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Giving butter its own designated tray will help regulate the temperature, allowing you to spread seamlessly on a bagel or toast without ripping the bread to shreds or, worse yet, fumbling a rock-hard pat (or the whole stick) onto the floor. Beyond keeping it creamy, it also shields your butter from light, air, and bacteria that may cause spoilage outside the fridge. Some people may be wondering, "Well, is butter even safe at room temperature?" According to the USDA, it is, but you can keep a butter dish in the fridge if you want, too.
So, without further ado, the best butter trays.
Best Overall: Le Creuset Heritage Butter Dish
Most butter dishes function the same way: They provide a clean and fuss-free storage spot for, well, your butter. That said, the best butter dishes do have a few functional features others don’t, namely they are made with sturdy material that can keep butter colder and fresher for longer.
This butter dish by Le Creuset is a favorite among consumers because it marries that functionality with an attractive aesthetic. The stoneware construction comes in a range of pretty hues but works to keep butter chilled—even on an outdoor table. Reviewers love the look, citing that it's appropriate for storing in the refrigerator but attractive enough to keep on the countertop for long periods of time.
It’s a practical pick, too. Despite the high-quality and fanciful material, this butter dish is perfectly dishwasher safe.
Best Budget: OXO Good Grips Butter Dish
There’s nothing that stands out aesthetically about this butter dish, but that’s not the major draw. Instead, reviewers are drawn to this particular butter dish because of the price point. Despite being more affordable than most other options, it’s highly functional.
This particular butter dish, which is made of BPA-free plastic, has a nonslip grip bottom to prevent the butter from sliding around while slicing or in storage, convenient tablespoon measurement markings so there’s no guesswork involved in food prep, and a clear lid that rests on grooves to prevent it from sliding off during transport.
More than 10,000 reviewers give the butter dish a collective 4.7 stars, citing the high-performance construction, lightweight feel, and ease of cleaning as standout features.
Best Everyday: Pillivuyt Large Covered Butter Dish with Cover
If you’re the type that keeps the butter dish out on the counter for long periods of time, it’s worth considering a plain white ceramic butter dish. This is a good option because its design doesn’t allow prying eyes to see inside the vessel. This is ideal for the end of the butter stick when things inevitably look a bit messy.
Though plain enough to be appropriate for everyday use in a wide range of kitchens with a wide range of aesthetics, the porcelain butter dish does have some visual interest. It’s also more functional than a lot of the basic options, thanks to a handle and raised base that prevents the butter from sliding during transport. Like many other options, this one is also dishwasher safe.
Best Special Occasion: Godinger Dublin Mini Butter Parfait Dish
Don’t let the price tag fool you. Despite the low sticker, this set of crystal butter dishes make a great addition to any formal holiday special occasion table, like Thanksgiving or Christmas. The elegant design is timeless, so you’ll never have to worry about it going out of style. What’s more? It’s an easy match for the rest of your china and crystal. Plus, if you’re still building your stash, the company has a variety of matching pieces to add to your set.
Though small, it’s a nice choice for a family meal. Place a hefty patty of butter in each dish, then place one at each end of the table. This gives each person easy access to the butter.
Best Crock: Butter Bell The Original Butter Bell Crock
A butter crock—also known as a butter bell or a butter keeper—is just another type of butter dish. It’s a choice with French origins that’s still widely used in Europe. Its claim to fame? Butter crocks are said to keep butter fresher for longer, thanks to an airtight seal.
The downside? It takes a little bit of effort to set up your butter crock. Instead of simply plopping the stick of butter on a dish, you have to let the butter soften, then cube it, and smoosh it down into the lid of the butter crock. Once that has been filled, you fill the opposite base with cold water to help create that airtight seal.
Most choose to store their butter crock on the countertop, but you can refrigerate it if you prefer. Either way, just be sure to change out the water every few days to prevent bacteria growth.
Most Durable: Rubbermaid Standard Butter Dish
If you’re okay with a totally no-frills option, this butter dish may be for you. It’s a particularly good choice for families with young kids who like to help in the kitchen since it’s virtually indestructible. The dish and lid are both constructed of durable, thick plastic. This makes it lightweight and easy portability, even for little hands. It also means it won’t crack or shatter if dropped. Another bonus? Because of this construction, it’s also a great choice for backyard barbecues and picnics at the park.
It’s not pretty, but that doesn’t stop more than 2,000 reviewers from giving it a collective 4.7 stars. They say it earns top marks because it keeps butter fresh, is easy to clean (it's dishwasher safe), and is of great value.
The Le Creuset Heritage Butter Dish (view at Wayfair) is our favorite due to its versatile nature. Not only does it add a bit of color to your kitchen, but also it's perfect for keeping butter at the perfect temperature both indoors and outdoors. However, if your main concern is durability, check out the Rubbermaid Standard Butter Dish (view at Amazon).
What to Look for When Buying a Butter Dish
Butter dishes come in many different materials such as porcelain, glass, and plastic. Each of these is perfect for many different lifestyles. If you're not worried about anyone possibly breaking your dish, then you can venture out into whatever material you think best suits your kitchen. However, if you have kids or other hazards it may be best to opt for one made of a more durable material to prevent any messy mishaps.
How does your kitchen clean-up routine look? If you don't mind washing things by hand then you don't necessarily need to worry about a butter dish's wash instructions. However, if you lead a more on-the-go lifestyle, make sure to find one that's dishwasher safe for easy cleanup.
Lastly, consider the size of a butter dish. There are many different types of butter out there, so it's important to find a butter dish that will not only fit your butter but also keep it from sliding around when it's in transport.