Why Every Home Cook Should Own a Butter Crock—Plus, Our Favorite Options on the Market Right Now

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farmhouse butter crock bread spread
Photo: Courtesy of The Farmhouse Project

Butter lovers, this is the must-have piece of kitchen equipment for you. Ensure you'll always have soft, spreadable butter on hand with the help of a butter keeper.

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butter in crock with muffins and coffee
Julia Gartland/Food52

If you love to spread butter on bread, on toast, on waffles, and pancakes but find cold, hard butter far less appealing, it's time to get familiar with the French butter crock, also known as the butter keeper. With a butter crock on your countertop, you'll never need to plan ahead to ensure there's softened butter available for that fresh loaf of bread, and you'll never have to worry about the safety of keeping butter on the counter overnight so that it's soft for breakfast.

Not to be confused with a lidded butter dish for storing butter in the refrigerator and bringing out at mealtimes, the butter crock goes one step further. It was invented sometime long before refrigeration to keep butter fresh and spreadable. The French claim to be the originators of this butter crock or butter keeper, and that's why you'll find French butter crocks for sale; it doesn't mean the crock was made in France but merely indicates it will keep butter soft—not melted—and fresh on the countertop.

The style of crock we know today likely appeared in the 19th century. It's a two-part design with a base that holds an inch or two of water and a bell-shaped or circular cup that holds the butter. When the cup is placed over the water-filled base it creates a seal. The lid of a butter crock is always tight fitting and this, together with the water, is what keeps the butter fresh. Best of all, there's no need to refrigerate—a butter crock is designed to live on the counter.

The water in the crock will need to be changed around every three days, and the butter in the crock will stay fresh much longer than it's actually likely to last (around a month) because you'll be busily spreading slices of toast and the butter is likely to go fast. The one caveat is that you need to keep an eye on your room's temperature. Your butter crock should be kept in a room where the temperature is below 80°F, and it's important that you make sure to change the water regularly.

Luckily, that maintenance is simple enough, which means you can enjoy the pleasure of soft, spreadable butter whenever you need it.

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Extra-Large Glass Butter Keeper

Glass butter keeper
Ty Mecham/Food52

Many butter crocks hold four ounces, but this glass butter keeper is larger and holds eight ounces (or two sticks) of softened butter. Not only does it mean more butter is always available to you, but it also makes it easy to see how much is left at a glance.

Shop Now: Food52 Extra-Large Glass Butter Keeper, $34, food52.com.

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Truly French Butter Pot

golden-hued butter pot
Courtesy of Emile Henry

From Burgundy, France, this ceramic beurrier is made by a family-owned company that has been producing cookware for over 150 years. It is available in eight colors and is dishwasher safe. As a testament to its durability, it comes with a 10-year guarantee.

Shop Now: Emile Henry Butter Pot, $54.95, surlatable.com.

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Marble Butter Keeper

elegant marble butter crock on counter
Courtesy of Crate and Barrel

Cool and elegant, this marble butter keeper holds eight ounces of butter. It's a bit more delicate than other options, so you'll need to wash it by hand.

Shop Now: Crate & Barrel French Kitchen Marble Butter Keeper, $34.95, crateandbarrel.com.

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Made-to-Order French Butter Crock

blue black pottery butter crock
Courtesy of Jolynn Hook Pottery

Made to order by a ceramicist in Idaho, this beautiful stoneware crock comes in a variety of colors and glazes, including the blue option shown here.

Shop Now: Jolynn Hook Pottery French Butter Crock, $52, etsy.com.

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Handmade French Butter Crock

farmhouse butter crock bread spread
Courtesy of The Farmhouse Project

Handmade in upstate New York, this crock has a smooth white glaze on the inside, but the exterior is made from raw, unglazed stoneware. Each piece is wheel-thrown and will have slight variations in shape, size, and color.

Shop Now: The Farmhouse Project French Butter Crock, $50, thefarmhouseproject.com.

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Butter Bell

brown butter bell butter crock on kitchen counter
Courtesy of Wayfair

Sleek and simple, this ceramic butter crock is available in matte black or ivory.

Shop Now: Butter Bell Classic, $28.95, wayfair.com.

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Handmade Butter Keeper

small stone butter crock
Courtesy of M. Bueno

This handmade stoneware crock comes from a small pottery in Olympia, Washington. It's about four inches in diameter and three inches tall, and it can easily hold a stick of butter.

Shop Now: M.Bueno Butter Keeper, $34, etsy.com.

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Mosaic Flower French Butter Dish

blue rose flower patterned polish pottery butter crock
Courtesy of Blue Rose Pottery

The prettiest decorated stoneware crock, this patterned option is made in Poland. It's dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.

Shop Now: Blue Rose Polish Pottery Mosaic Flower French Butter Dish, $84.50, target.com.

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Butter Keeper with Ring Handle

small blue butter crock from Sweese
Courtesy of Sweese

A cheery presence on the counter, this porcelain butter crock holds a little more than one stick of butter and is dishwasher safe.

Shop Now: Sweese Butter Keeper with Ring Handle, from $15.99, amazon.com.

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Basic Butter Crock

white butter crock with blue edges from Norpro
Courtesy of Walmart

A simple glazed stoneware crock that holds up to a stick of butter never goes out of style. This one must be washed by hand, but it's worth the effort.

Shop Now: Norpro White Butter Crock Keeper $12.49, walmart.com.

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