how much salt is in salted butter

How Much Salt Is In Salted Butter?

Last Updated on June 11, 2020

If you do a lot of baking and cooking, you’ll know that butter is an important ingredient to have on hand. You can buy both salted and unsalted butter. If you’ve ever bought salted butter, you’ve likely wondered: how much salt is in salted butter?

Butter plays an important role in providing flavor and texture in dishes. Both salted butter and unsalted butter have their advantages. Salted butter is typically used in cooking savory dishes and unsalted butter is generally used for baking desserts.

How Much Salt is in Salted Butter?

One of the disadvantages of using salted butter is that there is not a certain amount of salt that is used. Each brand varies on how much salt they add to butter. This can make it difficult when using salted butter, as you may not know how much salt you are adding to your recipe. 

Some brands have up to double the amount of salt than other brands. This can make things tricky when you are making a recipe where salt content matters. This large difference in salt content can make a difference in certain recipes.

How Much Salt is in Salted Butter?

The varying amount of salt in salted butter can also be problematic if you are trying to control your salt intake. You have to pay close attention to the nutrition facts listed on the box of butter to get an idea of how much salt a serving contains.

According to the National Dairy Council, a stick of salted butter generally contains 1.6-1.7 percent salt. It is up to each brand to decide how much salt they add to their butter. There are no restrictions set in place on the minimum or maximum amount of salt salted butter can have.

On average, one stick of butter contains slightly more than ⅓ teaspoon salt, two sticks of butter contains ¾ teaspoon salt and 4 sticks of butter contain 1 ½ teaspoon of salt. This typically works out to every gram of butter containing eight milligrams of salt.

When to Use Salted Butter Versus Unsalted Butter

Since salted butter varies by brand and there is not always a way to tell how much salt a particular brand uses, it can be tricky to use salted butter when making dishes. Though some recipes it doesn’t matter if you use slightly more salt, it can have an effect on certain ones.

Butter provides a rich and creamy texture to recipes. It is often a key ingredient in many desserts and is commonly used in savory dishes as well. If you do a lot of baking you will likely go through a lot of butter.

Butter can even serve as a liquid or leavening agent in baked goods. When used in cooking, butter can provide fat and additional flavor.

Salted butter is great for adding to pasta, sauteing meats and vegetables, spreading on bread and making sauces. In these types of dishes, it is okay for the salt range to slightly vary. Using salted butter will help enhance the flavor in savory dishes.

When to Use Salted Butter Versus Unsalted Butter

Generally, you want to avoid using salted butter for making desserts. Since the salt content of butter varies from brand to brand, it can have an impact on how your baked goods will taste. Many recipes for desserts will specifically call for unsalted butter.

Salt is important for bringing out the flavors in food. However, too much salt in desserts will give it a savory rather than sweet taste. This is why it is recommended to use unsalted butter for desserts and then add salt to get the right amount the recipe calls for. 

If a recipe doesn’t specify salted or unsalted butter, it is generally okay to use either one. If you want to play it safe, you can always stick to unsalted butter if you are unsure. Sometimes you may see recipes refer to salted butter as sweet cream butter and unsalted butter as sweet butter.


If you are worried about your salted butter containing too much salt, you can use unsalted butter and then add the desired amount of salt you want. This allows you to have ultimate control of how much salt is in your butter. 

To substitute salted butter for unsalted butter, reduce the amount of salt that the recipe calls for by ¼ teaspoon of salt for every stick. If you have unsalted butter and need salted butter, add ¼ teaspoon of salt for every stick.

Advantages of Salted Butter

Though many people prefer to use unsalted butter, salted butter does have some advantages. Salted butter can typically last around four months to five months when stored in the refrigerator. It can last up to nine months when stored in the freezer.

Advantages of Salted Butter

The salt acts as a preservative, which is why salted butter lasts longer than unsalted butter. Some people do leave their salted butter out covered at room temperature, but it is best to store it in the fridge or freezer to preserve its freshness and give it longer shelf life.

Salted butter is a great choice if you like to use butter as a spread on things such as waffles, pancakes, bread, muffins, and biscuits. It will have more flavor than unsalted butter, making it ideal for adding it as a topping. 

A Tricky Ingredient

With the amount of salt varying by each brand, using salted butter can be tricky. If you are wanting to know how much salt is in salted butter, you will want to take a look at the nutrition facts to get a better understanding. Typically, salted butter will have around ⅓-¼ teaspoon of salt for every stick.

In order to get your desserts baked just right, it is ideal to use unsalted butter. Salted butter is a good choice for using as a topping or in savory dishes. However, as long as you make adjustments, you can substitute the two if needed.

Please comment if you have any questions regarding the salt content in salted butter.

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