The Original Butter Bell Crock by L. Tremain

Good, legit butter — don’t ever talk to me about margarine — is one of mankind’s greatest inventions. It just sucks that keeping it in the fridge makes it so hard to spread, so you always have to leave it sitting out a while to soften before using it, unless you like doing supposedly simple things on hard mode every time.

But wait! The French solved that problem way before refrigeration became a thing. They invented a clever bit of pottery that uses water to create an airtight seal and keep butter fresher, longer. Today you might know it by another name: the Butter Bell Crock.

It’s comprised of two simple pieces: the outer crock itself, and a “lid” that looks kind of like a coffee cup when it’s turned upward. How it works is…

  1. You pack the lid/cup with your butter of choice. I mean really pack it in there so that it sticks and won’t just fall out later.
  2. Put a small amount of cool water in the larger crock portion (about ⅓ full or so). You may optionally add salt to the water for even better preservation, but if you’re using salted butter anyway, then I don’t know if that’s a necessary precaution.
  3. Invert the lid/cup and place it down into the crock.


The water layer keeps air from reaching the butter, thereby preventing it from going rancid for about a month. It also keeps the butter a bit cooler than room temperature so its always at the ideal consistency for easy spreading. You can change the water every few days if you like, though not everyone seems to think it’s necessary. YMMV.

Watch this 3-minute segment about the Butter Bell from Food Network’s Unwrapped show:

The Butter Bell Crock comes in a variety of colors for around $25 on Amazon. I’m particular to the Maraschino Red (pictured above) and the Royal Blue (below) myself.