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The 10 European-Style Butters Worth Splurging On

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In our opinion, you can never have too much butter. From slathering on good bread and finishing steak to corn on cob and perfectly flaky pie crust, it makes everything taste better. And while pretty much any butter is delicious, European-style butter is extra-delicious thanks to its luxuriously rich creaminess. But that luxury comes with a price, which makes it extra important to do your homework before buying. To help you buy the best fancy butter for you, we turned to Josh Windsor, Senior Caves Manager at Murray’s Cheese, to help us rank the best European-style butters

What Makes European Butter Different From American Butter?

First things first… what IS European butter? And why is it better?

European butter typically has a higher butterfat percentage compared to American butter, which is what makes it softer and richer tasting. This is because the regulations for butter are different in the US and Europe. The USDA requires butter to be “made exclusively from milk or cream… and contain not less than 80 percent by weight of milkfat,” while the EU defines butter as having “a minimum fat content of 82%” and up to 90%. This is why many people favor imported butter when it comes to flavor, richness and spreadability. That said, as you’ll see in our list of recommendations below, some American producers have recognized the increasing popularity of European butter, and have started making this style of butter now too (hence the term European-style butter).

The only downside is that butter with a higher fat percentage is more expensive to make, which translates to a higher price tag at the grocery store compared to its standard American counterpart (le sigh). Also, keep in mind that many American cake and cookie recipes have been developed with lower-fat American butter so subbing in European-style butter can make these baked goods too dense (French pastries and most crust recipes are a match made in higher-fat butter heaven, though).

The Best European-Style Butters Ranked

Now, it’s time to get to the good stuff! Here are Windsor’s favorite European-style butters, ranked from excellent to top-tier. Note: Because Windsor included some American picks, we’re using the term European-style. 

10. Devon Cream Company Creamy British Butter

Coombe Castle

Devon Cream Company, which was founded in the UK in 1984, is primarily known for its clotted cream (which, according to Windsor, “was reported to never sour even when exposed to a witch’s breath”). Since then, they have expanded their product offerings to include “a delicious butter from a cultured sour cream,” says Windsor. Packaged in gold foil, “this mild butter is all about the texture, which is smooth and silky and can easily spread across the surface of the crumbliest breads,” he explains. The company’s website says their cows “graze on lush grass of the British countryside, providing the richest cream— simply churned in the traditional way—to create the best tasting British butter.”  Happy cows and tasty butter? Sign us up!

Shop it!

9. Lurpak Slightly Salted Butter

Lurpak

“Denmark has long been associated with quality cultured dairy products,” says Windsor, “and Lurpak has benefited from its home country’s devotion to studying fermented foods.” He explains that this Danish butter “is on the sweeter side with a gentle floral aroma and quintessentially buttery flavor.” He also adds that “it holds its shape well at room temperature.”

Shop it!

8. Arethusa Farm Dairy Butter

Elm City Market Delivers

This option from Litchfield, Connecticut “ is delicate and balanced,” says Windsor. While many European-style butters lean into the tangy acidity of the cultured cream, Windsor explains that “Arethusa is a sweeter and softer version with a mouth-coating 84% butterfat content.”

Shop it!

7. Smjör Icelandic Creamery Butter

Whole Foods

This interesting butter comes from the Mjólkursamsalan dairy cooperative, which pools the cream from 700 small family farms in Iceland. “The result is a unique and complex butter with aromatic notes of seaweed,” says Windsor. “It is more savory than other butters of this style and tastes like it comes from an island in the Atlantic ocean,” he adds. Try it with roasted vegetables for an umami-packed adventure. The butter is available at some Whole Foods locations. 

6. Vermont Creamery Cultured Butter with Sea Salt

Vermont Creamery

“Don’t let the stick format fool you on this American classic butter,” says Windsor. Founded as the Vermont Butter & Cheese Company in 1984, Windsor says they’ve been “a champion of producing European-style butters in the United States.” He explains that “it’s been produced in many sizes and shapes over the years, but in the contemporary stick form it still holds true to its delicious roots with a deep buttery aroma, nice crunch of salty crystals and a tangy finish.”

