your fridge. "If you have one of those pre-minced garlic jars in your fridge, you better wrap that butter up, or it's going to taste really weird over time," says Liliana Myers, pastry chef of Safta in Denver, Colorado. "Butter, along with any dairy, will absorb the odors of things in close proximity."

So what should you look for when buying a butter dish? "You want something that has an airtight seal to protect your butter and is made of durable, dishwasher-safe materials, as you will need to clean it semi-regularly," says Charles Duque, managing director of the Americas for The French Dairy Board. Below, we've rounded up the best butter dishes, including our top pick the Le Creuset Stoneware European Butter Dish, that will add flair to your table while keeping your butter ready to use.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Le Creuset Stoneware European Butter Dish

Best Butter Dishes
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Also available at Le Creuset and Sur La Table.

Pros: It's roomy, well-constructed, and microwave- and oven-safe.

Cons: It's more expensive than most models on the market.

Famous for its durability, the signature stoneware from French cookware brand Le Creuset stands the test of time, which is why this butter dish is our best overall pick and a favorite among professionals. It's microwave-, oven-, and freezer-safe, so your butter can reach a wide range of temperatures. Suitable for two sticks of butter, the roomy dish comes in handy when having guests over for brunch. The enamel finish resists stains and scratches and is nearly nonstick, so even if you prefer compound butter, it easily wipes clean. Though this butter dish is dishwasher-safe, if it becomes stained, the manufacturer recommends soaking it in warm soapy water first.

  • Dimensions: 6.75 x 5 x 3.5 inches
  • Material: Stoneware
  • Dishwasher-Safe: Yes

Best Chef Favorite: Sweese Butter Dish with Lid

Best Butter Dishes
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Also available at Wayfair.

Pros: It's very stable when cutting butter and comes in several different colors to match your kitchen's style.

Cons: It's fairly heavy, so it might not be the best fit for families with young children.

If you want to bring the feel of a cozy diner to your kitchen, consider this butter dish. It's made of sturdy professional-grade porcelain, so wear and tear won't be an issue. It also has thicker walls than other porcelain butter dishes, so you can keep this dish and your butter in the fridge without worrying that the butter will completely harden. You can also safely pop it into the microwave for a few seconds to soften the butter if needed. This butter has very clever details, including the knob for easy removal and the small ridge on the dish that keeps the butter perfectly centered while keeping out dust.

  • Dimensions: 7.8 x 4.1 x 4.8 inches
  • Material: Porcelain
  • Dishwasher-Safe: Yes

Best Crock: Butter Bell The Original Butter Bell Crock

Best Butter Dishes
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Also available at Wayfair.

Pros: This French-style crock keeps butter fresh and spreadable for longer than some other models.

Cons: It's not the best choice for those who don't use butter often, since it requires more maintenance than others.

If you're a self-proclaimed butter connoisseur, you might want to go beyond the butter dish and straight to a classic French crock shape instead. It even has lovely detailing like butter in English on one side and in French on the other. If you make your own butter, it actually might last longer in this crock than a typical butter dish.

Also known as a butter bell, it relies on water in the actual dish to keep the butter cool. In a nutshell, you add water to the base of the crock to keep the butter cool. Then you scrape a stick of butter into the top bell-shaped section of the container. The unit seals when you close both sections together, keeping the butter fresher for longer. Tip: You might want to change the water a few times a week for optimal freshness.

It's worth noting that this butter dish comes with a learning curve, so if you want something simple, this is probably not the best option for you. Also, you'll want to wash it after every use to keep mold from forming, but luckily, it's dishwasher-safe.

  • Dimensions: 3.94 x 3.94 x 4.13 inches
  • Material: Stoneware
  • Dishwasher-Safe: Yes

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Best Plastic: OXO Good Grips Butter Dish

Best Butter Dishes
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Also available at Bed, Bath, & Beyond, Target, and OXO.

Pros: It has stoppers on either side of the dish to keep it stable while cutting and can be used with short or long butter sticks.

Cons: It's not heat-safe, so you can't keep it near your stove or toaster.

Whenever you buy something from OXO, you know the company's engineers have figured out how to make the best and most affordable version possible. This dish has clear measurement markings, so you can easily cut the right amount of tablespoons depending on your recipe. Plus, there are stoppers on both sides of the base, so the butter stays in place while cutting. Another excellent detail is that this butter dish works well with long, short, slim, and thick sticks of butter. In all, this is pretty enough to bring to the table and functional enough to be incredibly useful. Just make sure you store it away from the stove or toaster, as the plastic is not safe near high heat.

  • Dimensions: 7.8 x 3.1 x 2.1 inches
  • Material: Plastic
  • Dishwasher-Safe: Yes

Best Value: Rubbermaid Standard Butter Dish

Best Butter Dishes
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Also available at Walmart and Ace Hardware.

Pros: It's affordable, easy to see the inside contents, and it shuts securely to keep butter fresh.

Cons: This isn't the most attractive option for entertaining guests.

If you prefer functionality over form, this is the dish for you. It's about as basic as butter dishes come: A clear plastic rectangular lid that snaps securely atop a red base. It gets the job done, preventing the butter from smelling or tasting like other foods in the refrigerator and making it spreadable, but it's not necessarily the butter dish you'd want on the table for formal dinners.

If you love kitschy retro trends, this will make you very happy. And if you don't want an investment piece but rather something to store butter in, you won't be disappointed. Remember to peel off the wrapper from around the stick of butter before placing it in the butter dish, and for best results, keep it in the refrigerator until about an hour before you need the butter soft.

  • Dimensions: 7.79 x 2.09 x 3.06 inches
  • Material: Plastic
  • Dishwasher-Safe: Yes

Best Large: Dowan Ceramic Butter Dish

Best Butter Dishes
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Pros: It holds up to three sticks of butter and has a silicone seal that keeps out air and light.

Cons: If you don't use a lot of butter, this butter dish might be too big for your needs.

This oversized butter dish can hold eight ounces of butter, two four-ounce sticks of butter, or one great European-style slab. It's designed to be used for multiple purposes, so while you can use it for butter, you can also store candy or cookies inside or even use it to serve side dishes like potatoes and roasted vegetables. The silicone seal keeps butter fresh, but before closing the lid, you should check that the gasket (the actual part that seals) is on correctly. Overall, this dish has room for multiple sticks of butter and keeps them at the perfect temperature for spreading on toast or baking.

  • Dimensions: 7.8 x 4.1 x 4.8 inches
  • Material: Porcelain with a wood cover
  • Dishwasher-Safe: Yes (hand-wash the lid)

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Factors to Consider

Material

You'll have to decide whether it's important for you to see how much butter is left or not. "I like one with a clear top, so I can see how much butter is left," says Francoise Vielot, OXO's Senior Global Category Director. You should also keep in mind whether you want your butter dish to be more decorative or a serious tool that keeps butter fresh. Many butter dishes come in stoneware or porcelain, which naturally keeps butter fresher for longer. While steel dishes might look great, they heat up faster, resulting in melty butter.

Size

How much butter does your family consume? If you eat it daily, you should look for a larger dish. You should also keep in mind that sticks of butter come in different sizes depending on which part of the country you're in. So first check standard butter stick sizes at your grocery and then buy a butter dish that fits.

Ease of cleaning

Let's face it: Butter is oily and seems impossible to remove every last trace when it settles. Many butter dishes come with a slick glaze, making them much easier to clean. That said, if you prefer a two-piece butter dish or one with wood components, you might not be able to pop it in the dishwasher.

Pro Q+A

What is the purpose of a butter dish?

For some people, a butter dish is purely decorative, and for others, it helps keep their butter spreadable, easy to transport to and from the kitchen table, and prevents the butter from absorbing food odors in the refrigerator.

How long does butter last in a butter dish?

There's no definitive answer for this one. Most experts say butter can last on the counter in a butter dish for up to a week and longer in the refrigerator. But at some point, it might start to change color or texture or pick up other food tastes despite your best efforts. "Salted butter can be kept at room temperature so that you can enjoy its full flavor at the moment of using it," Duque says. "Unsalted butter should be kept in refrigeration until use and consumed as quickly as possible. Unsalted butter can be frozen for up to five months and salted up to nine months."

What is a butter bell dish?

A butter bell dish is a butter dish with a twist. This two-part butter dish uses water in the bottom section to keep the butter cool. A stick of butter is then scooped into the bell-shaped interior of the top section for an almost-whipped effect. There's a small learning curve to using these, but once you figure it out, it's easy.

Our Expertise

Former bakery owner Rachel Weingarten determined the best butter dishes based on her hands-on experience with a variety of models and her expert knowledge of baking and kitchen accessories. She also consulted with other professional bakers and experts in the industry to help name our winners.

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