HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Real canned butter (not ghee) & canned cheese

Has anyone tried either?

It seems there are quite a few canned butters out there made in various countries. I mean, shut my mouth as my jaw dropped.

This link with pictures does a review of "Red Feather" from New Zealand which says ...
"It is great! Smooth and creamy as good a butter as I've ever tasted"

That same site had a link to real canned cheese and, of course, I couldn't resist looking.

I was in a Latino store near me in San Pablo, California and saw my first canned butter. Looked at the can ... cream & salt ... that was it. No preservatives.

I forgot to write down the name and decided to goggle "canned butter" and gee, 10,000 hits on canned butter.

This appeals to me because I don't use butter that often and it would be nice to have on hand instead of the stick I keep in the freezer that has parties with ever food in there picking up odors and flavors no matter what protection I use.

As to the cheese, it was written by a cheese deprived New Zealander and might not be available outside of that area. However, it seems like a good idea to have in an emergency.

Has any one tried canned butter and what brand? Is it any good? I even found a recipe for canning your own.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I don't know about canned butter but once I had some excellent canned cheddar cheese produced at Washington State University. It's real cheese, not processed cheese product as in the example above. As I reacll, it was quite good and it is supposed to get better as it ages in the can. More info at http://www.wsu.edu/creamery/index.html

    I had the Cougar Gold, I think.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Scruncheons

      It's true - this stuff is famous and supposed to be quite good. I've never had the chance to try it, though.

      1. re: Scruncheons

        Cougar Gold and its variants have been Washington State soul food for a long time. If Santa doesn't put one under the tree for you, you feel deprived. BTW, "Cougars" is the name of the WSU teams.

        1. re: Scruncheons

          Cougar gold is a great tasting cheese. The first and only canned cheese that I have tried. Now I travel to Pullman every time they have a new batch ready. Personally, I prefer the end pieces.
          Sometimes available through Costco.

        2. Don't kinow about the cheese, but the problem with decent commercially canned butter is that once you open it, it keeps no better than the aforemntioned stick anyway. So if you get a craving at 2am on Sunday, you're set - but then you're back to square one.

          If you you really have that much trouble freezing it, wrap a few half sticks in plastic then freeze them in a (wide mouth) Mason jar. They will NOT pick up any odors. For that matter, I find that a couple of heavy freezer bags keeps it odor free for a pretty long time.

          1. I've never had canned butter, I think I may like my butter a bit fresher. On the other hand, cheese tastes better with age and I was introduced to canned cheddar cheese in Jamaica years ago and have been eating it ever since. It does have preservatives but and it's got the yellow color but it is naturally colored with annato. It tastes great melted on Jamaican Bulla cake. It's pretty easy to get in the states, not cheap, about $16 for a little over two pounds. They make smaller and larger cans but the small cans are too small and the big cans are too big unless you have an army to feed.

            1. Growing up in Taiwan we ate canned butter, probably from Australia. That's where the fond memories of buttered toast come from. When i first came to the states, everyone was eating margarine. ugh.

              I looked for the canned butter after going to larger cities with Chinatowns. Most common is a red can smaller in diameter but slightly taller than the size of a large can of tuna. I think Vietnamese grocery stores tend to have it, but most larger Chinese stores have them, too. It's just hard to get one that's not way over the expiration dates.

              1. I just got back from an afternoon of shopping in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood(aka Li'l Chinatown---long story, local history/Li'l Saigon) and was immediately reminded of this new thread when I stumbled across half an aisle of canned butters and cheeses at Viet Hoa.
                I neglected to burden myself with yet more oddities to experiment with as I already had a basket brimming with pastes, sauces, oils, and produce. Interesting, to say the least.

                1. Someone once sent us a canned Stilton cheese from England. It was a fancy brand -- Fortnum and Masons, or Harrods -- something like that.

                  When we opened it up it was a pale ivory -- no blue at all -- but it smelled like good Stilton.

                  Then to our amazement blue veins appeared in the cheese. Within ten minutes it looked just like Stilton should look.
                  And it was delicious.

