A photo of cubes of butter diced next to a bowl of melted butter.
Butter

A simple, natural part of your diet


Butter has been a staple for thousands of years with a simple process: separate cream from milk, churn the cream, then add salt.

Butter contains at least 80% milk fat, around 16% water, 1.5–2.0% salt and 2% other milk solids.

The fat in butter is approximately 67% saturated, 29% monounsaturated and 4% polyunsaturated. Butter naturally contains a type of fat called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which research shows may help protect against cancer.

Butter also contains Vitamins A, D and E, which are essential for healthy eyes (especially night vision), strong bones and healthy skin. Artificial colouring is not used in Australia.

Butter is best kept refrigerated at 4˚C, protected from light and sealed in its original container or wrapping until it is used as it readily absorbs odours from other foods.

Butter will keep refrigerated for up to eight weeks, but it is best purchased when required rather than stored.

Butter will soften at 30°C and melt at 35°C. In warmer climates, it is best kept refrigerated. As temperatures rise, the fats in butter slowly oxidise and the butter will become rancid. Properly sealed, butter may be kept frozen for up to 12 months.

Types of butter

Salted butter

At most, salted butter has 2% salt added after the buttermilk has been drained off.

Unsalted butter

Unsalted butter contains no added salt. Reduced and low-salt butters have about half the salt of regular salted butter.

Cultured butter

Cultured butter is also known as Danish-style butter. It has a culture added to the cream before it’s churned and is kept at a controlled temperature (usually overnight) while a slightly acidic flavour develops. No salt is added.

Cultured and salted butter

Cultured salted butter, typically Australian and not European, has salt added with the culture.

Clarified butter

Clarified butter or ghee, is almost pure milk fat (at least 99.7%) and used mainly in cooking - it takes higher temperatures before it begins to smoke or brown. There is almost no moisture, which reduces spattering.

Butter concentrate

Butter concentrate is mostly found in the tropics, as it preserves well and takes high temperatures to melt.

Butter oil

Butter oil is used mainly for manufacturing ice cream.

Dairy blends

Dairy blends are a mixture of butter and up to 50% edible vegetable oils. This makes the mixture spreadable straight from the refrigerator, while keeping the taste of butter.

Reduced-fat dairy spreads

Reduced-fat dairy spreads contain between 30% and 60% in total fat, of which at least half is milk fat. The remaining ingredients include water, milk proteins, cultures, herbs, spices, gelatin, vitamins, sugar or salt.

Low-fat dairy spreads

Low-fat dairy spreads are table spreads with a total fat and oil level below 30%. Milk, vegetable proteins, flavourings, herbs, spices, vitamins, sugar, gelatin and starter cultures may be added. These spreads are not recommended for cooking due to their high moisture content.

Butter nutritional content


Type per 100g Protein
(g)
Fat 
(g)
 Carbohydrate
(g)
Energy 
(Kj) 
Calcium
(mg) 
Butter Salted 1.1 81.5 0 3036 776
Reduced Salt 1.1 81.5 0 3036 350
Unsalted 1.1 81.5 0 3036 10
Dairy Blend 0.5 82.4 0.6 3068 485
Reduced Salt 0.6 82.4 0.6 3068 292
Reduced fat and reduced salt 4.6 44.3 0.1 1713 365