Does Butter Go Bad/Expire?


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Butter is the perfect addition to so many foods. It gives flavor and a creamy texture to whatever you are eating. You can even use butter for high heat cooking instead of oil to prevent food from sticking to the pan. 

Butter is a widely used condiment on bread and rolls and is also used in baking a lot to add texture and volume. Butter just all around makes food better. 

Along with butter making food taste good it also adds a creamy consistency. If you love to cook with butter or like to use it on toast and waffles, you probably always have a tub sitting in your fridge. 

This may cause you to think, does butter go bad or expire?

Butter does eventually go bad and expire. When stored properly in the fridge, butter can last for about a month after its printed expiration/best by date. But, if you notice any signs of spoilage you should throw it away. 

Many people use butter all of the time. We cut open our dinner rolls and with a knife we spread some of the delicious creamy stuff inside the bread. We slather butter on pancakes and waffles and even use it in baking some desserts. 

Butter can also be used in sauteing and frying. 

So, we agree that butter is an essential part of food. It just makes it better. But, since you always have a tub of butter in your fridge for those times you need it, and even though you may use it often, butter can be sitting in the fridge for several weeks. 

This can cause us to wonder, does butter go bad and expire? The answer to this question is yes, it does but thankfully it lasts quite a while.

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How Do You Know If Butter Has Gone Bad?

So, butter can go bad. Let’s say you have a tub of the creamy condiment in your fridge that has been there for quite a while. How do you know butter has gone bad?

You will know butter has gone bad because it will smell rancid. You may even notice some discoloration and changes in its texture. Mold could even have begun growing on the butter if it has gone bad.

Butter’s ingredients just don’t last past a certain point. It is a food that lasts longer than most dairy products even though it is made with milk but because of the low water content in butter, bacteria has a hard time growing in it. 

Butter can even be left out at room temperature for about 2 weeks without going bad. 

Most people keep their butter in the fridge and this can help it to last even longer. Butter that is stored properly in the fridge can last for up to 3 months. You can even freeze butter lengthening its lifespan to 6 to 9 months. 

Over time though, butter will go bad and expire. On the butter packaging is an expiration/best by date. Go by this printed date to see when your butter is expired. Most of the time butter can last for about a month after this date if it is kept in the fridge.

Now, to know if butter has gone bad is the same way you can tell if any food is spoiled. The most common sign of spoilage is a rancid smell. If the butter is bad, it will smell bad. You may even notice that it has changed in color or texture. Sometimes mold can be spotted growing on the butter as well. 

If you notice any of these signs, then your butter has gone bad and should be thrown away, according to the website Bon Appetit.

Is It OK To Use Expired Butter?

Butter expires and when it goes bad there will be some noticeable signs like a bad smell. But, what if it doesn’t smell and is past its best by date? Is it OK to use expired butter?

Eating expired butter (or butter past the best by date) likely won’t make you sick as long as it doesn’t smell or doesn’t have noticeable signs of being bad. If everything about the butter seems fine then it should be fine to eat. Butter usually last for about a month past its expiration date if properly kept in the fridge.

A rancid smell means that butter has gone bad. When it smells it will probably taste bad as well. No one wants to ruin a perfectly good meal with some bad tasting or bad smelling butter. The good news is that butter isn’t expensive so it’s easy to just buy a new tub. 

But, what if you’ve already eaten some butter and then checked the expiration date only to find out that it was expired? The reason that you shouldn’t eat expired butter is because it can smell and taste bad and be unappetizing but you probably won’t get sick unless you have a sensitive stomach. 

So, it is OK to use expired butter unless it has other signs of spoiling. 

Final Thoughts

Butter does go bad and expire.This common kitchen ingredient lasts for about 3 months when kept in the fridge. Some signs that it has gone bad are a rancid smell, bad taste, change in color and texture, and mold growth. 

It is okay to use expired butter since it can keep for about a month past its expiration date when stored properly in the fridge. But if you notice any signs of spoilage then this can result in a bad smell and taste. Even though it won’t make you sick, the butter won’t be very appetizing to eat. 

Be aware of the signs that the creamy condiment has spoiled and buy a new tub when you think you should. So, yes, butter can expire and go bad but it lasts quite a while so most people will use it long before it goes bad. 

Hannah R.

Hey, I'm Hannah and I'm the founder of Get Eatin'.

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