This Storage Mistake Can Make Your Butter Taste Strange

If you've ever wondered why a favorite butter cookie recipe tastes more like leftover pad Thai, you're not alone. The fact is, if butter is not stored correctly, it can taste less and less like the creamy, luscious dairy goodness that adds to certain recipes and more like last night's dinner. Because butter is a fat, it can absorb odors. goes as far as referring to butter as an "odor sponge" if not handled properly. So, how do you keep those odors away?

Although grandma's tip might have been to have a box of baking soda in the refrigerator at all times to keep unpleasant smells from taking over, it may not be enough in this case. Proper butter storage is important, too. According to Delish, butter should always be stored in an airtight container. That's because a stick of butter left in its paper wrapper is not enough of a barrier and it can still absorb the aromas of other food around it. An airtight container, however, keeps those smells from infiltrating. This idea applies whether the butter is in the refrigerator or in the freezer. 

Yes, butter can be frozen too! The Spruce Eats advises to keep it in its original box or container when freezing — or wrap in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and then place in a freezer bag. Doing so can make it last about six months for unsalted butter and a year for the salted variety. 

Here's what the experts have to say about storing butter

A few experts also have some wise advice on storing butter properly. says that, in some cases, you can even leave it on the counter. In the case of salted butter, leaving it out at room temperature (under 70 degrees F) for a few days is okay, because the salt will keep it preserved. But even in this instance, the article recommends using a butter crock to keep out light and air. (Most also have a compartment for cool water to keep things fresh.) But, be cautious on hot days or in warm climates where butter could still melt within the crock or butter bell.

Whipped or unsalted butter, according to the article, should always be kept in the fridge, though and ideally in the back where it's cooler. The Spruce Eats also says to keep butter far away from onions or other pungent foods to avoid cross contaminating smells.

No matter how butter is stored, the most important aspect to remember is that an airtight seal always keeps the unwanted aromas away. While the "odor sponge" might be great in some recipes, no one wants a butter cake to taste like leftover garlic bread.