Shop it!

5. Isigny Sainte-Mère, Beurre d’Isigny AOP

iGourmet

Windsor says it’s hard to go wrong with any Beurre de Baratte (French for “churned butter”), but he recommends looking for an Appellation d’Origine Protégée (AOP) seal to ensure you’re getting the real thing. “This seal guarantees that the butter was made in the region listed on the label to an exacting standard,” he explains. There are three regions for AOP butter in France—d’Isigny, Charante-Poitou, and de Bresse. “Isigny has been known for its high-quality butter since the 1500s, and the Isigny Beurre d’Isigny AOP is a perfect example of how rich and soft a butter can be,” he explains. 

According to their website, what makes their butter distinctive is “the vast ‘hedged garden’ that is the Baie des Veys emerged during the Tertiary Period when the waters of the Channel flooded inland, giving rise to an exceptional terroir… Our Isigny terroir.”

Related: The Viral French Butter That’s Taking Over TikTok

Shop it!

4. Cherry Valley Dairy Gray Salt Butter

Cherry Valley Dairy

This tasty butter comes from a dairy farm in Washington that’s been in operation since the 1940s. In 2005, the dairy was purchased by eco-preneur Gretchen Garth, “who envisioned a smaller operation with a focus on keeping a healthy, meadow-grazing herd, crafting traditional, natural dairy products and employing innovative, environmentally-friendly principles to manage the historic farmstead,” according to their website. Her vision was a success as it was the last small-batch, artisanal cultured butter to win a medal at the American Cheese Society Judging and Competition back in 2018. 

“This was a regular pantry staple when I lived in Seattle and could easily be found at the farmer’s market, and is an excellent example of what farmstead, cultured butter could be in the US,” says Windsor. However, it is very regional and hard to find outside Washington State. “I mention it here because there are many small producers of quality butter being made around the country,” he explains. He encourages butter lovers to seek these out and talk to producers. “If they are not culturing their cream or creating higher butterfat products, encourage them to do so… Let them know there is a market that values and wants excellent local butter.” 

3. Ploughgate Cultured Butter

Ploughgate Creamery

Founded in 2014, Vermont-based Ploughgate Creamery “proves that high quality and delicious European-style butters can be found in the US,” says Windsor. “This creamery ticks all the boxes: small batch, cultured local cream and working with farms that have a long commitment to animal welfare,” he explains. They recently partnered with Maplebrook Farm to expand production, which Windsor hopes will make this delightful butter easier to find outside the Northeast in the future.

2. Kerrygold Salted Butter

Kerrygold

“Kerrygold is the main staple butter in my home,” says Windsor. “Although it is marketed as an Irish butter (whose legal definition is less well-known as European butter), it still meets all the criteria, being made from both cultured cream and containing at least 82% butterfat,” he explains. What makes Kerrygold different? According to their website, “the winds, rain and warming influence of the Gulf Stream all contribute to the lush grass our cows feed on year-round,” which is what produces such sweet, richly flavored butter with a silky, creamy texture and golden yellow hue. Windsor agrees that the “pasture on which cows feed is very important in the quality of the butterfat.” He also loves Kerrygold for the price: “It’s a high-quality butter that is a little easier on the pocketbook.”

Shop it!

1. Rodolphe le Meunier, Beurre de Baratte Salé

Wellspent Market

Windsor says this French butter was his “first introduction to how mind-blowingly good butter could be.” Made the old-fashioned way in the Loire Valley region of France, it’s churned with a wooden butter churn, instead of being extracted with a centrifuge. “The beautiful butter round has long been my gold standard for European-style butters (or really any style),” he explains. 

Famed cheesemaker Rodolphe le Meunier pasteurizes the milk for 48 hours and then ferments it for 24 hours before churning. The result? “It spreads like a dream and is packed with rich aromatics that can elevate any accompaniment from a radish to a water cracker. Its mouth coating and pillowy softness are superb,” says Windsor—which makes it easy to understand why it’s his top pick. “I love this butter,” he says.

Shop it!


