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FOOD STORAGE — HOW LONG CAN YOU KEEP...

BUTTER — UNOPENED OR OPENED PACKAGE

RefrigeratorRefrigerator
Blue Arrow Blue Arrow 1 month after "sell by" date on package
Freezer Freezer
Blue Arrow Blue Arrow 6-9 months
Tips
  • How long does butter last? The precise answer depends to a large extent on storage conditions — to maximize the shelf life of butter, keep it refrigerated at all times.
  • To maximize the shelf life of butter, keep refrigerated in airtight containers or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
  • To further maximize the shelf of butter, do not store butter in the molded butter compartment of the refrigerator door, where the temperature is warmer — butter will keep much longer when stored in the main body of the refrigerator.
  • How long does butter last after the sell-by date? Butter will generally last for about one month after the "sell-by" date on the package, assuming it has been continuously refrigerated.
  • How long can butter be left out at room temperature? Butter may be kept at room temperature for 1 to 2 days, but it will begin to spoil rapidly if not refrigerated after that.
  • To further extend the shelf life of butter, freeze it: to freeze butter, wrap tightly in heavy-duty aluminum foil or plastic freezer wrap, or place inside a heavy-duty freezer bag.
  • How long does butter last in the freezer? Frozen salted butter will generally maintain best quality for about 9 months, while unsalted butter will stay at peak quality for about 6 months; in both cases, the butter will remain safe beyond those times.
  • The freezer time shown is for best quality only — butter that has been kept constantly frozen at 0° F will keep safe indefinitely.
  • How to tell if butter is bad or spoiled? The best way is to smell and look at the butter: If butter develops an off odor, flavor or appearance, it should be discarded.

Sources: For details about data sources used for food storage information, please click here.

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