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Salted Butter vs. Unsalted Butter – what’s the difference?

As you probably know, butter generally comes in two varieties: salted butter and unsalted butter. But what’s the difference between the two?

Salted butter is generally used as a condiment because of its strong taste and longer shelf life, whereas unsalted butter is usually used for baking and cooking so that the cook can better control the sodium content and flavor in their dish!

The creamy-salty flavor of Tillamook Salted Butter enhances whatever food item it is spread on. Try it on a piece of toast or on a warm muffin for an extra kick, or even put it on a sandwich instead of a different type of spread to bring out all of the flavors!

Tillamook Unsalted Butter is the product of simply churning milk and separating the cream and butterfat. It is one of the simplest dairy products ingredient-wise (besides plain milk). Because it contains no salt or other preservatives, it tends to have a shorter shelf life than other forms of butter or margarine and needs to be kept in the refrigerator at most times. I swear by unsalted butter in most baking recipes because it tends to make the resulting baked good taste sweeter and even have a better consistency.

Speaking of baked goods, people like baking with our butter so much that they even tweet about it! @LunaRaven13 says:

”This butter is fantastic! I have never seen it in the Bay Area before so I bought enough to keep in my freezer for flavor explosion emergencies. Hands down the best cookies I ever made were with this butter. If you can get your hands on some, do it!”

We recommend you take her advice. There’s no doubt about it – whether you like unsalted butter or salted butter, Tillamook Butter is the way to go!


Bridget Smith

Unsalted hands down! If I want salt, I want to add it. Besides, the unsalted actually tastes more real than the salted.

August 31st, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Tillamook Team

Thanks for your feedback, Bridget! We're glad we're able to offer both options for everyone's needs and tastes. But it sounds like you might be a bit of an Unsalted Tillamook Butter Fan! I hope so!

~ Jala of the Tillamook Team

September 1st, 2011 at 11:28 am


We love your unsalted butter!

November 4th, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Tillamook Team

Thanks for letting us know! That's so nice of you to say! Do you bake with it or eat it straight out of the box? :-)

Jala of the Tillamook Team

November 4th, 2011 at 2:42 pm


Tillamook is my butter of choice and I usually have both kinds on hand. Not tonight, though. Came here hoping to earn how to adjust a recipe when I have the"wrong" kind? That is, how much salt to add or omit? Thanks.

January 3rd, 2012 at 6:41 pm

Tillamook Team

Hi there, Mary. This is a great question. We actually had to do a little research, and math, to get you an answer.

There is 90mg of sodium in one tablespoon (one serving) of Tillamook Salted Butter. One tablespoon of salt equals 6900mg (one teaspoon equals 2300mg)… so it is literally just a pinch of salt per serving. If you are using a whole stick of unsalted butter you will need 720mg of salt (90mg x 8 tablespoons). I would estimate that to be little less than 1/3 of a teaspoon.

Does this help?

~ Jala of the Tillamook Team

January 5th, 2012 at 11:05 am

Lori V

Can you tell me the % of butterfat in the unsalted? I am an experimental baker and have read the higher the % the better the butter.( tongue twister there! :) )
Thank you from Anchorage Alaska

January 25th, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Tillamook Team

Hi there, Lori. Does this give you the information you need? If not, let me know and I'll hunt it down for you.

~ Jala of the Tillamook Team

January 26th, 2012 at 12:58 pm


Jala or someone at the Tillamook team,
I hope you are still answering questions. I don't know if the nutritional information answered Lori's question or not, but it does not state the actual amount of "butterfat". European butter contains 83% butterfat, while 'typical' American butter contains 80%. If/when making croissants or other 'flaky' pastries, 3% is huge. So could you please find out the actual percentage please?

Thank you for your time!

June 18th, 2014 at 9:50 pm

Tillamook Team

Hi Pam,

Thanks for your question! The butterfat percentage in Tillamook butter is 80%. It's perfect for baking cakes and cookies, but it may not be the right choice if you are looking for a very high butterfat content for croissants. Happy baking!!

All the best,

Lauren of the Tillamook team

June 20th, 2014 at 12:40 pm


What kin of salt is in your butter? Does it have anticaking agents n it? Is it iodozed?

January 18th, 2015 at 3:57 pm

Tillamook Team

Hi Crystal,
Thanks for reaching out to us with your question. We use a table salt that is not iodized in Tillamook Salted Butter. Additional information on the specifics of our butter ingredients is proprietary, but if you have a specific allergy or concern, you can reach out to our Consumer Relations team directly here and they should be able to advise. If you’re concerned about salt, we also make an Unsalted Butter that you might prefer.

Amalya of the Tillamook team

January 22nd, 2015 at 1:01 pm

Pat in Eugene

I'm nearing the tipping point on HBP and have been advised to cut back on salt. Not sure if we (husband and I) think this is as useful as some do, but… So, I bought a pound of unsalted to try. I have NEVER baked with or eaten unsalted before. Unsalted seems to be an acquired taste as far as toast and sandwiches are concerned! I'll try the unsalted next time we bake, which isn't often… Have you any advice on the possible existence of "low-salt" butter? For example, something with 60mg or 45mg per TBS, vs your regular 90mg??? Thanks much!

March 4th, 2015 at 6:17 pm

Tillamook Team

Hi Pat,
Thanks for your feedback and suggestion. As a fan of Salted Butter myself, I completely understand that Unsalted Butter just isn't for everyone :) I will certainly share your suggestion for a low-salt butter with the larger team here.

All the best,
Amalya of the Tillamook team

March 5th, 2015 at 8:42 am

Holly H.

Hi there!
What is the difference in shelf life between unsalted and salted butter? I know salted butter lasts longer, but how much longer?
Thanks much!

August 16th, 2016 at 3:46 pm


Tillamook Team

Hi Holly,

Thanks for your question! I have heard rumor that salted butter will last slightly longer than unsalted (about a month or two) since salt is technically a preservative, but I don't think it really makes that much of a difference. Butter is a dairy product, so it should be used by the best by date on the package. If you are worried about being able to use it in a timely manner, you can also freeze butter for up to four months. If you would like more details on the best way to freeze butter, feel free to contact our Consumer Relations team and we'd be happy to go into more detail!

Thanks again for reaching out,

Sierra, of the Tillamook team

August 17th, 2016 at 10:21 am
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