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Other Names
French: beurre
Spanish: mantequilla

Facts about butter


What is your type!
    Salted Butter
    Contains 2 per cent salt

    Semi-salted Butter
    Contains 1 per cent salt

    Unsalted or Sweet Butter
    Contains no salt

    Cultured Butter
    Unsalted butter in which a bacterial culture is added to the cream before it is churned. This adds a tangy "old country" flavour.

    Whipped Butter
    Air is whipped into butter to make it softer and easier to spread


Keeping it fresh

  • Salted Butter can be kept at room temperature for two to three days in warm weather, or for up to ten weeks in the refrigerator
  • Unsalted Butter can be kept in the refrigerator for six weeks
  • Butter can be kept in the freezer for up to 6 months, but might lose a bit of its flavour.

Soften it up

  • There are lots of quick ways to soften frozen or refrigerated butter:
  • Cut butter into small pieces, and set it on a plate over a bowl of hot water
  • Beat butter with an electric mixer
  • Roll butter with a rolling pin between two sheets of waxed paper
  • Heat it in the microwave - but keep your eye on it - it doesn't take long
  • Grate frozen blocks of butter to quickly soften
  • Melt butter carefully in a double boiler over medium heat


Part of a healthy diet

  • 1 tbsp of butter has only 33 mg of cholesterol.
  • Butter contains healthy micronutrients:
  • Butter contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Research indicates that CLA in the diet may reduce levels of body fat, and may also act as potential cancer inhibitor

Facts about butter
Butter throughout history!


Butter… A deliciously beloved pleasure as old as time!

The oldest trace of the existence of butter is a limestone tablet from 2,500 B.C. Mesopotamia that portrays the various steps involved in making this foodstuff.

In Antiquity, butter was used during religious celebrations, as well as in medicine to treat skin infections, burns, and eye problems. The Greeks and Romans also used butter to soften their skin and add shine to their hair.

In Northern Europe, in past centuries, butter was also used to prevent kidney and bladder stones.

The ancient Irish, Scottish, Scandinavians, and Finns loved butter so much that they buried their dead with barrels full of it.

Around 1253, Christian missionaries in Siberia drank kumyss, a traditional fermented drink served with generous lumps of butter floating in it.

An ancient English custom is to offer a tub of butter to young married couples to ensure fertility and prosperity.

The Vikings brought butter to the West, where it was long considered a symbol of wealth. Even today, several expressions refer to it:

  • "Butter is gold in the morning" (butter is an essential foodstuff)
  • "Earn your bread and butter" (earn a living)
  • "Fine words butter no parsnips" (actions speak louder than words)

Today in Tibet, the mistress of the house places a bit of yak butter (a bovine living in the region) on the head of guests as a gift to ensure a happy new year.

In Cameroon, the Massa use a mixture of cows' milk, butter, and pigments as body makeup during traditional festivals.

In Europe and North America, butter is mainly made from cows' milk. In Africa and Asia, butter is also made from water buffalo, camel, goat, ewe, mare, and jenny milk.

Facts about butter
Some great tips and hints for enjoying butter even more


Although butter is a simple food, it can perform miracles in your kitchen. Here are a few tips and hints that are sure to make a big difference.

Butter, King of the Kitchen
All great chefs will tell you there is no substitute for butter when cooking meat and fish. And though it fell out of favour for a time as olive oil stormed the scene, butter is making a spectacular comeback at the best restaurants!

The reasons are quite simple:

  • Butter has an incredible ability to brown food.
  • Melted butter in a roasting pan can be used to baste meat during cooking, giving it a unique and delectable flavour.
  • Butter has a flavour that allows it to bring out the taste of basic ingredients required in recipes.
  • Clarified butter is great for cooking and doesn't burn. To make clarified butter, simply melt butter very gently in a pan and remove the milky residue produced on the surface and at the bottom of the pan.

Meat and Butter… Not Just for Cooking
Place a small knob of butter on your steak when ready to serve. As it slowly melts on the meat, butter will give it shine and flavour.

A Little Butter in Sauces Can Work Miracles
Know how to make sauces that go with meat? Here's a cooking tip that will make them even better.

Just before serving, add a knob of butter to your sauce. Emulsify by whipping vigorously. Butter will make your sauce shiny, subtle and creamy.

Roasted Poultry Needs Butter!
Here's a really simple tip for roasted chicken and turkey: Combine softened butter with rosemary, thyme, and parsley. Make small openings on the side of the bird and brush the meat under the skin with the butter. This will give the meat a mouthwatering taste and make the skin crisp. This is a tip you'll savour forever!

Use Butter to Give Soups a Lift
Like making your own soup? First step: always sweat your vegetables (cook over medium heat) with a large knob of butter before adding the liquid. This will bring out all the flavour of the vegetables.

Adding a small knob of butter to a soup before serving also makes it velvety smooth.

Give Side Dish Vegetables a Flavour Boost
Potatoes, beans, and carrots will be zestier if brushed with a blend of melted butter, parsley, fresh mint (really!), and a bit of grated ginger. Let your imagination go wild!

Beurre Manié, a Useful Cooking Shortcut
Butter is not only a great recipe companion, it can also be a very useful cooking assistant !

The sauce you're preparing to serve needs to be a little thicker and smoother? Beurre manié will do the trick. In a small bowl, mix together equal amounts of flour and butter. Thicken your hot sauce by gently whisking in the mixture, and voilà!

Beurre blanc - White butter sauce
Émile Jung, anc. chef propriétaire Au Crocodile, Strasbourg
Clarified Butter: Basic Technique and Recipe
Georges Blanc, restaurant Georges Blanc, France
Escargot Butter
Jacques Lameloise
Paprika, Chive and Caper Butter
Thierry Daraize, Québec
Crêpes Suzette with Orange Butter
Pierre Orsi, Restaurant Poerre Orsi, Lyon, France
Tonka Bean Ice Cream with “Clafoutis“ Cookie and Salted Butter Caramel
Hélène Darroze, Restaurant Hélène Darroze, Paris
Kouing-Aman from Douarnenez, Breton pastry
Jacques Thorel, anc. chef-propriétaire de l'Auberge Bretonne

Photo and collaboration: Dairy Farmers of Canada
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