• Canning butter can be safe if done correctly.
  • Improper canning can lead to foodborne illness.
  • Sterilizing jars is crucial for safe butter canning.
  • Pressure canning is the safest method for canning butter.

Butter has a way of making everything better, doesn't it? From the golden pools atop a stack of pancakes to the secret behind that rich, flaky pie crust, it's a staple in the kitchen. But what about preserving this dairy delight? Canning butter is a topic swirled with controversy and folklore in the home preservation world. Today, we're going to churn through the myths and spread the truth about canning butter safely. So grab your jars and let's get to it!

The Myths Surrounding Canned Butter

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of canning butter, let's address some of the tall tales that have been spread thicker than... well, butter. You might have heard that canning butter is unsafe or impossible due to its high fat content and low acidity. While it's true that these factors require special consideration, reliable methods do exist for preserving butter for long-term storage. It's crucial to approach this process with care and knowledge—something we're passionate about here at Just Canning.

Understanding The Risks

Canning any food product comes with its risks if not done properly. With butter, those risks are amplified due to its composition. Butter is prone to rancidity and separation when not stored correctly. Moreover, improper canning methods could lead to botulism—a serious foodborne illness caused by bacteria thriving in low-acid, anaerobic environments. That's why it's essential to stay informed about common canning mistakes and how to avoid them.

Canning Butter Safely: Test Your Knowledge

Canning butter at home can be a controversial topic, with various methods circulating online. It's important to know the facts and follow safe canning practices. Take this quiz to see if you can separate the myths from the reliable methods of canning butter.

The Right Way To Can Butter

Now let's get into the heart of our creamy conundrum—how do you actually can butter safely? The key lies in heat processing and eliminating potential contaminants. One reliable method involves slowly melting the butter and skimming off impurities before carefully pouring it into pre-sterilized jars. Ensuring that you've followed proper sterilization techniques is vital; learn more with our guide on sterilizing canning jars.

Remember: When in doubt, always prioritize safety over shelf-life.

Some adventurous canners have turned to their trusty Instant Pots for canning, but when it comes to butter, traditional methods are your best bet for ensuring safety.

Sterilizing Jars Like a Pro: A Step-by-Step Guide

a collection of glass jars on a kitchen counter ready for canning
Gather Your Jars
Start your canning adventure by rounding up all the jars you plan to use. Make sure they're the right size for your buttery creations and free from any chips or cracks. A good jar is the first step to canning success!
washing glass jars in soapy water
Wash with Soapy Water
Give those jars a spa day in a sink full of warm, soapy water. Scrub-a-dub-dub with a sponge or brush to get rid of any residue or dust. Rinse them well to prepare for the next purifying step.
glass jars being sterilized in a pot of simmering water
Heat 'Em Up
Fill a canner or large pot with enough water to cover the jars and bring it to a simmer. Carefully place your jars in the pot using a jar lifter or tongs. Let them simmer away for 10 minutes to get them ready for the canning magic.
drying glass jars on a towel
Dry and Keep Warm
Once they've had their hot bath, place your jars on a clean towel or a wooden board to dry. You can also keep them in a warmed oven (set to the lowest temperature) to ensure they stay hot and ready for the butter to come.
canning lids being sterilized in a pot
Sterilize the Lids
Don't forget the lids! While your jars are drying, drop the lids and bands into a small pot of simmering water for a few minutes. This will ensure that every part of your canning ensemble is squeaky clean and sterilized.
canning tools arranged neatly on a kitchen counter
Assemble Your Tools
Now's the time to get your canning funnel, ladle, and bubble remover/headspace tool ready. Having everything at arm's reach will make the process buttery smooth.

After filling your jars with liquid gold (aka melted butter), they need to be processed correctly using a water bath or pressure canner method—depending on your altitude and equipment. This step cannot be skipped or improvised as precise temperatures are necessary for safety.

