Using Butter Powder: An Easy Tutorial for Everyday Use and for Prepping

Some of the links in this post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Most food storage products purchased from food storage companies are pretty much the same all across the board. Foods like wheat and freeze-fried fruit are all very similar no matter what brand you choose to buy, while other products, like butter powder, can vary widely in quality.

Dairy products, in general, vary from company to company. Food storage companies also change their recipes all the time. As a result, a can of something like butter powder or dried milk that you bought four years ago may bear little resemblance to a can purchased from the same company today.

The upshot of all this means that food storage products are getting better, tastier, and higher in quality all the time. The tricky part is that sometimes there’s a bit of a learning curve while you try to find a brand you like for a particular product. Then there’s the learning curve of figuring out how to best use it.

Prepping wisdom says it’s always best to know how to use something BEFORE it’s an emergency situation. Therefore, we’ll cover everyday use and what you need to know to store it long-term.

image: butter powder

All About Butter Powder

Let’s dig into butter powder so you can decide if it is a good fit for you and your family.

Is it a good option for long-term food storage?

Fats and oils are one of the trickiest things to store in emergency food supplies because of their tendency to go rancid. While blocks of butter store well in the freezer for long periods of time, if the power failed or the grid went down, the freezer no longer provides that protection. Then what?

Enter butter powder.

Like all things stored in large #10 cans, the appeal of butter powder is in its long shelf life, which can be up to five years or under the right storage conditions. Compare this to regular butter, or even shortening, which can last up to 18 months, and its use is apparent.

What is butter powder made of?

Is butter powder real butter, you mean?

Yes, it’s real butter, but no, it isn’t dehydrated butter. Not technically anyway since that requires removing water and butter is less than 20% water. However, the water that is present is removed, then powdered milk is added back in until it takes on a powdery form.

Does powdered butter taste like real butter?

Although you can reconstitute the powder to smear on toast or pancakes, it won’t taste exactly the same. However, if you drown your pancakes in syrup or use jam on your toast, you may not notice a difference. And if you do bathe food in syrup and jam, you can probably do without butter easily enough.

Its texture is more like the whipped butter you can buy in tubs. However, because of the addition of powdered milk, it has a bit of a milky taste to it. If you’re expecting a strong butter flavor, move on. This isn’t it.

However, used properly in baking or cooking the results are quite palatable. In fact, if the recipe calls for both butter and milk, you may not even notice a difference.

Is butter powder healthier than butter?

Butter and butter powder have different nutritional profiles. Generally speaking, the powdered form has fewer calories, fat, cholesterol, and sodium, but this will vary by brand. So check your labels.

Can I use it just like regular butter?

Once reconstituted, butter powder is spreadable just like regular butter. To bake or cook with it, it’s recommended to add the powder directly into the other dry ingredients and then add the commensurate amount of water needed. That is, don’t reconstitute.

One thing it won’t do is melt. Instead, it will scorch.

How long does butter powder keep?

Again this varies by brand. For example, in optimal conditions, Augason Farms claims the shelf life of an unopened can is “up to 10 years.” Few of us can maintain such conditions, however, so plan to rotate accordingly.

Once opened, portion the butter powder into smaller containers so as to not continually open a larger one. Store the smaller containers in the refrigerator for longest shelf life, or in a cool dark location.

Learn more: When should you buy food in #10 cans? When should you buy smaller sizes? Read this tutorial.

Where can I buy butter powder?

You can find the shelf-stable substitute in some brick-and-mortar stores, like Walmart. However, this brand is Survival Mom’s favorite.

READ MORE: These are the food storage companies I recommend and why.

How to Reconstitute

This is going to vary by brand and by what you want to use it for. Do you need it firm or spreadable? Or are you baking or cooking with it? Follow the directions on the package, however, you may need to experiment to get a ratio of powder to water that you’re happy with. I share my experience figuring that out in the next section.

My Experience Learning to Use Butter Powder

Now let’s get real about using butter powder. This was my experience. And this is a great example of why you want to use a product before you’re in an emergency.

Because in an emergency, the last thing you need going awry is your food.

Making Sugar Cooking with Powdered Butter

The first time I tried to cook something with butter powder, I tried sugar cookies. One of the primary ingredients is butter, so I figured if any recipe would be a good test of this particular food-storage product, sugar cookies would be it.

