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8 Best Butter Crocks, According to Expert Testing
An essential tool for every butter lover.
A butter crock (a.k.a. butter bell or butter keeper) is a two-piece butter storage container that lives on your kitchen countertop. Fresh butter is stored in the top piece known as the bell, and water is stored in the base or the crock. The major difference between a butter dish and a butter crock is that a butter crock uses water to seal off the bottom of the butter from the air, keeping it fresh for longer than butter exposed in a butter dish. While a butter dish needs to be kept in the refrigerator, a butter crock can be kept at room temperature on your countertop for up to a month. That means you can have soft, spreadable butter at the ready for smearing onto jammy egg toast, spreading on charred corn on the cob or swirling on top of blender pancakes. It's a game-changer!
In the Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliances and Innovation Lab, we tested eight butter crocks side-by-side to see how they compared. We filled each butter crock with each brand's suggested amount of softened salted butter and water and conducted weekly testing for a month. Butter crocks were evaluated based on ease of use and quality of butter throughout the month. We used 40 ounces of butter, logged 32 temperature readings and water was refreshed four times per butter crock to determine the best butter crocks of 2022.
Our top picks:
1Best Overall Butter CrockStoneware Butter Crock Le Creuset Read More
2Best Value Butter CrockGlazed Stoneware Butter Keeper Norpro Read More
3Easiest to Use Butter CrockButter Keeper Crock DOWAN Read More
4Best Marble Butter CrockFrench Kitchen Marble Butter Keeper Crate and Barrel Read More
5Best Butter Crock for Butter LoversButter Keeper King Arthur Baking Read More
You can read more about how we tested butter crocks in our Lab — plus everything you need to know to shop for your perfect butter crock — at the end of this guide. Looking for more food storage solutions? Check out our guides to the best food storage containers, food vacuum sealers and adult lunch boxes.
|Dimensions||4 x 4 x 4.5 Inches|
|Dimensions||4 x 3.5 x 3.5 Inches|
|Dimensions||3.5 x 3.5 x 4 Inches|
|Dimensions||4 x 4 x 4.25 Inches|
|Dimensions||3¾ x 3¾ x 3½ Inches|
|Dimensions||3.5 x 3.5 x 3.5 Inches|
|Dimensions||4 x 4 x 3.9 Inches|
|Dimensions||3.5 x 3.5 x 4.25 inches|
We tested eight butter crocks side-by-side in the Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliances and Innovation Lab to find the best butter crocks. We filled butter crocks with the manufacturer's recommended amount of butter and water and used standardized testing procedures to see how they stood out among the rest.
To set up a butter crock you have to fill the bell attached to the lid with room-temperature butter. We let salted butter get to room temperature for an hour and a half until softened. We used salted butter to mimic what most people would use for spreading onto toast. Salted butter also has a longer shelf life than unsalted butter since salt helps inhibit bacterial growth. Once the butter was softened, we filled up the bell and smoothed out the surface so that there were no gaps or holes. We filled the lower piece with water using a liquid measuring cup. Most butter crocks fit 1/2 cup of butter and a 1/2 cup of water.
To test butter crocks we stored them on a countertop for a month under the same external conditions. Once a week, the temperature of each butter crock was taken and a tablespoon of butter was removed to mimic use. Each tablespoon of butter was evaluated for color, texture and flavor. The water was refreshed and the butter was smoothed out so there were no holes.
We discovered that the butter got saltier in flavor, tasted sweeter and mellowed in flavor over the course of the month — like you might experience with an aged dairy product.
✔️ Material: A good butter crock needs to keep the butter cool and not expose butter to air or light.
- Coated ceramic: This is the most common material used for butter crocks as it is designed to keep the butter cool and protected from any exterior light because of its opacity. Coated ceramic is easy to clean thanks to the nonporous glaze. This material could break if dropped by buttery hands.
- Marble: This durable material keeps butter cool and would be hard to break if dropped accidentally. Due to its porous nature, it does hold onto scents like scented dish soap and cannot be washed in the dishwasher.
Glass: We do not recommend glass for your butter crock because of its translucent nature which would expose the butter to light. While most glass butter crocks on the market look beautiful on your countertop, they wouldn't store butter for as long as you might like and could shatter easily with buttery hands.
✔️ Capacity: The majority of butter crocks fit a standard stick of butter (4 ounces or 1/2 cup) which is convenient. If you have a larger family or just love having more butter on hand there are crocks that fit up to two sticks of butter. The largest capacity on our list fits 7 ounces of butter.
✔️ Handle: While not all butter crocks feature a handle, it is a nice feature to look for to easily maneuver the butter crock.
✔️ Shape of the bell: While most butter crocks feature a rounded bell for storing butter, we did notice there were other designs as well. With the rounded shape it's easy to scoop butter out and clean all crevices. Butter crocks with a long narrow bell are harder to scoop butter out of and there are lots of crevices where butter could get stuck in. The butter crocks with a deep bell and harder to use and clean, but provide additional protection from the air.
✔️ Fill line: The majority of butter crocks do not have a water fill line, but it's a nice-to-have feature for ease of filling with water. This eliminates having to pull out a liquid measuring cup or accidental overfilling.
✔️ Ease of cleaning: Hand washing a greasy butter crock can be a time-consuming and slippery task. Not all butter crocks are dishwasher-safe, but many are.
The water at the bottom of a butter crock acts as a barrier layer, protecting the bottom from the air. Water should be as close to touching the butter as possible to protect it from the air which would cause it to spoil more quickly. Also, ensure that you spread the butter in the bell evenly without any holes to ensure there aren't spots for air to get trapped.
You should replace the butter crock water regularly; anywhere from every three to seven days is recommended for optimal freshness. Keep your butter crock away from bright windows and hot spots in your kitchen, like near your range, as it could heat up the butter inside and melt it. If you follow these tips, you can have soft, spreadable room-temperature butter on your countertop for up to a month.
Eva Bleyer is the reviews analyst in the Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliances and Innovation Lab. She has tested everything from gas ranges to microwaves to kitchen scales to blenders. She graduated from NYU with a bachelor of science in food studies, nutrition and public health and is a trained chef through the Natural Gourmet Institute. Eva conducted the side-by-side testing of butter crocks. She loves having soft, spreadable butter whenever she pleases for homemade banana bread or a fresh boule of sourdough.