Canning Butter Steps

  1. high-grade unsalted butter
    Start with Quality Butter - Choose high-grade, unsalted butter for the best preservation.
  2. melting butter in saucepan
    Melt the Butter - Gently melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat to prevent burning.
  3. sterilizing canning jars
    Sterilize Jars - Thoroughly clean and then boil jars and lids to sterilize before use.
  4. pouring melted butter into canning jar
    Fill Jars with Butter - Carefully pour the melted butter into the sterilized jars, leaving headspace.
  5. removing air bubbles from canning jars
    Remove Air Bubbles - Run a clean spatula around the inside of the jar to release any trapped air bubbles.
  6. sealing canning jars
    Seal the Jars - Wipe the rims clean and place the lids on the jars, then screw on the bands until fingertip tight.
  7. canning butter water bath
    Process in a Water Bath - Place the jars in a canner and cover them with water, then bring to a boil for the recommended time.
  8. canning jars cooling down
    Cool Down - Once processed, turn off the heat and let the jars sit in the water to cool gradually.
  9. checking canning jar seals
    Check Seals - After cooling, check that the lids have sealed by pressing the center of each lid. It should not pop back.
  10. labeled canning jars storage
    Store Properly - Label your jars with the date and store them in a cool, dark place until ready to use.

In addition to heat processing, there are other tips and tricks you might find helpful when embarking on your butter canning journey. For example, did you know shaking your jars while they cool helps maintain an even consistency? Or that some folks add salt not just for flavor but also as a preservative boost? There’s much more than meets the eye when it comes to this creamy craft.

Butter Canning Tips: Savor the Spread!

What's the best type of butter for canning?
When it comes to canning butter, you'll want to use high-quality, unsalted butter. Unsalted butter is preferred because it gives you control over the saltiness of your final product. Plus, it tends to have a longer shelf life. Remember, the better the butter, the better the taste after canning!
How should I store my canned butter for optimal freshness?
Once your butter is canned, store it in a cool, dark place like a pantry or cellar. Avoid places with high temperature fluctuations, as this can affect the seal and quality of your canned butter. Properly stored, your canned butter can be a delightful addition to your pantry for emergency use or everyday cooking!
Can I add herbs or spices to my butter before canning?
Absolutely! Infusing your butter with herbs or spices before canning can create some tantalizing flavors. Just ensure that any additions are dry to avoid introducing moisture, which can spoil the butter. Think garlic powder, dried rosemary, or a pinch of cayenne for a kick!
Is there a specific headspace I need to leave when canning butter?
Yes, headspace is key! Leave about 1/4 inch of headspace at the top of your jars when canning butter. This allows for the proper vacuum seal during the canning process. Not too much, not too little—just right to keep your butter safe and sound.
What's the shelf life of home-canned butter?
Home-canned butter, when done correctly, can last for about 6 months to a year. However, always check for signs of spoilage like mold, off-odors, or a broken seal before use. It's better to be safe than sorry when enjoying your homemade preserves!

We've covered quite a bit so far but hang tight—there's more creamy knowledge coming your way! Stay tuned as we continue our journey through safe practices for canning this kitchen staple. In the meantime, why not test your current knowledge with our quiz on milk product preservation practices? After all, who doesn't love a little challenge with their churning?

Understanding the Risks of Canning Butter

Before we dive into the safe methods of canning butter, it's important to understand the risks involved. Butter is a low-acid food and, as such, is prone to bacteria growth, especially botulism, if not canned correctly. This is why many experts advise against home canning of butter. However, with the right precautions and techniques, you can minimize these risks. Be sure to familiarize yourself with common canning mistakes to ensure your butter remains safe and delicious.

Butter Canning Safety: Sifting Fact from Fiction

Is canning butter at home safe?
Canning butter at home is a topic of hot debate. While some home canners swear by their methods, official food safety sources like the USDA do not recommend it due to the risk of botulism and other foodborne illnesses. Butter is a low-acid food and requires careful processing to ensure safety. It's best to stick to proven and tested canning practices or store butter using other safe methods.
What are the risks of canning butter?
The main risk when canning butter is the potential growth of Clostridium botulinum, the bacteria that causes botulism, a serious and potentially fatal illness. Butter's low acidity and high fat content create an environment where these bacteria can thrive if not processed correctly. Always prioritize safety and use reliable sources for your canning instructions.
Can I use a water bath canner to can butter?
Nope, a water bath canner isn't suitable for canning butter. Butter is a low-acid food and requires a pressure canner to reach the temperatures necessary to kill harmful bacteria. However, since there are no tested and approved methods for canning butter, even using a pressure canner doesn't guarantee safety. It's best to explore other preservation methods for butter.
Are there any safe methods to preserve butter for long-term storage?
Absolutely! While canning may not be the safest route, you can freeze butter for long-term storage. Freezing maintains the quality and safety of butter for several months. Just wrap it well to prevent freezer burn and taste changes. You can also look into making ghee, a type of clarified butter with a longer shelf life, which doesn't require refrigeration once prepared.
What should I do if I find a recipe for canning butter?
If you stumble upon a recipe for canning butter, approach it with caution. Cross-check the recipe with reliable food safety resources like those from the USDA or your local extension office. Remember, just because a recipe is available doesn't mean it's safe. When in doubt, opt for other preservation methods that are known to be safe and have been thoroughly tested.

