want it now: the butter bell

butterbell
I like to make grilled cheese sandwiches. A LOT. And it really helps to have nice, soft, spreadable butter to smear on your bread before grilling. I’ve been really coveting one of these ingenious Butter Bell crocks to keep my sticks spreadin’ easy. Here’s how it works: flip the lid up to reveal the bell, and fill with a stick of semi-soft butter. Fill the crock with cold water, and pop the lid on. The water forms a seal that protects the flavor and freshness of the butter while keeping it at the optimum temperature for slathering on toast. There are designs for just about every decor, but I like the simple, retro crock (of course) in matte black. At $19.95, it’s an affordable risk, but I’m wondering if it works as great as I’ve read. Have you tried it? — Megan B.

From our partners
Carol

I have one and cannot imagining NOT owning one now! Butter is perfect and does not oxidize… my mom loved it and I had to get her one for Christmas. Nothing worse than tearing bread with rock hard butter. Worth every penny.

katie

we have a butter bell and for the most part it works pretty well… most of the time. you have to live in an area that doesn’t get too warm or it won’t work well at all. we found it to be a nice alternative to just having a stick of butter sitting out on a plate (which our cat likes to eat).

Erin N.

I like the idea of this, but it seems like wet butter might be really gross. am I missing something?

Erin

We have one and it certainly makes grilled cheeses much easier. You should change the water daily, which I consistently forget to do, but that will keep the butter fresh longer. In the summer it gets rancid quicker and in the winter it’s often so cold in my drafty old house that the butter is still pretty hard, but I still love the convenience.

Nora

I have one and love it. Even through 100+-degree summer days, as long as I change the water every couple of days, the butter stays perfect. the best $20 i’ve spent on a kitchen gadget.

ellie

I haven’t used mine in a while. Same problems summer and winter as Erin.
Instead I had Land O’Lakes spreadable butter somewhere and that solves my grilled cheese/garlic bread/toast butter issues. I have never condoned any sort of not butter product in my life but that stuff is delicious.

I’m sure I did something wrong, but my butter got moldy.

Lynn

I love my Butter Bell. I live in WI, so we don’t use it in winter because the butter is still just as hard. However, it is perfect for the rest of the year. I change the water every 3-4 days and I have never had the butter go rancid.

We have one that we haul out when our inlaws visit.
It works well and keeps the butter nicely spreadable.
The only downside we have ever encountered is that on really, really warm days the inverted butter can slide out into the water. This seemed more prevalent when there was less butter in the bowl.

I actually hosted a giveaway a few months ago & reviewed the butterbell. I have to say, we’re still impressed with how well it keeps our butter! Although, in these cold temperatures, it’s only slightly more spreadable than straight from the fridge… http://turtlestostart.blogspot.com/2010/11/back-with-crock-giveaway.html

S'mee

I have a butter bell and it works -as others have stated- only when temperatures are right. I live in the Mojave desert and our temps go from low 30-115. If it’s too low, the butter is still hard, too high and its a floating island of butter.

kara

pure awesomeness – I have purchased one for most of my family members as well!

I’m a butter fiend and nothing makes me happier in the morning than a big glob of it spread on warm toast. We have had a butter bell for the last 6 years, and I can’t imagine breakfast without it. We change the water every 2-3 days, and have never had a problem with butter going bad – not that it lasts long around here anyway. However, if you are a household that takes a couple of weeks to go through a single stick of butter, then it might not work for you.

DiablaRoja

I used mine once. The butter got rancid and moldy (!) in no time flat. I’m sure there was some other contaminant there (like my husband using a knife he had already put in something else), but it grossed me out enough not to use it again.

ang

we have been using ours for a couple of years and love it…

Sarah L.

Hmmmm. It comes in a junior size that holds half the amount. That I might try, although I fear the kids would snack on butter.

Claudia

I live in Southern CA and I simply leave my butter out on the counter in a butter dish. I have never gotten sick off of butter, and I have done this since I was a kid (30+ years ago). I don’t really see the need for a special ceramic object other than a butter dish. Should say, too, that I have kept butter for 2 weeks like this with no adverse effects.

Amanda

We love ours. Changing the water is a must. Making sure you get out any crumbs from your husband spreading butter on toast then sticking the knife in for more butter is a must (main cause of mold for us).

I also found occasionally wiping out the base (not the bell) with a clean paper towel before adding fresh water keeps any butter residue on the sides down, and prevents mold.

To the commenter regarding wet butter – not really. There are a few water drops on the surface, but not much – I guess the fat repels it.

We, too, have butter eating cats, so just keeping the butter dish out won’t work for us, and the seal from the water does make the butter last longer than just keeping it on the counter.

Margi

I have to say, I don’t understand the big whoppdidoo about this butter bell. I grew up in southern Idaho (high mountain desert, certainly warm in the summer) and now live in western Washington and have always had a stick of butter in a covered butter dish out on the counter. It’s never gone rancid. And, it’s unsalted butter too. The water in the butter bell freaks me out, but I am oogy about standing water.

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I’ve been shopping for a butter bell for awhile now. There are some pretty ones on etsy, but nothing that quite suites my fancy. This matte finish might be the winner!

Susan

I have one. Mine works fine as long as I don’t keep it by the stove in my small, hot kitchen (floating butter island). It works fine if I leave it on the table.

Myra T.

I have had a butter crock for several years, although not a Butter Bell brand…but it’s very very similar.

I live in a cool weather area so can’t speak of whether or not a butter crock would not function well in hot weather. But…we have some warm days occasionally and I don’t recall a problem with my butter. Also, during cool weather days…even in winter when temps outside can be in the 30’s…the butter is a nice perfectly soft consistency…most people do not have their indoor temp in the 30’s…we do have central heat on during those times…usually 68 degrees and the butter is yummy soft.

Never had a mold problem…may be prevented from changing the water every two days…and using cold water from the fridge…which is colder than tap water in the summer.

Also, I am the only one using out of the butter crock…so I know that crumbs are not introduced into the butter…and that there is no double dipping.

It would freak me out if someone took a bite of toast or other food then dipped into the butter to spread again on their food after having taken a bite out of it…but such a practice would be just as yucky to me if done with a regular butter dish…after which the butter may not appear moldy…but it would still have bacteria on it. Also, the same knife used to dip out some butter that was used to cut food…would certainly introduce a problem even with a regular butter dish.

For the butter to “stay” in the bell properly…real butter…not margarine has to be used. To put a fresh stick of butter in the bell…the crock should be well washed, cool, and the bell should be completely dry. The butter has to be partially soft to pack it in the bell…not squishy soft but not hard. Pack it in with a spoon trying to prevent air pockets as much as possible.

As the butter is used and its level goes down…try to keep the butter level…smoothing it out as its used. At routine water changes add an extra amount of cold water as the butter amount decreases in the bell.

I’ve read elsewhere that it helps to add a dash of salt to the water in the base of the crock. I can’t say that actually helps because I’ve not had a mold problem with my butter but those writing about it said it did prevent mold.

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