                  1. When I was small my mom would buy cans of beurre bretagne whenever we went to France; always a red can with gold lettering (I don't know what brand). After we were able to buy Lurpak from the commisary we stopped stocking up on butter in France. Flash forward to many years later (she was now living in the States) I saw what I thought was the same red can of butter at a Vietnamese market and I said to her Hey we can buy beurre bretagne again! But she said it's "fake". I've been tempted to buy it but I'm suspicious. But I'm still curious!

                    1. Actually, a long time a go I met this guy that came from Burma. His biggest complaint coming to the states was that what we call butter here has no flavor. He kept on telling me stories of how tasty real butter was back home and how he wished he could get his hands on some. I never forgot that story for some reason. I normally don't eat much butter or margarine myself, but I did come across a can of "Red Feather" from New Zealand in an Asian market. Its still sitting in my pantry waiting to be used. I should open it up and let you guys know what that taste like. After traveling much I realized that sometimes food that the general consumer buys like meats, veggies, and this case butter is not as flavorful in the US.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: designerboy01

                        Interesting you mention the taste of butter being different in another country. I went out and bought the can of butter, Aviacao, from Brazil. It does have a different taste, one I associate with Latino butters. There's a stronger taste to it, but I'm not sure I particularily like it. It is fine melted and worked for some mushrooms I fried, but I'm not sure I'd use it making a pie crust. I'll have to see how I feel about it after eating it for a while.

                      2. In Europe there are lots of different butters in 250g or 500g cans. I think they keep longer than butter in foil (still refrigerated). Imperial de Asturias (Spain), CaƱada Real de Soria (Spain), Breda (Holland) are the brands that I've seen. I agree that the butter that you find in supermarkets in the states is, by and large, flavorless. It's due to the (bad) diet of the cows.

                        1. An English friend's family made their sizable fortune in the early 1900's by
                          heading to New Zealand and packing butter in cans for the european market.
                          I believe there's still a branch of them down there still in business.

                          1. I got my canned butter, and found it tasted more like cream less like fat, with a seemingly less salt taste. I was really good, very similar to european butter. I plan to buy more of it.

                            1 Reply
                            1. if you want to try something really tasty in canned butter, look for Burro con Tartufo from Tartuf Langhe in your local gourmet store. About 92% butter, 8% black truffle. Once you've scrambled your eggs in this stuff, you'll be an addict!

                              1. hahah i love canned cheese =) canned cheese is considered kind of a delicacy in my culture (although i was born and raised in the states)... at first it sounds odd, but we usually save our canned cheese for special ocassions even, like new year's eve... i'm sure that there's a lot out there, but kraft makes a canned cheese that is pretty tasty with a warm roll of bread.. i suppose it may sound weird to most, but not so weird if it's what the fam likes =)

                                oh and no worries, i like brie, and smoked cheese, and bleu cheese too... hahaha =)

                                i'm sure you can also check the asian markets if you wanted to try some....

                                1. Canned dairy products (butter, cream, condensed milk, etc) were often sold where refrigeration wasn't common. They became part of these cuisines over time, and people continue to crave them long after fresh versions become available. I guess you might call these things comfort foods.

                                  I can't imagine Vietnamese iced coffee with fresh cream (rather than condensed milk), and friends from several parts of the world gravitate to canned thick cream and canned butter because it is what they ate when they were growing up.

                                  Of course, most of these things spoil as rapidly as fresh dairy products once the cans are opened.

                                  1. i find it very hard to believe the butter doesn't pick up a metallic flavor.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                                      The canned butter I tried didn't have any metallic flavor.

                                    2. I was raised with canned Holland butter; the wonderful taste and smell impregnate childhood memories. As an adult I have tried in vain to recapture that magnificent taste, alas, I cannot remember the brand. I now purchase Wheelbarrow salted butter (pure Dutch butter), but they also sell unsalted. I recently contacted the Netherlands Dairy Board to see if they can assist me with my brand query. As I informed the board,
                                      my childhood memories consist of food and love, and as an adult not much has changed.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: mantequilla

                                        I buy HJ Wijsman &Zn (b.v.) preserved Dutch Butter at 99Ranch in San Diego. Also Frentel demi sel for when I do not want as much salt in the canned butter.(France)

                                        1. re: Cathy

                                          Manyb Toronto stores carry canned Camembert and Brie, from Denmark. They're OK, nothing great.

