HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Why does butter taste better cold?

Does anybody know why butter from the fridge tastes better than at room temperature?
I love simple bread and butter. I always keep my butter out as its far easier to spread than cold butter from the fridge, but the taste is inferior. My life is hell.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Excellent question! Might just be a matter of preference, but I too, prefer butter cold. My only guess is that some of the particles are expanded to give better either a better tongue coating / more surface area of the particle for the tongue to taste? I have NO idea, really, but I wonder if it's something along those lines.

    1. I prefer butter room temp.

      1. I think it tastes better at room temperature too.

        2 Replies
        1. re: CanadaGirl

          Sorry Coldsoup, I prefer it room temperature as well! It's a really bug bear of mine when I go to restaurants and they serve cold, hard butter that can't be spread over the bread.

          1. re: pj26

            My reply seems to have poofed, but I, too, need room temp butter. At a restaurant, if it's in those little containers, I carefuly balance my coffee cup on top until the butter gets to a decent spreadable consistency.

        2. Another vote for room temperature butter. It just tastes better.

          Maybe you need to try a different brand of butter. I'm partial to Kerrygold salted, myself.

          1. I also prefer butter cold, because I like the less-greasy texture of cold butter. I think it tastes pretty much the same at any temperature.

            6 Replies
            1. re: small h

              I prefer it room temp, but do agree that it can get greasy if too warm. I use one of those butter keepers with the butter in the lid and water in the base. It keeps the butter just to the point of spreadable. Perfect.

              1. re: CanadaGirl

                Thanks for the tip CanadaGirl, just did some research into these 'french butter bells' and it sounds like the perfect thing for me. Can't believe I'd never heard of them before. Thanks.

                1. re: Coldsoup

                  They're great. Just be sure to change the water every few days and all will be fine.

              2. re: small h

                I'm with you -- I like my butter so cold that it rips the bread apart. Mrs. W. is much more of a room-temp person on butter and other things as well, like oranges.

                1. re: Bob W

                  Interesting. I'm one of the minority so far (camp cold) and I despise room temp fruits for the most part. Gotta have cold oranges, melons, - almost all of em except for bananas.

                  Warm bread + cold butter = heaven

                  1. re: Bob W

                    I like mine bread-ripping cold too. By the time I eat it, the butter actually is about room temp but I like the uneven thickness the cold spread method delivers.

                    And it is so dang hot that butter at "room temp" in the summer gets too soft too quickly.

                  1. Gotta have butter room temp. Not just for spreadability, but because it NASA stronger, butterier taste!

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: mojoeater

                      Sorry, I can't parse this. Space butter?

                      1. re: BobB

                        It looks like an autocorrect fix to me. Some of the "corrections" my iPhone makes are interesting to say the least and I don't always catch them. I just tried basa, because the b is under the h and it got changed to NASA.

                        1. re: BobB

                          mojoeater probably tried to type "because it has a..." and omitted the space between "has" and "a." So hasa became NASA. Technology! Always improving our lives.

                                1. re: small h

                                  I have a friend whose name is Marijean. If autocorrect is on, it changes her to Marijuana!

                                  1. re: mojoeater

                                    Edgy! My last name ALWAYS gets auto-corrected on my stupid iPad, which is really an appropriate punishment for googling myself, I suppose. But I have known how to correctly spell my last name since, like, kindergarten, I swear.

                        2. room temperature preferred here too. I live in South Fl and keep mine out in a regular butter dish.

                          1. I like it room temp; my sister prefers it cold. My husband likes it cooked in dishes but not on bread or toast, what he calls "raw" butter.

                            1. I would have thought butter at room temp tastes "stronger" because it can be hard to properly taste cold things. So maybe you prefer the taste of cold butter because you don't really like the taste of butter? I have no science to back this up, it's just a thought.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Muchlove

                                Muchlove, I just noticed that we posted just about the same response about a minute apart. ha!

                              2. Put me down for room temp as well. Perhaps those who like it cold from the fridge don't really like the true "fatty" taste of real butter. Eating it cold from the fridge compromises the taste buds a little bit and take that "fatty edge" off. Think of it like eating ice cream straight from the freezer as opposed to eating "ice cream soup" after it has melted in the bowl and been stirred around. Isn't is much sweeter like that? That's because your taste buds are not being numbed by the cold.

                                Of course this is all my very unscientific take on the situation. :)

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: ttoommyy

                                  The last 2 posts made some very interesting observations and has got me really thinking. Hot milk definitely tastes milkier than cold milk, and room temperature cheese is more cheesy than when cold.
                                  I'm beginning to think that maybe I have got it wrong all these years and the true taste of butter really is at room temperature. But hang on... No, cold butter definitely has a more intense fatty flavour.
                                  I'm arguing against myself now, this is bad.

                                2. This is obviously a matter of preference an not an absolute that needs to be explained.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. I like butter melted in a bowl, with a steamed lobster and artichoke nearby.

                                    1. I'm with the OP. Not just in terms of preference but of how I experience the taste of butter - to me, butter tastes more intense when it's cold. I've often wondered about that, since that's the counterintuitive and the opposite of the way taste is perceived for most foods.

                                      I suspect that with warmer butter, fat coats the tongue and dampens out flavors, whereas cold butter allows you to taste the milky and salty flavors more distinctly, as well as the flavors of the other food you're eating, before you get the dampening effect from the fat - it lets you experience flavors sequentially and thus more distinctly. Just my hunch. I've never seen a real explanation of this effect.

                                      Strangely, when butter is fully melted to a liquid and hot, I don't experience the dulling effect anymore. Just with room temperature butter. I suspect that has to do with the viscosity of room temp butter.