I hesitate to use the word “disaster,” but…well…if the shoe fits, right?

The cookie dough had the consistency of cookie “batter.” It wouldn’t firm up no matter how long I refrigerated it.

Usually, my kids and I adore taking “snitches” of cookie dough during the cookie-making process, but I was particularly unhappy with the taste. I thought it was reminiscent of reconstituted powdered milk: somewhat “off,” but in a way that is difficult to quantify in words.

When baked, the texture of my cookies resembled cake. While that’s fine when you are baking a cake, it’s not so great when you’re hoping for a batch of cookies.

Being a prepper, though, means you don’t let little things like that stop you.

As previously mentioned, not every can of butter powder is created equal. While my first experience made me want to weep, subsequent experiments with butter powder were much more successful.

Lessons Learned

Here are a few specific things I learned:

  • Even though the label on the can said to reconstitute the powder with an equal amount of water, this was a big mistake – the result was far too runny and didn’t at all behave in cooking the way regular butter does. The trick, then, is to cut down the amount of added liquid so that your reconstituted butter is the consistency of butter. This alone goes a long way toward avoiding disaster cookies. Some even use a bit of vegetable oil when they reconstitute the powder.
  • The whole point of butter powder is that it is supposed to taste and act like butter, and you can bake cookies during times of emergency. Good butter powder does just that – you can put it on popcorn, in mashed potatoes, and cook with it to boot. The only thing it doesn’t do is melt in a pan. For that type of butter, you’ll need a product like Red Feather butter or ghee. More on those later.
  • If you are going to buy it at all, don’t get the cheapie kind – that way lies disappointment. A high-quality product is absolutely worth the extra cost. If possible, buy it in smaller quantities, like a #2.5 can, and compare brands.
  • As mentioned above, when baking or cooking with it, just add the powder to the dry ingredients and the requisite water to the wet ingredients. You don’t have to reconstitute prior.

READ MORE: Do you know how to store cookie ingredients properly? Find out how to ensure you can whip up a batch of goodness when you need to!

What do you use butter powder for?

  • In baked goods. Follow the instructions on the butter powder container for the equivalent with fresh butter.
  • Mixed in with mashed potatoes
  • Combine it with honey for honey butter!
  • Add to pancake mix
  • Reconstitute as a spread for toast, muffins, and breads
  • Combine with other savory seasonings as a popcorn topping
  • Sprinkle it over hot, cooked veggies
  • Add it to macaroni and cheese
  • Create sauces

How to Make Apple Crumb Cake with Butter Powder

image: slice of apple crumb cake on glass plate with fork in front of pan of apple crumb cake

Apple Crumb Cake

Use your dehydrated and food storage inventory to make a delicious dessert!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12


  • 1 set measuring spoons
  • 1 large bowl
  • 1 small bowl
  • 9X13" baking dish


Apple Crumb Cake

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup Thrive Life Scrambled Eggs
  • 1-3/4 cups water
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup Thrive Life Apple slices chopped and rehydrated


  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup Thrive Life Butter Powder
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon


  • In a large bowl, blend all cake ingredients.
  • Pour into a greased 9X13" baking dish.
  • In a small bowl, mix all topping ingredients with a fork until crumbly.
  • Sprinkle crumb topping on top of cake.
  • Bake at 375°F for 25-30 minutes.
Keyword apples, butter powder

Are there any other shelf-stable butter options?

Since we like to have layers built into our food storage, let’s talk about a couple of other options you might consider: canned butter and ghee.

Canned butter

The most popular canned butter is Red Feather Pure Creamery Butter. The producer, Ballantyne, claims a shelf life of “at least” two years. However, avid fans of the product claim it’s good even after a decade of room-temperature storage. It has two downsides that I see, though.

One, while it can sit on the shelf for years, once opened, it’s supposed to be refrigerated. Perhaps a butter bell like this would preserve it sans refrigeration.

Two, and the reason I haven’t tried it yet, is the cost. It’s a bit pricey, but of course, you’re paying for longevity.


Ghee is clarified butter. That is all moisture and milk solids have been removed. You can purchase ghee or make it yourself.

There’s a bit of disagreement concerning its shelf life. At one end of the spectrum, we’re told unopened ghee lasts indefinitely if properly made and properly stored. At the other end, we have a shelf-life of one to two years.

If you choose to store ghee, you’ll want to experiment while bearing this information in mind. Remember if it looks, smells, or tastes off, don’t use it.


