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Food Safety Issues/stick of sweet cream unsalted butter


Hi there.  I was going to make shortbread cookies last night, but other things came up.  I left a stick to soften of ALDI grocery store brand sweet cream unsalted butter (in its paper wrap) on the counter from about 8pm until 6:30am in our house 76-79 degrees F.  I stuck back in fridge 6:30am next day.  Is it still okay to bake with, or was it left out too long in our warm house?  I cannot stand freezing cold air blowing on me in summer, so we keep our house in upper 70s, skirting 80 degF.   Thought i'd check before I threw it out.  There is not an 800 number to call on the box, only  Box of course says keep refrigerated.  Thanks in advance.

Hi Bee,

Actually, butter does not have to be refrigerated to stay safe to consume.  It is refrigerated to extend shelf life as butter being about 80% fat will go rancid faster at room temperature as opposed to refrigerator temperature.

I actually keep my butter at room temperature in a "butter bell" -- a French butter keeper that submerges the butter in water which helps to keep it from going rancid.  I like having spreadable butter available for toast and other uses so the butter bell works perfectly for me. Check out butter bells at

So yes, it is safe to use the butter in your shortbread cookies.


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Carol Schlitt


I can answer questions on home food safety, sanitation and home food preservation.


I am a former Extension educator, nutrition, wellness and food safety, having retired August 1, 2010. I am a food safety instructor for the Illinois Department of Public Health, a ServSafe Instructor/Proctor and have my own company, Safe & Savory Solutions, Inc -

National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (Past President and current Historian), St. Louis Culinary Society.

BS - University of Illinois MS - Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

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