Pressure Canning: The Safe Way to Can Butter

If you're set on preserving butter, pressure canning is your safest bet. This method involves using a specialized pressure canner to achieve temperatures high enough to kill off any potential bacteria. Remember that this differs from a water bath canner which does not reach the necessary temperatures for low-acid foods like butter. To get started with pressure canning, check out our step-by-step guide on mastering low-acid canning.

Pressure Canning Butter: A Step-by-Step Guide to Liquid Gold

fresh butter blocks ready for canning
Gather Your Butter Bounty
Start your canning adventure by gathering up all the butter you plan to preserve. Make sure it's fresh and high-quality for the best results!
butter melting in a saucepan over low heat
Melt the Butter Blissfully
In a saucepan, melt the butter slowly over low heat. Patience is key—don't rush the process to prevent burning. Aim for a gentle simmer, not a rolling boil.
skimming foam off melted butter
Skim to Perfection
As the butter melts, a foam will form on the surface. Skim this off with a spoon to ensure your canned butter is as pure as it can be.
canning jars being sanitized
Sanitize Your Jars
While the butter melts, sanitize your canning jars. Boil them in water or use a dishwasher with a sanitizing cycle to ensure they're germ-free and ready for your golden goodness.
pouring melted butter into canning jars
Fill the Jars with Liquid Gold
Carefully pour the melted butter into the jars, leaving about an inch of headspace. Wipe the rims with a clean cloth to remove any buttery residue.
placing lids on jars filled with melted butter
Seal the Deal
Place the lids on your jars, ensuring they're tight enough to seal but not so tight that air can't escape during the pressure canning process.
pressure canning butter in a pressure canner
Pressure Can with Precision
Follow your pressure canner's instructions to the letter. Process the jars at the recommended pressure for the time specified for your altitude. Safety first!
checking the seals on canned butter jars
Cool Down and Check Seals
Once processed, let the jars cool undisturbed for 12-24 hours. Check the seals by pressing the center of each lid. If it pops back, it's not sealed and should be refrigerated and used soon.
labeled jars of canned butter stored in a pantry
Store and Savor
Label your jars with the canning date, and store them in a cool, dark place. Now, you've got a stash of butter that's ready for any culinary quest!

Note: Always use up-to-date recipes from reliable sources when pressure canning butter. Botulism spores are incredibly resistant and require temperatures of 240°F or higher to be destroyed, which is only achievable through pressure canning.

Creative Uses for Your Home-Canned Butter

Once you've successfully canned your butter, the possibilities are endless! Spread it on fresh bread, use it in your baking recipes or melt it for a decadent drizzle over popcorn. Not only does home-canned butter offer convenience but also a sense of accomplishment knowing you've created something both delicious and practical from scratch.

Butter Up Your Cooking

  • herb rolls with butter
    Buttery Herb Rolls - Elevate your homemade rolls with a swirl of home-canned butter mixed with fresh herbs.
  • sauteed vegetables with butter
    Sautéed Butter Veggies - Toss your favorite vegetables in a pan with a dollop of canned butter for a rich, flavorful side dish.
  • buttered pasta
    Butter-Infused Pasta - Mix home-canned butter into warm pasta, add Parmesan, and a sprinkle of parsley for a simple yet delicious meal.
  • grilled cheese sandwich
    Buttery Grilled Cheese - Spread your canned butter on the bread for a golden, crispy, and ooey-gooey grilled cheese sandwich.
  • butter basted steak
    Butter Basted Steaks - Baste your steaks with canned butter as they cook to add a new level of richness to your meat.
  • cornbread with butter
    Sweet Buttered Cornbread - Use your canned butter in the batter and to top off warm slices of homemade cornbread.
  • popcorn with melted butter
    Butter-Drizzled Popcorn - Melt canned butter and drizzle over freshly popped popcorn for a movie night treat.
  • buttercream frosting
    Decadent Butter Frosting - Whip up a creamy butter frosting for cakes and cupcakes using your home-canned butter.
  • creamy scrambled eggs
    Butter-Enriched Scrambled Eggs - Start your day with scrambled eggs made extra creamy with a spoonful of canned butter.
  • buttered rice
    Butter-Flavored Rice - Stir in home-canned butter into your cooked rice for a simple, yet luxurious side dish.