Powdered butter is a reliable, shelf-stable option for your food storage pantry. Experiment with using it every day as preparation for using it under more adverse conditions. Good luck and let me know how it goes!

Originally published on December 19, 2017; updated and revised by Team Survival Mom.

What is your favorite way to use butter powder?

20 thoughts on “Using Butter Powder: An Easy Tutorial for Everyday Use and for Prepping”

  1. Thank you for this article. I bought a can of butter powder but haven’t used it yet. It’s a smaller can so I should give it a try and see. 🙂

      1. I wouldn’t want to deprive my esteemed colleague Beth Johnson of any adulation – it was she who wrote the brilliant article about altoid tin seed vaults, not I. It does appear, however, that the two of us have similar handwriting!

  2. What brand/s of butter powder have you found to be good? I would love to find an organic grass fed butter product if you know of any!

    1. The Survival Mom

      I use Thrive Life foods most frequently, and that includes their butter powder. This canned butter is quite good, From their website:

      “For generations, the distinctive red and gold Red Feather brand has reminded people of the delicious taste of pure Australian and New Zealand dairy butter. From country paddocks of rich green grass comes the milk that makes the butter that brings the fine flavours to Red Feather. Made by an Australian family company for more than seventy years, this is a taste with enduring appeal. From baking and cooking family favourites, to spreading on your favourite warm crusty bread, Red Feather will add a wonderfully buttery finish to everything you serve. Naturally, 100% pure Red Feather butter has no artificial colours or flavours, and for your convenience, it is available in traditional durable cans that do not require refrigeration or more modern wrappings that do. ”

      You can contact the company directly to see if it comes from organically fed, grass fed cattle.

    2. Garden of Life’s butter powder is sourced from grass-fed cows. Awesome in baked goods, and cooking; very easy to use.

  3. I purchased some powder butter in a pouch but it looks like after studying a lttle more that it only has a shelf life of one year. How can I make that last longer?

    1. The Survival Mom

      Figure out how much butter powder you would use in 30-60 days and set that aside. The remaining powder, store in a canning jar and refrigerate or store in some other dark, cool location for longest shelf life.

    1. The Survival Mom

      If the butter powder is in a tightly capped container, then it should be fine in the freezer. If you keep the container sealed, though, after you buy it, it can stay fresh for 10 years or more as long as it’s stored in a cool location (75 degrees or cooler).

  4. I hope someone will answer your question, Susan. I am planning to freeze some unopened powdered butter to extend its shelf life. You can freeze regular butter, so I am thinking, why not powdered?

  5. Thank you very much for taking the time to make this post. I couldn’t seem to find any clues on the Internet about how to use the butter powder I purchased. I appreciate your warning about changing the texture to soft as I was about to add it to a keto cracker recipe. I’ll try it first, reducing the liquid as you suggest, and a butter cookie recipe that doesn’t require being crispy. Again I’m grateful for your research and time

  6. Thank you for being there to answer our questions! I couldn’t seem to find any suggestions on the Internet about how to store the butter powder. I just opened a #10 can I purchased from Augason. This size is more than plenty for just my husband and I.

    I was thinking about vacuum sealing half the contents of the dehydrated butter in a half gallon mason jar and then storing it either on the shelf, refrigerator or freezer. Which one would be a better storage method?

    Best to you,

    1. The Survival Mom

      Definitely store the butter powder in smaller containers once you’ve opened the #10 can. I recommend smaller jars so you aren’t continually opening a half-gallon jar and resealing it each time. Store this in the refrigerator for the longest shelf life. If that’s not possible, then store in a cool, dark location.

  7. 5 stars
    I am looking into using Butter Powder in place of the Shortening/Oil in Homemade Bisquick. My goal is a shelf stable mix that does not need to be kept in the fridge. Any ideas on how much I should add to replace 4 Tablespoons of butter, would be greatly appreciated! Also, how much should I increase the liquid, in whatever recipe I am making, would be a big help also!!!

    1. The Survival Mom

      Hi Erma. Here is what you’ll need to do with butter powder: 1/4 cup of butter powder and 1/4 cup of water would replace the butter in a recipe.

  8. Beginner Food

    This is the first time I have ever heard of butter powder. We don’t have it in our local grocery stores, but I’m definitely going to be scouring online if I can procure some.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating