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How to Use a Butter Bell and a Roundup of My Faves

My butter bell Instagram post last week generated a lot of interest! Many of you had never heard of it or were using it incorrectly so I thought I’d share a little about how to use a butter bell and a roundup of my faves.

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A butter bell, also known as a butter crock, butter server or butter keeper, is a French butter dish used to maintain the freshness and spreadable consistency of butter without refrigeration. This late 19th-century French-designed pottery crock has two parts: a base that holds water, and a cup to hold the packed butter which also serves as a lid. The cup containing butter is placed into the base, where water creates an airtight seal that keeps the air (and thus oxygen) away from the butter so that refrigeration is not needed, and the butter can be used in its soft form. This method will keep butter for around a month provided it is kept at temperatures below 80 °F (27 °C) and the water is changed regularly. Source

how to use a butter bell

I keep my butter bell on the kitchen counter next to the range and toaster on a cakestand turned catchall.

How to Use a Butter Bell


The trick is to make sure the water is at a level where it creates a seal when the lid is inserted into the cellar. You can hear and feel the suction when done correctly. Be sure to change the water regularly and I like to wash my butter bell in between uses before refilling. Keep the butter bell far enough away from your stove that it’s not affected by the heat. Sometimes if it’s cold in my house my butter will be less soft. I’ve only had moldy butter one time, and that was after returning home from vacation. I just washed it and started over. 😉

Butter Bell Roundup

Want a butter bell of your own? Check out some of these cute options.

1. Textured Butter Bell /2. Porcelain Butter Keeper / 3. Rustic Ceramic Butter Crock / 4. Flame Le Creuset Butter Crock / 5. Iron Black Butter Dish / 6. Minimalistic Butter Keeper / 7. Marble Butter Keeper / 8. Sandalwood Matte Butter Bell / 9. Ceramic Butter Dish / 10. White Butter Keeper / 11.-13. Handmade Ceramic Butter Bell

I have #12 above and love it!

Shop Butter Bells:

There ya go. Now you know how to use a butter bell and where to find some cute ones!

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how to use a french butter bell

5 Responses

  1. Thank you for that! I too have a butter bell, have had for years. It’s the only way to keep butter that’s useable when you need it. I’m happy to find I’ve been doing it just the way it was meant to be. Yes, changing the water and washing that part is really important!

  2. I notice some butter bells have a hole or holes in the lid. See #3 above as an example. Do know if they have a purpose?

    1. I make ceramics and recently had a customer ask for a butter bell with holes. He said it needed the holes in the side of the “bell” because it allows the water up to the level of the butter as you use it. The whole point it to keep out the oxygen and if the water can’t reach the butter it defeats the purpose.

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Hey, I'm Becky!

I’m just a girl who loves home. Follow along as we renovate, decorate and live in our fixer-upper farmhouse, the Daly Digs.

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