To keep expanding your canning repertoire beyond just dairy products like milk or butter, why not take one of our quizzes? They're fun and informative! Try your hand at our Canning Recipes and Techniques Quiz, or if you want something more specific, give our Canning Milk Safety Process Quiz a shot.

Maintaining Quality Over Time

Maintaining the quality of your canned goods is crucial for enjoying them at their best down the line. For your canned butter, this means storing jars in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight. It's also essential to label each jar with the date of canning so you'll know when it's time to use them—ideally within one year for optimal taste and safety.

Keep It Fresh: Your Canned Butter Quality Checklist

  • Store your canned butter in a cool, dark place to prevent spoilage.🌑
  • Check the seals regularly to ensure they are tight and uncompromised.🔍
  • Label your jars with the canning date to keep track of their shelf life.🏷️
  • Rotate your stock, using the oldest products first to maintain freshness.🔄
  • Inspect the butter for changes in color, smell, or texture before use.👀
  • Avoid exposing canned goods to extreme temperatures, which can affect quality.❄️🔥
  • Keep the jars clean and free from dust or debris.
  • If a jar didn't seal properly, refrigerate it and use the butter within a few days.🧊
  • Educate yourself on the signs of spoilage, including mold, off-odors, and gas bubbles.🎓
  • Trust your instincts—if something seems off, it's better to be safe and discard the product.👃
Congrats, you're a pro at keeping your canned goods in tip-top shape! Keep up the great work and enjoy the delicious fruits of your labor!

Incorporating sustainable living practices through methods like home canning is not just about being eco-friendly—it's about creating a wholesome lifestyle that brings joy and health to your table every day. As we wrap up our journey into safely canning butter, remember that every jar you seal is a step towards self-reliance and culinary creativity.

If you're looking for more ways to utilize your Instant Pot beyond traditional cooking methods, explore our piece on revolutionizing traditional canning methods with an Instant Pot. And don't forget—canning isn't just limited to fruits and vegetables; expand your skills by mastering the art of canning with quart jars.

Cheers to filling your pantry shelves with golden jars of homemade goodness!

Clarified Canned Butter

You will need:

  • blocks of unsalted butterUnsalted butter
  • large saucepanLarge saucepan
  • wooden spoon for cookingWooden spoon
  • cheeseclothCheesecloth
  • canning jarsCanning jars
  • canning funnelCanning funnel
  • soup ladleLadle
  • large pot for boiling waterPot for boiling water
  • canning jar lifterJar lifter
  • canning labelsCanning labels


  1. Start by cutting the unsalted butter into even chunks.
  2. Melt the butter chunks in a large saucepan over low heat.
  3. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the butter separates into layers.
  4. Remove from heat and let the butter stand for a few minutes to settle.
  5. Skim off the foam that has risen to the top and discard.
  6. Line a sieve with cheesecloth and set it over a large bowl.
  7. Pour the butter through the lined sieve to separate the clear liquid from the solids.
  8. Prepare the canning jars by sterilizing them in boiling water.
  9. Using a canning funnel, ladle the clarified butter into the jars, leaving appropriate headspace.
  10. Wipe the jar rims, apply the lids, and tighten the bands to fingertip tightness.
  11. Process the jars in a boiling water bath for the recommended time.
  12. Remove the jars with a jar lifter and let them cool undisturbed on a towel.
  13. Label the jars with the contents and canning date.


Clarified butter has a higher smoke point than regular butter, making it suitable for high-heat cooking. Canning clarified butter extends its shelf life and is a great way to have a ready supply of cooking fat on hand. Always follow proper canning guidelines to ensure safety.

Julia Roberts
Canning, Sustainable Living, Blogging, Adventure

Julia Roberts is a lifestyle blogger who loves to incorporate canning into her sustainable living practices. She enjoys sharing her canning adventures and eco-friendly tips with her readers.

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