Parade aims to feature only the best products and services. If you buy something via one of our links, we may earn a commission.

In our opinion, you can never have too much butter. From slathering on good bread and finishing steak to corn on cob and perfectly flaky pie crust, it makes everything taste better. And while pretty much any butter is delicious, European-style butter is extra-delicious thanks to its luxuriously rich creaminess. But that luxury comes with a price, which makes it extra important to do your homework before buying. To help you buy the best fancy butter for you, we turned to Josh Windsor, Senior Caves Manager at Murray’s Cheese, to help us rank the best European-style butters

What Makes European Butter Different From American Butter?

First things first… what IS European butter? And why is it better?

European butter typically has a higher butterfat percentage compared to American butter, which is what makes it softer and richer tasting. This is because the regulations for butter are different in the US and Europe. The USDA requires butter to be “made exclusively from milk or cream… and contain not less than 80 percent by weight of milkfat,” while the EU defines butter as having “a minimum fat content of 82%” and up to 90%. This is why many people favor imported butter when it comes to flavor, richness and spreadability. That said, as you’ll see in our list of recommendations below, some American producers have recognized the increasing popularity of European butter, and have started making this style of butter now too (hence the term European-style butter).

The only downside is that butter with a higher fat percentage is more expensive to make, which translates to a higher price tag at the grocery store compared to its standard American counterpart (le sigh). Also, keep in mind that many American cake and cookie recipes have been developed with lower-fat American butter so subbing in European-style butter can make these baked goods too dense (French pastries and most crust recipes are a match made in higher-fat butter heaven, though).

The Best European-Style Butters Ranked

Now, it’s time to get to the good stuff! Here are Windsor’s favorite European-style butters, ranked from excellent to top-tier. Note: Because Windsor included some American picks, we’re using the term European-style. 

10. Devon Cream Company Creamy British Butter

Coombe Castle

Devon Cream Company, which was founded in the UK in 1984, is primarily known for its clotted cream (which, according to Windsor, “was reported to never sour even when exposed to a witch’s breath”). Since then, they have expanded their product offerings to include “a delicious butter from a cultured sour cream,” says Windsor. Packaged in gold foil, “this mild butter is all about the texture, which is smooth and silky and can easily spread across the surface of the crumbliest breads,” he explains. The company’s website says their cows “graze on lush grass of the British countryside, providing the richest cream— simply churned in the traditional way—to create the best tasting British butter.”  Happy cows and tasty butter? Sign us up!

Shop it!

9. Lurpak Slightly Salted Butter

Lurpak

“Denmark has long been associated with quality cultured dairy products,” says Windsor, “and Lurpak has benefited from its home country’s devotion to studying fermented foods.” He explains that this Danish butter “is on the sweeter side with a gentle floral aroma and quintessentially buttery flavor.” He also adds that “it holds its shape well at room temperature.”

Shop it!

8. Arethusa Farm Dairy Butter

Elm City Market Delivers

This option from Litchfield, Connecticut “ is delicate and balanced,” says Windsor. While many European-style butters lean into the tangy acidity of the cultured cream, Windsor explains that “Arethusa is a sweeter and softer version with a mouth-coating 84% butterfat content.”

Shop it!

7. Smjör Icelandic Creamery Butter

Whole Foods

This interesting butter comes from the Mjólkursamsalan dairy cooperative, which pools the cream from 700 small family farms in Iceland. “The result is a unique and complex butter with aromatic notes of seaweed,” says Windsor. “It is more savory than other butters of this style and tastes like it comes from an island in the Atlantic ocean,” he adds. Try it with roasted vegetables for an umami-packed adventure. The butter is available at some Whole Foods locations. 

6. Vermont Creamery Cultured Butter with Sea Salt

Vermont Creamery

“Don’t let the stick format fool you on this American classic butter,” says Windsor. Founded as the Vermont Butter & Cheese Company in 1984, Windsor says they’ve been “a champion of producing European-style butters in the United States.” He explains that “it’s been produced in many sizes and shapes over the years, but in the contemporary stick form it still holds true to its delicious roots with a deep buttery aroma, nice crunch of salty crystals and a tangy finish.”