                                      2. I have had Red Feather from New Zealand. I bought it at my local health food store in Michigan. I'm a sucker for butter and for good packaging and this was both. The butter was quite good--a little more cultured tasting than American butter--and a little creamier in texture. The texture was definitely softer than French style butters like Plugra. I bought it on a whim and don't need a shelf stable butter, but I would reccommend it for those who do.

                                        1. There are two canned butters that I know of: Bretel and Frentel. They're both really good, they have a taste and texture that is like no other butter that I've ever tried. The texture is like a soft wax, which may not sound appetizing, but it really melts in your mouth with an exceedingly rich, salty flavor. I believe the salt content is about 3%, a signature of this type of butter.

                                          Bretel and Frentel packaging and branding is nearly identical, a small red can with gold lettering. They have the same logo and both claim to be "beurre de normandie" (normandy butter) Obviously one is mimicking the other and it's probably Frentel ripping off Bretel. My parents were eating Beurre Bretel back in the 1950's, maybe even earlier and I've only seen Frentel come about maybe 10-15 years ago.

                                          They're both delicious, but if I had to choose, I would definitely pick Bretel over Frentel. The taste is somehow more refined and luxurious. Good luck finding Bretel anywhere, however. I've only seen about 4 cans in the last 25 years. You may purchase Frentel here:


                                          You may also find them at Vietnamese grocery stores. That's where I sometimes find Bretel every once in a blue moon. You know, I'm starting to believe that none of these butters are actually European-based. Probably Asian-based and most likely from Vietnam because of frequent colonization from the French in history. A friend of mine from France has never heard of the stuff, but every Vietnamese person I know grew up eating it in Vietnam. Weird.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: NaNaK321

                                            Frentel might be "Frandel" now...
                                            It's definitely from France.

                                            Here's a picture of it:

                                            1. re: theo13

                                              Looks fishy to me. "Frandel" doesn't even sound French. Definitely a cheap imitation of Bretel. BTW, I found out that the company that makes Bretel is owned by a French-Vietnamese man, which is probably why so many Vietnamese people know about it. They import a lot of it to Vietnam.

                                              1. re: NaNaK321

                                                I have a can of Beurre Bretel in front of me. On the side it says: N. V. T 30, rue de la MontangeSte Genevieve, 75005, Paris. Tele/Fax (33) 1 43 25 54 32. Ingredients: milk cream, salt 3%, yeast, fat 80%. Product of Normandie, France.

                                                N.V.T is probably the initial of some Vietnamese: typically Nguyen Van T??. So I am curious as to who is this person. Is he the current owner of the Bretel company? French Wikipedia says Mr. Eugene Bretel, the company founder, was born in 1842 and died in 1933. So when did NVT buy the company?

                                          2. Many years ago, instead of food stamps, the welfare system offered what were called "commodities". They were foods the government had purchased as part of its farm subsidy program and had canned or packaged in ultra-generic containers. My now-former (oh, yeah) husband had left me and the childrfen and I was trying to get through school so I could support us, and had to go on welfare for a year and a half. I was also eligible for commodities, and I did so.

                                            Yes, canned butter - I'd been using margarine, which was then 25 cents a pound, which I hated, but it was financially necessary - and canned cheese. Also meat, vegetables, oatmeal, and probably some other things. These were also used in school lunches as part of their kitchen supplies, I seem to recall And except for the meat, which had to be disguised in some way or another so the kids would eat it, it was anywhere from adequate to very good. People begged me to sell them the cheese and butter, in fact.

                                            But that was long ago, I got through school and life is now wonderful.

                                            1. Paneer is the only canned cheese I've dared try. Does paneer count?