Butter bells — a happy homemaker “must have” spotted at Aunt Mary Anne’s

butter bell crock
When I was staying with Aunt Mary Anne in Kentucky for a bit, I got to know her “mother ways.” You know, the way a woman cooks and cleans and makes a bed and all that. One of the my favorite discoveries was her butter bell — a kind of butter crock or butter keeper that allows you to keep butter fresh outside the refrigerator, so that it’s always spreadable. The twist on this product is that: You pour 1-2″ of cool water into the base at the right… and plug the “bell” full of butter into the base… so, the butter actually in preserved in water in a “crock.” I change out the water regularly, and don’t sit the bell anywhere near the sun…

So, now I am the proud owner of a butter bell of my very own. Which is good, because we Kuebers never met a dairy product we didn’t like.

You can buy all varieties of butter bells and crocks on Amazon, or you can jump over to the “Official Butter Bell” site, where there are lots of choices.


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  1. Gabbie says

    That’s so funny because I just recently re-instated my butter dish too. I find it really helps facilitate my consumption of butter. 😉

  2. Jeanne says

    I use a small pyrex refrigerator dish w/lid for my butter. It’s white with green flowers from the 70s, that matches the mixing bowl and casserole set I still have from my first wedding shower.

  3. says

    I hate cold butter, so I have always stored my butter on a butter dish outside the fridge. It’s sanitary if it stays covered, and it gets eaten long before it spoils. During Portland’s one heat wave each summer, I do put it in the fridge: melted butter is nasty.

  4. Josh says

    I always just put my butter in a little tupperware and leave it by the toaster and don’t even bother with a lid…. it’s kept just fine for all the years I’ve done it.

  5. Elaine says

    I like my glass refrigerator container as well, but hubby and I are at odds. I like it just on the counter, he puts it in the fridge. Note, this man NEVER puts anything else away. I think I will try and sell him on the butter bell ‘experiment.’

  6. CindyD says

    My mother-in-law has never refrigerated her butter. Ever. No butter bell, no pyrex dish. Just keeps in on the counter (out of the sun). Doesn’t seem to have affected any of her children, and a few of them also now keep theirs on the counter too. I’m not that brave and don’t recommend it. Maybe they build immunities or something.

    I love the butter bell. Will be looking for one soon.

    • Uly says

      Cindy, the point of butter is that it allows you to store your milk longer. That’s also why butter is typically salted, so that it lasts longer still.

      Butter will keep about a week without refrigeration. How do you think they did it before refrigeration was invented? (Eggs will also keep quite a while without refrigeration, and are often stored that way until they get to the store.)

  7. Francesca says

    I used to have one of these (also known a French butter dishes) but if you let it go too long without changing the water the effects are rather unpleasant. Now I just leave it on the counter in a covered dish.

  8. Jessie says

    I have had a butter bell for years. I love it, mainly because it’s pretty and red.

    Growing up we just had the butter out on the butter dish, so did everybody else, for the most part. There’s really no hygenic problem keeping it out, but it can go rancid more quickly, but here in Wisconsin, butter never lasts that long anyway. 😉

  9. Alice says

    I have used a butter bell for years also. What keeps the butter from going rancid is that you fill the cup portion with water and then immerse the bell in the water which forms a seal. I’ve never had any problems with the butter going bad, but then we use butter for EVERYTHING! Just say ‘no’ to cold, hard butter.

  10. Michele says

    Lehmans.com has these…also they have lots of old-timey things, that work without or less electricity. They have lots of farmhouse type stuff. I read their newsletter–even print up recipes. But you probably know about them, right?

    • pam kueber says

      Yes, Michelle, I know about Lehman’s, but thanks for the reminder, as I haven’t looked there recently!

  11. TappanTrailerTami says

    How about the “travel” butter bell – so we don’t all have to suffer with hard-as-a-brick butter pats in restaurants since most serve them refrigerated (frozen???) GRRR!!!

    I too, am a leave it in the cupboard in a container type of person – soft butter is the best!

  12. Jason says

    I’m use to it in the fridge and try to set it out ahead of time when needed. I want to get a Tupperware butter dish I think. Another fabulous thing from the mid century that you can get current models off, TUPPERWARE! I just got the hour glass salt and pepper for Christmas, just like Mommom’s! Hard to find anyone who sells it though now a days.

  13. Kyle says

    I had always wanted to leave the butter out, but my girlfriend was super skeptical and swore up and down that it would spoil. We dont eat very much butter, but one day I decided to leave it out (in our crazy daisy butter dish). So about 2 or 3 weeks later I remember that I had left it out and sure enough it looked delicious. I made some toast, smeared some on, took a bite……and turned green! Sure enough, the butter spoiled!! haha And of course said “I told you so!!!”
    So im still pro “leaving the butter out” but maybe just not for that long!

  14. says

    i was so excited about our butter bell…but it was a flop. i really, really wish it worked, but it just doesn’t. i think we are back to our previous method – regular butter dish on the counter 6-9 months of the year, and in the fridge during the summer. as long as the weather is decent, we’ve not had any spoilage problems, but the heat does it in quickly.

    *sigh* the bell is so cute and such a nice idea and i can’t figure out why it doesn’t work for us.

  15. CarolK says

    My mom had one of these butter bells which I gave to my daughter. She bakes fresh bread more than I do and she’ll use it. Mmmm…. fresh bread and butter.

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