Shop it!

5. Isigny Sainte-Mère, Beurre d’Isigny AOP

iGourmet

Windsor says it’s hard to go wrong with any Beurre de Baratte (French for “churned butter”), but he recommends looking for an Appellation d’Origine Protégée (AOP) seal to ensure you’re getting the real thing. “This seal guarantees that the butter was made in the region listed on the label to an exacting standard,” he explains. There are three regions for AOP butter in France—d’Isigny, Charante-Poitou, and de Bresse. “Isigny has been known for its high-quality butter since the 1500s, and the Isigny Beurre d’Isigny AOP is a perfect example of how rich and soft a butter can be,” he explains. 

According to their website, what makes their butter distinctive is “the vast ‘hedged garden’ that is the Baie des Veys emerged during the Tertiary Period when the waters of the Channel flooded inland, giving rise to an exceptional terroir… Our Isigny terroir.”

Related: The Viral French Butter That’s Taking Over TikTok

Shop it!

4. Cherry Valley Dairy Gray Salt Butter

Cherry Valley Dairy

This tasty butter comes from a dairy farm in Washington that’s been in operation since the 1940s. In 2005, the dairy was purchased by eco-preneur Gretchen Garth, “who envisioned a smaller operation with a focus on keeping a healthy, meadow-grazing herd, crafting traditional, natural dairy products and employing innovative, environmentally-friendly principles to manage the historic farmstead,” according to their website. Her vision was a success as it was the last small-batch, artisanal cultured butter to win a medal at the American Cheese Society Judging and Competition back in 2018. 

“This was a regular pantry staple when I lived in Seattle and could easily be found at the farmer’s market, and is an excellent example of what farmstead, cultured butter could be in the US,” says Windsor. However, it is very regional and hard to find outside Washington State. “I mention it here because there are many small producers of quality butter being made around the country,” he explains. He encourages butter lovers to seek these out and talk to producers. “If they are not culturing their cream or creating higher butterfat products, encourage them to do so… Let them know there is a market that values and wants excellent local butter.” 

3. Ploughgate Cultured Butter

Ploughgate Creamery

Founded in 2014, Vermont-based Ploughgate Creamery “proves that high quality and delicious European-style butters can be found in the US,” says Windsor. “This creamery ticks all the boxes: small batch, cultured local cream and working with farms that have a long commitment to animal welfare,” he explains. They recently partnered with Maplebrook Farm to expand production, which Windsor hopes will make this delightful butter easier to find outside the Northeast in the future.

2. Kerrygold Salted Butter

Kerrygold

“Kerrygold is the main staple butter in my home,” says Windsor. “Although it is marketed as an Irish butter (whose legal definition is less well-known as European butter), it still meets all the criteria, being made from both cultured cream and containing at least 82% butterfat,” he explains. What makes Kerrygold different? According to their website, “the winds, rain and warming influence of the Gulf Stream all contribute to the lush grass our cows feed on year-round,” which is what produces such sweet, richly flavored butter with a silky, creamy texture and golden yellow hue. Windsor agrees that the “pasture on which cows feed is very important in the quality of the butterfat.” He also loves Kerrygold for the price: “It’s a high-quality butter that is a little easier on the pocketbook.”

Shop it!

1. Rodolphe le Meunier, Beurre de Baratte Salé

Wellspent Market

Windsor says this French butter was his “first introduction to how mind-blowingly good butter could be.” Made the old-fashioned way in the Loire Valley region of France, it’s churned with a wooden butter churn, instead of being extracted with a centrifuge. “The beautiful butter round has long been my gold standard for European-style butters (or really any style),” he explains. 

Famed cheesemaker Rodolphe le Meunier pasteurizes the milk for 48 hours and then ferments it for 24 hours before churning. The result? “It spreads like a dream and is packed with rich aromatics that can elevate any accompaniment from a radish to a water cracker. Its mouth coating and pillowy softness are superb,” says Windsor—which makes it easy to understand why it’s his top pick. “I love this butter,” he says.

Shop it!

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